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Victorian contractor Goldsmith Civil & Environmental recently completed a complex hill-climb motor racing circuit for Tru Energy using Topcon’s X63 3D GPS excavator control system. 

 Topcon at Goldsmith Civil

Goldsmith Civil and Environmental’s Komatsu PC200-8LC excavator fitted
with Topcon’s X63 3D GPS system.

  • Customer: Goldsmith Civil and Environmental, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Topcon systems: Topcon X63 3D GPS excavator control system, Topcon GR3 3D GPS Rovers
  • Applications: General civil construction projects.

Fitted to a Komatsu PC200-8 excavator, the Topcon X63 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, dating back to the early 1970s was resumed for coal mining activities by True Energy.

According to Cameron Goldsmith, principal of Goldsmith Civil & Environmental, a combination of excavator, grader and dozer, plus Topcon 3D GPS systems were used for stripping the site, cutting it to level and then boxing out the roadway.

In addition to the PC200-8 excavator and Topcon X63 system, two Topcon GR3 3D GPS rovers were used to check the levels for the bulk earthworks, where a Komatsu D65EX-15 dozer and 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. The combination of rover, GPS and excavator has been excellent,” he said.

“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,” said Cameron.

“He wasn’t relying on our surveyor to come onto site and do any setup; instead he was actually doing the setup himself and producing a finished product then and there.”

Cameron said that since purchasing the Topcon 3D GPS systems, he’d noticed the supervisors and operators taking more “ownership” on projects.


 Site overview

“They feel as though they’re contributing more, and they really enjoy the fact that they are adding value to what they are doing.

“That’s really been one of the highlights of this investment from my perspective; that our people are enjoying what they’re doing,” he said.

Robert McKenzie, Goldsmith Civil & Environmental’s supervisor on the hill-climb project, said “having 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,” he 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 and then I could walk around and give the grader or dozer operator levels, and show them what needed to be cut or filled. With the on-board excavator unit, Robert said he didn’t 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 that 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 didn’t need others to do levels and pegs for him.

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