Things to consider before buying excavator machine control

Looking for a machine control system but still having doubts about the operating costs? You’ve come to the right place! This article discusses factors affecting machine control systems’ acquisition and operating costs.

Acquisition cost

The prices of machine control systems depend on a few factors. The first of these is the type of the machine control system, i.e., whether it is a 2D or 3D system. 3D machine control systems, which utilize satellite positioning, have a higher acquisition cost than 2D systems, which are used without satellite positioning.

The acquisition cost also depends on the system components selected. For example, Xsite® EASY, which is Xsite’s basic excavator system for measuring depth, has a lower acquisition cost than the Xsite® PRO 2D machine control system.

Xsite® PRO 2D has a touchscreen and can be upgraded to a 3D machine control system just by adding satellite positioning devices.

Of course, the type of machine on which the system is to be installed also affects the cost. For instance, it determines the number of required sensors and the type of the satellite positioning antennas.

Factors affecting the acquisition cost of the machine control system:

  • System type (2D or 3D, i.e., with or without satellite positioning)
  • Machine type (e.g., excavator, wheel loader, bulldozer)
  • Accessories (e.g., joystick integration, laser receiver)

Operating costs

Correction signal for positioning

In order for the positioning accuracy of a 3D machine control system to be sufficient for earthwork (+/- 2 cm), the system needs a correction signal. A correction signal can be obtained either from a base station or via network correction (virtual reference station (VRS) service).

2D machine control systems do not require a correction signal, as they do not use the positioning.

The Xsite® PRO 3D machine control system is compatible with base stations and network correction services provided by other industry operators (e.g., Leica SmartNet and Geotrim Trimnet). The cost of the network correction service always depends on the selected service provider’s prices. Your local dealer can provide more information on the network correction service.

Wireless data transfer/SIM card

In 3D machine control, wireless data transfer is used for purposes such as transferring machine control models and as-built points between the office and machine control system. For wireless data transfer, the system requires a SIM card with a data subscription (we recommend a 4G subscription). The SIM card is installed in the computer unit of the machine control system, where it enables a remote connection, the use of a VRS service, and other functions.

The Xsite machine control systems support all of the most popular operators, giving you a wide range of choices.

*No SIM card is required for 2D machine control.

Machine control models (3D models)

The construction plans, also known as 3D models, used in the 3D machine control system should also be taken into account in the costs. In bigger projects, the responsibility for creating the machine control models is usually allocated at the tendering stage of the project. It is common practice that the production of the 3D models is the responsibility of either the client or the main contractor, depending on the size of the site.

If you carry out smaller contracts, such as foundations for detached houses, you can also order the required machine control models from an engineering office. The cost of machine control models based on paper plans is generally quite moderate.

To find out what kind of sites are ideal for 3D machine control and how to order machine control models, see our blog here»

Factors affecting machine control system operating costs:

  • Correction signal for positioning (VRS service or base station)
  • Local maintenance or service contracts
  • Possible 3D modeling services
  • Data subscription

The benefits of machine control outweigh the costs

Regardless of whether you decide to purchase a 2D or 3D machine control system, based on over 30 years of experience, we can assure you that the benefits of a machine control system will soon exceed the investment cost.

  • Reduced material costs – cutting 5 cm less can save thousands of euros operator’s work becomes easier and faster operator can work more independently site foreperson does not need to be on hand to instruct the operator
  • 3D machine control halves the turnaround time compared to the traditional method
  • The use of machine control models helps avoid unnecessary site visits
  • At house or road construction sites, the models show exactly where the masses should go – no need to store any masses on the ground
  • With 3D machine control, the masses can be shaped already at the excavation stage to a place where they are not in the way
  • There will be no unnecessary steps in the work process, as the right surface level can be achieved the first time

Interested in machine control? Contact your local Xsite dealer!

We’ll find you a machine control system that best suits your needs.