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Machine Control Systems: Boost Profits & Productivity

Are your projects often taking longer than they should? Do you often find yourself going over budget? You aren’t alone. In fact, a recent study revealed that it’s normal for construction projects to take about 20% longer than expected and more than 80% of all construction projects go over budget. Using tech such as machine control systems, drones and cloud-based software can go a long way to reducing project times and costs.

1. Machine Control Systems

We touched on the benefits of machine control systems in several other articles, but it’s worth restating. Machine control systems improve accuracy, speed up construction projects, reduce costs and improve safety in one fell swoop.

For instance, with machine control systems, we know precisely how much to grade a site or exactly how much to cut or fill. Because the software is so accurate, there’s no need to go back and check and redo an area and this saves time and money. Additionally, you’ll need fewer people on site, which increases safety and profits, and you can complete jobs far more quickly with machine control.

Here’s just one example of how machine control far surpasses manual operation. With Topcon machine controls for bulldozers, a sensor installed that measures blade movements 100 times per second. You can literally improve accuracy down to the centimeter level with this technology, and when you can ensure that level of accuracy at a higher speed than you ever thought possible, you can begin to truly understand the advantages of machine control.

Even for smaller companies, using machine control systems makes good financial sense. The initial cost upgrading to machine control is certainly always a factor, but in the long run, using machine control can pay for itself.

2. Drone Technology

Drones have given a huge boost to the construction industry, and if you aren’t using a drone, you probably should be. There’s just no easier and more affordable way to look over every inch of a construction site. From the initial surveying through to completion, drones allow you to check progress and make changes quickly.

Drones make it easy to take pictures or video of areas that might be difficult or dangerous for an inspector or contractor to reach. Drones also can be used to monitor progress at a site, and if you have multiple projects underway at the same time, this allows you to virtually be in many places at one time.

3. Software & Integration

In the end, it kind of all comes down to the software. With comprehensive cloud-based options from companies such as AGTEK, Trimble, Topcon and others, everyone on your team can correspond quickly and make changes that will be adjusted in real time. There’s no more waiting for updated paper plans to appear at a site, an engineer can simply check a phone or tablet to receive the most up-to-date information which can be downloaded quickly to machine control systems whenever needed.

The days of paper-based projects are pretty much behind us, but it’s often hard to make a transition from the old ways to the new. But when you consider that everything you do can live in the cloud and you can make changes instantly and on devices as small and portable as a smartphone, it just makes sense to use the software.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of earthwork software during the planning and bidding process. Software improves our ability to develop more accurate plans and bids and makes it easier to communicate with other, but also with our clients who can monitor progress throughout the project remotely rather than visiting the site often, which can lead to delays.

If you need to outsource some elements of a construction project, we can help. At Earth Calc, we’ve been creating highly accurate dirt estimates for more than 35 years, and have handled projects around the globe. Our projects include everything from helping with the construction project for a single home to a subdivision of homes or even larger scale projects such as the construction of roads, airports and skyscrapers.

In addition to our quality dirt estimates, we also can help you with machine control. When you are ready to start grading, we can build machine control files for your Trimble, Topcon or AGETK machine control systems. All we need to get started is an approved set of plans in PDF format, along with the matching CAD files.

To send us a project, either for dirt estimates or machine control files, click on the Send Us Work tab on our homepage. Turnaround times vary based upon the scope and complexity of a project, and once we review your files, we will provide you with an accurate price and time estimate as soon as possible. If you are up against a deadline, let us know what that date is, and we will do whatever we can to make it work for you.