Machine Control

Tobco and C.R. Kennedy

Civil and electrical infrastructure company TOBCO has enjoyed significant growth since its establishment a little under a decade ago, with the New South Wales-based business – which has a particular expertise in utility infrastructure, and which prides itself on being a hands-on, self-performing contractor – operating across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Civil engineers Glen O’Brien and Sam Turnbull started the business in 2013, drawing on a combined 40-plus years’ experience in the industry (with both having held senior positions for tier one construction companies), and have since presided over the expansion of its operations, with TOBCO undertaking small-to-medium-sized construction projects of up to $50 million in value.

TOBCO Civil Construction Manager Ruan van der Merwe told EEM that TOBCO – which is an ASP and RMS pre-qualified principal contractor for the New South Wales electricity distribution network – currently has five main capabilities that it operates in, encompassing the civil, utilities, maintenance, traffic lights and renewables sectors.

Ruan, who as a civil engineer has been working in the construction sector in South Africa and Australia for the last 13 years, said that TOBCO “possesses the experience, staff, accreditations, equipment and reliable contacts necessary to provide a complete EPC contractor service”.

“TOBCO’s fleet comprises over 150 heavy earthmoving plant, specialist civil construction equipment, vehicles and field staff,” he explained. “Owning their own plant and operators allows TOBCO to control time-delayed risk to ensure the successful completion of client projects.

“In particular, TOBCO undertakes electrical works on over-ground and underground electricity cables, communications install- ations, electrical power transmission and distribution infrastructure and substations, street and highway lighting, gas supply, water supply, wastewater, sewerage and storm drain infrastructure.”

Ruan emphasised that TOBCO’s capacity to self-perform most aspects of a project, meaning it does not have to subcontract the majority of its work, helps it to stand out in the market, with it having a range of resources to draw on, along with diverse construction industry experience across both public and private project delivery.

With this foundation in place, TOBCO has been actively involved with varying civil engineering, electrical infrastructure, construction and maintenance works, and is currently undertaking a number of projects.

Among these projects, TOBCO is engaged as the principal contractor for the Namoi River Crossing Project, in Manilla, New South Wales, being undertaken for Tamworth Regional Council, involving the design and construction of a new bridge located approximately 450m upstream from the existing heritage-listed Manilla Bridge.

TOBCO is also working on the New England Solar Farm roadworks, in the Uralla Shire, New South Wales, constructing all access roads for the facility, along with working on various bridges for the Walcha Council, Armidale Regional Council and Tamworth Regional Council.

In addition to this, TOBCO has been undertaking ASP works for several clients in and around Sydney, and overhead electrical works for several councils in New South Wales.

“We have been extremely busy this year, especially in the civil business,” Ruan told EEM. “We have a great order book, and enough work to keep our resources busy until at least the end of the year.”

Assisting its operations, TOBCO has recently installed a number of Leica iCON systems across its fleet of graders, dozers and excavators, utilising the services of C.R. Kennedy, the sole Leica Geosystems distributor in Australia.

“TOBCO are currently using two Leica iCON iGG3 grader systems, a Leica iCON iGD3 dozer system and also a Leica iCON iXE3 excavator system,” C.R. Kennedy Sales Representative, Joshua Smith said.

“They also have an iCG70T tilt GPS rover, which is being used as a foreman’s kit (mounted to the vehicle) and as a rover on a pole, and are utilising an iCG60 base station with a high-powered UHF radio to achieve GNSS corrections for millimetre accuracy.”

The iGG3 grader system brings design surfaces and alignments virtually inside the cab, providing millimetre-accurate control of the blade, making it ideal for fine-grading applications, with it featuring:
• Auto/manual information directly on the screen
• Fully customisable 3D views of the machine and jobsite
• Design and actual slope always displayed
• Multiple run screens to choose from

The iGD3 dozer system also brings design surfaces and alignments inside the cab, allowing operators to work independently and accurately anywhere on the project design, guided by GNSS or a total station, featuring:
• User-selectable views (e.g. Plan View, Cut & Fill View)
• Visible display screen, even in sunlight
• Remembers all your settings
• Scalable from 2D to full 3D capability
• Create a reference surface with up to four slopes

The iXE3 excavator system is designed to guide the operator using reference models and GNSS in 3D, with design information and real-time cut/fill indications displayed in the cab on the control panel, with it:
• Allowing the operator to rapidly excavate to the reference design, ensuring more uptime and operator satisfaction, while increasing safety and productivity
• Work with a wide range of popular data formats, including the LandXML, DXF, GEO, KOF, L3D, LMD, LIN, MBS and TRM formats
• The operator can use the function “Create Model” to make even complex models directly on the panel without leaving the cab and without the assistance of a surveying engineer

Ruan told EEM that “so far, the products have been great and user-friendly”, noting that one of the primary reasons TOBCO had chosen to utilise C.R. Kennedy is due to the level of service support provided.

In addition to technical support and training, helping businesses to unlock the full potential of their equipment, C.R. Kennedy’s national after-sales service network includes service and repairs support, hire equipment and customer care agreements.

Joshua said that TOBCO’s investment in the Leica range of solutions marks the beginning of the two companies working together, with C.R. Kennedy at the ready to provide the product support required as TOBCO taps into the various benefits of the range.

“Our relationship is only new, around three months old,” he commented. “But they have invested heavily in Leica machine control and are expanding rapidly.”

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