Leica Geosystems today announced the introduction of a new version of the GradeStar 3D machine control system.

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

The release of Version 4.2 marks a major upgrade for the GradeStar system, which has been expanded to provide GPS- and TPS- based machine control capability for bulldozers as well as motor graders.

GradeStar is designed to work with proven Leica System 500 GPS receivers or TPS1100 robotic total stations. The operator can select from several GPS or TPS sensors and easily switch from one to the other in the field. Position data from the GPS or TPS sensor is transmitted via a radio link to the onboard GradeStar computer, where the position, tilt and rotation of the blade are compared with a stored digital terrain model. The computer then calculates deviations in real time to control the machine's hydraulics to move the blade to the desired attitude.

"With the new version of GradeStar, bulldozer operators can now take advantage of 3D machine control technology previously available only for motor graders," said Fred Rogers, director of 3D machine automation. "GradeStar offers enormous advantages over conventional machine control methods, speeding up grading work and increasing accuracy and productivity. On-site preparation work, such as staking out hubs and installing stringlines, is eliminated. Roads and construction sites can be graded in far shorter time and completed exactly according to design specifications."

The new version of GradeStar is designed to work with the popular SonicMaster grader system and PROControl dozer system, providing an integrated solution for automatic machine control. It can be retrofitted on any of the hundreds of machines already equipped with SonicMaster or PROControl systems.

A number of new routines have been added to optimize GradeStar for bulldozer requirements, such as automatic compensation for the dozer's mainfall angle and mast tilt for better accuracy on contoured surfaces and slopes.

Other major new features of GradeStar Version 4.2 are the incorporation of a Windows 2000 operating system, multiple radio modem configurations and a new intuitive menu for hydraulic tuning.

"With its exclusive side-shift technology and automatic mast tilt compensation, the GradeStar has won a loyal following in the construction industry," said Rogers.

Source: Leica Geosystems, Oct. 23, 2003