New Trimble® X7 plays its part in Scanning History

Ever since the Trimble® X7 was introduced into the market in Australia, MinStaff Survey has been eager to get hold of one, and that became a reality recently when SITECH Construction Systems’ Chris Reynolds and UPG's Kieran Dinuzzo took their demo unit out for MinStaff Survey to trial.  The results were so impressive they bought one.

MinStaff Survey was established in 1995 as a surveying solution to underground mine development projects throughout Central and Western NSW and for a decade specialised in the provision of surveying services to major mine development projects throughout the Eastern States of Australia.

2006 saw a relocation to Toowoomba in Queensland for the company, where they are still based today and with over 50 qualified surveyors has become a multi-discipline consulting surveying firm offering a full range of surveying services to both private companies (developers, designers, builders, miners, and contractors) and the public sector.

Recently they were tasked with a complete building scan on the Soldiers Memorial Hall building in Toowoomba.  The building has been subjected to numerous extensions over the years and suspected movement detected meant a thorough investigation before new renovations and structural modifications could be implemented.

“When we trialled the system, we completed in one hour a job we initially thought may take about four.  That was the real eye-opener for us,” said Jake Laing, General Manager.

“The X7 is just one of the pieces used on this latest project.  We combined the X7 and T10 with Trimble Perspective, the Trimble SX10 Total Station to geo-reference the scans on a known survey datum and a Trimble Dini for level control and baseline monitoring of the external structure, and of course Trimble Business Center played an integral part in bringing all the data together.”

“We did face some challenges – the building was multiple stories with minimal access and egress points, and we needed to tie the scan data together between floors, as well as capture the interior and exterior data.”  said Jake.  “The field works took us three days with 290 scans, and we completed the office works in one day.”

The Soldiers Memorial Hall was built in three stages.  From 1923 – 1924 the main structure was built, then additions in 1930 and 1957 saw the building completed as a tribute to those who had served in the First World War.  At the time of opening in 1924 the building comprised two stories with a single gable to each side of the roof, together with a small brick building at the rear, possibly used as additional storerooms and a public lavatory.

“When we trialled the system, we completed in one hour a job we initially thought may take about four. That was the real eye opener for us,” said Jake Laing, General Manager.

“Today the structure consists of multiple stories and many small rooms, which all have limited access,” explains Jake.  “In order to survey the vast amount of data required there was only the one option - to provide a point cloud survey using the Trimble X7.  This allowed seamless cloud-to-cloud registration with real-time viewing on the T10 tablet in the Trimble Perspective software.  With the fast scan speeds, we were able to complete +100 scan stations a day with minimal impact on staff who continued to work in the building.  The ability to export a panoramic image of each scan station was deemed extremely beneficial for the client because they now have great quality images of the whole building to add to their archives.”

The team was able to do a closed-loop traverse through multiple levels of the building with scan targets, adjusting the traverse in TBC then geo-referencing the point cloud to scan the targets.  This ensured confidence in the data, that there was no angular swing in the point cloud due to cloud-to-cloud registering misalignment, as well as ensuring no difference in data between levels.

Although fairly new to the team, the Trimble X7 has had plenty of use every week, whether it be from extensive point cloud scans for building design to tenancy lease surveys and as-constructed surveys.  “Final as-constructed surveys can be scanned with a high level of accuracy and detail in only a couple of minutes compared to using conventional survey equipment”, states Jake, “And the benefits we’ve found from the X7 is the ability to complete a full scan with imagery in under three minutes.  This allows for full data capture with minimal inconvenience to any workspace.”

“And the benefits we’ve found from the X7 is the ability to complete a full scan with imagery in under three minutes.  This allows for full data capture with minimal inconvenience to any workspace.”

“Most projects come with strict budgets and time-lines”, said Jake, “But the X7 has improved the amount and the quality of the data we can provide to our clients, all with a much faster turnaround, than had we used the SX10, which would have done the job but taken a lot longer to do.  Or with us undertaking hard measurements for floor plans, which wouldn’t have been feasible in terms of cost, time, and data storage constraints.”

Kieran Dinuzzo, Technical Consultant had no doubts when looking at the project that the Trimble X7 and Perspective Software was a perfect fit based on the ability to have a registered, refined, colourised point-cloud ready to bring straight into Trimble Business Centre, which would instill a lot of confidence in the client in achieving a high-end result.  And, given this project was mid-COVID and no face-to-face training was available SITECH and UPG were set up and ready to run the project remotely.  However, with the simplicity and performance of Perspective, this wasn’t necessary.  MinStaff picked it up easily and were away.

 

SITECH and UPG double up to get council operations on grade

SITECH’s Dillon Harding and UPG’s Josh Weckert have teamed up to provide the total solution for a rural council.

The pair delivered and installed GCS900 Grade Control on a Wentworth Shire Council grader, a Cat® 140M, and also delivered on-site training.

“The council acquired an R10 GNSS and TSC7 controller from UPG several months before the purchase of the machine control equipment and employed it to assist the civil work among other purposes,” Josh said.

“UPG surveyed the vacant block and created a small road design for the grader and the off-machine equipment,” Dillon said.

“We spent the morning with the guys helping them come to grips with the total station and switching to machine control mode.”

“We also talked about grader best practices and general benching techniques then cut some passes with the machine.”

Josh had Trimble SiteVision running in the background so the council engineers could see the same road design that was in the machine, giving them a greater understanding of the solutions on offer.

“The reaction from the council team, especially SiteVision, was very positive,” Dillon said.

“SiteVision is a major a step forward and, among other advantages, is an amazing way to showcase jobs to projects managers and investors.”

The council is undertaking a section of road redevelopment soon as well as a proposed re-development of the Mildura Aerodrome, in which a tight tolerance is paramount.

“Council representatives came to our demo day in Adelaide last year and saw the live display of our solutions in hardware and software,” Dillon said.

“The decision was made from that experience to outfit the grader with the complete package so the council could do the aerodrome job itself rather than sub-contract it.”

You can find out more about SiteVision, Trimble’s outdoor augmented reality system, here.

To learn more about how Trimble and SITECH can help your operations reach new levels of accuracy, efficiency and safety, call us on 1800 748 324

Two Heavy Weights Join Forces

An alliance between two industry leading providers of technology for the construction, earthmoving, mining and rail sectors is set to revolutionise the industry.

SITECH Construction Systems and Webbair have entered into a memorandum of understanding that will deliver to the market a complete technology solution offering encompassing productivity, safety, plant protection and more.

The partnership was initiated when both organisations recognised the other’s positions as best in their fields.

The advantage in combining their products and services to create a ‘one-stop shop’, delivering savings in time and money, broadening their knowledge and expertise, and widening their markets, prompted both parties to pursue the partnership.

Webbair, established in 1996 and headquartered in Victoria, is the acknowledged leader in the market for machine control in the protection of people, plant and infrastructure, and load management, among other hi-tech solutions.

Their offerings include height limiters, slew limiters, load management systems (LMS, RCC) and multi-zone RFID detection systems.

SITECH Construction System is the official distributor for Trimble and cover markets in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

SITECH CS specialises in machine guidance control as well as other technology solutions and advances in the industry, including VR and machine automation.

Webbair managing director Chris Webb said the partnership was about bringing the best together for the benefit of clients.

“By combining our respective products and expertise, we are offering a suite of solutions and services without peer,” he said.

“The partnership is a natural progression for us, broadening our reach and market while at the same time enabling us to offer our existing client base a whole new aspect of technology.”

SITECH Construction System’s southern region manager Joe Lloyd said the alliance meant a new era for operators.

“By combining forces, we are offering the market an unprecedented level of service and technology-based solutions that will make operations safer for people, plant and infrastructure, increase productivity and accuracy, and reduce costs in money and time,” he said.

“We recognised that each company would benefit from being able to offer the other’s technology – Webbair does things we don’t, and vice versa, so it’s very much a natural fit.

“Both parties bring to this partnership world-class levels of products, service and training. It is a big step forward for both companies.”

“We also have compatible cultures – both businesses are very progressive and work with our clients to solve issues, create solutions and keep them ahead of the game,” Chris added.

“This partnership will provide innovative solutions that deliver productivity while managing and controlling safety exposures for your people and your assets.”

For more information contact SITECH - 1800 748 324, or Webbair – 1300 092 995

To learn more about SITECH go to sitechcs.com.au

To learn more about Webbair go to webbair.com.au

‘Bargain’ decisions costing contractors thousands

Every business aims to keep costs down, but for some, a decision that initially may save money can end up costing thousands – or worse. The adoption of technology in the construction and earthwork industry is accelerating fast and, let’s face it, it isn’t a cheap exercise, especially for small to mid-sized operators.

But some are finding out the hard way that buying this technology from non-authorised sources can lead to disaster. From second-hand equipment that gives up the ghost to pirated software that crashes and takes vital data with it, operators are taking huge risks with their business’ future - just ask Trimble’s Matt Rhyne, Regional Sales Manager – Australasia for Trimble Civil Engineering & Construction.

“It’s a big worry for us because we want Trimble users to experience the very best,” he said.

“And by getting gear from non-authorised sources, you run the real risk of costing your business tens of thousands of dollars, by damaging your reputation in the industry, losing clients and work.”

“Sad to say, we have many examples of things going very wrong for businesses when they don’t go with our authorised Trimble dealer SITECH.” On that list are businesses who had unwittingly bought stolen equipment, Matt said. If gear is reported stolen, Trimble has an online database for dealers to report the item as stolen on behalf of the customer.

“If that equipment is presented at any Trimble service centre the serial number is checked and if it is stolen, it’s the responsibility of the dealer to report it to the police,” Matt explained. “So the new owner is left with nothing - most of the time whoever they bought it from is long gone, giving them no recourse.”

There are also examples of operators buying hardware and software from online market places and the like, then when it arrives it is either not functioning or not working to its full potential. Because they have bought from a disreputable source they have no warranty so have to bear the full cost of repairs. Gear bought from overseas can be a whole other issue, including voided warranties and voltage issues.

“Hardware is specific to the market and location it is sold to in many cases,” Matt said.

“Buying from overseas means there’s no guarantee it will work where you are – unfortunately there are operators who’ve lost out because of localised compatibility issues.”

And, perhaps surprisingly to some, buying elsewhere doesn’t always mean cheaper.

“So while purchasing something that then needs repairing is going to cost you more, we’ve also examples of operators buying equipment thinking they have got it cheaper and it was in fact more expensive than through the authorised Trimble distributor, a SITECH dealer” Matt said.

The bottom line is that if you invest in technology from an unauthorised source you are taking a gamble - and it’s a gamble you don’t need to take. SITECH has a variety of options for operators including authorised and guaranteed second-hand equipment, including ex-rental gear as well as hardware clients have traded in. In both cases SITECH guarantees their operation and will correct any problems.

“We also offer a ‘hire to buy’ option which means you can be using the technology right now, reaping its benefits while not having to outlay the cost in one go,” Matt said.

“That’s proving popular with smaller and mid-sized operators as they can budget the savings they’ll make through machine control, for example, towards the monthly hire-to-buy cost.”

SITECH and Trimble want customers to get the very best out of their technology, and dealing with their local SITECH means just that.

Working with SITECH also brings its own rewards, including training, installation and support that can be relied on.  “At Trimble we require the dealers’ technical support team to undergo continual training,” Matt said. “Trimble provides huge investment in dealer training, running local ‘boot camps’ that give the dealer’s staff access to Trimble product experts, new technology and time on machines, ensuring the customer gets the best experience from their investment.”

To find out more about SITECH’s range of services and solutions, call 1800 748 324 or visit www.sitechcs.com

GPS-Enabled In-Cab Crane Location and Warning System Helps Contractors Avoid Power Lines located above Transmission Gully Bridge in New Zealand

Customer Profile

Built to demanding specifications, the design and construction of the Transmission Gully motorway reflects the need for another route between Wellington and the lower and central North Island that will be safer and more reliable for motorists and better able to resist and recover from earthquakes and storms.

The project is highly complex, with difficult and steep terrain requiring large-scale earthworks during construction of the project. Twenty five new structures equating to a total length of more than a kilometer will be constructed along the route. The largest of these, the Cannons Creek Bridge, will stretch 230 meters in length and sit 60 metres above the valley floor.

The $850 million Transmission Gully motorway is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) by Wellington Gateway Partnership in partnership with the New Zealand government.  A key part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, the project is one of the most significant single pieces of new road construction in the lower North Island.

Business Challenge:

A key component of the Transmission Gully project is the construction of the 230 meter-long Bridge over Cannons Creek, the largest structure to be built for the project. Sitting 60 meters above the creek, the finished bridge will be four lanes wide, 230 meters long and 24.5 meters wide when complete. A total of 44 steel girders, each 1.8m wide and 3m deep, make up the framework of the bridge deck which is supported by two abutments and two piers. Over 10,000 cubic meters of concrete will be used to build the bridge and all of its components.

The roadway and bridge are located below a number of high voltage power lines, which limits the use of conventional building methods that require tall pieces of equipment. Therefore, the contractor selected an innovative incremental ‘launching’ method to install bridge girder assemblies over the open space between the piers. The girders, precast panels and frames are assembled in the launch yard and then moved onto rockers that move the assemblies onto the piers. The entire process is supported by several cranes located in the launch yard, and in close proximity to multiple high voltage power lines. Per regulations, contractors are required to stay outside a 10-meter exclusion zone during normal lifts and six meters during critical lifts.

To keep the team safe under high voltage transmission power lines, particularly during construction of the pier heads and bridge assemblies, CPB HEB JVneeded an innovative solution to manage some critical crane lifts and day to day servicing of the piers.

“We thought we might use a spotter on the ground but that wasn’t going to give us the assured reliability, particularly in the high winds that are common in Wellington,” said the JV’s survey manager. “We needed a way to relay immediate information to the crane operator, such as an alert, during critical crane lifts and day-to-day servicing of the piers. There was no off-the-shelf solution that we could find. But we also needed something affordable.”

Solution:

Familiar with Trimble construction technology solutions including 3D machine control systems for excavators, dozers graders and compactors, the CPB HEB JV looked to Paul Miller, General Manager at SITECH New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand and Trimble for help.

After some research, SITECH and Trimble came up with a solution that combines 3D modeling, Trimble Marine Construction Software, typically used for underwater marine construction applications including dredging, crane operations, piling and hydrographic survey, and crane-mounted GPS.

Modeling Motion

To ensure the safety of workers and the public, CPB HEB JV worked with Transpower New Zealand to develop a 3D model of the power lines and the “safety envelope” – the safe operating distance – around the overhead transmission lines near the Cannon Creek bridge project.

The model simulated the sway or sag movement of the power lines in varying wind and temperature conditions. As well, the crane company provided a 3D model of the crane that included movement of the main boom length, fixed fly jib and offset angle, back stay ropes and any other elements that could potentially contact the overhead lines.

“Once all the essential elements were modeled, we were able to define a theoretical exclusion zone based on the most extreme conditions of the overhead power lines, as well as the crane’s maximum boom height above the cab, which is approximately 70 meters,” said CPB HEB JV’s survey  manager. “With that model and the associated algorithm, we had a real-time solution to drop into the crane cab for the operator to use.”

Positioned for Safety

Initially, one crawler crane was equipped with dual mast GPS receivers, one on the back of the crane cab and one on the top, with sensors added to the main boom.

Inside the cab, an onboard touch screen equipped with the latest Trimble Marine Construction Software provides the operator with a 3D view of the crane boom as it moves in space and its virtual proximity to the closest powerline exclusion zone. The algorithms in the program continually adjust the 3D visualization by using real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS, mapping the position and orientation of the crane’s main boom, fixed jib and main body to within approximately 30mm accuracy.

Before the critical lifts, the project’s survey team carried out onsite testing to confirm the coordinates of the GPS antenna on the boom tip of the crane matched the coordinates measured by the surveyor. This confirmation gave the construction team and power company confidence that the new system was operational and accurate.

Further, a two-step visual and audible alarm system was installed to alert the operator to proximity of the boom to the lines.  The in-built custom alarms available in the Trimble Marine Construction (TMC) software were configured to provide progressive alerts based on the closest distance of any part of the crane to the exclusion zone. At 10m the operator gets a visual alarm on the screen in the cab, at 8m the border of the operator screen flashes yellow and the audio/visual alarm (external flashing light and siren mounted on the roof of the cab) is activated.

“We did a lot of field testing to verify the alarm operations and to check issues related to losing satellite lock, particularly at the bottom of the gully,” added the project’s survey manager. “But we never had a problem and the alarm system worked extraordinarily well.”

Soon after, the CPB HEB JV team installed the GPS-enabled crane location solution on a second crawler crane.

On Time and Award Winning

When asked how they measure success,CPB HEB JV is quick to say finding and deploying the GPS-enabled in-cab crane positioning solution was a big win for safety, productivity and community relations. He adds, “Without this solution, we were going to have to shut down power lines – a massive negotiated effort that could have delayed the project and disrupted the community. As it was, we had no delay to the project due to powerline movement.”

Work on the Cannons Creek bridge began in 2018 and will be complete in early 2020. Completion of the Transmission Gully project is on track and scheduled for 2020.

Earlier this year, the Transmission Gully Project team won the 2019 3M Award for best use of design/technology at Workplace New Zealand's 2019 Health and Safety awards for its GPS-enabled crane location solution.