A heavy equipment operator can be many things, and their workday is very different, depending…
GPS skills are becoming an important asset for grader and excavator operators as new equipment comes onto the market fitted with these devices as standard. More importantly, contractors are starting to realize the real benefits behind these devices. In an environment that is so competitive, being able to reduce costs and submit lower price tenders for projects is becoming essential to survive.
Using new technology like GPS to its fullest means contractors can cut days, if not weeks, off some projects and with it tens of thousands of dollars. How does GPS help these operators? Whilst it may sound complicated, the process is fairly straightforward.
In the past, a grader operator would be asked to grade a section of ground to a set of parameters that included blade angle, slope and depth etc. After a number of passes, the operator would wait while a surveyor checked the levels and determined the next set of settings. The introduction of GPS, particularly with laser technology, has produced a big change to how the operator works.
At the start of a process, the desired results are entered into a computer-like interface. The computer then determines blade angle, slope and depth and automatically sets them. The grader operator then proceeds to work the area with the computer constantly making fine adjustments – all guided with the aid of GPS and lasers.
With this technology, there is no stoppage time while the operator waits for the surveyor. The surveyor comes back at the end of the process and checks to ensure it means the plans. If it does, the next stage begins. Similar procedures occur in excavators where a depth and angle are preset. The GPS unit then helps to set the bucket angle and depths of the dig.
These devices save a lot of down time (non-operating time) which means a job can be completed far quicker than in the past. These tasks can also be completed with far greater accuracy than in the past. If you are a grader or excavator operator and you want to take on the challenge of working with GPS, consider undertaking a GPS training program. The skills won’t harm your career – they may well enhance it.