United Civil Becomes Faster, Smarter and More Accurate with Trimble

United Civil Construction Ltd (United Civil) was established over 40 years ago in New Zealand with the forming of United Carriers Group. When the group separated its construction operation in mid-2006, United Civil was formed. The civil construction company has over 120 trained and experienced staff who deliver outstanding work on projects from Auckland up to Cape Reinga. With a focus on benefiting its people and the communities in which it serves, United Civil puts health and safety at the core of its operations. It is also committed to building all of its projects in a sustainable manner that does not harm the environment.

SEE Civil takes flight with Trimble, SITECH and Propeller

When SEE Civil wanted to advance its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) survey drone program, they turned to Trimble, Propeller and SITECH Construction Systems.

SEE Civil has more than 30 years of experience completing a wide variety of projects encompassing all aspects of civil construction and urban development.

The company also offers plant management and runs a quarrying operation to create an integrated approach to project delivery. SEE Civil teams have a wide range of experience across civil construction projects including building roads, bridges and rail, earthworks, and water, sewer and utility civil infrastructure work.

Across the scope of its projects, SEE Civil uses professional surveyors to complete a range of activities, such as surveying construction sites for the placement of buildings, roads, and utility lines, producing topographic and hydrographic maps, calculating volumetric measurements and more.

Previously, SEE Civil relied primarily on conventional surveying techniques and some UAV survey drones.

The company turned to Trimble partner and worksite expert Propeller and SITECH Construction Systems for help advancing its UAV program.

The SEE Civil team wanted the ability to use UAV drones in conjunction with traditional survey processes to quickly gather high-resolution geospatial images and to collect critical survey-grade data about their construction sites. The company also wanted to implement a more cohesive survey methodology to track project progress and to maximise productivity across its jobs.

Propeller recommended leveraging Trimble Stratus software, Trimble Business Centre and Propeller’s data analytics and visualisation platform, AeroPoints, with SEE Civil’s drone program.

The team’s survey drones include positioning technologies, image-processing algorithms and imaging sensors. Combining Trimble’s advanced software with the drone’s high-resolution 3D mapping solutions is allowing the team to capture geo-referenced aerial images with razor-sharp resolution across its projects very quickly.

“Now we have access to accurate, up-to-date topographic surveys whenever we need them, without the constraints of traditional survey,” said Cameron Brittain, SEE Group General Manager of technology and digital engineering. “We can easily check our design and answer questions quickly, reducing bottlenecks.”

Brittain likes that Trimble Stratus and AeroPoints take the complexity out of performing measurements and calculations and that it supports virtual collaboration, so construction teams have the answers they need almost immediately.

“We were looking for the ability to capture, analyse, and share accurate data about our worksites and assets,” Brittain said. “Now we have more efficient mapping and measuring tools so we can plan smarter, report faster and drive improvements across survey workflows and entire projects.”

 

SEE Civil and SITECH bring together UAV technology

Trimble Earthworks study with SEE Civil

Today, SEE Civil’s team of 10 surveyors is using Trimble Status and drones to efficiently map, measure and share survey information about worksites. Logging in through the company’s Trimble account, engineers and project managers can see surfaces visualised in 3D instantly. Teams create volume measurements to compare elevations captured with the drone, comparing those values to the design for accurate project tracking and reporting. Using Trimble Stratus, teams also develop high-quality deliverables for cut and fill mapping, stockpile management and quantification, cross-section analysis, and evaluating slope heights to compare with site measurements.

“Trimble Stratus gives us the ability to provide more accurate positioning information to our teams, more frequently, and much quicker , especially when combined with conventional survey methods,” said Brittain “With this information available at our fingertips, our teams can make faster and more informed decisions to stay ahead of the curve.”

Trimble Stratus is also helping SEE Civil to enhance and accelerate its reporting capabilities and to communicate project progress. End-of-month reporting is now also much simpler using the Trimble Status platform, reducing stress and providing more information for project teams, faster.

“Trimble Stratus software includes a visual timeline that keeps everyone on the same page and empowers the team to track site changes, avoid crossed wires, and resolve disputes when they arise,” said Brittain. 

The Propeller team and SITECH Construction Systems are continuing to train SEE Civil teams to use Trimble Stratus software and to optimise its new UAV survey workflow fully. The company is currently training its extended team of surveyors, superintendents, project managers and its executive management team on the software. SEE Civil’s goal is to have decision makers be empowered to readily access survey data whenever and however they need it, to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

“Trimble and Propeller have been great to deal with so far,” said Brittain. “I relied on their experience and knowledge to help understand the Trimble Stratus capabilities and how we can best leverage the tools. We’re minimising time, cost, and safety risks associated with traditional survey and we’ve totally transformed how do things to drive efficiencies across projects.”

This article first appeared on insideconstruction.com.au

Destination Kazakhstan for SITECH technician as roll-out goes on

The roll out of a system developed by SITECH Construction System continues for Orica with Kazakhstan the latest destination for one our staff as part of the implementation.

Product support technician Josh Anderson travelled to the Central Asian country from May 14 to June 2 as part of the In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) developed by SITECH and being introduced by Orica to its operations around the globe.

The system has a range of features that provide live monitoring of an array of activities and 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.

Josh’s role in country encompassed installation and training local subcontractors to install IVMs as well as training local operators to use the system.

“The subcontractors I trained will continue on to finish the second half of the Kazakhstan installs and then will move onto Russia,” Josh said.

The largest land-locked country in the world, Kazakhstan was formerly a part of the Soviet Union and has a population of over 18 million people.

Josh was based in Ekibastuz, population 125,000, in the north-east of the country and home to the biggest open-cast coal field in the world.

The Vostochny Coal Mine was commissioned in 1985 and has produced more than 240 million tons of coal since the start of operations.

Much of the coal dug there is used to fuel three nearby power stations.

Despite that, Josh said it was ‘a very pretty place’.

“It’s basically one big, flat plain – if you have a view of the horizon you can see the curvature of the Earth,” he said.

“Despite its population, Ekibastuz feels like a village. As you’d imagine, as a former part of the Soviet Union, it looks a lot like you’d expect, with Soviet era buildings and vehicles.

“There’s also a lot of horses. I initially thought they were for riding … but most are for eating.”

Thankfully, Josh’s time in the country wasn’t during winter, when temperatures can plummet to -30C.

Language differences were just part of the task for Josh, who is based at our Brisbane office.

“When I arrived in Kazakhstan I made my own way to Ekibastuz so relied a lot on Google Translator plus hand gestures,” he laughed.

“For the work, I was fortunate one of the crew, who was Polish, had some English so we could work it all out and get the job done.”

Josh said project co-ordinator Grace Brosnan’s work had make the Kazakhstan roll-out as pain-free as possible.

“Grace organised parts ordering and shipping to our IVMS assembler in the US, liaising with them for system changes and updates, organising export of goods, contracting local subcontractors and working with Orica Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as making herself available at all hours of the day and night in case I had problems (like organising accommodation at 3am!),” Josh said.

“I couldn’t have done this project without her.”

Finland, Bulgaria, Dubai and Africa are among the coming locations for the IVMS roll-out, SITECH’s largest operation to date.

Kobelco, Trimble partnership a clear winner

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of earthmoving equipment last year teamed up with Trimble to take its machinery to the next level with the introduction of a Trimble Ready option.

You can learn for yourself how that partnership can benefit your operations with this video created by Kobelco and SITECH Solutions.

The option is available for select Tier 4 Final Kobelco excavator models in Australia and New Zealand.

With a machine control system using automatic, the machine automatically controls the position of the bucket and the boom when operating in a semi-autonomous mode.

All that the operator needs to do is position the machine and simply pull back on the arm control stick where he wants to cut the grade.

The system will stay on grade automatically controlling the boom and the bucket to keep the cutting edge perfectly on grade according to the site plan. It even works with tilting buckets and tilt hitches.

Trimble's SITECH global distribution network provides installation services, personalised training and local technical support for the Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform installed on Kobelco excavators.

SITECH dealers understand how to apply Trimble Connected Site solutions across the construction site's operations to effectively improve on- and off-machine productivity.

Select Trimble Ready Kobelco Tier 4 Final excavators are now available in Australia and in New Zealand through Kobelco’s extensive dealer network. The Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform for excavators is available in Australia and in New Zealand through the SITECH dealer channel.

To learn more, contact Kobelco at Kobelco.com.au and SITECH at sitechcs.com or call 1800 SITECH.

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/