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Efficiency and safety in the field continues to evolve

Published 14.6.2022

Using GNSS systems for excavator guidance is continuously improving. In addition to displaying the design to be executed and exactly where the equipment is positioned on a screen in the operator's cabin (Level 1), the information now gives details of the bucket and boom operations (Level 2) to enable better precision for excavation dimensions in a 3D format.

The GNSS system has so far been extremely useful for people operating excavators, providing a 3D model which accurately positions the machinery in its location enabling the operator to see exactly where the excavator and bucket are functioning in real-time, as well as the projected earthworks to be executed.

Also, if there’s a cellphone signal, the 3D design can be synchronized with the data uploaded to the Trimble Earthworks platform which allows the machine’s work in the field to be followed online from other locations. When there is no on-site connection, the 3D model has be uploaded into the excavator's system in the operator’s cab.

The Quebrada Blanca 2 project has provided an outstanding opportunity to put this system through its paces, obtaining excellent results and an unbeatable quality as regards fieldwork output.

Incorporating the GNSS Level 2 system into the equation adds an entirely new range of benefits. According to Alejandro Aguirre, Corporate Head of Innovation and Knowledge Management, “the GNSS Level 2 system means that operating times can be optimized as it reduces the number of times that a digger has to shovel earth to perform a given task on site. This also has a direct impact on our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint at our construction sites by reducing the use of diesel equipment.

We’ve also managed to cut down the need for on-site topographic marking, as we’ve already seen at Quebrada Blanca 2. The idea is to test the Level 2 system at the TTS project using one of the new CAT 330 excavators purchased by TEPAM for use in Chile. Only the most modern machinery can use this new program because it actually involves manipulating the machinery’s hydraulics system and controlling bucket and boom movements.” 

Looking forward, as part of the initiative to have this technology adopted on a broader scale throughout the company’s projects, the Engineering and Operations areas need to be made aware of the resources required so that the Technical Construction Office can provide the equipment with the requisite 3D models and report to Management.

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