New Auto Tilt Bucket Control
Contractor reaches target elevation faster with new auto tilt bucket control that can follow unique design surfaces
Bobby and Allen Tripp spent countless hours running drag lines and operating dozers for their uncle while growing up on their family’s farm. In 1997, the brothers transitioned from farm work when they established their own company, Tripp Bros Inc., which has steadily grown into a turnkey site development operation.
The firm’s projects range from installing new construction infrastructure to resurfacing city and town streets. For maximum efficiency, the firm completes all aspects of a project in-house. To meet tightened grade tolerances and compensate for the declining number of experienced operators, the company has turned to GPS-equipped machines.
“The knowledge and skill lost from older operators leaving the industry — and with younger operators replacing them — GPS technology has become essential to our business,” stated Bobby. “We rely on the technology to help our operators reach grade. Without our GPS-equipped machines, it would take us three times as long to complete the work.”
At its residential jobs, which comprise 75% of the firm’s current workload, creating as-built storm retention ponds is a challenge.
“The ponds are an environmentally conscious way to treat water before it’s released from the site,” noted Bobby. “Because each pond is unique, you can hardly dig them without diverting extra labor and equipment to keep it within tolerances.”
Bobby continued, “We’ve found that with our Komatsu PC210LCi excavator with the new auto tilt bucket control, our operators can build the pond to grade more accurately than they could with a person shooting grade or checking them with a rover.”
Maximum efficiency with iMC 2.0 with auto tilt bucket control
Bobby said that the new intelligent Machine Control (iMC) 2.0 technology on the PC210LCi-11, with the optional auto tilt IMU sensor, makes grading the ponds more efficient. By using Komatsu intelligent excavator auxiliary hydraulics, the auto tilt IMU sensor enables automatic control of the bucket/attachment angle to match the cutting edge of the surface. Like all iMC excavators, the full bucket profile protects against over-excavation — even when the machine is not facing directly toward the target surface. With iMC 2.0 and the IMU sensor, the full bucket edge stays on the surface and automatically returns the bucket to a horizontal position for unloading.
“The machine is set up to tilt the bucket on its own and match a swale based on the design,” explained Bobby. “We call it a ‘one and done motion’ because you don’t have to go back and regrade the surface. The tilt bucket slopes, shapes and takes the pond to grade as you go.”
“The auto tilt bucket control increases the machine’s versatility and removes the need for an iMC dozer to check grade,” added Alan Yoder, superintendent. “You’re able to tilt the bucket instead of moving the machine to get the correct angle. Even our inexperienced operators find it easier to understand and control.”
Bobby notes that the iMC 2.0 PC210LCi excavator improves Tripp Bros’ efficiency contouring and crowning roads as well. “When we’re undercutting a section of road, we can undercut the surface at a 2% fall and shape a crown in the road. The precision means we don’t have to touch material twice. I haven’t seen anything on another machine that compares to what this excavator can do.”