Machine Control is playing a vital role in our "Journey to Net Zero"

Report from one of our ongoing projects:

At Griffiths, we understand that we have a vital part to play in addressing the climate emergency. Therefore, we have been working hard to find innovative ways to work smarter, safer, and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

We know that, while construction is vital in building a better world, it is a significant contributor to environmental impacts, so it is our mission to create a sustainable business for future generations.

Part of our journey to net zero has been tackling our Plant and Transport impact on the environment. Our Plant and Transport Director, Adrian Davies and his team of passionate professionals are determined to leave a positive footprint and shape the future of construction. They are already making impressive progress in achieving this goal.

One of the initiatives that the team has been working hard on is the implementation of intelligent machine control.

Adrian Davies said: “We’ve had GPS machine control for five years with a variety of different manufacturers, but I knew there was a more efficient way of working.”

In June 2022, Griffiths embarked on an ambitious project, working closely with Sealand Survey Centre in the development of a bespoke system that would best suit Griffiths’ needs. Topcon’s machine control technologies and Sitelink3D software were incorporated into our system, and it’s been an absolute game changer. We can now remotely access our machines from anywhere in the world to update data, check on daily productivity, diagnose any faults and, most importantly, use our intelligent software to highlight efficiency improvements to reduce our carbon footprint.

Adrian explained: “Our operators have fully embraced machine control. In fact, the comment I’m having back from them is ‘how did we manage before Topcon machine control and Sitelink3D?’ The benefits are proving to be enormous. On our Welsh Government A40 Scheme, for example, Sitelink3D and machine control is helping us efficiently deliver an active travel route by reducing downtime, which in turn has increased productivity and decreased idol time on our plant and equipment – all helping to offset waste and carbon and build in a far more sustainable manner.

We have rolled these technologies out throughout our sites, including Colwyn Bay, where we were tasked with reducing coastal erosion. By using machine control, we can place each block stone at the exact angle to maximise the reduction in energy from the waves.

Flood defence systems at Dyfi Bridge have also been also built with the aid of machine control. Again, reducing downtime on the plant to ensure we could complete the project as quickly as possible for the convenience and safety of the surrounding community.

“All in all, the changes to the way we tackle each project is helping us combat climate change and build for the future.”

Don’t just take Adrian’s word for this. Senior Support Engineer, Andrew Clifton, from Topcon Positioning GB, said: “Working in conjunction with Topcon distribution partner, Sealand Survey Centre, Griffiths has been using Topcon solutions to increase productivity and reduce costs, all while improving safety and reducing its carbon footprint to help combat climate change. We are thrilled with the positive impact that Topcon’s technology has made on Griffiths’ projects – it is fantastic to see such a forward-thinking business that has truly embraced digital construction. We are looking forward to working with Griffiths and Sealand Survey Centre on many more projects together.”

At Griffiths, we are aware that none of this would have been possible without the support of Luke McHugh, Sealand Survey Centre’ Managing Director, Technical Director Matthew Ingram and their incredible team. We urge other plant operators to follow our lead and fully embrace machine control.

Luke McHugh said “Griffiths became the first in the UK to run multiple sites remotely using remote support, file transfer, automatic as built reports and weight reporting on the haul trucks through Sitelink3D.

By updating the Griffiths ‘Machine Control’ fleet, Adrian has reduced his callouts by 80% and sites are now able to work safer, more accurately and efficiently using up to date technology. All of this has resulted in a more sustainable fleet for Adrian.”

Griffiths believes strongly in sharing best practice for the benefit of the environment and would urge other construction companies to consider this innovative approach to machine control. We would welcome contact from colleagues across the sector to ensure that we work together for a more sustainable future for the whole construction industry.

Watch this video to find out how this was accomplished!

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