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The first LPS-900 3D local positioning machine control system is providing millimetre-accurate machine control for a Cat 12G grader engaged in small-scale paving applications around Brisbane.

The LPS-900 combines a robotic total station with precision machine control to provide what is said to be the world’s most advanced, high-accuracy local positioning 3D control system.

Topcon’s LPS-900 system features its X-TRAC® tracking technology and integrated radio communication for higher-speed operation under all conditions.

It is designed for users requiring millimetre-accurate final trim capability in applications where the multi-machine capabilities of Topcon’s Millimetre GPS™ are not required, or in built-up or heavily treed areas where satellite availability may be an issue.

It also offers a simple, cost-effective transfer path to GPS-based 3D machine control, including Millimetre GPS.
In addition, it can also be used as a survey total station.

On the LPS-900’s first Australian application, the 12G grader, owned by Universal Civil Contracting, has been achieving accuracies to within 5 mm on a small commercial development in North Lakes, to the north of Brisbane, according to operator Grant Thiele.

As of late March, Thiele had been using the LPS-900 system on the project for about two months, from final trim of the earthworks, to putting down the basecourses prior to asphalting.

“We’re easily getting to within 5 mm accuracies with this system; it works really well, and is much easier for putting the gravels in,” he said.

“It’s particularly critical to get that sort of accuracy for the top-course before you put the asphalt on; when you’re putting on 35 mm of asphalt, you don’t want to put any more down than you have to.

“We went for the LPS-900 system rather than standard GPS-based machine control because we really needed the accuracy here. We found it much easier with the Topcon LPS System because it got to within the mill we wanted, while the GPS only got you between 20 and 10 mm,” said Thiele.

Topcon’s mmGPS system would also have met or exceeded the high-accuracy spec, but given the relatively small job size, Universal Civil opted for the added engineering versatility of the LPS system.

“It takes me about 30 minutes to set it up each morning, or about half that if there’s someone here to help me – and after that, it’s right for the day,” he said.

Although this was his first application with machine control, Thiele said he had no trouble picking up the system.

“I’m finding it very good, much easier on me. It means I’ve got more hands to work the other levers.

“This Topcon system is perfect for this application; it’s easy to operate and gives us the precision accuracy we need,” he said.

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