Starbuck Excavations keep things social

If James Starbuck had decided to keep on the straight and narrow, he wouldn’t be where he is today…

James, a third-generation earthmover, decided at age 19 to strike out on his own, buying a 2.5 tonne excavator and starting his own business.

Today, his companies Starbuck Excavation and Starbuck Plant Hire are a huge success, sending up to 100 workers on to sites on a good day… and he’s got one of the excavator world’s most popular social media accounts to boot.

And all because he didn’t want to just dig trenches.

“Dad was mainly doing underground electrical work,” James explains.

“Long, narrow holes weren’t my style, so I struck out on my own.”

His grandfather started an excavation business in the 1950s that, by the 1970s, could be sending up to 400 workers out on to sites a day. It wound up in the 1980s and his father “just kept doing what he was doing”.

“The name Starbuck is well known for excavation in the Melbourne region, that’s for certain,” James says.

Literally growing the business from the ground up, 12 years later he’s running a business that can handle anything.

“I like helping people out. If you need a hole dug in your backyard for a pool, I can handle that, or if you need diesel tanks removed, I know the bloke to do it… right through to huge infrastructure projects, such as work for the railways,” James says.

James is an early adopter of technology, which he sees, in part at least, generational.

“I’m only 31 – I say I am part of the PlayStation generation,” he laughs.

“Not only do I understand what technology can do, I expect it to do it.”

“There’s no exception for excavation and earth moving. Things are improving and changing rapidly, and I reckon if you don’t keep up you won’t get the work.

“The reality is that labour costs are going up while skill levels are going down. The use of technology, such as 3D machine control, means you can subsidise that skill level. With it, you can make an average operator an excellent operator.”

Safety and savings are the key advantages, James says.

“Using Earthworks, for example, means we don’t need spotters and string lines. Straight away, that’s safer and its saving money with less workers on the ground,” he says.

“And the margin for error is hugely reduced so there’s rarely any redoing of work. I truly believe we are at the stage where if you are not using the tech, you won’t get the contracts.

“More and more clients are demanding it because they know it makes the workplace safer and that their plans will be carried out exactly to spec because the systems talk to each other.”

James said SITECH Construction Systems had been crucial to his business’ growth.

“The team are absolutely phenomenal,” he says.

“I doubt I’d be where I am now without them.”

And as for that social media stardom?

“I started my own Instagram account five years ago. I just posted pictures of me working on diggers – that’s what I do, I don’t have any hobbies – and its just grown and grown,” James says.

That is has. His Instagram account starbuckexcavations now has more than 18,000 followers, making it the top earthmoving account in Australia for a private company - and top 10 globally.

“I post pretty much daily and it’s all earthmoving, it’s what the people who follow it want to see,” James says.

“I take the time to reply to comments and questions, and I reckon people appreciate that too. It is definitely worth the effort – we get a lot of work via the Insta account – a lot of work – plus I’ve had a few trips thanks to it, including to Japan with Kobelco to see their factories.”

It’s all not too shabby for a bloke who just 12 years ago decided he wanted to chart his own course…

SITECH Construction Systems is now on Instagram – find us here: instagram.com/sitech_cs/

SITECH’s solution for Orica now spanning the globe

A high-tech system for one of the world’s largest mining  services companies that was devised and created by SITECH Constructions Systems here in Queensland is going global. 

The system has been employed by Orica, the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling. 

It was introduced first in Australia in 2014 and due to its success is being phased in by Orica across its global operations. The system has already been introduced in 11 countries around the globe and will be further installed in another 22 countries.  

The system in question is an In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) boasting a range of features that provide live monitoring of an array of activities. 

The system includes Trimble Car Cube, hands-free phone function, rollover sensor, duress switch, and interior and external cameras. 

Location, road speed, driver behaviour, pitch and roll, and activity durations are among activities monitored. 

Emergency situations are a particular focus with alert notifications, cameras, and duress switch just some of the safety minded applications. 

Operational and driver behaviour data is captured and sent to Orica. This live system provides global visibility for Orica’s management teams. 

“The solution is purpose built to provide data and information regarding driver behaviour and operational activities,” says SITECH’s Anthony Kwok. 

“It provides Orica with information to improve driver safety and work more efficiently. It also provides information that Orica can share with their customers and to investigate vehicle incidents.” 

Anthony said Orica released an RFP to market and Trimble approached SITECH to see if the Australian firm was interested in working with them on it. 

“Orica wanted one global solution for all their vehicles.  This included a low cost and advanced telemetry solution that could be deployed globally,” he said.  

“We put together a team of project co-ordinators, technical experts, subject matter experts and a lot of research and development to respond to their RFP.”  

For SITECH installation technician Matt Redwood, the roll-out has meant plenty of new stamps in his passport – this year he has travelled to Indonesia and South America and in June is headed to the UK as part of this worldwide roll out. 

“I was in Indonesia early in January to train local installers at one location – a coal mine in Borneo,” Matt said. 

“I trained up four installers who will then implement training for Orica throughout its Indonesian operations.” 

In March Matt spent about two weeks in South America, this time undertaking installations and system checks, repairs and QAs in Panama and Colombia. 

“It has been a busy but rewarding year so far,” Matt said, adding that the Google Translator app had been invaluable on both trips. 

Next up is the UK and Northern Ireland, where he will train installers for Orica’s European operations.  

Anthony said it was an important project for SITECH and something of a landmark. 

“It’s the largest project in the history of SITECH Construction Systems - and the first global project for us,” he said. 

 

 

Onsite training brings bespoke manual to life

(L-R) Jim Skelhorn, Jake Madden, Shaun Gray and Sean Madden hit the ground running....

Contact your local SITECH support rep for training information.....

While many of us were perhaps having a slow start to the new year, two SITECH trainers and a group of surveyors and grader operators hit the ground running with a two-day workshop in the Gold Coast Hinterland in Qld.

The sessions were held in January at a civil site at Upper Coomera for surveyors from Survey Management Solutions and operators with CCA Winslow.

The aim of the training was to refresh and revise the group’s skills and knowledge of both the SCS900 and GCS900 software packages from Trimble and how they work and interact with the Trimble Total Station.

At the basis of it all were new manuals created by SITECH product support representatives Shaun Gray and Jim Skelhorn which, as Shaun explained, were specifically created for SMS and CCA Winslow to make life easier for everyone.

“The manual contains all the info we know these guys need specifically for the work they do,” he said.

“Because it has been customised for them they now don’t have to wade through the whole manual looking for what they need.

“It means less downtime - and we are only able to do this because of the solid and long-term relationships SITECH has with the companies.”

Part of the training involved the surveyors getting to know GCS900 (which is aimed at the operators) and the operators with SCS900 (surveyor orientated) so that both groups understand how the other works, potentially leading to more seamless operations.

“An example of that would be the surveyors seeing how the info from SCS900 is handed over to the machines for machine guidance,” Shaun said.

“It gives them a greater appreciation of how the information they gather and create translates, in this case, into the actual operation of a grader.

“The sessions also gave the guys the chance to ask questions and to explore aspects of the software and hardware they perhaps hadn’t fully exploited before.

“Everyone involved has been using the system and software for some time, so the sessions were really about fine-tuning and sharing knowledge.”

SITECH undertakes such training on-site on a regular basis. If you would like further information on training available for your operation, contact your local SITECH rep to find out more.

Be prepared for the leap second

leapsecond

A leap second has been added to 2016. It will occur at midnight on the 31st December (UTC). The last occurred on the 30th June. Chances are, if you didn’t notice the first one, and you’ve kept your firmware and software up to date, you won’t notice this one. Trimble has made every effort to ensure their receivers will work seamlessly through the leap second.

What is a leap second?
A leap second is an adjustment to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to account for the slowing rotation of the earth. Leap seconds were introduced in 1972 to simplify adjustments to UTC (one of the successors to Greenwich Mean Time) and the primary regulator of world time. Leap seconds are only applied as needed and since their inception we have had 26 leap seconds.

Not only does that mean that 2016 will be another second longer, but also that the GLONASS time scale will be adjusted, as it uses UTC in its time systems.

Be prepared for the leap second
To make certain that you have no problems with the leap second in 2017 ensure that your Trimble hardware has the latest firmware and that your software is upgraded to the latest updates and patches.

GNSS receivers operate at their best performance if they are on the latest firmware. It’s easy to stay up to date when you are Trimble Protected. If you are under maintenance or have a receiver less than 12 months old please check the software version and update it if necessary.

If you do experience difficulties after the leap second, best practice would be to reset your receiver. On most models this is done by turning the receiver off, then holding down the ‘on button’ for just over 30 seconds on start-up. The receiver may then take a few minutes to reacquire satellites.

Trimble recommend being vigilant with any continuously operating receivers for monitoring, real time networks, etc. Trimble suggest monitoring all receivers during this period.

If you have any questions, or need assistance in updating your software get in contact.

Taking you to site without leaving the office

hololens-setLast year Trimble announced that they were working with Microsoft to develop a new generation of tools, integrated with the HoloLens holographic platform on Windows 10.

At MINExpo 2016 Trimble announced its new solution especially designed for mining, Trimble Connected Mine™ Visual Intelligence model.

This optional model enables 3D visualisation of Trimble Connected Mine data with support for mixed-reality technology. This includes the Microsoft HoloLens, which provides visual collaboration of mine spatial data.

The Microsoft HoloLens is a head-mounted, holographic computer that provides a mixed-reality experience. When used in conjunction with Trimble Connected Mine Visual Intelligence it enables mining professionals to visualise and interface with high-definition holograms of the mine. This in turn improves collaboration and communication.

Trimble Connected Mine also includes a range of reports: material, product delay, budget tracking. As well as KPI dashboards that can be personalised for fast deployment.

Learn more about Trimble Connected Mining on the Trimble website.