Advances in technology happen in almost every aspect of our lives today, it is no surprise that for heavy machinery operators there have been several in the last decade or so. One such advance, GPS location technology, first appeared in dozers and motor graders and quickly became an integral part of the day-to-day operation of those machines. By combining that precision location data from satellites, and the latest 3D topographical plans of a site, operators could be sure they were taking just the right amount of soil or dirt away at exactly the right location. The technology enhanced the operator’s skills and delivered improved performance across the board.
While the technology is advanced and is able to use satellite data for precise measurement in real time, the way the systems actually work is straightforward, making it a practical application on any site. For dozers or motor graders, a receiver antenna is placed on the blade, or more often today, built into the machine at suitable points, with the system getting real-time adjusted position data from base stations set up on site. A 3D topographical map of the site is loaded up and displayed on the machine’s monitor, and overlaid with the required cut data, or it can even allow the GPS to guide the blade to create the grade as required.
Future of GPS
What this means for operators is more accuracy, safer operation and more efficiency. Operators cut where needed, to the right depth every time, saving time and money by adding efficiency. But not only that, because the operator has all the data required, having people around the machines guiding them is no longer necessary, and that itself is a safety benefit.
While initially this system was just used for dozers and graders, it is now appearing in many other heavy machines, including excavators, and while some industries are wary of technology changing things, for the heavy machinery operator this is definitely a good thing. Having precise location control is not only useful for material removal, but it also enhances situational awareness for all operators, it is a tool that really gives operators the ability to deliver improved performance on any site.
With GPS appearing on more and more heavy machinery, operators need to become familiar with the technology to get the most out of it, but when they do, a safer, more efficient and less stressful operating experience means that for operators all over the country, whether working with dozers, excavators or haul trucks, GPS technology is improving the working day. In a time where technological advances are often seen as a potential threat to workers, GPS stands out as an advanced tool that works with the operator, improving performance while increasing safety, and allowing the operator to really make the most of their own skills.