GPS/GNSS grade control is commonly thought of as a way to automate machine control in the horizontal plane with dozers and motor graders. But excavators can benefit from machine control as well.
Up until now those systems have been proprietary to the OEMs offering them. But Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform for Excavators was introduced at the recent World of Concrete as an aftermarket kit and offers contractors the ability to add this functionality to any brand of excavator.
As far as software goes, the system uses an Android-based program that runs on the company’s 10-inch TD520 or 7-inch TD510 monitors. On the screen operators can customize their preferred view and various parameters of the system to match their workflow.
The data can also be transferred to or from the office wirelessly to keep everybody updated. And the software can also be used on third-party Android tablets.
In terms of hardware, there are a number of different configurations, all of which use Trimble sensors on the boom and stick along with the monitor and an electronic controller. With different components the system can be upgraded to take advantage dual GNSS receivers, Universal Total Stations, and automatic control with a hydraulic valve.
An upgrade from the Trimble GCS900 grade control system is achievable using the company’s AS45- sensors.
In the automatic mode, the operator selects the Auto function on the monitor and controls the stick. The software in Trimble Earthworks controls the boom and bucket thus keeping the dig on grade, reducing over cut and increasing production.