Leica Geosystems’ Guidance System Speeds Slope Cutting by 30 Percent

(Norcross, GA., 7 January 2011) An Oregon excavating contractor has found that a 2D guidance system from Leica Geosystems improves the productivity of an excavator by 30 percent when cutting slopes to a precise grade.
About a year ago, Pihl Inc., a grading and excavation contractor based in Banks, OR, bought the PowerDigger Plus guidance system from Leica Geosystems and fitted it onto a Kobelco 235 excavator. The system features a display screen in the cab that shows actual bucket position relative to the design grade.

“The guidance system has done a very nice job for us,” says Matt Pihl, owner of the company. “We use it to cut a lot of slopes. If you have a certain slope to cut, it has to be done precisely. You can make a big mistake if you make one gouge into the slope.
“The PowerDigger makes our excavator 30 percent faster when you’re on the final grade,” says Pihl. “But the best thing is that it eliminates a grade checker. That saves us significant money. And it’s safer, because you don’t have somebody walking around the moving equipment.”
Pihl recently used the guidance system to help cut a 1:1 slope involved in the site preparation for Progress Ridge, a 14-acre retail shopping plaza in Beaverton, OR. The big 1:1 slope measures 30 vertical feet from top to bottom and is 400 feet long. To cut the slope, Pihl used two excavators – a Komatsu PC 450 and the Kobelco 235 with the PowerDigger guidance system. The Komatsu began the mass excavation by loading two off-road trucks and building a bench about half-way down the tall slope.
Next Pihl positioned the Leica-equipped excavator on the bench and cut the 1:1 slope exactly to grade. “Then we cut out the first bench with the big excavator, and also used it to cut a second and final bench below the first,” says Tomas Zilka, Pihl’s surveying manager. “After that we could move the Kobelco down to the second bench and finish cutting out the slope.
Zilka is pleased with the PowerDigger Plus. “For our purposes it is absolutely perfect,” he says

For more information about Leica PowerDigger, go to http://portal.leicaus.com/e-Marketing/MachineControl/leica_powerdigger2d.cfm
Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions experience to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information. Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3,500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located throughout more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is a member of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.