New GPS Technology Adds Accuracy
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc., of Albertville, MN, completes an average of 30 new commercial grading projects annually. GPS coordinator and estimator Ben Jans says the contractor's most recent work, on a new elementary school site in Buffalo, MN, is a perfect example of the efficiency and accuracy they're currently achieving on all of their job sites with the assistance of a relatively new form of GPS technology.
|“The technology is so accurate and effective, there's rarely the need for two passes when final grading. We get the job done faster," says Jans.
General contractor Donlar Construction, with offices in Roseville and St. Cloud, MN, contracted Dennis Fehn to grade and fill approximately 125,000 yards of material throughout an existing bean field. Once complete, the 30-acre site will feature a new 79,000 square foot school, parking lot, three soccer fields, three softball fields, ponds and other extensive landscaping.
Streamlining the Work Ahead
Fehn's crews went to work on site development in April 2005. Two 627 Cat scrapers, four quad track-tractors equipped with pull-type scrapers, two Cat dozers and one 325 Cat excavator completed initial site development.
As crews proceeded with rough grading, Ben Jans acquired surveying information from contracted engineers. "On this particular project, I applied a three dimensional engineering file, complete with contract specifications, and a structural file for digging footings. The result provided us the final grades to complete the job."
The structural file was utilized to stake and dig footings and uploaded to Fehn's GPS rover system. The engineering file was uploaded to the contractor's D6N dozer, equipped with a Trimble® GPS automatic system. As the tractor is maneuvered throughout the job site, the system automatically supplies the computer-controlled hydraulic system with the necessary information to control the raising and lowering of the blade. The equipment and GPS systems were purchased from Ziegler, a Midwest Caterpillar dealer.
"The technology is so accurate and effective, there's rarely the need for two passes when final grading. We get the job done faster," says Jans. "It takes one piece of equipment to do the job. Not only does that free up the rest of our fleet to complete other work – it also saves us money on maintenance and undercarriage damage incurred during the grading process due to fewer passes." Dennis Fehn crews wrapped up after less than six weeks on the job site.
"From our perspective, it's the wave of the future. If our own experiences with this technology are any indication, these systems are going to catch on pretty fast."
View Product Information: GPS Grade Control Systems