is using 3D and GPS technology for immediate problem recognition
Edgerton utilizes cutting edge technology to maximize the benefits of our processes and skilled personnel. Before any project begins, we create a 3D electronic model of the project. Starting from whatever design information is made available, we recreate each grading surface as depicted in the plans. We include every single detail so that our modeled surfaces are consistent with the plans and plan labels.
Moving beyond the planset, we design and model interim grading surfaces required to actually build the project. This is a necessary step for the installation of utilities and structures such as retaining walls. In this process, we consider all factors impacted by the design including stormwater control, equipment access and safe sideslopes.
In effect, the creation of the complete 3D model enables us to build the project virtually. This effort benefits the project in these ways:
• Accurate grading surfaces are loaded into GPS instrumentation on heavy equipment.
• Problems in the plans are identified prior to construction. Problems that are identified pre-construction can often be solved in a methodical way that adds no cost to the project.
• Interim construction surfaces are pre-planned. The burden of designing “on-the-fly” is removed from field personnel. Instead, they focus on what they do best – executing the plan.
When construction begins, we load the modeled surfaces into the GPS instrumentation on the earthmoving equipment. The instrumentation generates a continuously updated picture of the location of the machine on the project. By keeping an eye on the screen, the operator knows the location of the machine on the site and the amount of cut or fill required at that location. As grading nears completion, the operator can flip a switch that puts the computer in control of the motion of the blade. This technology benefits the project in the following ways:
• Improved safety. This technology reduces the need for construction staking, thereby reducing the need for personnel on the grade.
• Improved efficiency. The machine operators do not wait for stakes. They always have the information they need.
• Night grading. The instrumentation works when we need to work – day or night.
• Underwater grading. We have used this technology to excavate complex shoreline revetments. Using this technology, we were able to demonstrate that we had achieved design grades at a greater accuracy than would have been possible with traditional survey methods.
• Improved quality. The machines receive the same design information as the ground survey crews. This makes inspection a simple matter of verification. Simple or complex, all surfaces can be graded to specified tolerances at all locations. No excuses.
• Streamlined design revision workflow. If a design change is required, the model is modified at the office and then distributed to the machines using the internet and wireless communications.