In the last few years one of the biggest leaps in general ground levelling and earthwork preparations has been the advent of the use of Machine Control Receivers in earthmoving equipment, working in conjunction with a central command source such as a laser level or a GPS Global Positioning System.
What is a machine control receiver?
The Machine Control Receiver or MCR is a unit which is typically fixed to the support arm of a bucket, blade or scraper on an excavator, skid steer loader, rubber tyred loader or grader either by a heavy duty magnetic bracket or via clamps bolted to the arm.
In many instances, on more advanced MCRs the main unit is linked via Bluetooth or cable to an In-cab display screen which can be seen and controlled more efficiently by the operator.
This MCR unit then picks up a signal or light beam from the power source unit which is usually set up on one end or one corner of the project. This power source is set at level in the case of a concrete slab, construction footings or retaining walls or at a pre-determined slope in the case of carparks, trenches, roads or where water drainage is required.
The operator then has a real level to work from without dismounting the unit for level checking or without the need of constant and costly site survey checking; thereby turning what was formerly a 2-person operation into a single plant operator task.
This makes the Machine Control Receiver an invaluable piece of equipment in earthmoving, with the advantage of time saving and extra efficiency coupled with the increased accuracy.
Advantages of using Machine Control Receivers.
One other challenge in civil contracting and earthworks levelling has often been the need for rework or final site cut and level after the rough cut is completed. With a correctly fitted MCR and good operator this can all be accomplished with a minimum of time and effort. A by-product of this efficient work is usually less material waste and a tidier work surround with less material buildup and better site management.
As the technology continues to evolve the accuracy and time saving efficiencies are extending to other areas of civil and construction with MCR command controllers for other construction items. These include 2D and 3D control units for power concrete screeds, road paving and kerbing, compaction and passes counts for rollers, landfill and stockpile guidance and pile driving guidance.
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In summary, a Machine Control Receiver which is correctly specified and fitted is an essential piece of equipment for every civil contractor irrespective of the type or size of the machinery that it is attached to, giving unprecedented time saving, increased productivity and accuracy.