Grade control optimises compaction ratios and gives operators greater autonomy in Mindarie, Western Australia

The Tamala Park Landfill in Western Australia is one of the largest in the state, operated by the Mindarie Regional Council. The site provides comprehensive waste management services for the public, including a recycling centre and reuse shop. An onsite power station uses the landfill gas to generate electricity, which benefits the environment, and powers up to 5,000 homes per day.

Two landfill compactors are used on site to distribute and compact the waste. In 2016 Mindarie Regional Council began trialling grade control technology on the machines to monitor the effect it would have on compaction ratios, available air space, and overall productivity.

Operations Manager, Brendan Twine, says that since implementing Carlson LandfillGrade on the compactors, he has witnessed several advantages, particularly in his ability to monitor the site via the live reporting functionality.

“The LandfillGrade system is particularly beneficial to me from a management perspective because it allows me to monitor activities in real time,” he said.

Using sensors mounted to the body of the machine, a GPS antenna on the roof and a large full-colour screen in the cab, LandfillGrade gives operators live information about their position relative to design. The data is continuously sent back to the office site management software, Carlson Command.

“The system gives operators constant cut and fill information in a concise format via the in cab screens, as well as relative position information in respect to the overall fill plan,” Mr Twine added.

Prior to installing the LandfillGrade solution, the team relied on traditional survey techniques. “Prior to this system, we used traditional survey techniques that required a higher level of experience and understanding,” he said.

Now, Mr Twine says the system takes the guesswork out of the job for operators and enables less experienced operators to work and achieve very similar outcomes to those that have more experience.

With the field-based employees empowered to work more autonomously through the grade control solution, Mr Twine can monitor the overall planning and productivity of the operation.

“The online software enables me to monitor the compactors and how effectively they are working. I have a high level of confidence when it comes to our compaction ratios and making the most of the available air space in the landfill,” Mr Twine said.   

Feedback from the operators is very positive, Mr Twine explains. “They find it really user friendly,” he said. “There’s not a lot of training required and the system gives them the information they need simply and succinctly.” 

The council did investigate alternatives to the grade control solution to provide the reporting that was required. “Other options such as regular aerial mapping would have worked well for me as a manager to monitor the sites progress, but such a solution wouldn’t serve the operators in the same way,” Mr Twine said. “The alternatives wouldn’t have given them live feedback on what they needed to do like the machine guidance system does,” Mr Twine said.

As well as real time cut and fill information, Mr Twine explains that the operators can also see their position relative to the overall design. “The operators can switch views and see the overall design plan, or just the cut and fill information for where they are immediately working.

The solution is largely standalone and user friendly as a management tool, Mr Twine said. “It’s a largely self-sufficient system and one that’s very easy to use,” he said.

GRade control for compact machines, CARLSON LANDFILL GRADE

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