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At Conexpo in Las Vegas in March, Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) unveiled its new machine control system – 3D-MC2 (pronounced “3D-MC-squared”) – which can double dozer speed for final finishing, while still providing unprecedented smoothness.

Ray O’Connor, Topcon president and CEO, described the 3D-MC2 breakthrough “as tearing down the last barrier in regard to increasing job site productivity: speed.”

“There’s never been anything like this in construction machine automation,” he said.

“Topcon’s 3D-MC2 technology speeds up the position calculation by a factor of 10 from today’s systems, allowing for faster positioning in real time, which means the machine can be controlled to design grade at much faster speeds than any other system.”

According to O’Connor, this is not a technology that just any company can do.

“Any company can use sensors and think of the concept of getting a dozer to go faster with increased accuracy.

“What’s different here is that Topcon used the proper algorithms, satellite signal filters, the proper arithmetic formulas and the scientists and engineers at Topcon’s global technology centres – all working together – to accomplish yet another world’s first construction development,” he said.

“Topcon was the first company offering contractors the option of going stakeless at every phase of the job with 3D GPS machine control systems.

“It now is the first company to combine what the best science and engineering has to offer to break through the last barrier of construction productivity – speed,” O’Connor said.

The combination of Topcon’s GX-60 controller, MC-R3 satellite receiver and a specially designed inertial sensor, allows operation of a dozer at a higher gear with smoother results than possible with traditional grading methods, said Murray Lodge, TPS director of construction sales.

“It literally changes the way contractors will look at the finish grading process.

“This new addition to the Topcon family of machine control products will drastically change the role of dozer operation on a typical job site,” he said.

“And as the speed increases, we can do more work in less time. That means less operating time and less fuel and, most importantly, more time that can be spent on other work in other areas.”

Increasing the speed of a dozer “is a no-brainer when it comes to increasing productivity,” Lodge said.

“With the 3D-MC2 system, you can simply make a pass faster. To introduce a system of this type, with the added benefit of a smoother finish grade is a revolutionary achievement for the construction industry.

“The potential benefits of having the option of being able to grade twice as fast as you normally will give contractors an incredible competitive edge,” he said.

“Fine grading with a dozer has traditionally been done at low speeds; operators are trained to go at a slow rate. Go too fast and the ground looks like a wave pool. 

“But having access to a system that allows them to grade with a dozer faster – 25% faster, 50% faster, or even twice as fast – and at the same time achieve maximum smoothness is a major plus for contractors,” Lodge said.

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