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Scanlaser Machine Control Testimonial

Working without Boundaries 3D Excavator Machine Control

The East Manchester Line (EML) is the latest phase of the extensive Manchester Metrolink project. The new 3.9 mile (6.3 km) extension to Droylsden in Tameside will run from Manchester Piccadilly through the heart of east Manchester. The line runs under Great Ancoats Street, through Holt Town and along Ashton New Road. The line will provide a link to the City of Manchester Stadium and the Velodrome and will accommodate eight new stops across the area. The project is being constructed by MPact-Thales (MPT) a consortium of Laing O’Rourke, Volker Rail & Thales. The earthworks package has been subcontracted in partnership with PP O’Connor Ltd for bulk earthworks and demolition. Opening in 2012 the ambitious project is moving at pace, with MPT committed to delivering the project on schedule and to budget. Aiding the ambition is a 3D Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) excavator guidance system supplied by Scanlaser Ltd. The system was fitted to PP O’Connor’s New Holland excavator which is now working on multiple sections of the tram line construction.

“The machine control equipment helps us to reduce setting out costs, increase machine utilisation and remove engineers from the confined excavation areas. It is invaluable!” Andy Smith, MPT Project Manager

Scanlaser Ltd Unit 1 Blythe Park Cresswell Rd, Staffs ST11 9RD

Tel: Fax: E-mail Internet:

01782 384630 01782 388048 info@scanlaser.co.uk www.scanlaser.co.uk

The EML project is difficult as much of the work is centralised in densely populated areas which increases the complexity of the engineering works for a number of reasons; it limits the traditional setting out of the job – with so little room to manoeuvre, carefully laid pegs and stringlines are easily disturbed or destroyed as the project progresses, requiring constant attention from the engineering team to replace and relocate these important markers. This can slow works progression and increase engineering costs. Another consideration is the confined space itself; which forces engineers to work in close proximity to plant equipment, posing a significant personal danger which must be adequately controlled.


Scanlaser Machine Control Testimonial

The Scanlaser machine control system has become an essential asset in this project, helping to maintain productivity during these difficult circumstances. The system provides accurate machine guidance, working directly from engineering data – making ‘traditional’ setting out obsolete. The machine now reads digital data in order to create precision earthworks, unaided without banksmen and engineers out of the excavation area. This simple ‘virtual pegs’ principle has revolutionised the workflow method on this site; increasing the machine productivity and formation/sub-base accuracy. One of the larger civil engineering projects is the construction of the underpass that will take the tram route beneath Great Ancoats Street out to East Rick Eyre’s view inside the excavator Manchester. Work to build the retaining walls on either side of the street started in 2009. Preparing the track formation in this environment, a GNSS system would be redundant as the thick concrete tunnel apex obstructs GNSS communications and data acquisition. Here the Total Positioning System (TPS) capabilities of the Scanlaser solution can be fully utilised. Komatsu bull dozers were also utilised, equipped with prisms which are tracked with specialised Leica Redline total stations providing millimetre accuracy for formation & ballast layers. The investment in machine control has far reaching consequences and there’s no argument that the transition from ‘traditional’ workflow methodologies to TSP/GNSS systems is certainly a steep learning curve – changing from a tried-and-tested method to something entirely new. MPT Project engineer Andy Clough comments on the Scanlaser TSP/GNSS excavator system “it was certainly a tough first week with the system for us and the machine operator – it’s a different approach and means we have to put our faith in technology. This is certainly a big step, but demonstrates a strong relationship between the plant hirer and principle contractor on this project; but also a solid commitment from PP O’Connor to invest in the equipment.” Andy continues “I originally saw this type of equipment in use on a sports pitch. On that particular project a rotating laser was providing a datum plane for the machine operator to work from, creating a perfectly level pitch. Even though this is a much simplified version of the equipment PP O’Connor owns, the long-term benefits were clear to see.” The formation layers produced by the excavator have been so

Scanlaser Ltd Unit 1 Blythe Park Cresswell Rd, Staffs ST11 9RD

Tel: Fax: E-mail Internet:

01782 384630 01782 388048 info@scanlaser.co.uk www.scanlaser.co.uk


Scanlaser Machine Control Testimonial

accurate that the finalised ballast levels are regulated by the initial ballast formation, reducing further engineering and rework as material is added. By creating a reliable platform for others to work from the system has helped to speed-up other aspects of the project. Commenting on machine control in general, Andy concludes, “I think there is an initial reaction from engineers like myself that machine control systems will put them out of work. I can understand this may seem worrying; however I can honestly say it simply isn’t the case. The equipment allows me to use my time more effectively, managing data and ensuring we are achieving target levels rather than repeatedly replacing pegs and stringlines. It really is the future.” While Andy provides data for the system, the success of the product relies heavily on a capable excavator operator; in this instance Rick Eyre from PP O’Connor Ltd. Rick comments on the Scanlaser system “a product like this does change the way you work, I now look for virtual batter rails for positioning and follow a simple light-bar to ensure I am on grade. It’s certainly challenging to begin with, but it’s all worth it in the end. I am now so confident I am starting to make verification measurements (as built) as I work, sending them back to the engineers at the end of the day.” The Scanlaser solution has pulled the excavation team together, unifying them and allowing the operator to send data back to the engineering teams, so they can be assured of accurate job completion but also empowering the operator to work without restrictions on a stakeless jobsite. Rick concludes “machine control systems are the future. In ten years time everyone will be using these. I am so glad I get to use the equipment – I want to make sure I am ahead of the game!

Scanlaser Ltd Unit 1 Blythe Park Cresswell Rd, Staffs ST11 9RD

Tel: Fax: E-mail Internet:

01782 384630 01782 388048 info@scanlaser.co.uk www.scanlaser.co.uk

Scanlaser Machine Control - Working without Boundaries  

The East Manchester Line (EML) is the latest phase of the extensive Manchester Metrolink project. The new 3.9 mile (6.3 km) extension to Dro...

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