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Geosystems’ Guidance System Speeds Repair Project

Fri July 22, 2011 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Leica PowerDigger 3D system at work on a Komatsu hydraulic excavator.
Leica PowerDigger 3D system at work on a Komatsu hydraulic excavator.

A 3D excavator guidance system is helping the earthmoving subcontractor to beat the schedule by 15 percent on a $9-million channel repair project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Topeka, Kan.

Ebert Construction Co., Wamego, Kan., is using Leica Geosystems machine control systems on its excavators to help reshape 2.5 mi. (4 km) of the channel at Soldier Creek, which is contained by two parallel levees spaced 300 ft. (91 m) apart. A major flood in 2005 eroded the creek banks and this project will repair the damage, helping to prevent further flooding upstream of the repaired area.

Ebert has engaged a fleet of earthmoving equipment to remove 350,000 cu. yds. (267,594 cu m) of earth from the side slopes and take them to waste areas behind the levee. Some 170,000 cu. yds. (129,974 cu m) are being moved from cuts to fills on the slopes

Two Komatsu hydraulic excavators, each fitted with a Power Digger 3D machine control system from Leica Geosystems, are being used to shape the side slopes. Each slope is designed with an upper and a lower bank, both on a 3:1 slope and separated by a gentler 10:1 slope.

Jim Ebert, project manager for the contractor, said the Leica Power Digger 3D systems improve the excavators’ efficiency because no grade checking is needed.

He further said that the systems save Ebert $40,000 a year by eliminating the grade checker. The Power Diggers’ screens show the operators the cuts and fills on a continuous basis.

“Plus”, said Ebert, “we can work underwater without having a grade checker climb into the water.”

“The Leica Geosystems GPS system takes the guesswork out of grading for the operators,” said Trent Ebert, project superintendent. “And there’s no more calling us to say the stakes got run over by a dozer. There’s no downtime. Nobody has to watch the operators; they can dig, back up, find the next place to cut and keep on going.”

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