Select Concrete Improves Accuracy and Efficiency with the Topcon LN-100
Integrating LN-100 on Layout Operations Increases Efficiency by 80 - 90%
Select Concrete is a commercial concrete contracting company based out of North Carolina. The company performs commercial construction projects with a particular expertise in building schools, multi-level self storage buildings, car dealerships and senior living/healthcare facilities. Among its core services are structural excavation, concrete formwork and walls, slab preparation and finishing and paving.
In the past four years, Select Concrete has experienced considerable growth. It has almost tripled its size and the scale of its projects have increased by 50-60%. Rich Weatherly is the Operations Manager at Select Concrete. According to Weatherly, Select Concrete saw its growth as an opportunity to improve,
“We really found ourselves with as much work as we’ve ever had, which is a great problem, but a problem that needed to be addressed by improving our overall efficiency.”
To address its growing needs and increase efficiency on commercial projects, Select Concrete is utilizing innovative solutions such as the Topcon LN-100 Layout Navigator. The LN-100 is a robotic total station that requires a single user to operate. By utilizing the LN-100, operators can work in the field and office to increase efficiency and accuracy of layouts.
Devaki Ektare is an Estimator at Select Concrete. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in India and then moved to the US where she earned her Master’s Degree in Construction Management at NCSU. Devaki is tasked with implementing the LN-100 on many of Select Concrete’s job sites. “I had used a total station when I was completing my Bachelors in India,” she comments, “But that device was not nearly as advanced as this one.” While the traditional total station required multiple people to operate, the robotic total station provides real-time tracking and position updates. Simply put, it tracks the prism on its own.
Ease of Use
Once powered on, the LN-100 automatically levels itself. It only requires one person to operate. Devaki starts setting up for layout by connecting the LN-100 to a handheld computer called the FC-5000. The FC-5000 makes accessing plans in the field quick and easy. She can import plans using a flash drive, through its inbuilt internet connection, or through the cloud.
Once connected, she creates two reference points to localize her total station. Then she lays out points by following the directions given to her by her Magnet Field Layout Software. “I just have to tell the data collector what point I want to layout on the site and it will tell me ‘Go to your right 10 feet. Go away from the total station 20 feet’ and I just have to move the prism according to whatever it tells me to follow.”
Increased Efficiency on Layouts
Prior to utilizing the Topcon LN-100 Total Station to lay out points, employees in the field used the ‘stringline method’ for construction layout. “Initially we used to do it with the traditional method of pulling out strings in the field and then marking all the points,” says Devaki. This method requires a nylon rope, wire, or other type of line pulled tightly across a site.
Rich Weatherly explains that the stringline method was not ideal for safety or efficiency, “It made a mess of the jobsite, there’s strings everywhere. These things get kicked over all the time and you have to go back and re-do them.” On a commercial jobsite, this method often took multiple people and several days to complete.
Conversely, laying out points with the LN-100 requires only one person and only takes a few hours. “Once the setup is done, laying out points is very easy and it just takes around 2 - 3 hours to lay out an entire commercial jobsite, it’s that easy,” says Devaki. According to Weatherly, this equates to an 80 - 90% improvement in efficiency.
Devaki achieves accuracy within 1/64th of an inch when using the LN-100. She experiences less opportunities for human error which becomes especially important when she sets anchor bolt points. With its increase in work, Select Concrete cannot sacrifice accuracy for improved efficiency. “When we are in a hurry to do everything, we don’t want to shift our focus from accuracy. We have to be accurate and fast. The LN-100 helps me do both,” explains Devaki.
Other site foremen at Select Concrete are looking forward to receiving training on the LN-100 as well. “Our site foremen are also excited because they always see me using it and they really want to learn more about it,” says Devaki. Select Concrete plans to invest in several more LN-100 total stations going into the future. “Our plans moving forward are to have a Topcon LN-100 assigned to each one of our crews. It’s going to be a significant investment but we know it’s an investment that will provide an immediate return,” remarks Weatherly.
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