With its automated boom and bucket movements, the new Volvo Active Control creates a semi-autonomous excavator that achieves the perfect grade at a touch of a button.
Who wouldn't want to make creating the perfect grade easier? For novice operators it's difficult to get the depth and angle just right, and for experienced operators it can be a bit…well… repetitive. Fortunately, both operators can now celebrate, thanks to an ingenious new automated grading machine control system from Volvo Construction Equipment.
Initially offered on the new EC220E crawler excavator, but soon to expand more widely through the range, Volvo Active Control is a machine control system that is operated via the 10 inch in-cab Volvo Co-Pilot tablet. The system guides the operator through the functions in order to automate the digging process. Once the required parameters of the job are entered into the system and the job launched via a button, the excavator automatically adjusts the boom and bucket movements to make precise cuts, follow the desired shape and delivering exactly the right angle of grade – all in a radically shorter timeframe.
The benefits of the system are unquestioned. Such is the speed and precision offered that grading times are almost halved (45%) compared to conventional grading. And there is zero need for rework, because the system gets it right first time. Safety is also improved, as the system is so accurate that a second person is not needed to take depth/grade checks.
A wholly Volvo designed system, Volvo Active Control is powered by the company's Dig Assist application, and uses 'drive-by-wire' technology to control the excavator's electro-hydraulic system. With Volvo Active Control in charge to automatically adjust boom and bucket movements, the operator can achieve the perfect job one-handed – with only the left hand needed to control arm speed.
Volvo Active Control manages a number of functions to deliver the perfect grade – but also ensures hazards are avoided. A depth limit feature stops the bucket digging below a pre-set limit, thereby avoiding collision with known underground utilities. A height limit, meanwhile, helps prevent bucket, boom or stick colliding with power cables, ceilings etc. by setting a pre-set safe elevation. Finally, a swing fence prevents the machine hitting obstacles to its side. And loading trucks can be made easier, thanks to a swing position control that allows the operator to pre-program the location of the pile and the truck.
Even servicing is improved, as there are no hydraulic pilot lines to worry about – helping boost machine uptime further.