Nyen Excavating, an earthmoving contractor in Chaska, Minn., invested in a GPS grade-control system for one of its dozers in 2000. The system worked so well, says president of the firm, Tony Nyen, that the company bought a second system last year for use on its pull-type scrapers. Says Nyen, the value of the system on the scrapers is its ability to constantly check the cut.
"Grades were always difficult to monitor on scraper jobs," says Nyen, "particularly on small jobs. When cuts were only 3 or 4 feet deep, a couple of machines could eat those up in a half-day or so. Things moved fast, and if you weren't paying attention, you'd have an undercut before you knew it. But with GPS, the operator always knows the machine's position relative to grade."