Saving time bypassing the weighbridge

Adopting Trimble onboard weighing and reporting technology for real-time visibility of site operations has allowed Holcim’s Bohle Quarry to bypass their weighbridge and significantly increase their productivity to deliver on the TRR4 project without interruption to normal operations.






The Company
Holcim’s Bohle Quarry (Bohle Quarry) in Townsville is one of 300 quarries operated by Holcim in Australia. The company is a leading supplier of aggregates, concrete and concrete pipe and products, and have been operating in Australia since 1901.

The Project
Townsville Ringroad Section Four (TRR4) is the final stage of a major upgrade project in central Queensland. The project will significantly reduce congestion on local roads, increase the movement of traffic to and from Townsville’s port, as well as future proof the area for urban and industrial expansion. The project involves lengthening and widening the current road as well as construction of new dual carriageway.

The challenge
The alignment for the dual carriageway for TRR4 is across old swamp land which means it is not a standard cut to fill earthworks project, but instead a 100% import job requiring all materials to be sourced from local quarries.

Holcim-250x150Civil Contractor, Seymour Whyte, realised during the bid process that the key to success for all involved in the project would be the speed at which they could import and compact the fill. To achieve this, they would be dependent not only on their own productivity, but the productivity of the quarries and haulage company too. To be successful, constant visibility across all activities including construction, extraction, haulage and placing of materials would be absolutely necessary.

Traditional methods to track this activity relies on daily reports from the quarry weighbridge as well as an onsite spotter who manually collects the paper dockets and records information about the location and frequency of material placement. However the size and scope of this project challenged these traditional methods and called for technology for maximum success.

The solution
A technology partnership going back a decade, saw Seymour Whyte turn to the expertise of local Trimble distributor, SITECH Construction Systems (SITECH CS) whose advice was to implement a full Trimble Connected Site to track productivity, utilisation and location across all earthmoving equipment on the construction site, all production loaders on the quarries and all trucks transporting materials to the project site. All the information is pulled together into a cloud reporting tool which gives all parties involved the real-time information they needed to make quick and effective decisions to drive productivity and efficiency.

Seymour Whyte won the TRR4 contract and, in turn, Bohle Quarry, along with Black River Quarry, won the work to supply the material. Nicholas gave the go ahead for two wheel loaders and all haul trucks to be installed with Trimble Telematics technology to track their location, utilisation and productivity, as well as Trimble’s ‘Legal for Trade’ Loadrite weighing system on the wheel loaders. This information is fed into the cloud reporting tools InsightHQ and VisionLink through which Nicholas can access real-time reporting on any device.

IHolcim-2nformation at your fingertips for fast and effective decision making

The technology adopted by Holcim enables managers and operators to see the data relevant to their role. This has enabled Quarry Manager, Andrew Nicholas (right), to make quick and accurate operational decisions and is also lifting the productivity of operators through driving a culture of healthy competition.

“Having this information about operations on my iPhone is absolutely light years ahead in this industry. I can see everything in real-time from number of loads to the location of loaders and trucks, as well as material type being loaded and the weight,” says Nicholas. “I might take a look and see that all the trucks are queuing at one loader while there are other loaders free and, because I have that visibility, I can quickly fix the issue and keep things moving.”

Through the use of this technology, Bohle Quarry has been able to supply TRR4 without interrupting normal operations and their productivity has increased dramatically. Between March and May, they exported 300,000 tonnes of material. At this time, they began supplying TRR4 and, over the following three months, they exported 1.2 million tonnes – a fourfold increase in productivity. Bohle Quarry’s biggest day saw them export 15,600 tonnes to TRR4, equating to approximately 488 loads transported, compared to their anticipated targets of 6000 tonnes in a day.

HBQimage-Connected-SiteBypassing the weighbridge
The largest change for Holcim in all of this has been a shift away from using the traditional weighbridge system.

“Bypassing the weighbridge was at first difficult to comprehend – you’re talking about a tried and tested system that is at the core of your safety, compliance, finance and administration,” says Nicholas. “But, after a while of using the Trimble system in conjunction with the weighbridge, we could see that it was accurate and with confidence TRR4 material supply began operating solely off the Trimble data.”

Bypassing the weighbridge has seen a time saving of up to three minutes per truck per trip which means trucks are cycling through faster and the quarry is able to deliver more loads per day to the construction site. The impact of this on our productivity over a period of a few months has been very significant.

What’s next for Holcim Bohle Quarry?
Andrew confesses he is a complete convert and has just paid for another loader to be fitted with the Trimble technology. But that’s not the end of it.

Brent Daniel, Corporate Account Manager, SITECH CS, says, “At the moment, Bohle Quarry is just using Trimble technology for their TRR4 operations, so we are working with them towards further adoption of the Trimble Connected Site. As well as fitting additional loaders and trucks with technology, we are also looking at applying technology for greater on-site intelligence, so Andrew doesn’t just know what has happened but why it has happened.”

Holcim’s Bohle Quarry is most certainly a quarry to watch as they continue to invest in technology to stay true to their value of delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to their customers.

The advantages of Machine Guided Construction

MachineGuidedConstructionThe art of surveying has progressed a long way since its ancient Egyptian origins. Early survey tools involving long sections of rope with markings were replaced with chains, compasses and complex mathematical equations, which in turn were replaced with theodolites and eventually total stations.

Machine guided technologies present enormous advantages for a construction surveyor. This article concentrates on the advantages of machine guided construction.

Read the article here.

Trimble Road Show

Whether you are building new roads or maintaining existing infrastructure, Trimble offers a broad range of solutions that optimise processes across the life cycle of a road construction project – from the initial concept to resurfacing. And at each stage of the process, contractors are realising massive savings, able to make better decisions, decreasing costly mistakes and increasing efficiency in the office and on the job site.


Adopting model-based engineering for Greenvale Reservoir

Greenvale-2Adopting model-based engineering at the beginning of a complex dam upgrade helps Thiess to eliminate rework and significantly increase productivity.

The Greenvale Dam, 20 kilometres outside of Melbourne city, was built in 1971 to supply Melbourne’s Northern and Western suburbs with water. Currently, Greenvale is Melbourne’s most urbanised large dam with residential development on three sides. Given the growth in the area surrounding the dam, a risk assessment was carried out in 2009 and showed that remedial work needed to be done to bring the dam into line with modern safety guidelines. As a result, in 2014 Melbourne Water contracted Thiess to manage a major upgrade to ensure the sustainability of the dam and ongoing public safety.

The project involved first strengthening the existing reservoir walls by installing new filter zones and earth fill on the downstream embankment. Next the team had to extract 200,000 cubic metres of material for stockpiling, infill 160,000 tonnes of sand into excavated trenches and place this against the final trimmed batters. All the material then needed to be compacted into layers forming different zones.

The nature of the site was particularly challenging – limited space, steep batters and multiple machines on the site. As always, health and safety was paramount, which meant that, if surveyors and engineers were to be out on the site, operations would have been stopping and starting constantly.

Garry Plautz, General Superintendant for the project, says, “There was no room to move. Traditional methods would have seen pegs everywhere but you couldn’t have had pegs out there if you wanted to, the machine operators would have run all over them.”

“It would have also been a huge health and safety hazard to have people out in the vicinity of large plant. If someone had to go out and measure the batter, they’d have stepped out into an area with a lot of machinery; it just wasn’t going to work.”

With all the machines on site already fitted out with 3D Machine control, the team was part of the way there. But, to reduce the need for people on the ground, the team needed 3D models of the site to drive the activity of the machines directly from the office.

THE SOLUTION Greenvale-1
A long working relationship with Greg Shepherd, Head of the Data Services team at SITECH Construction Systems (CS), saw Garry ask for his advice. SITECH’s recommendation was to use Business Centre – Heavy Construction Edition (TBC-HCE) software from Trimble to build surface models of the entire site.

Greg Shepherd says: “If you want everything to work completely seamlessly on a site like this, the data is what will bring it all together. Engineers build their plans in sections but they aren’t sewn together across the whole site, so there can be clashes and inconsistencies when it all comes together. If these are the plans that guide the construction, when a clash comes up, everything has to stop and things need to be recalculated before the team can keep going.”

“With BC-HCE, we can take the engineering data and build a 3D constructible model and the software will tell you straight away if there are clashes in the data. We’re doing all of this before the project even starts so there is no stopping and starting. Once the constructible model is built and approved by design engineers, this is fed directly into the machine which just does what the model tells it to do. There’s no error.”

“The other thing you can do is load ‘avoidance zones’ into the model like gas pipes, fibre optic cables, even culturally significant zones. If the machine is operating off the plan, as soon as it goes close to one of these zones an alarm will go off and let the operator know what’s there.”

SITECH CS was awarded the contract and got to work at Greenvale Reservoir. The first step in the workflow was to carry out an initial site survey. This information was given to the SITECH team to build 47 individual, complex surface models using BC-HCE software from Trimble.

Once the models were built, they were loaded directly from the office into the technology on the machines so the operators were able to see exactly what they needed to do and their position relative to the design. The models out of BC-HCE built by SITECH CS were able to work seamlessly with the other non-Trimble technology on the site.

Garry says, “Engaging the SITECH CS team early in the project to develop a 3D constructible model meant that, by the time we started, we knew we had the plan right and we wouldn’t need to stop and start throughout the project to rework it. Throughout the project we were also able to instantly calculate a cost-to-complete the project earthworks. We did this using Trimble’s VisionLink software and a grader installed with Trimble 3D machine control.”

Garry continues, “For both the client and the project team, the biggest benefit was to health and safety. With so many machines in such a small space, to have people out on site doing things manually would have been very dangerous. Everyone would have had to go through rigorous training and machines would have had to stop every time someone was in the vicinity. It would have been incredibly disruptive.

“Because we were able to continue work without interrupting the machines, we were also able to deliver the job months ahead of schedule and with cost savings.”

Melbourne Water have been so impressed with the health and safety aspects of the project, Garry was asked to present at their annual conference about the technology innovations on the project.

Enterprise inventory management in your pocket

stockpile-232x300Stockpile inventory management has traditionally relied on semi-annual measurements supplemented by interim rough estimation. What if the frequency and consistency of measurements could be improved to be affordable monthly, weekly, or even daily? That would facilitate true inventory management and control.

What URC Ventures has done through their branded Stockpile Reports service is to address a very pressing business problem.

Read more on page 14 in the current issue of XYHT magazine.