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A Victorian grader owner-operator has recently fitted Topcon’s Millimetre GPS™ to his 20-year-old Caterpillar 12G grader – and is getting the same millimetre accuracy and productivity as operators with the latest model graders.

Everon Topcon 1

  Grader owner-operator Ron Woodbridge is getting the same sort of accuracy
and productivity from a 20-year-old grader using Topcon’s Millimetre GPS
as can be achieved with the most modern machines.

  • Customer: Everon Grading Services, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Topcon systems: Topcon Millimetre GPS™ on 20-year-old Cat 12G grader
  • Applications: General plant hire and civil construction.

Ron Woodbridge, of Everon Grading Services, primarily works for Winslow Constructions, and has had the Topcon Millimetre GPS on his grader since September 2007. And because he had previous-generation Topcon machine control systems on his grader – going back to a 16-year-old Topcon “legacy” system – he saved around $25,000 when upgrading to the Millimetre GPS. That’s because the latest Topcon systems are backwards-compatible with earlier systems, allowing them to use the same wiring, sensors and other components.

Since having the Millimetre GPS system on his grader, Ron has been very impressed with the speed, accuracy and productivity improvements he can achieve with the system.

“We recently put in 1800 tonnes of cement-treated base in a single day on this job,” he said.

“Once it was set up, no one checked any levels and there was minimum work that we had to go back to; I just went back and trimmed it off and it was perfect.”

He said the best thing about the system was its simplicity.

“When a rough-head like me can use it, without any problems at all, anyone can use it, I believe. I just get total satisfaction out of it because it’s so good,” said Ron.

“It’s so simple – and if you do have a problem with it, it’s usually your own bloody fault, because you forgot to put something in properly.

“The accuracy I can get is just unbelievable, and you can’t final trim like it. Anyone who says they can trim, peg to peg, and final trim like this system is having you on,” he said.

“I’m a reasonably good operator and I just find it overwhelming, it’s so good.

“The accuracy is incredible, like to do 1800 tonnes and have no one check a level – then when they came to pin up for the curb and channel, it was so close. That was just running it in, leaving it to roll with a single one cut-off and that was it – we didn’t have to go back and do any of it again.”

Ron has had the original Topcon sensors on his grader for the past six years, since he bought a used system from Victorian Topcon dealer Laser Beams.

“That’s the original 16-year-old Topcon sensor, which has never been touched – and it still works with this thing,” he said.

“I can’t believe Topcon has done this; I would have thought they’d make everybody buy new sensors – but no, they were just so adaptable. And if you have a problem with a lead, you just buy a new lead, that’s it.”

Based on his additional productivity and ability to final trim with no supervision, Ron is able to get a higher hourly rate for his 12G fitted with Millimetre GPS – and expects to pay off the system within two years.

“I can’t recommend this system highly enough – and I don’t want to recommend it, because everyone will get it,” said Ron.

“In fact, I’m that age now that if they gave me Jennifer Hawkins or this thing here, I’d take this thing here! In fact, I call it Jennifer Hawkins; it’s almost perfect.”

 Ron Woodbridge just loves his Topcon mmGPS, fitted to his Cat 12G
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