Tracks Concrete sees 500% productivity increase with rented Komatsu iMC excavator

Eastern Bay of Plenty-based contractor Tracks Concrete recently achieved a 500% increase in productivity on the construction of a stopbank after it switched from a conventional excavator to a rental Komatsu PC210LCi-10 iMC (intelligent Machine Control) unit.

Tracks Concrete (2002) Ltd, which is based in Whakatane, has been in business over 30 years, carrying out a range of civil contracting projects, including site development, concrete works, site walls, formwork and building projects, stopbank construction and maintenance throughout the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Earlier this year, the company began construction of a stock bank near Whakatane using conventional excavation techniques, said Director Ken Young.

This job consisted of shifting 120,000 cu m on site and importing 70,000 cu m to construct a new stopbank and widen the existing channel.

The channel was cut in grade and lined with geotextile cloth and 11,000 tonnes of Rip Rap.

“Our initial work process included batter boards, stringlines, and lots of people on the ground measuring and checking,” said Ken.

 “With this set up, we were excavating the walls ready to lay the riprap, and struggling to do 11 m a day.

“We were worried the job could get behind time, so we purchased a couple of machines and ‘bolted-on’ GPS-based indicate systems.

“Then Reimerd Mostert, Komatsu’s iMC specialist, mentioned that Komatsu Rental had an iMC excavator for hire, so we decided to bring that in to give us a hand,” he said.

“Bringing in the iMC machine really rocketed our excavation rate, so we were achieving 55 m a day, every day.

“We found it was even superior to the bolt-on GPS indicate system.”

Ken explains: “The difference is that the Komatsu iMC system doesn’t let you overdig, you cut exactly to the grade as per the design, and you always know exactly where you are.

“The operator doesn’t have to watch all the time, so they are just digging precisely to grade. That’s the difference with the GPS indicate system as, because it’s guide-only, you can overdig if you don’t watch carefully, so that slows you down a bit,” he said.

“As a result, we went from 11 m a day with the traditional system, to around 40-45 m a day with the GPS indicate system, and then to 55 m a day with the Komatsu iMC system.

“We just found that iMC system really good, because basically you can’t make an error, you can’t overdig; it just follows the design.”

Ken said Tracks Concrete’s introduction to machine had only been a short time earlier, when it had purchased a D61PX-23 dozer, to which it had fitted a ‘plug and play’ bolt-on GPS machine control system.

“We’ve had a few firsts this year: the first time we’d set up machine control systems, our first base stations and rovers, and the first time we’d rented a machine from Komatsu Rental,” he said.

“I was talking to Rei when we were setting up our new Komatsu dozer with machine control, and he mentioned the iMC 21 tonne excavator for rent, just at a time when we knew we needed to speed things up.

“So we tried it for a month, and we never looked back. In the end, we had the machine on hire from February until July.”

Setting up the PC210LCi-10 was very straightforward, said Ken.

“Rei came down and trained us up; he was brilliant. The first time, he was there the whole day, then he came back a second time just for two or three hours.

“After that, it was all fine. Rei kept in contact every month to ensure that everything was going well; if we needed him he was only a phone call away.

“Tracks will certainly be using this machine set up in our next project,” said Ken.