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Excavator tech: missing link between safety and machine control

16 Mar 23 Combining a rated capacity indicator with machine control technology is being described as offering a new level of safety in excavation.

Excavators can be programmed not to damage anything
Excavators can be programmed not to damage anything

Swiss tech firm Leica Geosystems and UK company Xwatch Safety Solutions have teamed up to produce the new 3D Avoidance Zone system for construction sites.

Leica and Xwatch have been working together since 2021 and previously introduced the Leica iCON PA80 avoidance solution integration with the Xwatch XW 4 and 5 series rated capacity indicators.

The new device not only improves safety for construction workers and pedestrians around busy work sites, but also protects surrounding infrastructure.

Users of the new 3D Avoidance Zone system will be able to create 3D avoidance zones – either on the machine itself or elsewhere and then import – above and below the surface area directly within the Leica MC1 machine control software.

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Xwatch sales and operations director Dan Leaney explained: “We connected an XW5; a height slew and RCI (rated capacity indicator) system to the Leica MC1 machine control software. The integration of the XW5 provides a virtual wall with height and slew, also depth control, which enables the recognition of cables and utilities from the MC1 software. This allows the operator to work around the avoidance zones with ease, across the entire construction site.”

He added: “This breakthrough in technology and alliance with Leica Geosystems and Xwatch has transformed the global excavator safety market, in addition to increasing site productivity and control. This system is the missing link between safety and machine control for excavators.”

Critical avoidance areas might include overhead obstructions such as powerlines, underground services, and operations close to footpaths or live carriageways. This new solution offers the excavator operator an additional safeguard against these potential hazards, the companies say.

Tommi Kauppinen, vice president of machine control technology at Leica Geosystems, said: “Leica Geosystems’ machine control solutions have been one of the frontrunners regarding people plant interfaces. Overall, safety awareness solutions are a high priority. We see these features as enablers on our journey toward a higher level of autonomy. Now, our customers have access to a best-in-class solution for safety awareness as well as asset and infrastructure protection thanks to the collaboration of these two industry leaders.”

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