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3DMC machine control raises the stakes for Chambers & Jackett
Raising the stakes? Yes, right out of the ground in fact.
With a company history stretching back almost 50 years and a reputation built on high quality workmanship, Dennis Chambers of Upper Moutere-headquartered Chambers & Jackett Ltd has a keen eye for what works on the job site and what doesn’t.
And while Dennis’ name is above the door, that doesn’t mean he spends all day at his desk. With three separate subdivision projects on the go at once south of Nelson, Dennis spends a fair amount of time on-site.
As a result he’s been able to see firsthand what the introduction of Topcon’s intuitive 3DMC GPS machine control system on the company’s 13 ton Hitachi excavator has meant for his team’s ground work efficiency.
"The technology is fantastic and Bryce our operator has picked it up in no time at all. It’s an intuitive system to use and already we’ve had some great feedback from stakeholders about the precision of our work with machine control onboard," says Dennis.
The three subdivision projects (all of which happen to be within a one kilometre radius of each other in the rapidly growing Richmond area) feature retention ponds for storm water, as the existing storm water infrastructure wouldn’t cope with particularly nasty weather events.
"One of the projects in particular features retention ponds that are unusually shaped and lifted up to a certain height, with very specific amounts of topsoil required in their formation.
"Thanks to the machine control system we can complete these complex earthworks without string lines going everywhere. In fact there was barely a stake on the entire site, aside from those marking out key services like manhole points for the kerb and channel guys."
Elsewhere on the sites, Dennis says that Bryce the excavator operator cut the roads required to the correct level first time, with no over trimming and re-doing. In fact the speed with which the Chambers & Jackett team has worked has earned the praise of the local surveyors.
"When the surveyor came out at the end of the job he not only told us we were spot on with all of our measurements, he also commented that he’d never seen pegs go in and come out of a work site so quickly. That’s proof that the machine control system really speeds up our work rate."
Initially Dennis says taking on machine control was "a step into the unknown", having never seen it in use before. But after doing some research on Topcon’s systems offering and seeking out anecdotal opinion from fellow contractors, he decided to invest in what proved to be a solid operational solution.
Fast forward to today and Chambers & Jackett often utilise a grader boasting Topcon’s 2D grade indicate system, in addition to the 3D module on their own Hitachi. Dennis says if the company was to invest again there would probably be another 3DMC unit heading for his big 16 ton excavator.
"The reason we put the new system on the 13 ton Hitachi is that it’s a new machine to us, so it seemed like the right time. I’d say that as we replace older machinery in the future – especially key plant like the bigger excavators – we’d look at putting machine control on them as required.
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"The Synergy guys make it very easy to adopt the technology and make it fit around whatever project work we have on, or are planning to take on. The back-up has been really excellent and, aside from the Topcon system itself, having the Synergy support behind the brand has really worked well in my experience."
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