Getting Good Grades

What’s new in grade control solutions? Come what may, it seems pretty that clear grade control technology is here to stay. In addition to allowing operators to make consistently make grade, these solutions save money and resources. On-Site magazine looks at what’s new and/or noteworthy in Trimble grade control.

Trimble’s Earthworks for Dozer's grade control software offers intuitive settings and a unique Horizontal Steering Control function. This function enables the machine to automatically follow a horizontal alignment from a 3D model so operators can focus on grade and productivity.

“We’re the only provider that can automatically control a dozer in a horizontal alignment,” says Cameron Clark, earthmoving industry director at Trimble Civil Construction.

A few years ago, Trimble introduced Earthworks GO!, a pioneering, easy-to-set-up grade control solution that can be run on a mobile phone.

Earthworks GO! determines blade tip position, optimizes machine performance for specific grading tasks, and controls the machine’s automatic blade settings, among other features.

Trimble’s WorksManager solution is “another thing that’s applicable to grading,” adds Clark.
WorksManager allows machines to wirelessly receive 3D designs and other information from machines, drones, and additional data sources if work plans change.

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TerrusM – Fast Mobile Mapping

After recognising a gap in the marketplace for large scale maps, UPG, part of the SITECH Construction Systems Group, has become an authorised distributor of TerrusM, a lightweight, portable mobile scanner that rapidly documents and manages large scale assets in the underground, and quarry industries.

This mobile mapping platform fits easily to light and large vehicles and collects map data in busy environments easily using a simple touch screen interface.

For more information on TerrusM visit our website or talk to our TerrusM experts.

Trimble GuidEx is the future in machine guidance

Trimble GuidEx is an advanced machine navigation solution intended to quickly and efficiently guide machines along route corridors or to point/pad targets while providing local awareness using exclusion and inclusion zones.

Built to meet the needs of resource exploration activities, this system improves productivity and awareness with easy, efficient, task-specific navigation.

Trimble GuidEx provides crossline navigation along predefined routes via an integrated light bar, including visual and audible alarms when operators breach user-defined distances from a centre line.

Trimble GuidEx also provides point/ pad navigation information with intuitive navigational arrows, supported by a wide variety of data recording settings.

For ultimate flexibility and mobility install and quickly calibrate the Trimble GuidEx system on anything from utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) to heavy equipment, on or off-road.

The Trimble GuidEx Machine Guidance System offers flexible machine guidance for virtually any machine type.

Intuitive Software, Rugged Hardware -Built to meet the needs of resource exploration activities but can be used in many more applications, this system improves productivity and awareness with easy, efficient, task-specific navigation, featuring colorful graphics and a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Australian businesses working together to keep improving safety

Best of Breed innovation between Webbair and SITECH Construction Systems has produced a ground-breaking Dynamic 3D Motion Control System (SMC)

Webbair together with SITECH Construction Systems has produced a ground-breaking Dynamic 3D Motion Control System (SMC) thanks to extensive field testing and collaboration with Winslow Constructors. Most importantly, this technology is ready to go and is currently being rolled out on worksites.

This Best of Breed innovation is the direct result of industry collaboration between key Australian industry businesses who each have a commitment towards increased safety through continuous improvement. Together they have created a tangible innovative response to an industry need that is unparalleled in the construction sector.  In their continued pursuit of excellence, Winslow Constructors dedicated both machinery and personnel to facilitate extensive field-based trials by creating mock-sites. This ensured on-hand expertise was available and real-life scenarios were considered with the technology being rigorously verified.

Winslow are industry leaders in the civil construction space and having the SMC solution in their stable shows their commitment to innovation and safety whilst maintaining productivity and efficiency.

“Adding this type of engineering control to our existing set of Safety Controls and Procedures (alongside our best-in-industry locating, exposing, mapping and modelling capabilities), will set us apart from the competition.  It will significantly help us on our journey to continually improve safety.”

(Hugh Peck - General Manager Winslow Group Services).

Webbair Engineering Director Peter Stanley had this to say about the project.  “An SMC type satellite-based 3D control system has been the Holy Grail for safety conscious companies for several years now. The project has thrown more than a few engineering roadblocks in our path and it’s very satisfying to finally see a product ready to go to market.”


The SMC system takes 3D motion control to the next level, providing full failsafe systems, dynamic in-field definitions of restriction zones, supervisor key lockout and is fully compliant in the rail industry based on the base motion control system which is already currently used by Tier 1 companies and rail providers nationwide. Using Webbair’s thorough knowledge and expertise of motion control requirements, this system ensures that no stone is left unturned and implements a safety-first procedure with true “proportional” machine control.  Combining the industry recognised PME motion control systems and the Trimble Earthworks machine guidance solution means the system is built on proven technology and brings with it the respective productivity and safety benefits.

The SMC system will deliver robust engineering controls to keep machines out of any pre-defined high-risk areas and significantly reduce risk of sub surface service strikes that are extremely costly in both money and time.  Allowing for the operator or supervisor to add in any new hazards or high-risk areas on the fly without requiring them to be defined digitally is potentially one of the biggest benefits of the system which was demanded from the market at the start of the due diligence phase.

Joe Lloyd from SITECH CS has been on the journey with Webbair from concept to completion and is incredibly satisfied with the result.  “From the initial engagement with Webbair to signing the MoU, we have had a strong focus on delivering a real dynamic and flexible system that meets the requirements discovered during our due diligence process.  One of the key elements to the design of the system was utilising the Webbair PME system to allow for dynamic limits to be entered manually in the field and locked by the supervisor.  Having this functionality was imperative to keeping machines working under protection when new hazards were identified in the field.  We are extremely pleased to be able to deliver this unsurpassed 3D motion control system to market.  We would like to acknowledge the team at Winslow Constructors for their part in this success.  Allowing us to rigorously beta test the system for the past 4 months in the real world was a real commitment from them, showing a dedication to improving and innovating in the safety space”.

Why the SMC Solution

The PME400ME Component has the following features:

  • Full smart height limiting with ground reference sensors.
  • Slew limiting fully adjustable limits from cab.
  • Full virtual walls
  • Corridor setup and limitations
  • Maximum radius
  • Cabin protection, minimum radius
  • Dig depth control
  • 3 colour touch screen
  • custom motion cut valves with emergency override facilities.
  • Supervisors key switch

Motion cut is provided to the following movements:

  • Boom Up
  • Boom Down
  • Arm In
  • Arm Out.
  • Slew Left
  • Slew Right
  • Blade Down (On Limitation where applicable)

The SMC Dynamic Control Section has features which takes information from both the Trimble 3D Earthworks system and the PME system and then implements the appropriate motion control lockouts avoiding strikes.  Importantly, it also allows dynamic limits to be added manually in the field if new obstacles are identified that are not included in the design file, this is imperative to keep the machine working and enable flexibility whilst reducing down-time.

Live Limitations that are setup in the digital design files: These limitations, or no-go zones, are predetermined at the planning stage of a site or added along the way as the site works progress. Obstacles such as power lines, bridges, buildings, geofences, underground telecommunications, gas lines, and electrical lines can all be built into the file and as the machine moves around the site it will be continually monitored through GPS and motion controlled to stop the machine from hitting any of the above.

The applications for such ground-breaking technology are endless and never has there been a solution for machines to be aided in control within the working environment from the planning stage right through to the completion of the project.

The SMC system provides the following features and benefits, all of which means the machine works as and the operator is always protected by the system ore readily aware when protection is less accurate.

  • Dynamically add limits in the field in real time; the system is not wholly reliant on updated digital designs being supplied. There is no need to wait for new digital designs to keep working under protection. Hence field employees are given with the full flexibility to adapt based on data received, whilst maintaining protection and maximising production times.
  • Fully proportional valve control means that the machines hydraulics are protected reducing wear and tear on the machine and the operator is truly safe in his seat without the risk of jolting or sudden unexpected movements.
  • Stops only the motion of travel that caused the alarm and allows that to be reversed immediately to come out of the danger zone. It does not lock up the whole machine or make the operator wait until he can remove himself from danger to be safe.
  • Full redundancy and manual override facility to ensure operator safety protection and ability move away from danger immediately.
  • Full fail-safe system with machine locking out with loss of accurate positional GPS data or any software crashes. This means the operator is confident he is protected all the times without having to focus on a screen and can’t miss a visual warning that could mean he is many metres out of position and allow him to breach exclusion zones.
  • Logging of alarm events for historical QA and safety incident reporting.


Watch this space for the upcoming official product release.

Contact 1800 748 324 for more information.

2D Grade Control System reshapes Leading Edge Earthmoving’s productivity

Customer Profile

Founded in 2017, Leading Edge Earthmoving is a Victoria, Australia-based earthmoving company specialising in final trim grading and excavation.

Business Challenge

Minimise the need to get in and out of machines to check levels on the job.

  • Trimble® Earthworks Grade Control Platform for Excavators
  • Trimble LC450 Laser Catcher
  • Spectra Precision Grade Laser

  • 1-2 hours a day in time savings
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Assured quality

For Rick Gossow, big machines and earthmoving are both his profession and his passion. He’s been working in civil construction since he was 19 years old, largely as an operator on graders and excavators.

When work for others took him too far from home and family, he decided it was time to start his own business. Building on his 14 years of experience, he formed Leading Edge Earthmoving in Victoria, Australia in 2017. He bought a Cat 304E excavator and focused on final trim grading and excavation for commercial and residential projects.

Over the course of three years, he’s built a strong, steady business, but continued to seek ways to improve quality and efficiency for his customers. He confirms, “I’m a one-man operation, so I’m always looking for affordable ways to drive productivity. This is a very competitive market segment. Anything that gives me an edge, saves me time and saves my clients money is invaluable.”

In particular, he noticed that he spent a lot of time getting in and out of the cab to check levels throughout the day. “I do a lot of small, private jobs and I was losing on average one to two hours a day checking levels,” says Gossow. “Not only am I losing time, but I’m burning fuel since the machine is just running. Losing just ten minutes of operation checking levels ten times a day adds up fast.”

He’d seen a lot of technology advancement, including 2D and 3D machine control, during his time on the road working for other contractors, so I knew there were tools that could automate leveling right from the cab, he says.

Laser Focused

He called Shane Wright, Sales Consultant at SITECH Construction Systems in Melbourne, Australia, to ask about a machine mounted laser receiver.

His response was not what Gossow expected. “He said I should look at the Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform for Excavators system instead,” said Gossow. “I had experience with 3D grade control systems in the past but knew those were not within my budget. But, Shane said the 2D capabilities would solve my leveling issues while providing additional benefit.”

Not only was the price right, but the grade control platform runs on a Trimble TD510 7” Touch Display. Gossow is also using the Trimble LC450 Laser Catcher fitted on the 2D Earthworks system with a Spectra Precision Grade Laser for consistent cross-site elevation benching.

“Once he sent the specs and pricing [about the 2D Earthworks], I was onboard,” said Gossow, who signed the purchase order the very next day and soon after, became the first contractor in Victoria to deploy the Trimble Earthworks 2D system.


On the Job

Currently, Gossow is using the 2D capabilities of the system on his Cat 304E excavator. The first opportunity to use the system was to dig a trench to prevent rainwater from flooding a client’s home and farm buildings. He followed up with a pad finish project for a farm storage unit and the finishing of a surface in preparation for a concrete pour.

“There are still certain features and functionality that I’m learning,” he said. “But, I know I’m more efficient, saving several hours in a day by staying focused on the job in the cab, and I’m more accurate. For everything I’ve used it on thus far, it’s awesome!”

Leading Edge Earthmoving’s experiences are attracting the attention of other small and midsize earthwork contractors in the area. Demolition contractor TerraFirma Excavations in Victoria, Australia has also adopted the Trimble Earthworks 2D system as well as the Spectra Precision Grade Laser to improve productivity and efficiency.