Equipment Type

Machine Control: Future Benefits

July 14, 2011

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

What’s behind the lack of penetration in the marketplace of machine-control technology? I continue to hear numbers that indicate between 10 and 20 percent are using it.

The general malaise in construction certainly has curbed spending on aftermarket purchases of machine control, and the lack of new-machine sales precludes the penetration of control preloaded on new earthmovers. We all understand that.

But I am still surprised by the lack of implementation. Machine control, including laser as well as global positioning, has proven ROI. In most cases, the investment can be justified by the cost savings of one earthmoving project.

In addition, machine control providers will quickly tell you that systems are evolving into telematics, which is machine-health information. These systems are developing while the AEMP telematics standard rolls out among member and other fleets.

The endgame is quicker, more accurate machine data (location, blade control, health) that will enable a fleet’s management team to monitor and predict machine availability, performance and future costs.

Fleets armed with the most accurate machine data will succeed. Competition for jobs continues heated, and the most accurate bids not only win the jobs, but win the profit. When the construction floodgates open, those with the most accurate data will also be best positioned to ride the wave to market growth.

If your fleet is one of the eight in 10 not using machine control, look into it.

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