Yancey Bros. Demonstrates Cat’s AccuGrade System

Wed August 17, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

With a few twists of a socket wrench, a Caterpillar machine can be catapulted into the next level of job site technology.

The Atlanta-based Yancey Bros. Co. recently hosted a hands-on demonstration of AccuGrade technology at a job site in McDonough, GA, where construction crews are clearing land for a strip mall.

Approximately 80 people from Yancey’s biggest contractors, most of which are based in northern and central Georgia, attended one of the sessions, which ran for four days.

Caterpillar sent a team of AccuGrade specialists to the job site, where contractors were able to work in small groups to learn about the technology in the cab of a machine, as well as in a mobile classroom.

From Space to Dirt

The system runs in two ways –– global positioning system (GPS)-controlled or laser-controlled.

Using satellites, machine-mounted components and an off-board station, the GPS system provides the operator with all of the information needed to complete the job through an in-cab monitor.

Twenty-four satellites, controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense, are used for GPS navigation and are available 24-hours a day with no charge to the user.

Laser Grade Control

The laser system includes machine-mounted components and an off-board transmitter. It automatically controls the lift and tilt of a dozer blade, allowing the operator to grade faster and with fewer passes.

The off-board transmitter emits a thin beam of light that rotates 360 degrees, creating a reference point from which the system determines the appropriate blade position. An in-cab display shows the blade’s position relative to the grade and informs the operator of cut or fill requirements.

Increased Efficiency, Safety

Both systems nearly eliminate the need for staking and improves upon the operator’s work by automatically controlling blade lift and tilt to allow the operator to grade faster and more accurately.

The manufacturer said it is accurate to 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) — the height of a golf ball.

With fewer people at the job site, there is less of a chance for an accident. In addition, AccuGrade alerts operators of avoidance zones and locks the blade when the system is inactive.

The GPS technology has proven to be beneficial for complex jobs, such as golf courses and roads with intricate elevations. The AccuGrade system can also be switch to laser setting for the flat, consistent slopes of parking lots, roads and indoor facilities.