Two Heavy Weights Join Forces

An alliance between two industry leading providers of technology for the construction, earthmoving, mining and rail sectors is set to revolutionise the industry.

SITECH Construction Systems and Webbair have entered into a memorandum of understanding that will deliver to the market a complete technology solution offering encompassing productivity, safety, plant protection and more.

The partnership was initiated when both organisations recognised the other’s positions as best in their fields.

The advantage in combining their products and services to create a ‘one-stop shop’, delivering savings in time and money, broadening their knowledge and expertise, and widening their markets, prompted both parties to pursue the partnership.

Webbair, established in 1996 and headquartered in Victoria, is the acknowledged leader in the market for machine control in the protection of people, plant and infrastructure, and load management, among other hi-tech solutions.

Their offerings include height limiters, slew limiters, load management systems (LMS, RCC) and multi-zone RFID detection systems.

SITECH Construction System is the official distributor for Trimble and cover markets in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

SITECH CS specialises in machine guidance control as well as other technology solutions and advances in the industry, including VR and machine automation.

Webbair managing director Chris Webb said the partnership was about bringing the best together for the benefit of clients.

“By combining our respective products and expertise, we are offering a suite of solutions and services without peer,” he said.

“The partnership is a natural progression for us, broadening our reach and market while at the same time enabling us to offer our existing client base a whole new aspect of technology.”

SITECH Construction System’s southern region manager Joe Lloyd said the alliance meant a new era for operators.

“By combining forces, we are offering the market an unprecedented level of service and technology-based solutions that will make operations safer for people, plant and infrastructure, increase productivity and accuracy, and reduce costs in money and time,” he said.

“We recognised that each company would benefit from being able to offer the other’s technology – Webbair does things we don’t, and vice versa, so it’s very much a natural fit.

“Both parties bring to this partnership world-class levels of products, service and training. It is a big step forward for both companies.”

“We also have compatible cultures – both businesses are very progressive and work with our clients to solve issues, create solutions and keep them ahead of the game,” Chris added.

“This partnership will provide innovative solutions that deliver productivity while managing and controlling safety exposures for your people and your assets.”

For more information contact SITECH - 1800 748 324, or Webbair – 1300 092 995

To learn more about SITECH go to sitechcs.com.au

To learn more about Webbair go to webbair.com.au

‘Bargain’ decisions costing contractors thousands

Every business aims to keep costs down, but for some, a decision that initially may save money can end up costing thousands – or worse. The adoption of technology in the construction and earthwork industry is accelerating fast and, let’s face it, it isn’t a cheap exercise, especially for small to mid-sized operators.

But some are finding out the hard way that buying this technology from non-authorised sources can lead to disaster. From second-hand equipment that gives up the ghost to pirated software that crashes and takes vital data with it, operators are taking huge risks with their business’ future - just ask Trimble’s Matt Rhyne, Regional Sales Manager – Australasia for Trimble Civil Engineering & Construction.

“It’s a big worry for us because we want Trimble users to experience the very best,” he said.

“And by getting gear from non-authorised sources, you run the real risk of costing your business tens of thousands of dollars, by damaging your reputation in the industry, losing clients and work.”

“Sad to say, we have many examples of things going very wrong for businesses when they don’t go with our authorised Trimble dealer SITECH.” On that list are businesses who had unwittingly bought stolen equipment, Matt said. If gear is reported stolen, Trimble has an online database for dealers to report the item as stolen on behalf of the customer.

“If that equipment is presented at any Trimble service centre the serial number is checked and if it is stolen, it’s the responsibility of the dealer to report it to the police,” Matt explained. “So the new owner is left with nothing - most of the time whoever they bought it from is long gone, giving them no recourse.”

There are also examples of operators buying hardware and software from online market places and the like, then when it arrives it is either not functioning or not working to its full potential. Because they have bought from a disreputable source they have no warranty so have to bear the full cost of repairs. Gear bought from overseas can be a whole other issue, including voided warranties and voltage issues.

“Hardware is specific to the market and location it is sold to in many cases,” Matt said.

“Buying from overseas means there’s no guarantee it will work where you are – unfortunately there are operators who’ve lost out because of localised compatibility issues.”

And, perhaps surprisingly to some, buying elsewhere doesn’t always mean cheaper.

“So while purchasing something that then needs repairing is going to cost you more, we’ve also examples of operators buying equipment thinking they have got it cheaper and it was in fact more expensive than through the authorised Trimble distributor, a SITECH dealer” Matt said.

The bottom line is that if you invest in technology from an unauthorised source you are taking a gamble - and it’s a gamble you don’t need to take. SITECH has a variety of options for operators including authorised and guaranteed second-hand equipment, including ex-rental gear as well as hardware clients have traded in. In both cases SITECH guarantees their operation and will correct any problems.

“We also offer a ‘hire to buy’ option which means you can be using the technology right now, reaping its benefits while not having to outlay the cost in one go,” Matt said.

“That’s proving popular with smaller and mid-sized operators as they can budget the savings they’ll make through machine control, for example, towards the monthly hire-to-buy cost.”

SITECH and Trimble want customers to get the very best out of their technology, and dealing with their local SITECH means just that.

Working with SITECH also brings its own rewards, including training, installation and support that can be relied on.  “At Trimble we require the dealers’ technical support team to undergo continual training,” Matt said. “Trimble provides huge investment in dealer training, running local ‘boot camps’ that give the dealer’s staff access to Trimble product experts, new technology and time on machines, ensuring the customer gets the best experience from their investment.”

To find out more about SITECH’s range of services and solutions, call 1800 748 324 or visit www.sitechcs.com

How we do business: A customer experience that can’t be matched

Providing you with the solutions to take your operations to a new level is just part of the picture for SITECH Construction Systems

Underlying everything we do is a peerless customer service system that means any issues you may have will be dealt with efficiently and as quickly as possible.

Working in tandem with our expert support staff, our cutting edge CRM system will provide you with a support experience second to none.

Our customers report huge advantages in our system’s rapid turn around plus access to detailed analytics and data on their support history.

Here’s how the system operates – and how it will work for you.

Our dedicated Support Gateway team is available to take your call if an issue arises – simply call any of our 1800 numbers.

You’ll speak to one of our team members who will put you in contact with the relevant expert to help resolve your support case.

You will receive an SMS confirming your case details too.  Our office-based support experts aim to respond to your needs within 20 minutes.

They will liaise with you to find the quickest solution to your problem, which may be over the phone, via a site visit from a member of our field service team or by using one of our specialised workshops located throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Once your issue is resolved, you will receive a confirmation SMS as well as an opportunity to provide us with valuable feedback about your customer service experience.

This feedback is used to continually improve our service to you because as part of our customer support system, our management team is continually monitoring support statistics and service levels.

By identifying issue trends in the data, we can suggest solutions and preventative measures to improve productivity – and that means less downtime for your operation.

By drilling down into a customer’s data, we can easily compare the number of calls by month, operator, product and location. Using this data, we can help identify potential problem areas and offer solutions. We also make this data available to you, ensuring the entire process is transparent.  Behind the scenes, we are continuously analysing support data to identify and rectify support issue trends.

This service is just part of our customer-focused approach that includes branches in 17 locations across Australia and New Zealand and more than 250 employees.

Our Support Gateway is available from 6:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

To get in touch, just call 1800 748 324.

GPS-Enabled In-Cab Crane Location and Warning System Helps Contractors Avoid Power Lines located above Transmission Gully Bridge in New Zealand

Customer Profile

Built to demanding specifications, the design and construction of the Transmission Gully motorway reflects the need for another route between Wellington and the lower and central North Island that will be safer and more reliable for motorists and better able to resist and recover from earthquakes and storms.

The project is highly complex, with difficult and steep terrain requiring large-scale earthworks during construction of the project. Twenty five new structures equating to a total length of more than a kilometer will be constructed along the route. The largest of these, the Cannons Creek Bridge, will stretch 230 meters in length and sit 60 metres above the valley floor.

The $850 million Transmission Gully motorway is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) by Wellington Gateway Partnership in partnership with the New Zealand government.  A key part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, the project is one of the most significant single pieces of new road construction in the lower North Island.

Business Challenge:

A key component of the Transmission Gully project is the construction of the 230 meter-long Bridge over Cannons Creek, the largest structure to be built for the project. Sitting 60 meters above the creek, the finished bridge will be four lanes wide, 230 meters long and 24.5 meters wide when complete. A total of 44 steel girders, each 1.8m wide and 3m deep, make up the framework of the bridge deck which is supported by two abutments and two piers. Over 10,000 cubic meters of concrete will be used to build the bridge and all of its components.

The roadway and bridge are located below a number of high voltage power lines, which limits the use of conventional building methods that require tall pieces of equipment. Therefore, the contractor selected an innovative incremental ‘launching’ method to install bridge girder assemblies over the open space between the piers. The girders, precast panels and frames are assembled in the launch yard and then moved onto rockers that move the assemblies onto the piers. The entire process is supported by several cranes located in the launch yard, and in close proximity to multiple high voltage power lines. Per regulations, contractors are required to stay outside a 10-meter exclusion zone during normal lifts and six meters during critical lifts.

To keep the team safe under high voltage transmission power lines, particularly during construction of the pier heads and bridge assemblies, CPB HEB JVneeded an innovative solution to manage some critical crane lifts and day to day servicing of the piers.

“We thought we might use a spotter on the ground but that wasn’t going to give us the assured reliability, particularly in the high winds that are common in Wellington,” said the JV’s survey manager. “We needed a way to relay immediate information to the crane operator, such as an alert, during critical crane lifts and day-to-day servicing of the piers. There was no off-the-shelf solution that we could find. But we also needed something affordable.”

Solution:

Familiar with Trimble construction technology solutions including 3D machine control systems for excavators, dozers graders and compactors, the CPB HEB JV looked to Paul Miller, General Manager at SITECH New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand and Trimble for help.

After some research, SITECH and Trimble came up with a solution that combines 3D modeling, Trimble Marine Construction Software, typically used for underwater marine construction applications including dredging, crane operations, piling and hydrographic survey, and crane-mounted GPS.

Modeling Motion

To ensure the safety of workers and the public, CPB HEB JV worked with Transpower New Zealand to develop a 3D model of the power lines and the “safety envelope” – the safe operating distance – around the overhead transmission lines near the Cannon Creek bridge project.

The model simulated the sway or sag movement of the power lines in varying wind and temperature conditions. As well, the crane company provided a 3D model of the crane that included movement of the main boom length, fixed fly jib and offset angle, back stay ropes and any other elements that could potentially contact the overhead lines.

“Once all the essential elements were modeled, we were able to define a theoretical exclusion zone based on the most extreme conditions of the overhead power lines, as well as the crane’s maximum boom height above the cab, which is approximately 70 meters,” said CPB HEB JV’s survey  manager. “With that model and the associated algorithm, we had a real-time solution to drop into the crane cab for the operator to use.”

Positioned for Safety

Initially, one crawler crane was equipped with dual mast GPS receivers, one on the back of the crane cab and one on the top, with sensors added to the main boom.

Inside the cab, an onboard touch screen equipped with the latest Trimble Marine Construction Software provides the operator with a 3D view of the crane boom as it moves in space and its virtual proximity to the closest powerline exclusion zone. The algorithms in the program continually adjust the 3D visualization by using real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS, mapping the position and orientation of the crane’s main boom, fixed jib and main body to within approximately 30mm accuracy.

Before the critical lifts, the project’s survey team carried out onsite testing to confirm the coordinates of the GPS antenna on the boom tip of the crane matched the coordinates measured by the surveyor. This confirmation gave the construction team and power company confidence that the new system was operational and accurate.

Further, a two-step visual and audible alarm system was installed to alert the operator to proximity of the boom to the lines.  The in-built custom alarms available in the Trimble Marine Construction (TMC) software were configured to provide progressive alerts based on the closest distance of any part of the crane to the exclusion zone. At 10m the operator gets a visual alarm on the screen in the cab, at 8m the border of the operator screen flashes yellow and the audio/visual alarm (external flashing light and siren mounted on the roof of the cab) is activated.

“We did a lot of field testing to verify the alarm operations and to check issues related to losing satellite lock, particularly at the bottom of the gully,” added the project’s survey manager. “But we never had a problem and the alarm system worked extraordinarily well.”

Soon after, the CPB HEB JV team installed the GPS-enabled crane location solution on a second crawler crane.

On Time and Award Winning

When asked how they measure success,CPB HEB JV is quick to say finding and deploying the GPS-enabled in-cab crane positioning solution was a big win for safety, productivity and community relations. He adds, “Without this solution, we were going to have to shut down power lines – a massive negotiated effort that could have delayed the project and disrupted the community. As it was, we had no delay to the project due to powerline movement.”

Work on the Cannons Creek bridge began in 2018 and will be complete in early 2020. Completion of the Transmission Gully project is on track and scheduled for 2020.

Earlier this year, the Transmission Gully Project team won the 2019 3M Award for best use of design/technology at Workplace New Zealand's 2019 Health and Safety awards for its GPS-enabled crane location solution.

SITECH puts Trimble experience in operators’ hands

Technology that is changing the face of construction went on show and customers got their feet dirty at a special open day near Adelaide.

SITECH Construction Systems, the official distributor for Trimble products, teamed with earthmoving ‘giants’ Kobelco, Komatsu and Hitachi to demonstrate the next generation of machine control at the Trimble Experience open day, which was held at Waterloo Corner on September 12.

The open day included demonstrations and the opportunity get hands-on with the latest Trimble technology.

On the machines, operators were able to experience Earthworks, a software and hardware combination that is revolutionising earthmoving with cutting-edge technology providing semi-automation of excavator controls.

Still on machines, live demonstrations were held showcasing how an operator can create their own infield designs and use payload to improve efficiency.

Off the machines, everyone got hands on with Trimble SiteWorks, the next progression in 3D visualisation for site set-out and measurement.

Throughout out the day, workshops demonstrated how drone technology coupled with Trimble Stratus can easily provide volumetric measurements for earthworks progress and claims.

Experts were also on hand to demonstrate Trimble WorksManager, a new data management tool taking care of design revisions, remote support and IBSS networks.

The day was capped off with Trimble SiteVision – the new augmented reality tool coming soon that can be run on a mobile phone so you can visualise works before you even start.

Thanks to our OEM partners, we were able to fit a Hitachi ZX360LC-5B excavator with the works -  Trimble Earthworks Autos, Payload Scales and a Blaxtair Pedestrian Detection Camera.

Also at the day was a Komatsu PC360 Excavator from T&J Construction, a Kobelco SK260LC-10 Excavator and a John Deere GP622 Motor Grader, all equipped with Trimble Earthworks Auto.

Big Chief Hire provided the site for the event and also supplied a grader, water cart, loader, electronic signs and three operators. It was the perfect site with plenty of room to spread out and no objection to digging plenty of holes!

UPG and BuildingPoint were also on hand to show the latest in scanning technology and building layout tools including Trimble’s SX10 Robotic Total Station and RPT600 Layout Station.

Over 120 customers attended the day, including operators, business owners, foremen, surveyors and local government representatives, as well as 15 staff on site.

The reaction from those who took part was very positive, with many commenting on how good it was to spend real quality time in a machine with the latest technology.

Among the most popular features on show were the automatics on the diggers, which really showed how this breakthrough translates into supreme accuracy and big savings in time and money.

While this was the first such day staged – specifically for operators – it won’t be the last thanks to the interest and response it generated.

“Our industry continues to excite - there’s always a new solution that’s helping our clients in the way they tender, win and deliver their projects,” SITECH’s Brent Daniel said.

“To put the entire Trimble construction system on show for a day was a great achievement and a reflection of SITECH’s capability.

“Our success is measured by our customers’ success.”