Mid-sized Dutch Earthmoving and Civil Contracting Firm Goes All-out Digital with Trimble

Customer Profile: Earthmoving and civil contracting firm W. Huijbregts from the Dutch town of Zundert has grown its business by using modern technology to gain a competitive edge. Thanks to the adoption of Trimble construction technology, the company from the Dutch agricultural heartland has built a diverse and loyal customer portfolio, all profiting from Huijbregts’ efficient and reliable operations.

W. Huijbregts

 Solution

A true Dutch family company, civil contracting and earthmoving company W. Huijbregts has seen tremendous growth recently. Now, the father-and-son lead company employs a team of around 30 professionals working on machinery ranging from heavy tractors, excavators, trucks and loaders. Their clientele is just as diverse as the assignments: municipalities, farmers, nationally operating contractors and even soccer clubs. Wil Huijbregts, founder of the company, sees digitalization as the key to the current and future growth: “We’re winning business because of the investments we have made in 3D and GNSS technology. They have raised our level of professionalism exponentially, and that is what drives business and profit.”

Next generation

Stef Huijbregts is the driving force behind much of the digitalization effort. Coming from a younger generation “Stef picks up on these new technologies much easier”, says Wil. “But gradually the whole company has embraced the integration of more hi-tech in our workflows.” Stef added: “We now digitally convert all of our 2D drawings into 3D through Trimble Business Center software, so we can share the drawings with our clients to get checked. Once the work is finished we can show that everything has been done according to spec. So much more of the preparation work is done in the office, and with a much higher level of control.”

Wil continues: “The accuracy is astonishing. We know exactly what amount of earth needs to be moved, and the numbers of paving material we need to source, which machines to use, and the amount of time they’ll spend on site. This makes for meticulous planning and estimating. Trimble software now really is at the heart of the operation. On the hardware side we have nine machines that are machine control-ready for digging and leveling, and five machine control systems that can be exchanged between machines. Our excavators as well as our wheel loaders and our leveling board attachment,.are equipped with Trimble Earthworks and GCS900 - two of the excavators even with a tilt rotator attachment integrated in Earthworks. All this, combined with the Trimble rovers and Trimble Universal Total Stations for grade checking and machine guidance, pushes productivity further. Our machine operators just know that the 3D plans uploaded are correct, so they can just go to work without having to check and double-check. The GNSS technology helps our operators deliver on the promise from the drawings, with smooth grades and accurately proportioned trenches.”

Trimble Earthworks Grade Control

 Support & Training

Marcel van Eijk, manager Special Products at Trimble’s reselling partner SITECH Netherlands, has been helping guide the Huijbregts’ company into the digital era. “Huijbregts is always looking for new possibilities. A great example was their idea to revamp an existing leveling attachment. Their request: turn it into a state-of-the-art leveler for soccer pitches and other large surface areas with vertical and horizontal control based on GNSS. As SITECH we’re in the business of offering solutions not products, and sometimes innovators like Huijbregts come up with challenges that trigger us as well and push all of us to the next level. Recently we installed this wheel loader attachment for fine leveling, guided by a total station, which makes for profiling within millimeter margins.”

Training is another aspect that is crucial for companies like Huijbregts to stay ahead of the game. SITECH’s van Eijk: “With clients requiring 3D plans and GNSS machine control, we sometimes see contractors scrambling to just get the tech installed. But it has no value if people don’t know how to work with it.” Wil Huijbregts added: “Training is what helps people get the most out of the machines, but also out of themselves.”

Open to change

“Everyone is starting to see that it is the way to go”, Stef adds. “You need to keep an open mind. The nature of the work is changing, and people need to get onboard with this new reality. It is after all what our clients want. They too want optimal control over all the details. The Trimble solutions make us look good and make us feel good about having the abilities to get the work done without discussions. We can offer a fair price that makes economic sense, however big or small the assignment. On a recent project we were involved in, we were able to save over four percent in costs as compared to the old-fashioned way of working. Just by having exact estimations and by eliminating mistakes. That adds up over time.”

“Our clients are sometimes doubtful when one of our people turns up on the job site, installs the total station or the GNSS antennas, and just gets that excavator digging”, Wil concludes. “No more pegs in the ground, no more strings being drawn or lines painted. The display simply shows the operator where to go, which services are in the ground, and what to expect. Sometimes the client can’t resist the urge to take out the tape measure. But the Trimble system is never wrong.”

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