2D vs 3D Machine Control

23 February 2016

Machine control is a well-adapted technology within the civil engineering industry, with the ability to precisely position earthmoving machinery based on design models and GPS systems. Machine control is a vital tool for earthmoving as it maximises productivity, reduces manpower, and improves safety. With all of the benefits of Machine Control it is important to know which type would suit your business.

2D Machine Control

2D Machine Control is commonly referred to as the “Basic System”, this term should be taken with a degree of caution as 2D machine control can be complex in its capabilities and achieve excellent outcomes for the smaller job sites.

2D Machine Control is a system that enables an operator to know the location of their equipment (for example a bucket etc.) in context with the target design. It involves the use of slope sensors, lasers, and/or sonic trackers to provide a height reference and/or slope reference to the operator. 2D systems can support the use of automatic or indicate (manual) control, depending on the machine type and operator preference.

2D machine control does not provide any information of machine location within a jobsite, the system is simply focussed on ensuing that the machine reaches the specified design in the most efficient way possible.

Within the cab, real time graphics and stats are displayed on the machine control unit allowing the operator to monitor results and ensure the machine stays on design. 2D machine control eliminates the guesswork and reduces the need for people of the ground, thus greatly improving on site safety.

3D Machine Control

Building on from 2D Machine Control is the more comprehensive 3D system. 3D Machine Control is a more premium solution designed for complex engineering designs.

It uses GPS technology to calculate a 3D position for the machine’s blade or bucket tip and provides depth to target information. The position is then used by the machine control system to automatically or manually guide the machine operator to the 3D design they are working to.

3D machine control is ideal for job sites that require multiple machines to work to the same complex design. With the ability to export progress and quality data, 3D Machine control enables control and up to date information on and off the job site.


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