Australasian Construction specialises in all types of civil earthmoving and operates throughout the greater Adelaide region. They utilise an array of Topcon 2D and 3D machine control across their fleet and Director Simon Milutin (pictured above) says it is the backup support and service they receive from Position Partners that makes all the difference.
For large earthworks jobs, the company utilises Topcon 3D machine control to get 10mm tolerance levels across the project.
“One of our current projects covers 350 hectares, 1.3 kilometres long by 200 metres wide with a 400 millimetre crossfall across the entire site,” Simon explained.
“With Topcon GPS, we’ve been achieving 10 millimetre tolerance across the job, as verified by an independent surveyor.”
Simple, accurate and well supported
When asked why Australasian Construction chooses Topcon across their machine fleet, Simon explained that it is a combination of how easy it is to use, the accuracy of the technology and the support they receive from Position Partners.
“We have one operator who is eighty years old and he uses both the 2D and 3D grader systems without any problems,” he added. “We’ve had a very good run with our machine control systems and find them to be accurate and reliable.”
Whenever technical issues do occur, Simon explains that the team at Position Partners, Topcon’s Australian distributor, is very quick to assist. “We likened one instance to a pit stop in the Grand Prix, they were so quick to get onto it and get us back to work. 35 minutes after I’d called, the technician was on site and he swapped the components out so fast and got it working again that we were back to the job within minutes.”
Topcon GPS is fitted to the company’s John Deere 772D graders, Volvo graders and CAT 16H graders. They also run 3D systems on their CAT pull scrapers, saving time on the job by reducing the reliance on graders.
“Although the scrapers don’t have crossfall, the machine control system enables them to accurately spread material without the need to bring in a grader. As each bowl carries 25 tonnes, it would take the grader a lot longer to level out that amount of dirt, so with the Topcon system the scrapers can drop it out to within 50 millimetres and the graders can refine the grade.”
Reducing financial risk
Simon explains that the accuracy Topcon systems help them achieve on sites is not only a productivity benefit but also a huge money and risk saver.
“On a building site, we can trim the plateau to within 5mm accuracy,” he said. “The advantage of that is that on a 10,000 square metre site, for example, without an accurate system you could be out by 10-20 millimetres and waste up to $40,000 of concrete.
“If you’re the earthworks contactor, you’d likely be back charged for the wasted concrete, so by having a Topcon 2D or 3D system we have peace of mind that our work will be accurate and well within the tolerance specification to minimise that risk,” he added.
You don’t always need 3D
On more straightforward jobs, such as a recent site remediation project where the earthworks began from the natural surface, the company uses Topcon’s System 5 2D machine control system with the Topcon RL-200 dual grade laser.
“The laser system enables us to accurately control our increments, whether it’s 150mm or 200mm lifts, to meet Level One certification requirements. As it is a simple design, there’s no need for us to use 3D machine control with GPS, so the laser setup is ideal – easy to setup, simple to use and highly accurate.”
He says the company has tried other brands of machine control but Topcon cannot be beaten for ease of use. “Plus, the other suppliers don’t have the support infrastructure that Position Partners can offer – having to go interstate to get support is not a good option for us, so it’s great to have their local SA-based team on hand to help.”