Supersonic Slipform Paving

Sydney-based Statewide Kerbing takes slipform paving to new speeds using machine guidance and its own fleet of volumetric trucks to reduce time and material costs on every project.

Published: January 2015

Author: Position Partners

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Brian and Warren Scattergood embrace machine guidance

Statewide Kerbing is a Sydney-based, family owned company that specialises in slipform paving and kerbing throughout New South Wales. The company has 25 employees and operates a fleet of six slipform pavers, including four Power Curbers, one Miller M1000 and an Arrow 750XL.

With more than 40 years of industry experience, Brian Scattergood has seen dramatic changes in the use of technology in recent years. He attributes the company's adoption of new technology to his son and business partner, Warren. 

"I am more traditional I suppose and I find it harder to get my head around the technology than my son does," Brian said. "From encouraging me to purchase our first slipform paver in 2000, through to adopting machine control technology this year, Warren continues to push the latest techniques to improve efficiency and productivity. Our business has grown and won more work as a result."

Choosing the Right Solution

Statewide Kerbing's latest technology recruit includes Topcon millimetre GPS machine control fitted to a Power Curber 5700C. Having seen a live demonstration of this system configuration in Queensland, hosted by Power Curber distributor, Aran, Brian and Warren Scattergood decided to purchase a Topcon-fitted machine.   

"This is our first venture into machine control and so far I am very impressed with its performance and accuracy," Brian explained. "I went out on site to see it in action and was amazed to see it produce 2-3mm accuracy on chicanes. The chicanes were shaped to perfection and it was like watching a CAD design come to life - I couldn't have hoped for better," he added.

The Topcon-fitted Power Curber is currently on its first job for TRN, completing subdivision work at Oran Park in Sydney's South West. "Like any new technology, it was daunting to begin with," said Warren Scattergood. "But we have had excellent training and support from Position Partners, Topcon's Australian distributors, and I am sure we will get faster and more efficient using it as time goes on.

"Our client TRN has also been very helpful, offering to give us a hand if we need it as they have a lot of experience with 3D guidance systems, which they have fitted to many of their own machines," he added. "TRN originally suggested the idea of machine control to us and have been supportive of our decision."   

Eliminating Stringlines

Stringless Curbing

Using the 3D paving system eliminates the need to set out stringlines as the machine automatically runs to the design loaded into a control box, mounted next to the control panel. This alone will save Statewide Kerbing huge amounts of time and labour.

"You don't get paid for setting out, managing and packing up stringlines," Warren said. "With this stringless system, if we're aiming to complete 500 metres in a day we get to pour concrete two and a half hours earlier because we don't need to spend three hours setting out pegs in the morning."

"Instead of having more guys out the front of the machine setting out pegs, we will need more behind it doing the finishing because the machine can pour out concrete that much faster," he added.

In addition to saving time, stringless technology enables the crew to keep working if they are running ahead of schedule. "Without this system, we would be limited by the stringlines you'd set out in the morning," Brian said. "If you're getting good concrete service and you complete the section you'd pegged out for the day, you'd traditionally stop there. With this new setup, we can keep going and make the most of those good days to stay ahead of schedule."

Employee health and safety is also high on the company's priorities. "Staking pegs in the ground over a long period of time can result in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)," Brian said. "By eliminating stringlines with machine control, we can help to keep our employees safe and free from injury."

Staying Ahead of the Game

Topcon mmGPS for Concrete Pavers

Machine control is becoming increasingly commonplace on construction sites for machines such as dozers, graders and excavators. For slipform paving, however, take-up of the technology is still in its infancy.

The Topcon system utilises a high precision, Lazer Zone™ transmitter in addition to GPS positioning to achieve millimetre accuracy for paving applications. "It takes just a few minutes at the start of the day to setup the laser and you can begin pouring concrete straight away, without any further adjustments required," Mr Campbell added.

"By adding a millimetre GPS rover such as the Topcon HiPer V to the setup, all the set-out and levels can be checked days in advance across areas that are being prepared for the paver," he added. "As soon as the machine has completed one section, it can move straight onto the next without delay."

Shane Dunstan from Aran sees millimetre GPS technology as the future for the industry. "In the United States and Canada this technology is utilised a lot more than it is in our region," he said. "Power Curber and Topcon first worked together on an integrated solution in Canada and as a result Aran has been working closely with Topcon's Australian distributors, Position Partners, to deliver the same technology to our mutual customers."

Added Capability

Recently, Statewide Kerbing purchased an additional Power Curber machine, also fitted with Topcon mmGPS, along with its very own fleet of six volumetric trucks to enable the company not only to lay the concrete, but to mix it as well. In what could well be an industry first in this country, Statewide Kerbing now offers clients a complete concrete paving solution without any delays from external concrete suppliers.

"Concrete supply delays add significant cost to a project and can quickly swallow up the time savings that the machine control system delivers," explained Warren Scattergood. "With the machine control system, we don't spend the first part of the day setting out stringlines. That means we can be ready to pour at seven A.M., but if the concrete doesn't arrive until ten we've wasted three hours in the day already," he added.  

"By batching the concrete ourselves as and when we need it, we eliminate the supply problem and control the full cycle - that means we can complete work faster and with a lot less material waste." Relying on external concrete suppliers means unavoidable material waste, Mr Scattergood explained, because there will inevitably be times when pouring is stopped to deal with a technical problem.

"The machine and the Topcon system are working like a dream, but assuming that they will work flawlessly every day without ever needing technical support is just naïve," he said. "But by mixing the concrete ourselves, we are able to mitigate this risk and adapt production accordingly if and when technical problems arise."


Competitive Edge

Mr Scattergood hopes that the new machines and technology will give Statewide Kerbing a significant competitive advantage by reducing the time and material costs on every project. "We'll be more efficient on the job, which will make the client more efficient and help keep the project running on, or ahead of, schedule," he said.

Statewide Kerbing is consistently achieving three millimetre accuracy with the Power Curber and Topcon mmGPS combination, which it uses for barrier wall, standard RMS curbs and drain applications. In addition, the company has completely eliminated the use of stringlines thanks to the machine control system.
Statewide Kerbing

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Article courtesy of Position Partners Machine Control e-News.

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