Choose machine control that is versatile for your machines
When choosing a machine guidance system, ask the right questions.
The correct term is GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) guidance. It incorporates the 4 sensors in the 2D system but with the addition of one (or 2) GNSS antennas, can calculate the location of the machine on the project. With this information, position and direction are known, allowing for pre-defined transitions in the target depth to be displayed on the screen for the operator to follow in real time.
What parts of the system are transferrable?
Most systems have fixed sensors with cables between sensors. The sensors are calibrate to the machine and become part of the “base kit” that must stay on the machine. With four or more sensors costing as much as $3000 each, it becomes expensive to share the hardware around multiple machines. It makes financial sense to purchase a system that has sensors that are also transferrable between machines. Most current systems can accommodate 20 machine profiles and 5+ bucket profiles per machine.
Does the system require add-on components such as modems or radios for a correction signal and are they at an extra cost?
Some system suppliers will quote you on the base kit price but once you add in the ‘extras’, you are paying thousands more for items that other systems include. Besides screen bracketing and sensor protection, which are tailored to each installation, everything else should be included in your quoted price.
Does the transfer between machines require a technician or can I do it myself?
A quality system should be able to be transferred from one machine to another and be operating in a short period of time with minimal training and without the need for assistance from a dealer technician.
If I break something, how hard is it to replace and how long do I have to wait?
With most brands, sensor replacement requires a service technician callout. This is an additional expense on top of the sensor cost. Waiting until a technician can get to you can be more expensive in down time than the damaged sensor. The best systems have user replaceable sensors that are factory calibrated. Even on remote sites, the longest you would wait to be digging is the time it takes to express freight the sensor.
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