Product feature: iDig 2D excavator grade control

Four contractors share their experience with the iDig 2D excavator grade control technology

Providing local service and support, Position Partners is helping contractors increase job site efficiency and reducing to virtually nil, the need to rework excavations, thanks to iDig 2D excavator grade control technology.

With the convenience of moving between multiple machines, the easy-to-use technology also has record-keeping functions and is one of the more cost-effective grade control systems currently on the market.

iDig 2D excavator grade control can provide an ideal solution because it gives real-time depth, distance, and slope information to the operator to enable accurate excavation to the required height.

Four New Zealand-based contractors share their experiences with the system.

Ireland Earthmovers

Ricky and Jenn Ireland

Before working with the iDig 2D digger system, Ireland Earthmovers, like many earthmoving contractors, would use methods such as lasers and batter boards to get to grade, but there was still room for error. Reducing guesswork and reworking through an accurate grade control system has seen positive results for the business.

"iDig helps with everything from pricing out a job to proving our results. We find now that there are no discrepancies with the engineer because the system also works as a record-keeping tool," says Ricky Ireland, owner of Ireland Earthmovers.

"If you make a slight error on the batter, you can be a metre out overall, which all comes out of your back pocket," he says.

Ricky was interested in a cost-effective machine guidance option that was more advanced than a laser receiver on the dipper, without being a full-scale 3D system.

"For the jobs we do, there’s no engineered 3D design needed for more advanced machine control systems to work. We have the reduced level and the batter ratio, as required, so I needed a system that could suit the type of work we do," he says.

Mansion Civil

Auckland-based Mansion Civil is a recent iDig user

Auckland-based Mansion Civil has also found using iDig removed the need for the operator to stop work and exit the machine to measure levels or have an additional labourer on-site to keep checking heights.

"Using the iDig frees up another labourer from standing on the ground checking the height for the operator, who can stay in the cab and see exactly what level he is working at," says Jason Li, managing director of Mansion Civil.

Jason is a more recent customer of Position Partners and has found the training and service important when implementing the iDig into the team’s workflow.

"Marcus, my contact at Position Partners, has been really helpful, talking through all the functions of the system, training sessions for all the boys, and making sure everyone understands what the functions are," says Jason.

"Overall, the experience is very good because I like technology myself, and while I haven’t had too much time playing with iDig, the boys are giving me lots of good feedback. They can’t get enough of it."

One Shot Earthworks

Kale Atkinson of One Shot Earthworks

Alongside the increased efficiency, increased uptime, and reduction of wastage, Kale Atkinson, owner/director of One Shot Earthworks, found that by implementing iDig and removing the need to have a labourer standing next to the machine or have the operator getting in and out of the cab to check the heights by hand, safety on-site also increased.

"There’s also the health and safety point of view. There’s no one hanging around the machine. You can chuck your cameras on and just keep an eye on who’s coming and going, but I don’t have to be constantly thinking there’s someone standing right next to me and I’m swinging around in the machine," says Kale.

Another benefit of the system is the ability to move it between machines when needed. Kale has the iDig installed across five machines, ranging from 3.5 to 22 tonnes.

"The smaller machines are great for getting the more accurate trim and the 22-tonne is more for a bulk dig-out, where we can get pretty close to height with iDig. It’s easy to move the iDig between machines," says Kale.

Kale’s team recently completed a commercial subdivision for a client with the iDig and survey marks.

"The clients’ remarks were outstanding at how accurate it was without having an automated 3D system in the digger," says Kale. "They were blown away saying that it was as good as a 3D machine."

Kale has found the responsiveness of the team at Position Partners over his years as a customer to be invaluable.

"The support has been really good. Marcus has been great. We’ve been grateful on that front, and the guys that calibrated all my kit got it accurate; it was just so spot on," says Kale.

Northern Excavations

Northern Excavations have three excavators fitted with the iDig system

Mike Powrie, owner of Northern Excavations, has a similar view. Specialising in residential house builds, the company has six excavators and three that are fitted up to use the iDig system.

"It’s great to have one product for multiple machines, so we can use the bigger machines initially for bulk earthworks and then bring in our five-tonner using the same grade control set-up," says Mike.

Since implementing iDig 2D grade control on his excavators, Mike has found using iDig has shortened the learning curve for the new operators on his team.

"I find it helps up-and-coming operators learn where to go. They’re not guessing and they actually have an idea, and it helps learn to trim faster," he says.

"When you’re using iDig, you do need to have the operator skill set because it’s not just ‘pull the lever and it’ll do it for you’. You do need the know-how — it just advances you quicker.

"I’ve got one guy who’s worked for me for about a year. He started as a labourer and now he’s been in a machine for the last couple of months and is pretty outstanding now with the help from the iDig technology. He’s still got a few years to go to be really good, but already we can send him to jobs on his own and run him through what to do verbally and he’s getting it spot on."

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