How to integrate construction tech to overcome job site challenges
Job site challenges are nothing new, but today’s technology lets you overcome them more quickly. Whether by providing real-time data, tracking productivity, or helping you remotely visualize a job site, implementing some of the latest equipment and management technology can help you advance solutions like never before.
Construction has increasingly become more digital. Building information modeling (BIM) allows various stakeholders to collaborate throughout the course of a project using a 3D model of a site or structure. All parties involved — engineers, architects, contractors and their personnel, and project owners — have access to the digital plans. Everyone can see and track progress, and make updates much more quickly than in the old days with paper plans, job site visits and phone calls.
That’s a definite advantage for project managers who may be overseeing multiple jobs and can’t always get to those sites but still need reliable, accurate data and the ability to communicate design changes quickly.
Komatsu already has a suite of Smart Construction customer support solutions designed to help companies digitally transform their operations throughout every phase of a project. Among them is Smart Construction Drone, which provides survey technology that builds an accurate topography of a site safely, quickly and easily.
“High-precision drone mapping is faster than traditional surveys, so you save time and costs,” said Chris Faulhaber, Komatsu senior product manager for Smart Construction. “Preconstruction flyovers let you see things you can’t with paper plans. Consistent drone flights throughout a project give you information about progress across the entire site and assist with progress tracking.”
Faulhaber added that Komatsu’s Smart Construction experts can work with you to get a 3D model built and help with drone flight.
“Using Smart Construction Dashboard, you can calculate takeoff quantities for bids, move from 2D to 3D for optimized machine data, and eliminate the need for paper plans,” said Faulhaber. “The 3D design plans can be uploaded directly into Komatsu’s Smart Construction intelligent Machine Control (iMC) excavators and dozers with the use of Smart Construction Remote, including new iMC 2.0 models that have technology upgrades to further automate earthmoving operations.”
A lack of skilled operators is a huge challenge for earthmoving companies right now, but with automation, new operators can become productive faster. The ability to use automatics from first pass to last, instead of just during finish grading, significantly reduces the time it takes to reach target elevation.
Komatsu’s iMC 2.0 dozers with integrated GPS feature proactive dozing control that enables operators to cut/strip from existing terrain, regardless of their experience level. This is because the machine’s GPS technology decides on the action of the blade, such as whether to cut and carry, spread, fill or finish grade. The dozer measures the terrain as operators track over it and then uses the data to plan the next pass — which can improve productivity by up to 60% compared to the previous generation.
The iMC 2.0 dozers have additional technology features:
- Lift layer control helps eliminate excess fill as the automatic blade control follows the finished surface once lifts have reached target elevation. A simple press of a button optimizes earthwork productivity.
- Tilt steering control automatically tilts the blade to maintain straight travel during rough dozing and reduces operator steering input by up to 80%.
- Quick surface creation lets operators create a temporary design surface with the press of a button. Combined with iMC 2.0 functions, crews can begin stripping or spreading using automated input while waiting for the finish grade model.
Virtually eliminate over-excavation
For construction companies, over-excavation on trench, footing and basement digs have long been an issue. This leads to extra work and more costly materials to replace what didn’t need to be removed in the first place.
Accurate slope digs and changes in elevation also present challenges. Those are costly in terms of time, surveying, staking, grade checking, and the need for multiple machines such as an excavator to get close to grade and a dozer to finish.
Contractors can significantly reduce such costs using Komatsu iMC 2.0 excavators, because they can dig straight to grade using one machine with integrated GPS and uploaded 3D data models. The latest generation (PC210LCi-11, PC290LCi-11, PC360LCi-11 and PC390LCi-11) can help improve production by up to 33% and efficiency as much as 63% compared to conventional excavation and grading methods.
Komatsu iMC 2.0 excavators have unique features such as auto tilt bucket control that automatically aligns the bucket parallel with a slope, so finish grading can be accomplished without needing to align the machine with the target surface.
Another feature is bucket angle hold control, which helps operators reach finish grade quickly and accurately because it automatically holds the bucket angle to the design surface during arm operation, enabling operators to perform finish grading using only arm input.
Remotely exchange information
Because job sites often evolve and rarely end up finishing exactly as planned, smart businesses are increasingly performing the task of updating plans digitally and remotely with technology such as Smart Construction Remote.
Now, you no longer have to travel to the job site with a USB drive. You can send updates directly to connected iMC machines and field personnel from practically anywhere.
“You can also remotely support operators,” said Faulhaber. “If they have an issue with their machine or a question on the digital plans, Smart Construction Remote lets GPS managers and project managers connect with the machine and see exactly what the operator does on their monitor. That eliminates a trip, saving time and money.”
Getting updates from the job site is also more convenient with Smart Construction Field, which can eliminate the wait for phone calls or field personnel to drop off information. It allows you to digitally track job site activities as well as aggregate personnel, machine and material costs to compare progress status in terms of schedule and costs.
See your fleet data anytime, anywhere
Fleet managers know the challenges of getting the information they need to maintain machinery and make important decisions related to service. What if all the utilization data, parts ordering capabilities, service manuals and more were available in one platform?
“My Komatsu enables users to access and evaluate their assets,” said Komatsu’s Gabe Saenz, digital experience manager. “It can save countless hours of trying to track down machine information and help you be more proactive about service and repairs, when to order parts, and other critical factors related to fleet management.”