GPS Technology Creates Major Savings for Neiswonger Construction & Mining
From reclaiming abandoned mines to preparing sites for upcoming construction, Neiswonger Construction & Mining has speed up work and completed it more accurately with the help of Topcon systems.
"You have to have this leading-edge technology, or you are not going to get the work," says Vinnie Neiswonger, Vice President of Neiswonger Construction in Strattanville, Pennsylvania. "We have tight schedules. Topcon helps us meet those."
Neiswonger Construction has been a Topcon customer since 2006. The company started with one unit and now operates five units.
"Topcon is a great organization, and we work well together," Neiswonger says. "This is the day and age of using technology."
South Peale Mine
At the South Peale Mine Reclamation in Cooper Township, Neiswonger Construction moved more than 2 million cubic yards of dirt. The site was 14,000 feet long, about 2 miles, 80 feet deep and 140 feet wide.
Neiswonger used two D11/T Caterpillar Dozers, each equipped with Topcon 3D-MC2 dozer units, a GR5 base unit and an FC 500 data collector the foreman held. The company purchased an additional dozer unit and data collector specifically for this job.
"There is so much dirt here to move, and we have to place it in the right spot and put it to grade," Neiswonger says, "By putting these Topcon systems on the dozers, it saved me a third in labor and fuel. The operators knew where to push the brush, the trees and the dirt. You get the dirt in the right place the first time."
The 3D-MC2 dozer system allows operators to speed up work and make fewer passes, so projects can be completed more quickly. The system receives position updates 100 times per second to ensure accuracy.
The company not only graded the site into a level field, it also used the Topcon equipment to install 11,505 cubic yards of ditches and a 14,120 linear foot silt sock. Neiswonger worked 24/7 and completed the job in eight months, rather than the 610 days allowed by contract.
"It was a very successful job," Neiswonger recalls. "A lot of it is attributed to Topcon." Neiswonger has since been awarded two more mine reclamations.
From the rural mine reclamation project, Neiswonger started on the Riverfront Landing townhouse project in the Pittsburgh's downtown Strip District. The job required preparing the land for construction and excavating 22 feet down to bedrock to prepare for construction of a parking garage on the "vacant site." The company also excavated the exterior footers, elevator shafts and competing the piping and infrastructure work.
On the second day excavating, the machines hit solid concrete. The buried concrete was the size of a football field and 22 feet deep. The Neiswonger team also learned the concrete was the remains of 1900s-era Kroger warehouse. It took the company two months to jackhammer out the concrete, which crews crushed and used it for the building pad.
The company used a Topcon dozer system on a D6T dozer, its first excavator unit mounted on a Komatsu PC600, and FC250 rover data collectors. Neiswonger says the new excavator unit paid for itself on this job.
"As we excavated out the concrete, we used the Topcon to know what concrete to leave in," says Neiswonger, adding that by leaving the concrete on the sides in saved the contractor $100,000.
At The Village at Cranberry Woods in Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, Neiswonger is providing full site development, including a parking garage, roadway and all of the infrastructure, and removal of 27,000 cubic yards of dirt.
Neiswonger is running GPS on a D6T dozer equipped with a Topcon system, a data collector and rover on that project.
"Again, the Topcon is saving us time and money," Neiswonger says. "I do not have to wait for a surveyor to come out and put a stake in the ground. I don't have to go to the general contractor and ask to have an engineer stake this. By having GPS, you do not have to any of that."
Neiswonger began operations in 1978, founded by Vinnie's father, Dave Neiswonger. He continues to lead the company today, with his three children, Vinnie, Marissa and Giorgio. The company employs about 75 people and prides itself on providing individualized service and quality work.
Site work and infrastructure placement are the primary projects it takes on in the greater Pittsburgh area and Ohio. The company also provides demolition and mining services. The mining division has worked in coal and more recently branched into limestone mining. It has provided stone for numerous Marcellus Gas pads and for residential developments.