GPS machine control a Shore thing for Hibiscus Contractors

GPS machine control a Shore thing for Hibiscus Contractors

With a team of around 30 staff led by company director Linden Bawden, Hibiscus Contractors men and machinery are a familiar sight north of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.

The amount of large scale residential and infrastructure projects the company has worked on is lengthy and growing continually. The company has been a customer of Synergy Positioning Systems for nearly a decade, investing in a variety of total station survey hardware in the past.

But it was a need to work smarter and transition faster across a variety of work sites – especially large multi-layered housing development projects such as Chatham Hill, Kerekin and latterly various stages of the enormous Millwater sub-division project between Silverdale and Orewa – that led Hibiscus Contractors to adopt Topcon machine control technology.

The multi-disciplined firm’s Contracts Engineer, Paul Wallace, explains that with the help of Synergy Positioning Systems’ consultants, the company trialled and then purchased Topcon machine control systems for two of its front-line excavators.

“We were offered a no-strings-attached trial by Synergy. We had done a bit of asking around before we settled on trialling Topcon, but industry feedback seemed to suggest it was the simplest system to use,” says Paul.

“We could see pretty quickly the benefits of machine control from both a time and safety perspective. It’s easy for the operator to download the site plan and have it right there in front of them in the cab, without needing to constantly be in and out of the machines putting in pegs. It makes their workflow that much smoother, which translates into a faster job.”

Paul also says that Topcon’s 3D GPS machine control for excavators eliminates over- and under-cutting and, without the need for pegs in the traditional sense, there is no chance of a machine knocking one over, and less reliance on a third-party survey resource being required to come out on site.


  • Hibiscus Contractors' Volvo G720B Motor Grader with Topcon 3DMC Systems in Action
  • Hibiscus Contractors' JCB 3CX Eco Backhoe Loader with Topcon 3DMC Systems in Action

“We’re working on several developments at a time these days. There are a lot of moving parts to the operation; but if we’re keeping to our timeline then that’s good for everyone. The machine control systems we’re using on our excavators really help with this.”

The flexibility of Topcon’s 3D GPS machine control technology means Hibiscus Contractors could invest in a full excavator system for one machine and set up a second excavator with standalone wiring kit and masts, and simply move the ‘brain’ (the intuitive touchscreen-enabled control box) between each machine as required.

Topcon’s 3D GPS machine control system for Hibiscus Contractor’s excavators allows its operators to create and maintain multiple elevation and slope designs on the job in real-time. Operators can cut complex designs continuously without the need for laser re-sets or surveyors to move pegs as work progresses. The system essentially eliminates rework as it is so accurate, operators can excavate confidently to the required level at every step of the dig; all the relevant information is displayed for the operator on the in-cab screen in a simple, concise manner.

“This technology is definitely the way forward,” continues Paul.

“The training from Synergy Positioning Systems was very good and our guys were away on the gear with machine control on-board in no time at all.

“The key to its success is getting the right information from the designer and or consultants in the first place. It’s actually good because it forces everyone to up their game.

“We have a good reputation in our area of expertise and an advance in earthworks technology like machine control means everyone – from the operator, to company management, to the surveyor, to the developer – has the opportunity to work smarter.”

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