In the first stages of GPS-driven machine control, this technology enabled many contractors to park their motor graders and finish grade with a dozer. As GPS machine control migrated to excavators, some even found it possible to finish grade complex contours with their digging machines.
Now Topcon and Volvo have taken steps to further enhance the precision and versatility of excavator machine control by combining Volvo Active Control on the Dig Assist with Topcon’s 3D-MC software on applicable Volvo excavators. And it’s all factory-installed and supported by Volvo dealers.
With the integration, Volvo Active Control automates the digging process, and Topcon’s software syncs with the Volvo menus, allowing operators to customize how they want their automatic controls to function. The combined technologies make it easy to dig straight, perfectly on-grade trenches or carve complex elevations, shapes and contours automatically. The GPS-guided bucket stops when it reaches the designed grade, so you move the dirt only once, and you never over-dig and thus never have to recompact or regrade using an additional machine. According to Volvo, these features can improve excavation efficiency by as much as 45%.
Recent updates to Topcon’s 3D-MC software include over-the-air access to Sitelink3D, support for LandXML files, over-the-air remote support and a new graphical user interface. In addition to being 3D machine control capable, Volvo’s Active Control software supports auto-tilt features for tilt buckets and Steelwrist tiltrotators. It also offers several position-limiting features for the bucket and boom, such as return-to-dig (bucket recall) and automatic back grading. Volvo’s Boundary Limits package enables operators to automatically stop the swing motion at a set angle to assist in digging and truck loading. It also provides pre-set boom and bucket elevations and swing to avoid side or overhead obstacles.
For customers in North America, the integrated technology is offered on three models, the EC220E, EC250E and EC300E, with additional models to be added to the list in 2022. For customers in Europe, Oceania and Asia, Volvo Active Control is currently available on the Volvo EC220E, EC250E, EC300E and EC350E crawler excavators.