Caterpillar® field test demonstrates 100 percent productivity increase, 43 percent fuel savings with AccuGrade™
- 14 April 2007
- Product News
"The idea of a production study stemmed from the fact that it is not always easy to convince people of the potential advantages that AccuGrade can bring to a jobsite. Our engineers work very hard to get five to ten percent more productivity on new machines so when we started talking about 40 to 50 percent better productivity, very few people who had not already experienced it, believed it," explains Marilyn Murphy, Caterpillar's Regional Manager for Productivity Solutions.
"We wanted to provide facts and data in an ‘apples to apples' comparison which is very difficult to do in a real live situation as each job is different. In our study we had to control the sites, the construction team, the equipment and the material to assure that the real difference between the two projects was limited to the use of AccuGrade."
In the study, two identical roads were built, one using the ‘conventional way' with stakes on the ground and the other, ‘new way', using AccuGrade systems. The roads, the design of which simulates a highway access road or similar, were 80 meters long and included cuts and fills, curves, elevation changes and super elevations.
The production study consisted of measuring the time for all different operations, the number of passes, buckets or truckloads, fuel consumption and accuracies to compare the two methods.
To ensure consistency, the two roads were built in the same area close together and used the same materials. The same machine models, the same machine operators were used and operations took place with the same weather conditions.
For the conventional method, the study used a 330D hydraulic excavator for the bulk and shaping work, a D6N for spreading and fine grading the sub-base, a 140H motor grader for the final trim on the base material, a fleet of three Caterpillar articulated trucks to move the material and a CS563 for compacting both the sub base and the base layers. For the AccuGrade road, the study added AccuGrade GPS to the track-type tractor and to the excavator, and AccuGrade ATS to the motor grader. In addition the road design was installed directly into the machines eliminating the use of stakes and grade checkers.
The results of the productivity study are as follows:
- The road built with AccuGrade took one and a half days while the conventional way took three days. This results in an increase in overall job site productivity of 100 percent.
- The accuracy of the finished design was within tolerance 98 percent of the time in the AccuGrade road versus 45 percent in the conventional road. In addition the accuracy was much more consistent with AccuGrade resulting in better quality. Logically this results in material savings.
- Achieving the final design in less time and with considerably fewer passes with AccuGrade resulted in 43 percent fuel savings for this one job. Again, logically this would also mean much more work done during the useful life of the machine, especially the ground engaging tools and the undercarriage.
- The AccuGrade site reduced the cost of surveying and staking by 90 percent.
- AccuGrade enabled a safer working environment due to the drastically decreased number of people walking on the jobsite.
"Caterpillar believes that this technology will be standard in the very near future. As we want to be there for our customers, now and into the distant future, we've embraced the technology, integrated it into our products and even more importantly integrated it into our worldwide dealer network," Marilyn Murphy explains.
AccuGrade solutions are machine control and guidance products that combine digital design data, in-cab operator guidance features, and automatic blade controls. Caterpillar machines have five different systems offering varying levels and combinations of automatic cross-slope and elevation control. From machine-mounted sensors and ultrasonic technology to GPS and laser guidance, AccuGrade solutions use high precision to deliver high productivity. The AccuGrade suite of products includes cross slope, sonic, laser, GPS and ATS.
As a major differentiator to the competitive systems on the market today, Caterpillar's grade control systems are truly integrated into the machines for maximum performance, reliability and ease of use. All electro-hydraulics, wiring harnesses, brackets, and the CAN bus network are designed and tested by Cat's engineers to work perfectly with AccuGrade electronics kits. The kit, whether laser, GPS, sonic, cross-slope or ATS, will easily "plug and play" on a Caterpillar machine which is equipped with the factory-installed AccuGrade attachment ready option (ARO). The systems are backed up by the worldwide Caterpillar dealer network.
TEL: 0800 028 7778