Mad Cat Constructions Deploys ‘Game Changing’ Grade Control on Small Machines
Customer Profile: Mad Cat Constructions (VIC) PTY LTD, established by Trevor Reynolds and Jim Knight, is a civil contractor based in Warragul, Australia. Mad Cat operates a large fleet of specialist machinery and attachments to facilitate civil and commercial projects for road corporations, councils, developers and large construction companies.
Business Challenge: Effectively use machine control on small machines to gain productivity advantages
- Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform
- Trimble WorksManager Software
- Trimble Siteworks Positioning System
- Improved productivity
- Greater accuracy
- Safer jobsite
- Less waste
- Increased profits
As a civil and commercial contractor in Australia, Mad Cat Constructions employs a talented team and a large fleet of specialty machinery and attachments to facilitate a range of projects, from road and bridge construction to demolition and erosion control around Victoria.
Since its inception in 1995, the company has invested in advanced technology to streamline operations and drive productivity and quality. Its fleet, which includes excavators, graders and skid steers with various blades and scoops, is equipped with the latest technology, including the Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform and Trimble WorksManager Software to wirelessly transfer data such as 3D designs to the construction site.
Trevor Reynolds, director and project administrator, said, “Since we often work on very large residential housing estates, we have embraced GNSS in a big way, from rovers with Trimble Siteworks software for set out to machine control solutions for greater efficiency and productivity.”
Operators especially like the Trimble Earthworks “Autos,” or automatics mode, which automates the boom and bucket operation while the operator controls the stick for consistent, high accuracy finished grade in much less time.
Just recently, Mad Cat began construction on a large subdivision project in Victoria. The project scope included all civil works, from initial bulk earthworks and utility installs through to completed roads and footpaths. During planning for the project, crews wondered if the same technology-enabled advantages gained on big machines could be realized on small machines for things like drainage, power and communications trenching and footpath preparation.
The Mad Cat team knew that a Kubota U55-4, a 5-ton tight tail swing excavator powered by Kubota’s 47.6 HP direct injection engine, would be ideal for activities in narrow space. Now, they just needed some grade control software—and automatics—to further drive operator productivity.
Working with the local Trimble dealer, SITECH Construction Systems, and the team at Victoria-based Kubota dealer Supergroups, Mad Cat installed Trimble Earthworks with automatics on the U55-4, one of the smallest machines the system has been used on.
When asked about the ease of use, Reynolds confirmed, “As we are running other equipment already with Trimble Earthworks and automatics, it was very easy to implement with a few adjustments—we basically put it straight to work. We simply upload the prepared project design using Trimble WorksManager into the cloud and the machine loads the files and away we go.”
While Mad Cat has not yet calculated the exact ROI, Reynolds said, “It is a no brainer.”
He points to one example of laying electrical tape over power conduits. “We don't need to mark out trench locations, we don't need to mark the depth or have someone measuring,” he said. “We don't have to worry about locating other services nearby. The operator just gets in and digs to the correct depth and position.”
Another benefit is the ability to deliver perfectly in-line trenches for utilities to the specified depth with no over digging. That accuracy reduces spoil that has to be removed from the site and requires less time to dig and verify depths, As Reynolds noted, the time, staff, safety and money savings are everywhere.
Bottom line, he concluded, “There are fewer people involved in the same activity and we’re more accurate. Having a small machine with Trimble Earthworks and automatics is a game changer.”