Excavating Solutions, LLC’s recent release of the IDigBest family of dig systems marks a major milestone in the operation, function, and performance of excavators. Just as machine control changed the role and importance of the dozer on a jobsite, IDigBest has now opened up vast opportunities for the excavator, giving it abilities only dreamt of, until now. The systems will fit on any size, brand, or age excavator. If you already have a GPS-equipped machine, IDigBest is compatible and can enhance the performance of your existing system. For the first time, by using IDigBest Degrees or IDigBest Machine Control, operators can take advantage of the patented flat bucketing technique. The cornerstone of this technique is the patented valves that allow for the main boom to be placed in a safe semi-float state.
Flat bucket technique is achieved by setting the bucket flat on grade and taking advantage of the large, flat, low ground pressure inherent nature of any bucket with the teeth in the most optimal position to slice through the earth. The efficiency of this technique provides for optimal fuel efficiency and labor savings due to the perfect grade obtained with a smooth, spoil-free ditch.
The secret to flat bucketing success is the semi-float position that our valves achieve by equaling the hydraulic pressure of the main booms on the top and bottom of the cylinders. By equaling out the pressure, we also achieve a large measure of safety because the boom, while in a softened state, only drops slightly before the opposing pressures equalize. Consequently, this softening of the boom gives the operator the feel of control and motion, while allowing the bucket to make corrections to maintain perfect grade without the full weight of the machine fighting against the trajectory of the bucket. The philosophy behind the valve is to lessen the human inputs and natural tendencies of the operator, so the bucket can stay on the desired trajectory. The best example of this is a bow and arrow. Once the arrow has been aimed and released, the arrow, if undisturbed, will follow its intended trajectory.
THE SYSTEM THAT STARTED IT ALL
IDigBest is a non-GPS digging system. The system is an extremely accurate measurement system. The system is dominated by one-touch operation to move through all of the functions; it can be used with or without a laser. The system is simple to use and keeps the operator aware of the depth and position of the bucket/teeth with a gentle indicator of an LED light strip on the bucket. This eliminates the need to follow the screen or listen to annoying beeps and tones, ultimately cutting down on operator stress and fatigue. The system is easy to install and the operator can store up to 10 different machines in memory with up to 9 buckets per machine. The head unit goes from machine to machine with the operator. Efficiency and safety are the driving factors behind the technology.
The most impressive option on the system is X-RAY VISION. The most dangerous and largest potential liabilities on the jobsite are underground utilities. With the X-RAY VISION option, once a utility is located through conventional methods, the operator places the bucket plumb above the utility and the depth below the grade is measured. Once the utility depth is entered, the operator enters the diameter of the utility and then the diameter of the safety zone he wishes to maintain. The operator then starts normal digging techniques, while the utility and the bucket outline are visible on-screen and moving in real time. As the outer safety zone is penetrated, a soft tone is emitted. As the actual utility is approached, a solid tone is broadcast. The final safety option is an electronic kill switch that will shut off the joysticks to prevent contact.
NEWEST PORTHOLE INTO MACHINE CONTROL
IDigBest Degrees is our basic non-measuring machine control system. The system is designed to allow an operator to dig as normal; then while digging, the operator commands the system through a foot pedal, the bucket turns to the desired angle (ex: flat or 0 degrees, 3:1 slope, or mirror any slope desired), pulls through the stoke, then releases the foot pedal to return to full normal control. The system is a simple standalone resource for the operator. It can be used by itself or in conjunction with any existing system already outfitted on the machine. The system consists of a small, 3-inch screen and a small valve that T into the joystick controls. The system fits any machine. The logic behind this system is to get to grade, hit the foot pedal, and pull the joysticks to automatically slice the bucket to desired grade, then release and resume normal operation.
IDigBest Machine Control is the combination of the IDigBest digging system with the semi-float valves and the pilot hydraulic valves. This gives the operator the benefit of real-time measurements, live on the screen or LED indictors on the stick or bucket, coupled with the ability to pull perfect grade through the flat bucketing technique with the flip of a switch. The true benefit of this system is to give the operator the ability to know his elevations with every movement he performs with the confidence and ability to pull perfect grade at any moment. Thus, reducing material loss due to over-digging, fuel savings by having the bucket teeth cut in their most efficient cutting position, and dramatically reducing the time in one location while trying to get as close to grade as possible, and relying on and waiting on a shot man to check grade and perform calculations. IDigBest allows the operator and the machine to work more efficiently and precisely. Go to www.idigbest.com to view the videos. ■
About the Author:
Philip Paull is the president of Excavating Solutions and the creator of the IDigBest brand family of excavator digging systems. He has put a lifetime of excavating experience into this system. The company is based in Noblesville, Indiana. Phil can be reached at 317.210.0220.
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2013
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