GPS grade control has provided Fast Brothers with a serious advantage when it comes to earth moving and site grading. Based in Blumenort, Manitoba, Fast Brothers has been around since 1978 and has seen the benefit using GPS has had for them and their customers.
"We have three base stations for different job sites, six machines equipped with antennas and two rovers for surveyors," says Fast Brothers GPS specialist Johann Fehr. "Before we used GPS we would start a project and if we ran into a design error on the drawings we would have to stop production, get the engineer on site, redesign and then re-move material that had already been placed. Now we can work out issues beforehand by making a 3D model instead of trying to figure things out on the jobsite once you realize it's not working. This way we can catch errors before we've moved any dirt in the wrong direction."
GPS saves customers money because excavating and trimming to final grade times are significantly reduced. On the screen in the cab, a dozer operator can see where his cutting edge is in relation to the finished grade within +/- 2 inches. The blade can also be set to auto level allowing the operator to cut to finish grade with fewer passes. Another advantage to using GPS is that there are virtually no stakes on site to get in the operator's way. All the information is stored on the machine's control box.
Fast Brother's customers appreciate the GPS technology because they can see a 3D model of their project and get a better idea of what the finished product is going to look like. Fehr says that with GPS, Fast Brothers is able to make more accurate estimates as well, which gives customers a better price breakdown and cost savings.
"The bottom line," says Fehr, "is that we can do more for less cost to the customer." And who doesn't want that?