Product profile: Doherty Attachments

GPS machine control is proving to be a gamechanger for the team at P3 Earthworks

P3 Earthworks’ 21T Hitachi ZX210-7 excavator bought in June 2022 with Doherty D-Lock tilt hitch and cleaning bucket

Despite expenses, the team at P3 Earthworks believe the investment in the latest GPS control systems is invaluable these days. Add that to their superb machines and attachments, as well as their professional and friendly service, and P3 is fast becoming the team to call on.

Started in 2016 and primarily based and operating in the Bay of Plenty, while also reaching as far as Wellington, Chad Empson, director of P3 Earthworks, currently has a team of 23 operators and two management staff.

The company specialises in land contouring and also takes on varied projects such as subdivisions, civil works, and roading or large infrastructure projects.

Chad has been in the earthmoving industry for more than 15 years, starting as absolute bottom rank to now running his own dynamic, ever-growing company, which, too, was once just a one-man band.

His experience ranges from the heavy bulk earthmoving to the "final trim fiddly bits, which is where my true passion lies; no better feeling than handing over picture-perfect detail work," he says.

P3 Earthworks’ 21T Hitachi excavator getting stuck in

Although, in saying that, Chad has spent numerous years of his earthworks career in the mines of Western Australia, working on projects that involved placing earth well in excess of one million cubic metres, as well as being in command of larger machines than most people would have the opportunity of even catching a glimpse of in New Zealand.

Chad’s P3 Earthworks business is a new force in 3D GPS-guided machine control, with a strong focus on new machinery and an accuracy second to none, saying they have won considerable amounts of work purely due to having GPS machine control on their equipment.

Despite the significant expense, Chad considers it a vital investment. "It almost seems that if you don’t have GPS, there’s a ton of projects that you wouldn’t be eligible for," he says
due to projects having tighter deadlines and budgets.

Along with the Topcon X-63 GPS system, P3 Earthworks rely on the strength and functionality of the D-Lock tilt couplers from Doherty Couplers and Attachments, currently running two on their machines with three more on the way.

"The ability to tilt a 20-tonne excavator hitch to nearly 90 degrees each way is awesome and is also really fluid with our machine control systems," says Chad, adding that the Doherty D-Lock tilt couplers have been paramount in allowing P3 Earthworks to complete some jobs in a third of the time.

The D-Lock tilt hitch and cleaning bucket hard at work on an irrigation pond for a kiwi fruit development in the Pukehina area

The tilt coupler has also helped him when working with steep angles. "Sometimes, there’s limited room to position a machine, so having the ability to tilt the bucket as far as possible can be a lifesaver."

In doing a lot of land development, P3 Earthworks move the bulk of their material with bulldozers, tractors, and scoops. However, excavators also take charge when batter trimming needs to be done or loading out of material, which cannot be simply pushed or scooped.

"We bought our first Doherty bucket in 2018 for a Hitachi 35-tonne digger. It seemed unique in its design for a large machine — deep to keep the capacity high but also narrow to ensure breakout force was not compromised," Chad explains. "The quality of the service was also something that I won’t forget."

As P3 Earthworks continues to grow, their state-of-the-art machines, control systems, and attachments permit Chad and his team to provide a user-friendly and particularly efficient service to their clients.

For more information, contact Doherty Couplers and Attachments at 07 574 3000 or e-mail or contact Chad Empson at

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