Excavator grade control proves a game changer for Wairarapa contractor

15 August 2019

Driveways, landscaping and large lawn projects are bread-and-butter specialities for Marty Dench, owner of Dingo Nick, a contracting business servicing the Wairarapa region in New Zealand’s lower North Island. 

A popular ‘rural retreat’ that enjoys close proximity to the country’s capital city, Wellington, the Wairarapa region has recently seen a large influx of new builds to meet the growing population and thriving tourist industry.

With a three-man crew, Marty realised he needed to increase the team’s efficiency on projects to enable them to complete more work in less time and with less manpower. A video clip on Facebook introduced him to the new iDig 2D excavator grade control system and he was quick to learn more from local distributor Position Partners.

“As a small contractor, we are limited by our manpower, so any system that enables us to do more with the employees we have will save us time and money,” Marty said.

Before buying the iDig, Marty would have one of his crew operating the excavator and another on the ground holding a grade staff all day. Because the iDig system gives the excavator operator near real-time information about his distance to grade, there is no need for a grade checker on the ground or for the operator to climb in and out of the machine to check his levels.

iDig is a simple grade checking system designed specifically for excavators. It works with your construction or grade laser through a combination of sensors that fit to the machine, providing real-time depth, distance and slope information to the operator in the cab. A touch screen control box and easy to follow light bar give the user all the information they need without relying on a grade staff outside the machine.

“The iDig solution is too easy really – I just establish my level, dial it in and off I go!” said Marty. “It really has saved us so much time and easily paid for itself in a short period. Getting in and out of the cab to check grade may not sound like a big deal, but anyone in the business knows it gets old pretty quickly!

“We have two excavators, but only one fitted with the iDig system, so now I can work on my own with the iDig machine while my two employees complete another job with the other smaller digger,” he added.

In addition to saving time on labour, Marty explained that this innovative 2D grade checking system has all but eliminated rework on his jobs. “Before we got the system it was anyone’s guess how close you were to grade, the intermittent grade checks by either getting out of the machine or having a grade checker with you meant it was very easy to over dig or have to backfill aggregate, which all costs money,” he said.

iDig, in contrast, gives Marty a constant check of where his machine is to grade. “It’s like having someone on the ground checking levels every second of the day,” he added.

Learning how to use the iDig system was pretty straightforward, Marty explained. A Position Partners consultant came out to set up the system and provide product training. “Troy from Position Partners went out of his way to make sure everything was working well and didn’t leave until we were comfortable using it,” Marty said.

“I think if any contractor knows how to establish a grade and set up the levels, they’ll have no trouble using this system at all,” he added. “Although every job is different, the one thing they all have in common is to get the level right, and this system helps you to do exactly that.”

Marty said he would be quick to recommend the iDig system to other contractors: “It’s the most amazing thing to have on our machine, I couldn’t be happier with it.”

 

 

 

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