Technology speeds new track

Fitted to a Komatsu PC200-8 excavator, the system was used to ensure that the excavator was cutting accurately to the designed layout for the Gippsland Car Club’s new Haunted Hills track – described by the club as the best and most modern hill-climb track in Australia.The club needed a new hill-climb track after the current site, originally built in the early 1970s, was resumed for coal mining activities by Truenergy.According to Cameron Goldsmith, principal of Goldsmith Civil & Environmental, a combination of excavator, grader and dozer, plus Topcon 3D GPS systems, was used for stripping the site, cutting it to level and then boxing out the roadway.In addition to the excavator and X63 system, two Topcon GR3 3D GPS rovers were used to check the levels for the bulk earthworks. A Komatsu D65EX-15 dozer and a GD655-3 grader were used to get the initial levels.“It was a difficult site to work on with hilly terrain and many grade changes,” Goldsmith said. “The combination of rover, GPS and excavator has been excellent.“With the excavator operation, it was most advantageous to have the GPS system because the operator was working on a site where there were not huge amounts of cut, but there was lots of detail due to the topography of the site.“With this system, he was able to see what was going on in real time.“He wasn’t relying on our surveyor to come onto site and do any set-up; instead he was actually doing the set-up himself and producing a finished product then and there.”Goldsmith said that since purchasing the Topcon 3D GPS systems, he had noticed the supervisors and operators taking more “ownership” on projects.“They feel as though they’re contributing more, and they really enjoy the fact that they are adding value to what they are doing,” he said. “That’s really been one of the highlights of this investment from my perspective; that our people are enjoying what they’re doing.”Robert McKenzie, Goldsmith Civil & Environmental’s supervisor on the hill-climb project, said using the rovers and excavator-based GPS made the project much easier and faster.“On this project, we had one-in-one batters and, if you didn’t get it right, the whole thing wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t come to plan,” McKenzie said.“The GPS with the GR-3 rover gave me really fine detail, where to pinpoint the batters, the toes and the centre of the road, which made my job a lot easier, and it also helped the operators know exactly where the points were. “All I had to do was start off marking a line along the ground so they could bulk out the material. Then I could walk around and give the grader or dozer operator levels and show them what needed to be cut or filled.” McKenzie said that with the onboard excavator unit he did not have to be near the operator to show him what he had to do as he could move along and do all this himself.“There is no way without this equipment we could have completed the project in the time we did, as it would have required hundreds of pegs, and a lot of extra effort marking out the batters, toes, centres of roads and culverts that we put in,” he said.Excavator operator Keith McKie said having the Topcon X63 with GPS on the machine doubled productivity and made his job of cutting out the roadways much easier, as he did it on his own and did not need others to do levels and pegs for him.

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