Vermeer Adds GPS Steering To Surface Excavation Machine


Aggregates producers that use a Vermeer surface-excavation machine as an alternative to drilling and blasting, or for surface mining, haul road construction and site preparation, now have the option of adding GPS-guided steering, which can improve cutting accuracy and operator consistency.

Using technology from Trimble, a global leader in GPS technology, the Vermeer T1255 direct drive Terrain Leveler surface excavation machine (SEM) now offers GPS steering as an option.

“Mining companies are at the forefront of machine automation, and we worked with Trimble to develop an innovative solution for customers interested in automated steering,” said Chris Lynch, sales manager for the mining and pipeline group at Vermeer.

When equipped with this optional feature, machine steering is controlled by an onboard GPS device that can detect deviations from the designed line to provide greater accuracy on each cutting pass. The optional system provides a cutting overlap of 6 in. (15.2 cm), helping to enhance productivity with each pass.

“Companies have used a variety of methods to steer their surface excavation machines,” Lynch said. “Also, different operators use different methods meaning steering methods might change between the day shift operator and the night shift operator. GPS steering technology helps bring enhanced consistency to the process.”

GPS technology can be used to create a mine-by-line plan. A company starts by conducting a GPS survey of the jobsite; that information is given to a designer who creates a plan, and then that plan is uploaded to the GPS system on the Terrain Leveler SEM. The operator selects that plan, and the GPS system steers the machine along the proper line provided by the survey.

This is the latest GPS feature on the Terrain Leveler SEM. The patented tilting drum already offers the ability to use GPS for grade control.

The GPS steering option is available now on the new Vermeer T1255 direct drive Terrain Leveler SEM. Vermeer is also working on an system upgrade that will allow Terrain Leveler SEM machines already in the field to support the GPS steering option.

Trimble announced the introduction of a Trimble Ready factory option for the new Vermeer T1255III Direct Drive Terrain Leveler SEM. Vermeer T1255III SEMs that ship from the factory Trimble Ready make it faster and easier to install a Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System, which can reduce the cost and complexity of the installation.

The Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System uses GPS to control cutting head depth and pitch. Operators can cut to the surface mine plan more precisely and eliminate rapid changes in cutting depth, which can impact productivity. Machine steering coordinates can also be provided by GCS900 to reduce human error for cutting head overlap and maximize the efficiency of the machine. In addition, the mine operator can set parameters where the machine can and cannot cut using a 3D constructible model and machine control.

“Trimble and Vermeer have worked closely together to make precision machine control and steering available for the Vermeer T1255III Direct Drive Terrain Leveler SEM,” said Patrick Robinson of Vermeer. “When the Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System is used, productivity gains can be realized by our customers.” 

“We are excited to introduce a Trimble Ready option for the new Vermeer Terrain Leveler SEM that can make it faster and less expensive to install Trimble technology,” said Jim Green, business area director for Trimble OEM Solutions, Civil Engineering and Construction Division. “Contractors may now realize an even quicker return on their construction technology investment.”

Vermeer Corp.,, 641-628-3141

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