We tried 3D GPS and haven't looked back!

Victorian civil contracting firm Cornfoot Bros deployed its first GPS grader system eight years ago and the company hasn't looked back since. 

Brendan Cornfoot from Somerton-based Cornfoot Bros in Victoria, says they use a wide range of Topcon 3D GPS technology on the company’s two CAT D6 dozers, two CAT compactors, two CAT H Series graders and one M Series grader, two CAT and one Komatsu excavators. The business specialises in a wide range of earthworks applications, including final trim, bulk work, civil projects and landfill construction and capping.

“We purchased our first GPS grader system around eight years ago from Topcon’s Australian distributors, now known as Position Partners, and we haven’t looked back since,” Mr Cornfoot explained. “These days it’s a standard part of our business and every time we get a new machine, it gets fitted with Topcon.”

When asked why Cornfoot Bros is a ‘Topcon-only’ company, Mr Cornfoot explained that it was the customer service and support provided by Topcon’s Australian distributor, Position Partners, that made the difference.

“We tried a competitor brand once and the system worked OK, but we didn’t have the same level of service and support that we were used to with Position Partners,” he said. “We made the decision to be Topcon-only after that, because we are thoroughly looked after by Position Partners’ local team in Melbourne.


“Whenever we need a new installation or any sort of technical advice, their field service technicians are out on site very quickly and we know we can rely on them,” he added.

The company also utilises Position Partners’ remote service tool, Tokara Service, which enables technicians to login to the machine control system remotely to change settings, calibrate the system, update software or train the operator. “Tokara is a great time saver and it’s especially useful when we’re working on a remote site,” Mr Cornfoot said.

Mr Cornfoot describes the key benefits to their GPS equipment are time saving and elimination of rework. “We put the material down once and move on, there’s no rework with our Topcon systems, which saves a lot of time.”

Cornfoot Bros first ventured into machine control solutions more than 14 years ago with indicate-only Topcon systems. “The indicate-only technology worked very well for us, but once we upgraded to fully automated 3D GPS the difference was unbelievable and there was no going back!”

Cornfoot Bros also uses 3D GPS technology for bulk earthworks on dozers. In recent years they have been using Topcon’s state-of-the-art 3D-MC2 dozer solution, which has a unique sensor that updates the blade position up to 100 times per second for faster, smoother operation. “Topcon 3D-MC2 is a truly revolutionary solution, we have been very impressed by the grading accuracy  and the speeds we’re getting from our dozers with it,” he added.

Mr Cornfoot explained that the addition of 3D machine control saves them an average of 20% in time saving for every job. “The safety element is also key for us, as it removes the need for guys to put pegs in the ground near machinery,” he added.

Feedback from Cornfoot Bros operators is also positive: “Our operators say they have a greater sense of achievement and ownership of their work thanks to the machine control they have on board,” Mr Cornfoot said.

“If they’re digging a trench, they can get 200 metres into the job and get guys in to lay the pipe straight away – knowing that the bedding is correct – so they can move on with the next section,” he added.

The company ensures its employees attend regular training courses with Position Partners Campus. “Our rover guy goes to courses a couple of times a year to learn about the latest developments and new functionality that’s available, plus our operators are given in-field practical training out on site.

“All in all we highly recommend Position Partners,” he added. “Their customer service is good, their support is good, their training is good and we have a great relationship with their local team here in Melbourne.” 


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