Focus on Control Systems

Focus on Control Systems
September 10, 2008
By Administrator
Leica Geosystems
The “Redline” product range is described by Leica Geosystems’ as the most complete 3D positioning solution in the construction industry. PowerBox is machine-ready GNSS for direct mounting on dozers, graders and excavators, compact enough for use as a backpack rover system. The PowerAntenna “smart antenna” is ready for on-the-pole rover work with Leica SiteForeman or on-the-machine with a PowerBox to provide a dual-GNSS position system. PowerTracker is said to be the simplest full-function robotic tracking total station on the construction market, featuring high-rate tracking for fine-grade machine control and available full robotic rover capability for easy one person stakeout, layout, and as-built checks. According to the manufacturer, PowerController with Leica SiteForeman by Carlson combines industry-leading construction application software with the PowerController to provide the full power of RedLine. Leica SiteForeman by Carlson features a simple workflow to make every construction task quick and easy from initial planning to as-built checks.

Leica Geosystems’ new PowerBlade machine control system offers precision laser-based grading available for every machine and budget.  Designed for construction use, the Leica PowerBlade system features the MCP-700 Control Panel and MLS700 Laser Sensor with bright LED displays. An optional electric mast provides easy grade adjustment from the cab and advanced land-levelling features, with a variety of hydraulic options available to complete the system.
PowerDigger features a large, see-at-glance colour display screen giving the operator precise information on the depth and position of the excavator bucket.  Operators can reportedly dig with ease and confidence even in demanding “blind cut” situations.  Multiple job settings let the operator switch between different digging profiles at the touch of a button, and custom profiles can be created on the machine to continue from existing ground profiles. 

According to Leica, the PowerDigger 3D excavator guidance system is now capable of saving up to 20 per cent in operating costs. This advanced system includes a choice of single or dual GNSS (GPS + GLONASS) PowerBox and PowerAntenna sensors, integrated with the PowerDigger excavator guidance system to locate the exact 3D position of the excavator bucket relative to the site design surface in real-time. The PowerDigger 3D always displays the machine’s position relative to the 3D design surface, in any site conditions and can operate in single and dual GPS/GNSS configuration.

The GS-506 grade control system for graders and dozers features a  new ergonomic control panel with  integrated shield combined with its manual contrast control. According ot the manufacturer, these allow for clear reading in all light conditions, while the intelligent software architecture is said to guide the user through all functions of the system and allows for easy adjustments. Like previous systems, five sensors are used to control the blade. Rotation, long-slope, and cross-slope measurements are all combined with either the new MOBA SonicSki+ or/and the new LS-3000 laser receiver. 

The new MOBA SonicSki+ is said to the most precise ultrasonic sensor available and features extended side-shift-functions and a working range of up to 1.22 m. Six transducers and proprietary

software allow the operator to use the system easily over a stringline, edge of curb, or ground.
High performance of the MOBA laser receiver LS-3000 is promised in the grading of large areas, aided by high accuracy and full 360° detection range. The optional MOBA electric-mast is controlled through the GS-506 controller to provide rapid adjustment of the laser receiver. The modular design of the GS-506 system facilitates upgrade from a basic 2D grade and slope system to a total 3D control system using either a robotic total station or GPS receiver.

35Topcon Positioning Systems’ (TPS) new 3D-MC2 machine control system can reportedly increase dozer speed for grading up to 200 per cent, or even more, while providing unprecedented smoothness. Topcon’s 3D-MC2 technology is said to speed up the position calculation by a factor of ten from today’s systems. This allows faster positioning in real time which means that the machine can be controlled to design grade at much faster speeds than any other system. As a result, dozers can perform fast speed 3D grading in 3rd gear and medium speed 3D grading in 2nd gear while achieving unprecedented smoothness. Two new components, the Topcon GX-60 control box and  MC-R3 GNSS controller are integral to 3D-MC2 technology.

Topcon Positioning Systems’ Millimeter GPS precise positioning technology has been expanded to include asphalt pavers. The world’s first 3D-GPS+ control system for pavers, profilers and trimmers was introduced last year. The Topcon Millimeter GPS system allows contractors to use one GPS system for finish grading, trimming, profiling and paving airport, highway and parking lot projects. According to Topcon, its Lazer Zone technology significantly enhances the vertical measuring precision of RTK GPS and is used by hundreds of companies worldwide. Utilized on asphalt pavers, the Millimeter GPS technology incorporates a unique zone-beam laser transmitter, the PZL-1, that sweeps a 600 m area with a 10 m high wall of laser light. A compact sensor, the PZS-MC, is mounted on a mast which is attached to the toe arm of the paver.  Any time the PZS-MC sensor is positioned within the laser zone signal, the system provides vertical data resulting in millimetre vertical measuring precision.

(Editor’s note: See the January/ February 2008 issue of Aggregates & Roadbuilding for a job site report on the Topcon Millimeter GPS). 

The X62 and the X42 are two new additions to Topcon Positioning Systems’ series of excavator grade control systems. The new X62 solution for excavators is an affordable basic system that can be upgraded to full 3D GPS+ control. In this system, core sensor infrastructure is installed, allowing an excavator to work in a variety of everyday grading applications. The X62 can be used for cutting slopes, excavating trenches for utilities as well as digging footings and basements. The system includes the GX-60 touch screen graphical display and four 360 degree tilt sensor all connected via a CANBus configuration.  The X62 can be upgraded to a 3D-GPS+ indicate control system, to work off a digital site model and furthewr increase productivity. The X62 allows the user to receive multi-constellation signals - GPS and GLONASS - for maximum signal reception in all conditions.

In the X42 system, Topcon offers a high-performance, low-cost option that is ideal for large or small excavators and backhoes for use in applications where basic indicate control is all that is needed. The X42 offers the same level of reliability contractors expect of Topcon products at a more economical price. This system consists of four tilt sensors, the new GX-40 graphical display and a detachable light bar for grade indication. The GX-40 display offers a high level of functionality using easy-to-read keypad buttons.

An optional LS-B10W laser receiver can be added to both units to provide a constant elevation benchmark for the machine when it moves to a new position.

Topcon Positioning Systems’ SiteLINK is described as new technology providing the first comprehensive information technology solution for every machine on every job site, regardless of location. According to Topcon, SiteLINK’s wireless communications mapping, data logging, reporting and asset management system for off-road equipment, provides the world’s first solution with the ability to work with any make, model or type of job site machine, regardless of manufacturer and age. The new technology is based on utilization of Mesh Radio Networks built on a standard Wi-Fi environment. The new communications system, can also pinpoint via GPS any make of equipment on a job site, serving as a built-in theft protection program. SiteLINK was developed jointly by Topcon and TSD Integrated Controls, a joint venture company of Topcon and Sauer Danfoss, the world-leading developer of electro-mechanical hydraulic systems. In addition to monitoring fuel levels, oil pressure, temperature and hours of use via CAN bus or analog connections, data that can be collected, stored and processed for individual machines include productivity (by various standards), geometry files, real-time machine position and history with optional GNSS+ receiver hardware and percent of selected jobs completed. Via Internet hook up, or cell phone connection, Topcon’s SiteLINK tracking and reporting software and controller can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the world.

The new Trimble CM310 Compaction Sensor provides the display of real-time material density to the earthworks compactor operator. This capability is designed to increase machine productivity while providing complete, consistent material compaction over the entire construction project. Faster compaction with better in-place densities are expected to improve the efficiency of other earthworks operations, such as haul truck times and water management.

The Trimble CCS900 Compaction Control System with the new sensor is designed to provide the contractor with better control over the compaction process, making operations more efficient and productive. The contractor can compact sub-surface material to a target density and number of machine passes, analyze sub-surface grade post-compaction for deficiencies in the surface (whether certain locations are high, low or on grade), and catch grade control mistakes in real-time, prior to the start of the final road building process. The CCS900 system is designed to offer rugged durability and reliability standards and can be installed on any single drum soil compactor with open or enclosed cab without fear of component failure or damage.

Trimble’s new SCS900 Site Controller Software promises increased efficiency and productivity through real-time communication with the construction site. As part of the Trimble Connected Site™ portfolio of construction solutions, the new version of Trimble SCS900 software increases work flow efficiency by providing real-time transfer of data between the office and job site. Engineers can email design changes or work orders to contractors and crews in the field. Likewise, the contractor can transfer progress reports, on-site problems, and as-built data back to the office on completion of on site operations. The system eliminates the time and cost of physically driving data updates to and from the field. Using the two-way data capability will reportedly reduce delays and re-work associated with using outdated information and synching data only at the end of the work day. Reduced delays and re-work increase the likelihood that projects finish on time and under budget. The SCS900 Site Controller Software operates on the Trimble TSC2™ or TCU hand-held controller. Using total station or the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the software is designed to simplify construction operations, increase efficiency in the field, and minimize downtime. The Trimble SCS900 software can be used to perform initial site measurement and verification of original ground levels, measure site features, check finished grade and laid material thickness, Topographical measurement of site or material stockpiles and compute volumes, stake out points, lines, alignments, planes, surfaces, complex roadways, side slopes, and catch points, as well as carry out as-built site measurements.

38 The Trimble Connected Community is a Web-based set of networking tools allowing greater communication between construction stakeholders. As part of the Trimble Connected Site portfolio of construction solutions, the system allows contractors to build information portals, share information and collaborate between head office management, site office teams, field crews, subcontractors, suppliers, engineers and clients on a project. System capability includes two-way data transfer and real-time communications to increase productivity for site positioning, grade control, asset management, and the Trimble Connected Community.
For site positioning systems, the system provides real-time, two-way data flow between the office and GPS or total station positioning systems.

For grade control systems real-time, two-way data is said to improve productivity using a system which creates at “live” link between the machines and the office. The live link enables contractors to rapidly send up-to-date design information to the cab eliminating time consuming trips to site and reducing errors associated with use of incorrect or out-of-date site models. Two-way data also allows the equipment manager to monitor the location and activity of each machine and to retrieve as graded and compaction data from the machines to monitor site production volumes and compaction performance.

The Trimble Construction Manager solution combines GPS and wireless communications to enable contractors to connect to their assets on heavy and highway projects. Using an Internet-enabled interface, the contractor can see the status of each piece of equipment on their construction sites, live in the office. This solution allows the contractor to monitor and report cycle times, delivery status, equipment productivity and utilization, machine run time and idle-time hours as well as fuel consumption to maximize their equipment fleet and improve their operations by lowering costs, improving project cost reporting and reducing project risk.

Introduced in mi-April 2008, the Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System version 10.8 provides automatic blade control, configurable earthworks progress monitoring and blade guidance software. The new version is designed to allow earthworks operators to visualize, construct and balance road surfaces more accurately and faster, in higher gears. With version 10.8, the Trimble GCS900 has optimized automatic blade control settings for dozers. Working closely with multiple equipment manufacturers, Trimble has developed specialized interface settings that optimize hydraulic performance on the dozer when the Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System is automatically controlling the dozer blade. No additional sensors or hardware are required to achieve this level of automatic performance. This performance allows the operator to grade, not just simple pads and slopes, but complex design surfaces and alignments at faster speeds, without sacrificing grade control accuracy or quality of the final graded surface. The Trimble GCS900 version 10.8 on-machine software offers enhancements to the operator configurable software, including improved earthmoving progress information and configurable blade guidance options. Operators can grade to cut / fill and view maps representing the total earthmoving progress on the job site, generated from the Trimble SiteVision Office Productivity Module. These cut / fill maps are generated from productivity data collected from each machine equipped with Trimble GCS900 and represent the total earthworks progress on the job site. As machines work, the cut / fill maps are updated. The data can be transferred back to the office at the end of a shift, reprocessed and transferred back to the machines at the start of the next shift. Operators of all abilities can benefit from this new capability by immediately visualizing target areas that require further excavation to achieve design grade, anywhere on the jobsite. New custom guidance blade tip guidance options allow the operator to configure the system to suit the needs of any fine grade application and provide even more in-cab real-time guidance information for high accuracy grade control capability.

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