Getting ahead of the game

Staying ahead of the pack and remaining competitive now and into the future was a big motivator for Marino Excavation’s owner/operator Grant Marino and his decision to adopt Trimble’s Earthworks Grade Control Platform as soon as possible.

So soon, in fact, he is the first to purchase and run an excavator with the platform in Australia.

Based in Cairns in Far North Queensland, Marino Excavations has been in business for a decade.

Grant started in quarrying work before branching out and diversifying into civil works.

The business now has three operators including Grant. Last year he purchased a new Volvo ECR235CL excavator and added Trimble’s GCS900 grade control.

While he was more than happy with the platform, he felt there was more that could be done with this kind of technology.

Trimble was thinking the same thing … and the Earthworks platform is the result.

“Before I moved into excavation I had worked in film and television – in fact I have a Diploma in Multimedia – and in particular 3D animation,” Grant said.

“I knew technology was moving rapidly and that it could be translated into the kind of work I had moved into … and that Trimble were moving that way.

“I had a good relationship with SITECH’s North Queensland Account Manager, Michael Newcombe, and I was pretty persistent with him about getting my hands on Earthworks as soon as possible.

“I purchased another ECR235CL and wanted Earthworks on board it.”
That happened in September and, while it’s early days, Grant is already impressed with the leap forward in control and features of Earthworks.

“Already I am finding it more user friendly than the previous platform,” he said.

“Because it is an Android platform it is immediately more adaptable. And Trimble plans to release updates about every three months so its going to keep on improving. That’s very appealing for me.

“I can see it will save us time and therefore money in many ways or can pass on the savings if working for a contractor.”

Grant said a number of features of Earthworks had added up to make it the platform he wanted, including:

  • The operator seeing the design in a 3D space, with the ability to manipulate and inspect it so they see what it will look like before it is created;
  • Ability to cut to the correct grade the first time with no grade checkers required;
  • The freeing up of surveyors as they aren’t needed for continual mark outs or checking of grades, etc, allowing them to work on other tasks while the machine keeps operating;
  • Big time savings in transferring files to and from the machine on-site or back at the office via the internet. The latest design can be sent to the machine quickly from the office via the internet compared to someone transporting a USB stick to the machine on site. This means the operator can be working on the latest design as soon as it is released.
  • Customisation in 2D so you can add as you go if need be, such as adding a drain.
  • And that SITECH ‘go above and beyond to make sure the system is running the best it can’.

“The earthmoving industry is a very competitive market therefore focusing on what clients want is essential, which is to get the job done quickly and efficiently,” Grant said.

“That’s why I have chosen to use a leading brand such as Trimble and the latest technology Trimble Earthworks.

“I am eager to see what’s next in grade control systems especially with excavator automation that Trimble Earthworks feature in certain models.”

Find out more about Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform at

Stockpile Reports Lite is now available in Australia.

Measuring stockpiles on your iPhone

 Innovative technology is enabling builders to measure stockpiles more quickly and easily than ever, saving significant time and costs, explains URC Ventures CEO David Boardman.

Measuring stockpiles of material has traditionally taken considerable time, money and effort. Accurate measurement reports are crucial to finance and accounting – and getting it wrong can mean money lost, unaccounted for or written off. It can even lead to disputes and a long, costly road to resolution.

Traditional surveying and measurement teams, which can take time and cost to secure and transport to site, use techniques such as drilling into stockpiles and LiDAR laser measurement equipment to gauge the volume of material. However, innovative technology has delivered a game changing solution for builders and the wider aggregate industry.

Any stockpile can now be quantified by using the new Stockpile Reports Lite iPhone app. It allows professionals to measure piled material themselves by simply pointing an iPhone at the material and walking around it. The measurement results are accessible right away, for a small fraction of the typical cost and well before the time it would take a measurement crew to even show up.


For more details visit:
When you purchase one measurement we’ll give you 5 free measurements.  Simply add UPGADD5 into the promo code at the checkout.


Sub-millimetre maintenance

The Wivenhoe Power Station, located on Wivenhoe Dam, about 90 kilometres from Brisbane, contains the largest hydromachines in Australasia. These machines consist of a turbine and pump set, weighing 1 450 tonnes each, and are housed inside a concrete silo. They have an impressive spin rate of 120 rpm.

Vibration in the power station can move the thrust bearings out of position which must be corrected by Wivenhoe engineers. An important part of maintenance for each turbine is checking the bearings are exactly perpendicular to the turbine’s shafts. A surveyor then needs to verify the bearing’s position and shape. This is a task made difficult by the cramped space inside the machine’s housing. As well as the fact that shutting down the turbines is very costly.

Surveyor for the Wivenhoe Power Station, F.R. Daniel, Huston and Associates, have upgraded their solution for measuring the thrust bearing levels. See how the Trimble DiNi digital level has reduced the survey time taken from two days to five hours while also producing higher quality results in this case study.

Position a 3D design in the field

The Trimble Site Contractor extension enables contractors to design constructible models in SketchUp and export data into Trimble’s field-ready technologies such as SCS900 and GCS900. SCS900 enables a contractor to position a 3D design in the field with GPS technology and GCS900 provides on-screen guidance in the cab of the machine to construct with greater accuracy and speed equating to increased productivity.

Outsourcing 3D design work to third parties can be an expensive and time-intensive process. This extension allows contractors to work with 3D data from construction documents, or to create their own 3D data sets for use in the field: a win-win for everyone in the design-construct world.

No interest in construction? The Trimble Site Contractor extension has ancillary uses outside of the construction industry too. Consider landscape architecture. Wouldn’t it be awesome to import a Google Maps image of a customer’s property and precisely design in SketchUp? Then take it a step further and place that design on the property and know exactly where the features belong? This is all possible with SketchUp, the Trimble Site Contractor extension and SCS900, allowing for big productivity and visualisation advantages.

The Trimble Site Contractor Extension is free and can be found on the Extension Warehouse. You’ll need two things to get started: a computer (Mac or Windows) and a SketchUp Pro 2016 license.


Takeoffs from CAD and PDF files

You may already know that Trimble Business Center (TBC) allows you to perform fast, accurate takeoffs from pdf files. But did you know that using both CAD and PDF files allows you to be even more accurate?

The video below from Trimble Civil Engineering and Construction explains how you can. It shows how to quickly produce takeoffs from CAD and PDF files in Trimble Business Center – HCE.