Digger game changer


Contractors large and small report time and manpower savings while eliminating rework with this innovative 2D excavator grade control solution.

By giving operators real time information about depth, distance and slope, direct to the cab without the need for a grade checker, iDig is a simple but powerful tool that pays for itself – fast!

It works with any make or model of construction or grade laser, using a number of small, portable sensors fitted to the machine that measure its position relative to the desired grade. These feed real time information back to the operator via a small touchscreen display in the cab and a handy lightbar to guide him to the right level.

iDig Touch 2D grade control in cab

Wairarapa contractor can complete more work with iDig

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

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. “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.

“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!

The company has the iDig solution fitted to a 3.5 tonne Hitachi ZX33U. “We have two excavators, but only one fitted with the iDig system. 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.

Eliminate rework

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 meant it was very easy to over dig or have to backfill aggregate. That 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 Aptella consultant came out to set up the system and provide product training. “Troy from Aptella went out of his way to make sure everything was working well. He 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.”

Melbourne contractor eliminates challenges on site

Andrew Blake, owner of Houlmann Blake Excavations, specialises in general construction works in Melbourne. The company has installed systems on three excavators and is now running the iDig 2D machine control solution on a 12-, 20- and 27-tonne excavator.

“It’s quite amazing this technology, it just operates seamlessly with the machines,” he said. “The integration is seamless and we’re getting some great efficiencies out of our equipment, and the guys love it!”

Andrew was looking to increase efficiency on site with the company’s machines and employees. “We were also looking to minimise the risk for the workers on site and the clientele that we’re working for have seen that and they love it too!” he added.

Portability was also a key factor in the company’s decision-making process. “We went for the iDig system because if at any stage we change our equipment over, the system is portable, and we can just take that off and take it with us,” he said. “We also found that it was the most economical on the market.”

Better than the old days

Before installing iDig, Andrew explained that previously they would have needed more personnel on site and would have needed to have a laser system set up. Now that Houlmann Blake Excavations has implemented the iDig 2D machine control system, the operator is just touching off a fixed point, can keep excavating to his level and doesn’t need additional personnel on site to assist.

“We’re now using the iDig system to assist the operators with knowing the depth of excavation that they’re working to. This has taken away the need for unsafe practices where we have other site personnel getting in the way of the equipment,” Andrew said.

Additional benefits Andrew has noticed since implementing the iDig 2D machine control system from Aptella include: increased efficiencies with time on site; reduced instances of re-working areas; reduced ‘over-digging’ and ‘under-digging’; and reduced wastage.

“The system is easy to learn, there haven’t been any hold ups with training, the guys have taken up the technology very quickly,” Andrew said. “The back-up and support from Aptella has been great. They’ve been there to take the call straight away and we’ve had the problem sorted out immediately and we’ve continued with our work.”

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