Machine Control Options for Motor Graders
More and more we are developing intelligent technology that offers to take over our many tasks, including ones that seem far too complex for a machine to accomplish. Some of these technologies are utilised in massive machines that aid human production capabilities in truly amazing ways.
Machine control is intelligent technology that’s integrated into motor graders, bull dozers and excavators to optimise job efficiency.
It uses various components, such as onboard sensors, geospatial beacons, lasers and digital data, to control the functions of heavy equipment. With this type of technology, contractors can reduce costs while delivering precision cuts and grades.
How machine control works
Advanced machine control systems use GPS satellite signals to provide accurate, real-time information about a job site. This data is then used to create a digital topo, or survey, that records the measurements of the location and maps out changes to elevation or gradient across the site, quickly and efficiently.
Once the job site has been surveyed, a 3-D design blueprint is created to establish the overall layout of the project, and the materials and work required. This digitally “stakes out” the different elements.
The site plan is then uploaded onto the machine’s computer, which uses the information to direct sensors fitted on the blade to cut or fill a profile that corresponds with the exact co-ordinates on the plan.
Depending on the type of mode in use, the operator can manually adjust the elevation or slope of the blade to match the contours in the plan or – in the case of automatic mode – the blade is directed by the grader’s hydraulics to make these adjustments.
Machine control options for motor graders
Motor graders rely on sophisticated grade control systems to deliver fine grading work. These systems are either built-in at the factory or available as aftermarket kits. As this type of technology is highly scalable, contractors can easily upgrade from entry-level options to more advanced systems if and when the need arises.
The condition of the jobsite and the required accuracy and complexity of the work largely determine what type of grade control system is the best fit. There are currently three available options; 1D, 2D and 3D systems.
1D grade control systems
The 1D grade control system is an affordable entry level option that uses lasers to achieve optimal output. As an ‘indicate only’ system, the operator is alerted when a predetermined grading contour has been achieved or exceeded. The 1D system is the ideal grade control option for rough grading work with simple slopes.
2D grade control systems
With the 2D grade control system, the grader can operate in two dimensions; slope and plane. It uses lasers, sensors and jobsite reference points to rapidly and accurately regulate elevation and cross-slope.
This type of system is available in ‘indicate only’ or ‘automatic’ modes and is more expensive than the 1D system. The 2D grade control option is designed to carry out precise drainage work with a fine finish.