Machine control doubles production

25 March 2008

A production study comparing a conventional road construction job to a scheme using Caterpillar's AccuGrade machine control and guidance products revealed outstanding improvements in terms of productivity, fuel consumption, finish quality and safety. AccuGrade enabled a +100% increase in productivity and a -43% reduction in fuel consumption, while resulting in better finish grade and a safer working environment. The study was conducted at the Caterpillar Malaga Demonstration and Learning Center in Spain late last year.

To ensure consistency, the two roads were built in the same area close together and used the same materials. The same machine models, the same machine operators were used and operations took place with the same weather conditions.

For the conventional method, the study used a 330D crawler excavator for the bulk and shaping work, a D6N dozer for spreading and fine grading of the sub-base, a 140H grader for the final trim on the base material, a fleet of three Caterpillar articulated trucks to move the material and a CS563 roller for compacting both the sub base and the base layers. For the AccuGrade road, the study added AccuGrade GPS to the dozer and excavator, and AccuGrade ATS to the grader. In addition, the road design was installed directly into the machines eliminating the use of stakes and grade checkers.

The road built with AccuGrade took one and a half days while the conventional way took three days – an overall productivity improvement of +100%. The accuracy of the finished road was within the design tolerance 98% of the time in the AccuGrade road versus 45% using traditional techniques. Achieving the final design in less time and with considerably fewer passes with AccuGrade resulted in -43% fuel savings for this job and reduced the cost of surveying and staking by -90%.

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