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Innovative machine control systems for Canadian slipforming work

First publishedin World Highways
2013 October
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Machine Control  Power Curbers slipformer
Using the Topcon package with the Power Curbers slipformer helped boost productivity and quality on the job
Advanced machine control technologies are speeding site layout and construction operations

Canadian house building firm Mattamy Homes has brought in a contractor that has used sophisticated equipment to build the roads around its new development in Oakville, Ontario. The site is just 30 minutes drive from Toronto. Phase 1-A of the project is under construction and nearly every one of the 550 homes that will be built there has been sold already. Additional phases will bring the Total number of homes to 1,800.

Mattamy Homes selected TACC Construction, based in Woodbridge, Ontario to prepare the 323.3ha site for home building and construction of the network of roads. The contractor is carrying out all the site development earthworks, underground, and all roadwork for this project.

With a tight timetable to meet, TACC relied on sophisticated technology to ensure targets were met. The company has considerable experience of GPS machine control on its earthmoving machines and brought in subcontractor DiCrete Construction with a similar technology on its slipform concrete kerb and gutter paver.

The firm is experienced at using the Topcon 3D-MC2 on its Caterpillar dozers, which are used to lay out the site and said that its operators are used to having the site Plan and progress data displayed on the GX-60 touchscreen in the cab. To level and balance the site and strip the topsoil, TACC used its proven method of Caterpillar scrapers and dozers equipped with machine control.

However, bringing in the Topcon Millimeter GPS machine control on its Power Curbers 5700-C slipformer was an additional step. The firm said that this slipformer suits its operations as it is compact and designed for tight radius jobs, which is useful for constructing roads and cul-de-sacs featuring tight radius curves.

Frank Saracino, road superintendent for TACC Construction, said that the Millimeter GPS Topcon system made the slipformer work considerably more efficiently. The firm was able to eliminate stringlines and save time, while delivering higher precision. According to Saracino, the system made the slipformer 1.5-2.5 times more productive.
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The machine control system from Topcon
The machine control system from Topcon allowed the kerbing contractor to lay tricky curves without needing stringlines
TACC and DiCrete acquired the new system from its local Topcon dealer, GeoShack Canada. GeoShack provides systems, set up, training, and support. The site required 11km of kerbs throughout the development, which TACC carved out and fine graded with 19mm Stone to prepare for the asphalt paver laying the road surfaces. The company placed the concrete kerb and gutter using its Power Curber 5700-C, guided by the Topcon package. DiCrete first laid a gutter footing or base stage which was 510mm wide and 152mm thick. There are two rebars placed in the base.

The next two mobilisations were two stages of the 510mm kerb. Initially 229mm of the kerb was placed with the gutter base. After the road asphalt was paved the slipformer came back and placed a 203mm cap on the kerb to finish it.

TACC used 45,000tonnes of base Stone on the project and a Total of 65,000tonnes of Stone was used throughout the project. The soil on the site was a mix of clay and shale which was weather resistant, an important point. Saracino said, “It could rain one day and we’d be back working on the site the next day.”

Mattamy Homes hired an engineering firm to create the original site Plan that TACC adapted for use with the Topcon GPS machine control system by creating their own 3D digital model. Both the earthmoving machines and the slipform paver used the same site model.

“Because our kerb machine runs so efficiently and accurately with the technology we’ve experienced 10% savings in our concrete use,” stated Angelo DiGravino, general manager for DiCrete. The Power Curber with the Topcon technology is running so fast we recently broke a production record of ours—we poured 5,700 linear metres in one day, which shows how proficient we’ve become in using the system.”

TACC Construction faced three production deadlines with this project. “We beat each deadline by two to three days,” Saracino said. “This was our first project where we were totally integrated with technology on our earthmoving and road construction. The technology provided seamless transition from task to task.”

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