Benefits of machine control in renovation projects

September 29, 2014

We interviewed earthworks contractor Jani Saarinen of JASA Yhtiöt Oy about the benefits of a machine control system in renovation projects. In almost 20 years in the industry he has much experience of working both with and without machine control systems. The project was a street in the centre of Pirkkala, Finland where the roadway structures and water systems were renovated. The street runs through a residential area, bringing its own challenges to the job.

What benefits does machine control bring to such renovation projects?

Normally renovation projects involve a lot of work for men on the ground. With machine control, the amount of work is greatly reduced, because the workers on the ground only have to lay and connect the pipes. Without machine control we would have needed more workers, so this brings a large saving.

The edges of the land being worked on also show in the background map on the machine control system’s screen. This means that neighbouring plots of land are not accidentally excavated. If cables and pipes are modelled, that also brings significant benefit, because those are also shown in the machine control systemäs display.

The work is also clearer. For example, measuring and comparing work carried out against the original plans becomes faster, as the need for another person to be waiting for the machine operator is eliminated. Such as-built measurements are important because actual heights and pipe sizes are correctly stored for future reference.

What about on this particular construction site?

This site would not have had enough space for measuring stakes; without machine control some stakes would have needed to be placed on neighbouring plots, and they would not have been very easily visible. A surveyor would also have needed to be on site all the time. Without the Xsite system either the surveyor or the machine operator would have had to waste time waiting for the other.

What about work motivation with machine control, compared to the old way of working?

Working is more enjoyable with Xsite machine control, because it brings something new to the job and because the operator is not dependent on a surveyor or helper on ground. Work continuity is improved, because there is no waiting time. The quality of the work is also better.

Is work safety improved?

Yes. For example a rock can fall out of the bucket or there might be a man standing in a trench, behind the bucket checking the height, and the operator doesn’t notice him. With machine control these kinds of dangerous situations are avoided, because there is no need to have a man in the trench while excavating.

Does it save fuel?

In fixed-price contracts there have been savings. This project has been based on an hourly rate.

Is the Xsite system easy to use?

Yes, the system is easy to use once you learn its basic principles. The system has lots of features, so there would still be a lot to learn.


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