Leica Geosystems announced the introduction of the new GradeStar 3D motorgrader machine control system.

GradeStar is a flexible and powerful system that is designed to use precise inputs from either GPS or TPS sensors to control the position and attitude of the motorgrader's blade to match a computerized digital terrain model.

The GradeStar system uses the proven Leica System 500 RTK GPS technology, or the robotic TPS1100 series total stations. The 3D position of the blade is measured either by a mast-mounted GPS antenna or a precise 360-degree prism. Position data from the GPS or TPS sensor is transmitted via a radio data link to the GradeStar computer, where the position, tilt and rotation of the blade are compared with a computer-generated design surface. The computer then calculates deviations in real time to control the hydraulics automatically.

Automatic compensation of the mast's tilt, both longitudinally and laterally, means that the blade's cutting and spreading angle is fully adjustable. Automatic control of the blade's side shift enables the exact edge of a road or structure to be graded without any other alignment reference.

The operator can select among several different TPS and GPS sensors, and can easily switch from one to the other. The GPS solution is ideal for applications in which long control ranges are practical and numerous machines are working with a single reference station. The TPS solution is the perfect choice when highest grading accuracy is required, or when working in tunnels, under bridges or other areas where GPS signals may be impeded.

The GradeStar system can easily be retrofitted on machines equipped with the popular SonicMaster grader system, using the existing SonicMaster control panel.