How going from 2D to 3D grading systems is expanding opportunities for Calgary’s Shamrock Earthworks

By Riley SimpsonAugust 17, 2021

Sean Coghlan of Shamrock Earthworks demonstrates a 2D grade control system with a compact excavator

From the cab of his Liebherr 920 compact excavator, Sean Coghlan demonstrates the effectiveness, speed and accuracy of Trimble Earthworks’ 2D grade control system in one of the latest episodes of Tech Talks from CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

Coghlan, of Calgary’s Shamrock Earthworks, said that his firm has seen firsthand the benefits of utilizing grading technology on jobsites such as digging basements and septic systems.

After showing the components of the 2D grading setup (including the the in-cab tablet and the boom and tail rotator sensors), Coghlan said that the Trimble system has effectively replaced an onsite grade worker while increasing the speed of a project by 30%.

“If you do the math there, you can kind of see it’s going to pay for itself pretty quickly,” Coghlan said.

Increased safety is a large part of the technology’s appeal, as Coghlan said that septic tank projects (without 2D grading systems) would typically require a person to physically go into a 17-foot hole with a shot rod.

“It’s great to have a system like this where we don’t have to put people down in a ditch or a hole [where] there’s a chance there’ll be a collapse or something terrible,” he said.

Although the 2D system Coghlan has used is already an upgrade on manual methods – he said 2D is great for any job in which a surface needs to be level – Shamrock Earthworks will be transitioning to a more advanced 3D system.

He said that incorporating a 3D system will “open doors for us” because the company is moving into bigger commercial projects such as excavation for a skateboard park.

Still, using either a 2D or 3D grading system is a “no-brainer,”according to Coghlan.

“Whether using it for rock walls, big landscaping jobs, digging basements or digging septic systems, [there’s an] increase in safety and speed and accuracy,” he said.

To see Coghlan perform a mock retaining wall measurement with a compact excavator, watch the whole video.

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