First publishedin World Highways
One of the interesting developments at the recent Hillhead quarry show in the UK, was of a rather more compact machine than usually seen at the exhibition. A UK equipment rental firm, CLS Selfdrive, revealed a US-manufactured compact grader equipped with machine control equipment. This is of note seeing that such machine control technologies are usually fitted to much larger machines. The increasing proliferation of the systems and the reduction in costs in real terms however means that this technology is now offering benefits to the rental sector.
One of the graders was on static display at the rental firm’s stand, while another machine was put through its paces, carrying out live demonstrations. The demonstrator unit was equipped with control equipment from Trimble
, ensuring it was able to perform accurate finishing. Laser controls were used, although combinations of laser and GPS tools can also be used depending on the type of application and the location.
According to a representative for CLS, the machines are highly versatile, particularly in small construction sites with limited space availability or for urban duties. He said, “Contractors use them a lot for carparks and footpaths.” He continued, “It’s a finishing machine. In Belgium and Holland they’re used extensively by contractors like Colas
With different type of systems available and combinations of GPS and laser technology, the graders can provide fine finishing on smaller sites. He said, “You can get accuracy down to 3mm with the Trimble equipment.”
The compact graders are offered either as self-drive machines or with an operator. But as experienced grader operators are increasingly hard to find, the latter option may well suit a lot of firms.
The graders have been available in the US for some time but are now being offered further afield, with the compact size offering a key benefit in terms of mobility and versatility. He said, “It’s a 1.5tonne machine, so you can put it on a small trailer.”
This makes delivery to site quick and easy, as there is no need for large trucks to tow or carry the grader. Power for the grader comes from a Kubota engine that delivers 16.8kW and meets the latest emission requirements for the US and Europe. The engine powers hydraulic pumps and the machine features six wheel drive, thanks to the use of hydrostatic motors for each wheel.
The machine can be equipped with a sonic tracer to follow a kerb and prepare a footpath or small roadway for surfacing with asphalt using a paver. However, GPS controls can also be used for sites where this is more suitable. Compared with the conventional method of using a tractor and drag box, this machine offers considerably greater productivity. According to CLS Selfdrive, the conventional equipment would take four working days to prepare an area of 6,000m2. “But with this, we can do it in one day. It’s very efficient and productive.”
Although the machine exhibited at Hillhead was equipped with Trimble control equipment, the grader can also use tools from Topcon or Leica Geosystems.