Tomahawk Construction utilizes Komatsu’s Smart Construction Remote to control costs and maximize efficiency
A mix of private, commercial and Department of Transportation (DOT) work keeps Tomahawk Construction and its approximately 90 employees busy year-round in Fort Myers, Fla. Established as a premier site development firm nearly 20 years ago, Randall Hendra came on board in 2014 to oversee surveying operations.
“I had my own surveying company and saw early on how GPS technology cut into my traditional role of surveying and staking sites,” said Hendra. “Instead of fighting change, I decided to learn what GPS could accomplish. Since joining Tomahawk, we’ve transitioned from staking jobs to utilizing GPS technology for all of our projects.
With multiple active job sites spread across the greater Fort Myers area, Hendra is constantly monitoring job site progression. He relies on Komatsu’s Smart Construction Remote — a software system that allows you to transfer files, support operators and locate machines from your computer — to work efficiently and keep projects on schedule.
“We do a lot of subdivision work, which means plans are continuously updating and changing throughout the build,” noted Hendra. “The demand for housing in the area means we’re out the door and on the ground digging lakes and ponds before the plans are 100% finalized. With Smart Construction Remote, I’m able to update changes to our models and remotely send them to our GPS-equipped Komatsu machines without having to separately drive to each machine and install the file with a thumb drive.
“As soon as I upload the file to the machines, the operator can see the new plans and get to work,” continued Hendra. “It’s a huge time saver because I’m not driving an hour to each job site and tracking down each machine — it’s just the stroke of a key, and I’ve saved myself half a day of work. From the operator’s perspective, they’re not wasting half a day following plans that have already changed. You can see how the cost savings and efficiency quickly build when you have multiple changes throughout the life of a project.”
Tomahawk Construction currently utilizes approximately 10 Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers and excavators. Soon, the firm will have about 30 machines capable of utilizing Smart Construction Remote because it works on Topcon systems as well as iMC machines.
“We’ve tried all brands of GPS-equipped machines, and in our experience, nothing works as well as Komatsu,” stated Hendra. “You don’t have to fix cables or masts or make little adjustments — you just set the dozer up, and it runs. You’re also able to track where your machines are located, which impacts everything from efficiently moving machines between jobs to helping technicians locate machines for routine maintenance.”
When an operator has a question about a project, Hendra can often use multiple Smart Construction Remote capabilities to resolve the problem quickly.
“Through Smart Construction Remote, on the monitor in my office I’m able to see exactly what an operator sees on the screen in their cab,” explained Hendra. “If an operator calls and explains that he’s grading a road and it’s not a 2% cross slope, I’m able to see what his screen shows and see exactly where he is located on the job site. I can take that information and compare it to the model, make any changes, then upload a new model to the machine with the proper cross slope without leaving my desk.”
Hendra added, “I can also control the screen for any machine. If an operator gets into a different machine than they typically run and wants the screens to look a specific way, I can remotely adjust that for them. I can also update menus and delete old files to make sure our operators are using the most up-to-date version. Between tracking machines, uploading files and remotely supporting our operators, Smart Construction Remote paired with Komatsu iMC equipment has greatly increased our efficiency.”
**The opinions expressed here are from the end users who are quoted.