Aberdeen based plant specialist JKR Contractors, has become the largest Scottish operator of Trimble machine-controlled plant, thanks to a deal with SITECH UK & Ireland, that has increased its connected fleet to 14 units.
Its latest investment in the new Trimble Earthworks for Excavators system and the move to Trimble Connected Community (TCC), is supporting its business growth, helping it to secure two multi-million pound contracts, the largest it has ever undertaken.
Explaining its latest investment and how its business has evolved since it first started its Trimble machine control journey with four units in 2013, JKR director, Kevin Taylor said: “In the last few years we have really developed our machine control offering, purchasing new equipment with our excavators now fitted with Steelwrist Tiltrotators. We have also invested in staff numbers and training for our own operators and engineers, significantly increasing our capabilities.
“This has allowed us to push hard to expand our civil engineering and house building solutions to business outside of our base in Aberdeen. It has also helped us to secure large projects as far away as Elgin and Dundee, thanks to our ability to minimise waste and fuel burn.
“It is securing these large projects and the five hour round trips to visit them from our head office, that has led to us investing in Trimble Connected Community (TCC), with support from SITECH and upgrading units to the latest Trimble Earthworks solution. This has allowed us to centralise our engineering function at our head office, sending our Trimble Business Centre earthworks models to machines directly, using the TCC cloud system.
“Practically this replaces the need for engineers to go to site and manually upload models to the individuals machines via USB’s. It also means that the machines can send us information remotely, updating the as built models in real-time as we have to provide this information to our customers.
“This streamlines the whole process, allowing us to share data much quicker, whilst reducing unproductive engineer time due to travel. This has had a knock on effect of fuel reduction and by reducing annual mileage and is much safer for our staff.
“When it comes to productivity as a whole, our revenue per employee has grown significantly and this has helped us to expand the business with confidence. We have increased our engineering capacity and also recognised how machine control can reduce the number of operatives onsite. Interestingly, with the shortage of skilled operators, we have not only upskilled our own team, we have also found it easier to attract talent to the business, as operators want to be using the latest technology.
“Commercially, we have not only had the confidence to expand our reach, but also the size and type of project we tender for and win. For example, our latest contract with Bancon Homes at Rowett in Aberdeen, was tendered as a lump earthworks package involving 140,000 cubic metres of material, the biggest project of its type in the area. Because of the accuracy of the machine control, which ensures we don’t over or under dig or doze, we can significantly reduce waste and more accurately manage materials onsite. This in-turn cuts down machine and vehicle movements, reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
“Equally, by creating the earthworks model for the project at the tender stage, we were able to show how we could value engineer the project. In this case we had to deal with the redistribution of material to raise levels at one part of the site by up to seven metres. This was achieved by building up in 200mm layers that were then compacted with a machine controlled excavator bucket, which was able to record spot levels to assist our engineers with compaction data compilation.
“Similarly, through our value engineering we were able to create top soil bunds, which saved on double handling of material. From a delivery and measurement perspective, because this model was completed before the project began, we had signed off drawings completed upfront. This meant no changes were needed when the project went to the earthworks phase. So practically, the earthworks model was sent to each machine with TCC at the start, allowing the operator to progress throughout the project with the machine sending ‘as built’ data back to our engineers on a daily basis, so they could compile ‘as built’ data for the client and roads authority. This process of actively syncing data between the office and the site, significantly increases both the productivity of the machine and the engineer.”
With its team already using tiltrotator attachments, the latest release of the new Trimble Earthworks Automatics for Tiltrotators solution is set to make it even easier for JKR Contractors operators to achieve grade in record time.
JKR Contractors Trimble Machine Control fleet and equipment at a glance
Cat 316F excavator, two Cat 320DL excavators, Cat 320F excavator, Cat D6T dozer, Doosan DX225 excavator, three Volvo EC140EL excavators, three Volvo EC160EL excavators, Volvo EC180EL excavator, Volvo EC250EL excavator, Trimble S6 Total Station with Trimble TSC 7 controllers, four Trimble S7 Total Stations with Trimble TSC 7 controllers, and two Trimble R8-S GNSS Systems.
For more information on Trimble machine control, visit www.sitechukandireland.com