Networks a boon for Topcon 3D machine control

Topcon developed world’s first network-enabled MC technology 

Livermore, CA — The building of more and more satellite positioning networks throughout the world is creating a boon for contractors utilizing Topcon machine control.

“The addition of network technology in conjunction with machine control is a powerful combination when utilized by progressive companies,” according to Jason Killpack, senior product marketing manager for Topcon Positioning Systems.

Networks are set up in local areas, Killpack said, but those areas can be connected. “For example, down in Florida, Lengemann of Florida has the entire state under its network by strategically placing coordinated local networks.”

Topcon has the world’s first network enabled machine control technology. With earlier Topcon machine control systems, external wired modems could be easily connected. With the announcement of Topcon’s new MC-R3 controller, with its internal modem technology, “the operator will just select the method of communication from the list of choices in the software running on the system.”

The ability of the machine to tap into existing GPS and GNSS networks, Killpack said, “gives the user the ultimate flexibility to perform any job site preparation quickly. Using any Topcon 3D-MC system, the operator simply dials into the local network to establish an RTK correction from the network.”

Utilizing a network – local, privately owned or public – instead of a standalone base-to-rover, RTK technology saves on equipment costs and time, since the user does not need to own or set up a local base station. The network also dramatically expands the operating range, Killpack said.

A digital UHF radio may broadcast correction signals to rovers up to eight miles. In contrast, “a network rover uses cellular technology and can easily fix a position at 20 miles from the nearest base station in reasonable conditions,” he said. It also “eliminates localization errors. You are always on the right coordinate system, which simplifies the entire construction process.

“Basically, an operator turns on his machine and the system knows where it is on the site model and it can immediately go to work. It reduces setup time every day as the network is always on and always available for corrections to the machines or grade checkers. Using a network eliminates the need for a local base station on site and extends the range in which the machine or man rovers can operate substantially,” Killpack said.

Roy Boyd with Boyd Instrument and Supply of Horsham, Pennsylvania, listed six reasons why networks work well with Topcon machine control:

1) No base needed on the site; operators can start work even before the foreman shows up;
2) Your base receiver can now be a rover so you can run more sites with the same number of receivers;
3) Topcon networks are the only ones using GPS + GLONASS;
4) The network is operational 24/7;
5) Less receivers to maintain; and
6) Only Topcon networks can run machine control.

As with all precise measurement technology, atmospheric conditions and curvature of the earth impart errors over distance that must be accounted for in order to maintain high accuracy.

“This is where Topcon Millimeter GPS technology separates itself from the competition,” Killpack said.

Topcon is the only company to offer local vertical correction that can be utilized by an unlimited number of rovers on the same site without interference, Killpack said.

“Combining this one-of-a-kind technology with the positional information that is calculated from the network correction from miles away, gives the machine or man rover a very precise position in real time that cannot be matched by any other kind of GNSS technology that is currently on the market today.”

Features of this Topcon technology include:
• World’s first integrated machine receiver with internal cellular technology inside
• World’s first GPS, GLONASS and Galileo integrated machine receiver
• Easy file transfer via Bluetooth™ or built- in USB port

About Topcon Positioning Systems
Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world’s leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, agriculture, optical surveying, and machine control products, software, and applications.  Topcon Corporation is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).