DemEx Saves Time and Money with Machine Control Systems
A Pennsylvania contractor is moving forward the site work for a new upscale residential land development more easily, quickly and accurately by using Topcon's machine control system.
"It saves us a lot of time and a lot of money," says Jeff Langer, Co-Owner of DemEx, based in Zelienople, Pennsylvania.
"It helps us every day," adds Jake Dressler IV, DemEx Business Partner.
Piatt Estates in Washington, Pennsylvania, has 140 custom-home sites. DemEx began work in December 2016 and is preparing the ground, excavating, installing pipe and preparing the roads for paving.
"Anything we are required to do, our total land system does that," Langer says.
In the past, DemEx would have had to call an engineering firm to come out on multiple occasions and stake the property, resulting in substantial added costs.
"We are now capable of doing this all ourselves," Langer adds. "And it's much more accurate. We don't have to go back and redo work."
Adding the Base Station
DemEx purchased a Topcon GPS RTK system comprised of a GR-5 base/rover and a FC-5000 tablet controller with pocket 3-D software from PPS, the Topcon dealer in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, to use on the Piatt Estates residential development.
Langer says it is easy to program the system and control operations from a tablet. He says it takes about 30 seconds for it to start up. The plans are uploaded off a CAD file. The GPS system then knows what is needed to complete the job successfully.
"It runs all day on our project," Langer says.
The ruggedly designed GR-5 receiver can track GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and QZSS constellations. With its 226 Universal Tracking Channels, all-in-view tracking is possible. The GR-5 uses flexible and dynamic tracking to select the best available satellite signal. The Fence Antenna locks in the signal, providing a robust and clean signal. The storage card holds 32 GB of data.
The First Dozer
Once DemEx bought the base/rover, the company sought out a dozer that would work with the Topcon GPS RTK system. Dressler and Langer went to a local equipment auction in hopes of purchasing a dozer that would work with the base/rover. They found one with Topcon GPS already installed.
As the winning bidder, DemEx brought the dozer home. Cory Mason, the PPS territory Sales and Support Manager, came out for a site visit and provided some software upgrades.
"We were able to link everything together and start cutting grade," Mason says. "When I did a little reconnaissance on serial numbers, we [found] out this was the very first Topcon 3DMC GPS that PPS sold, and it was sold by our founder Dave Reitmeyer."
The equipment had complete backwards compatibility to work with the latest base/rover technology, even though the dozer was more than 20 years old.
The dozer, with its automatic blade system, will lower the blade to the level it is told by the computer on the base station, allowing grading to progress without the dozer operator leaving the cab to check levels. The new system offers faster grading and unmatched productivity, because fewer passes are required. More work can be done in less time.
The automated dozer makes every operator an expert. The unit's sensor merges a gyro, compass and an inertial sensor to measure the X, Y, and Z coordinates and the roll, pitch, yaw and acceleration of the dozer. The driver watches the work progress on a screen in the dozer.
After Market Support
DemEx also uses the Topcon system for billing. The system provides all the quantities, such as the amount of dirt moved, the topsoil stock piled or the amount of depth excavated. The system knows what quantities the project started with and how much has been moved.
The DemEx owners praise the support they have received from Topcon staff members and at the local dealer. They find the system easy to use, as do their team members. Topcon offers a help desk that can talk people through any questions and courses to learn more.
The Topcon system has proven to be invaluable on the Piatt Estates job site and in the reports it provides. It is saving both time and money and helping DemEx to deliver this job on time. The company looks forward to using it on future jobs.
"This is our first project with both Topcon systems, and it's going very well," Langer says. "We're glad we got it. It was a good investment."