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6 ways to generate quick ROI with excavator machine controls
With each new model year, equipment becomes even more technology-rich — adding new standard features and optional add-ons that promise increased productivity. As we rolled out Volvo Dig Assist, our excavator machine control system, we’ve had a lot of interest from customers, but also a lot of questions as to whether it’s worth the investment. Here are the 6 ways they can generate a quick ROI from excavator machine control systems.
1. More accurate trenching
Machine control systems allow operators to input the specifications for even the most complex trenches in a matter of minutes — including the ability to add slope or multiple layers — thereby eliminating much of the usual prep work. A virtual guideline is provided for operators as they dig the trench, allowing them to get the work done correctly the first time.
2. Simplified shapes
Whether you’re trenching or digging a basement, some jobs require a more complex shape. Some machine control systems allow operators to draw 2D shapes directly from the cab (like a step trench for installing multiple utility lines) or even choose from a library of pre-built shapes, which they can then modify on the fly to match job requirements. This reduces the need for additional surveyors and measuring.
3. Safer work environments
Machine control systems can provide visual and audible warnings to avoid jobsite obstacles. Simply input the depth to indicate how deep an operator can dig without hitting utility lines, or input the height to measure the maximum extension of the arm before hitting power lines. Avoiding even one accident can result in a positive ROI.
4. Reduced labor costs
Decreasing the time spent checking and re-checking depth and slope accuracy frees up crewmembers to do other work, which can increase jobsite productivity and efficiency. In addition, operators aren’t going to waste time over-digging or reworking because they can see job progress in real time.
While machine control systems won’t eliminate the need for on-site surveying, they will reduce the need. Even some site prep work — like putting stakes in the ground — isn’t required with machine control systems. This frees up time and labor, allowing contractors to bid on more or larger jobs.
5. Gaining a competitive edge
Machine control systems allow contractors to operate in environments where other excavators might struggle, such as under water. With watertight sensors, operators can input job specifications and see, in real time, the position of the bucket on the screen — even though they can’t see under water.
6. Turning novices into experts
New operators won’t seem so green with machine control systems. Using one is as simple as running a tablet or smartphone, with a learning curve of less than two minutes. Machine control systems are also a great training tool, as the operator doesn’t have to worry about making errors and has a visual aid to judge their accuracy.