Hilton Inc. Reduces Survey Costs and Increases Production
Integrating 3D Machine Control on Small Sites Saves 30-40% in Survey Costs and Speeds Operations 30%
Return on Investment, or ROI, is a term widely used in the construction industry. Professionals in the field want to know, “Is this technology worth the cost of investing?” While many large construction and grading companies have adopted expensive technology like 3D Machine Control Systems, smaller companies are often hesitant to adopt these systems due to fear they will not meet their ROI in a timely manner.
Kolt Hilton is one of the three founders of Hilton, Inc., a family-owned sitework and grading company in Granite Falls, NC. The company handles local grading jobs ranging from one to five acres. Projects include rough grading and fine grading on local sites such as McDonalds, Sams Car Washes, Honda dealerships and more.
Despite their hesitancy, Hilton, Inc. decided to invest in a 3D machine control system called the Topcon 3D-MCmax for its relatively small-sized project sites. Benchmark Tool & Supply first introduced Hilton to the GPS base & rover in 2014. The base and rover allowed him to reset stakes, create GPS offsets and access cut and fill lines on the job.
Since deciding to add the Topcon 3D-MCmax dozer system to its toolbox, Hilton Inc. has experienced phenomenal results in production and cost savings. Most notably, it has reduced survey staking, allowed team members to move to new projects quicker and is able to re-integrate into other machines.
“After running the base and rover, I knew the dozer system would speed our operations much quicker,” Hilton explains. “It takes the person off the ground. You can sit in the dozer and run everything from inside.”
Reduce Survey Staking
Prior to incorporating GPS machine control, Hilton used survey stakes to manually mark locations on jobsites. The stakes posed a problem - they were knocked down time and time again causing surveyors to come back out and re-stake areas. “A surveyor would come out to put in stakes then about five minutes later they were knocked down. They were like targets pretty much,” remarked Hilton.
With the integration of the 3D-MCmax GPS system, Hilton reduced the need to use survey stakes, saving a potential of 30%. The team creates 3D models that indicate important job site information like curbs, elevations and cut/fill lines. They no longer need to rely heavily on survey stakes to indicate this type of information.
Reduce Dozer Passes and Increase Production
With automatic features like slope control, Hilton reduces the amount of passes he makes in the dozer. “Typically it takes several passes with the dozer to create the right slopes. You have to go back and then manually tilt your blade,” Hilton noted. “The 3D-MCmax automatically tilts the blade, puts it on grade and goes. It’s just so much faster and easier.”
Hilton estimates that with his new technology, he removes one-third of excess time on projects. “In the past, it would take us about a month and a half to complete this project. Now, we can have it done in about a month,” he explained.
“It gives you the production and that’s what makes you the money. The value’s in the time it saves getting stuff done. If you have bad weather and need to move quickly, you can hop into the dozer and get it done.”
Versatile GPS Integration
Early in 2017, workers at Hilton ran into mechanical issues while running their final drive on a bulldozer unit equipped with Topcon mastless, 3DMC Max Dozer system from Benchmark Tool & Supply. After assessment, the machine was determined to be inoperable causing an immediate slowdown in production.
Fortunately, the mastless 3D-MCmax is versatile and has the ability to be installed on multiple brands of bulldozers. Benchmark technicians came to Hilton’s jobsite and uninstalled the unit. Later on, they reinstalled it to a Caterpillar D6K2 dozer. “We bought a new Caterpillar D6K2 dozer in which they were able to re-integrate the GPS. It was a good thing it wasn’t stuck on the dozer so that we could move it over quickly,” Hilton remarked. By moving the GPS from one dozer unit to another, Hilton was able to retain the value of their initial purchase while getting back to work in a timely manner.
By integrating technology like the base and rover and 3D-MCmax, Hilton has increased production and lowered spending. Hilton is satisfied with the purchase, explaining that it’s already paid for itself. “It’s just like buying a new piece of equipment. We’ve definitely got the production out of it and it pays for itself.”
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