In big earthmoving jobs 3D GPS machine control on dozers and motor graders has proven its worth. Now Bobcat is bringing that same precision and performance to the compact end of the equipment scale with its new 3D grade control system.
The company announced last week it is adding the option of using a Trimble GCS900 grade control system with its heavy-duty grader attachments when paired with their M-series loaders including the S750 through S850 skid steers, the T650 through T870 compact track loaders and the A770 all wheel steer loader.
The grader attachment comes factory-equipped with the mounts needed for the sensors. The sensor kits and harnesses are installed at the Bobcat dealership. That said, the Trimble GCS900 can also be on installed on existing machines as long as the machine is an M-series with a deluxe instrument panel and the heavy-duty grader attachment is 96 inches or 108 inches, but this may require an upgrade of the machine and attachment software.
With this system as you maneuver around the site the lift cylinders on the grader are controlled by GPS signals so that the elevation of the cutting edge of the blade exactly matches the topographical design programed into the machine’s computer.
The operator still maintains control of side-shift on the grader as well as blade rotation to control how he manages the excess material. But otherwise the machine and grader attachment dial in the elevations automatically to finish-grade accuracy.
There are multiple ways to get a 3D topographic designs programmed into the machine. You can create simple designs in the field from the cab such as single and dual slopes, crowns and culverts. For more complex contours and job sites you can upload the design to the cab-mounted CB450/460 unit with a flash stick.
And these designs can be created in Trimble Business Center HCE software. The system also has the capability to connect to a server remotely and download designs that have been assigned to that machine through the cloud using the Trimble Connected Community.
Leverage additional components
According to the company, the value of this technology is independent of the value of the machine.
There are different configurations available that significantly lower the cost compared to the systems used on larger earthmoving equipment. For example, with the integration of the Bobcat Sonic-Slope system, Trimble GCS900 leverages the rotation sensor, main-fall slope sensor, and blade cross slope sensor. This allows the customer to use either a Single GNSS receiver or a Single UTS (Universal Total Station) receiver.