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Contractor Tried &Tested

Technology

Specialist Civil Engineering contractor O’Brien Contractors, based in

Leamington Spa embraces new technology to aid company growth and

profitability.

If anyone has any doubts as to the benefits machine

technology can deliver will find the conversation with

Peter and Mick O’Brien of interest. The company has a

focus on developing the use of Trimble machine control

systems since the late 1990s. This has seen the business

grow its capabilities across its mixed fleet of excavators

and dozers.

Having recently trialled the latest machine control

technology on a compactor with Trimble solutions pro-

vider SITECH UK, Mick O’Brien has a clear focus on how

O’Brien Contractors will continue to take advantage of

the technology to maximise productivity, as he

explains:

“From the very early stages of machine control,

we recognised the commercial advantages it

could offer us as a business, investing time with

Trimble to develop the early solutions.

“It has been this long term journey, now

continuing with Trimble dealer, SITECH which

has seen us build our fleet to incorporate six

dozers, twelve excavators and more recently trial

the latest in compactor technology.

“For me, most people looking at machine

control tend to focus onsite, where as through

our experience we know the real value lies in

preparation in the office, prior to starting a job.

This is why a few years ago we employed a ded-

icated machine control specialist. From tender

stage, he liaises with our estimating team to

work out volumes and look at the overall project,

to see where value-engineering opportunities

exist, carrying this work through when the pro-

ject starts.

Even though this is a lot of investment in

time before you are even awarded a job, it ulti-

mately contributes towards a greater under-

standing of the project which leads to improved

planning. With clients also wanting us to react

very quickly when we are awarded projects, our

machine control expert has the capabilities to

model the earthworks required and feed this

information directly into the machines, even

when they are on route to site.

“So instead of engineers being dispatched

to do the setting out, the machines can be op-

erating within minutes of arriving at the job.

Even if the earthworks models change as the

project moves forward, we can send the updated

drawings and technical data straight to the

machine.

“Of course the key to making this work is

the interaction between operator and machine

and this is why our expert is also tasked with

training and supporting our drivers, with help

from SITECH. Interestingly, you may think that

machine control would be harder to introduce

to older operators, but this is just not the case,

as our most experienced people are in their 60s

and have found it very simple to make the

transition.

“Having recently worked with SITECH to

trial a compactor with machine control, I can

definitely see how we can continue to expand

our machine control fleet and capabilities. But

for me the next step is all about utilising two-

way communications, by receiving and process-

ing data from individual machines activities.

“For our business this will be extremely

important, as our clients expect us to report on

Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 6 No 1

40

Contractors World UK & Ireland