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Joel Seddon, Position Partners’ National Product Manager – Machine Control, explains why machine control should be a high priority purchase. 

Australia’s Federal Government recently passed a new tax break for small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million, granting an immediate tax deduction for any individual assets purchased that cost less than $20,000.

There are any number of assets that a small business could put this new tax incentive towards, but below I will detail why machine control systems should be high on the list for any contractor that meets the criteria.

Machine control systems are now required on almost all major civil projects across the country, which indicates that they are going to become increasingly more commonplace across all jobs, large or small. Smart contractors will embrace this change and the technology, ensuring they are ready to work and able to adapt their business to the changing needs of the industry.

Machinery manufacturers are beginning to release new models that come with basic machine control factory fitted to their graders, and in time we will see this adopted across other machines such as excavators and dozers. Unless you plan on investing in all-new machinery, retro-fitting machine control systems to your existing equipment is not only simple and cost effective, but it also has a number of benefits over factory-fitted options.

Unlike the factory-fit installs, retro-fitted machine systems can be swapped between different machines, are fully upgradeable to more advanced solutions and, depending on the brand of machine control you choose, can have components swapped or added to suit the tolerance requirements and project environment. If, for example, you are working on a road upgrade that has dense tree coverage, you may need to switch to a total station or laser instead of relying for GPS for the positioning accuracy required.

The return on investment with a machine control system can be as fast as the first job it’s used on, and with the new tax break incentive it pays for itself faster still! With the time saved from eliminating stringlines and the productivity gains of knowing exactly where the blade is relative to grade at all times, a machine control system is guaranteed to help you get the job done faster and more efficiently, whether you’re setting out house pads or working on a large infrastructure project.

Contractors may be surprised at what you can get for $20,000 in the world of machine control. Position Partners, Topcon’s exclusive Australian distributor, is offering complete 2D excavator systems for less than $20,000 plus GST, or the option to install base kits on two machines and make them machine control ready for less than the tax break limit.

2D excavator systems are ideal for a wide range of applications including house pads, trenches, channels, dams, commercial builds and rail work. The Topcon system allows multiple elevation and slopes to be cut simultaneously, without resetting the machine or laser, enabling the user to work complex designs easily. The system is also fully upgradeable to 3D GPS machine control, which can be either purchased or hired for a particular project as required.

Alternatively, installing base kits for machine control enables you to hire or buy a system to suit your business needs. A base kit involves installing the necessary wiring and hardware so that the machine is ready for a 2D or 3D system to be fitted quickly and easily. Users have the option of swapping systems between machines with Topcon machine control, or adding/removing components to suit the project requirements. If, for example, your work mainly requires the use of 2D technology, you could opt for a 2D system but hire a 3D GPS solution if a specific job demands it. 

Topcon base kits can be installed on any make, model or type of machine, enabling you to fit out your fleet and swap or hire machine systems as needed. This flexibility is ideal for small businesses, as you don’t have to outlay a lot of capital to get your equipment up to the very latest technology. With a base system installed your machine is ready to go for any job!

In closing, I would encourage all small business owners to consider their options for machine control sooner rather than later, especially in light of the new tax break incentive. I truly believe that no other technology can offer as significant an impact on an earthmoving contractor’s bottom line in such a short time frame as machine control. Every contractor I know that has embraced the technology has reported huge efficiency gains and with the right training and support along the way has been able to win more work and finish jobs faster as a result. 

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