September 25, 2017

Moving Mountains of Materials With Centimeter Accuracy

Using GPS satellites, a receiver/transmitter unit and working receivers either held by hand or mounted to earth-moving machines, excavation-assist systems deployed at O&G job sites are bringing new heights of accuracy and productivity to the brawny task of moving earth.

It all starts when a conventional electronic site plan is converted by an engineer or surveyor like O&G’s Jeff Jurzynski into a 3D model that the system can work with. All movements, positions and elevations are keyed to that model.

Dozer and excavator operators watch their machines move on video screens that show their location to the centimeter. With input from the operator, the digging and grading is precisely executed in angle, depth and distance.

With a receiver mounted on either end of a dozer blade, the Caterpillar Accugrade™ system knows the angle of the blade and where that blade is on the site plan to the centimeter. Mounted to the arm of a backhoe, it knows exactly where the bucket’s teeth are in elevation and location relative to the site plan, to the centimeter.

It shows machine operators precisely where they are on the plan, how much deeper they need to dig or the grade angles at any given position in a cut. Instead of relying on a second worker in the field to measure depth and stake location as the excavation proceeds, the system calculates and displays it all for the operator.

The hand-held, stick-mounted SitePulse® gives a real-time display of location and elevation anywhere it is positioned.

These new systems cut the man hours involved in before and after measurements and can increase productivity by up to 40 percent, claims Caterpillar of its Accugrade™ system. GPS systems boost accuracy, reduce rework and provide printable documentation of work quality.

(L to R) Superintendent Fred Howe connects Accugrade® receiver to dozer cab; Project Engineer Kevin Mierzejewski with SitePulse®