Machine control tech speeds up sustainable drainage project near Glasgow

SITECH UK and Ireland has revealed that Caledonia Water Alliance (CWA) has been able to complete a sustainable drainage pond for Scottish Water in ‘half the time’ using Trimble machine control systems.

The project near Glasgow forms part of a six-year infrastructure investment programme to alleviate flooding and carry out upgrades throughout Scotland. The initiative marked the first-time CWA has used machine technology, trialling it on this project to assess how it could improve efficiency, productivity, and site safety.

SITECH, a provider of hardware, software, and training in Trimble technology, carried out on-site calibration, base station set-up and project support. CWA construction manager Robert Borland said, “The increased safety and efficiency the Trimble technology brings has opened people’s eyes within the business to the benefits of using machine control.

“As a former machine operator, I’ve used GPS on projects before, so I knew it was the right choice for this site where we needed to dig a big hole in a very tight space that was also on a slope. Any overcut or requirement to re-dig would be challenging to remedy and have a big impact on extending the timescale of the project.

“This area in Glasgow was on the flood register as being a combined sewer stormwater run through. However, the sewer didn’t have capacity to cope with anymore water, which was coming up from the manholes. Our job was to split the pipelines and channel the stormwater into this holding pond before it can be discharged into the canal.

“Our relationship with SITECH has been great throughout the scheme and the feedback from our leadership team and operators has been extremely positive.”

While it was originally estimated that digging the pond would take around four weeks, with machine technology the team from CWA was able to complete it in just two weeks.

Robert added, “We hired two different sized excavators from Blackwood Plant Hire and the team from SITECH ensured the kit was calibrated correctly for both. If we had dug this pond out without the assistance of machine technology, it would have required three men on site working with the machine.

“Using the Trimble GPS system therefore has radically improved the efficiency of carrying out this part of the project, and has the advantage of improved site safety, with no engineers required near the heavy equipment during operation.

“We had a banksman, but he was 20 metres away reversing wagons to the excavator. There was no one in the excavation itself putting string lines on batter rails because the machine was digging to the model on the Trimble Earthworks system so that was a big positive from our team.”

The site will be further enhanced with aquatic plants and tree planting around the area by Scottish Water to help improve the local environment.

SITECH regional sales consultant Liam Payne added, “We’re delighted this project has gone so well with CWA, as while initially there can be concerns about the cost of renting machine control systems, this SuDS system shows how much it can deliver in terms of increased efficiency and safety.

“Our team ensured we provided support to get CWA up and running from the moment their machines arrived and continued to assist them, so everything ran as smoothly as possible. Now they’ve experienced the efficiency, safety and reduced carbon footprint Trimble technology can offer we’re confident we’ll be working with them again very soon.”