Machine control made for rental fleets
01 December 2023
Topcon’s MC Mobile portable machine control solution for compact equipment is made for use on compact excavators, skid steers and compact track loaders, providing smaller contractors with the benefits of full-scale solutions, without the cost. Meant to be the entry level to more robust solutions, could MC Mobile be right for your rental fleet?
Machine control solutions are most often seen on heavy pieces of equipment on larger jobsites, but smaller contractors working on more contained projects can now reap the benefits of modern technology too, and so can the rental companies that serve them.
On the market for over a year now, Topcon Positioning Group’s MC-Mobile portable machine control solution for compact equipment is based on the Topcon MC-X machine control platform, offering the user experience and competitive performance benefits of full-size machine control guidance solutions for compact excavators, skid steers and compact track loaders.
MC-Mobile provides users with design, build and check functionalities and a Topcon software experience. Operators can utilize modular components for a range of applications, including grade checking, creating designs on the fly, and self-performing site layouts without traditional staking.
“Any contractor that is renting your compact track loader or compact excavator is a candidate to use this system,” says Joel M. Frost, director of business development, Topcon Positioning Systems. “As MC-Mobile gains adoption, your customers will be asking for grade control to rent as an option.
“The ability of the operator to see where the machine is located on the jobsite, and where it is to grade, is a tremendous benefit. No need to keep climbing on and off the machine or pulling a crew person off another task to give the operator grades.”
Displays and other components are designed to be easily shared across numerous machines. These pieces can also be moved from grade checking/layout rover pole to machine and back.
“MC-Mobile is a simplified, yet comprehensive machine control and site work solution for any contractor that uses compact equipment,” says Frost. “It’s easy to set up and use, it’s affordable, and it offers the same competitive benefits of machine control solutions designed for larger equipment.”
Made for small equipment working in tight spaces
MC Mobile is designed for machines working in tight spaces, such as 7 1/2-foot right-of-ways between properties on residential projects, for example. Mark Jones, senior manager, compact solutions group at Topcon, says it’s geared to compact construction equipment - CTLs, compact excavators of 10 tons and less, even skid steers.
“We want to get on every attachment that we can... motor grader blades, box blades, six-way dozer blades. We’ll even put a sensor on some flat-bottom buckets. These machines can now move around the jobsite with the precision of traditional machine control typically geared to heavy machines,” he says.
“Now we have a solution that fits this market, where the smaller machines are going to work in smaller spaces, doing all of that fine work that these machines are able to get into, but at a price point that fits there.”
Big tech, scaled down
MC Mobile is available in 2D and 3D, but it’s intended to be entry level, with simplified features and functions.
“The people using this system are going to be on their job for a day or two. They’ll put it on the equipment, then back on the truck and go somewhere else,” Jones says. “It’s ‘dirt people’ that
are using this; we’re at a very entry-level position for pricing and for skill set. It’s built for everyday common construction practices. We offer the ability to measure, execute, and then capture what’s going on, all with one simple package.”
Jonathan Dornetto, president of Dornetto Construction in Evans City, PA, spoke about the time savings he’s realized on residential projects. “Once the tablet has all the measurements, all the math is done. It used to be my foreman and I sitting around with construction calculators... and now it’s doing all the work for us. It gives us an ability to be nimble; we’re able to change design on the fly.”
He adds, “We are turning over the excavation portion of jobs faster. With the technology available before this, we spent a lot more time going back and regrading and getting stuff kind of close, but not close enough. Now we’re a lot more efficient.”
Jones says increased efficiency goes straight to the bottom line. “The ability for a rental machine to have an ‘on-board grade checker,’ along with the added benefit of using the system outside of machine operation for layout and design changes in the field in real time, are tremendous production and profit gains for rental customers,” he says. “It is machine control with so much more added to a worksite.”