Working smarter and more efficient with machine control technology

Case study

Authors: Per Norell

In 1989, Tommy Berntsson founded Lerbergs Entreprenad AB, and he has used machine control since 2000. Today, Lerbergs Entreprenad uses most of Leica Geosystems’ technologies and services.

“When we make investments, we always choose what we consider to be the best solution. I have been a Leica Geosystems customer for over 20 years, and I feel confident about the technical solutions and support”, explains Berntsson, the company’s vice president.

Lerbergs Entreprenad is located in Kungsbacka, in Sweden and offers all types of building and heavy construction work. In many of the projects, Lerbergs Entreprenad acts as sub-contractor for larger companies such as Skanska, NCC, Peab, Implenia, Serneke and Veidekke. The machine fleet consists of 25 excavators, wheel loaders and trucks. The vast majority of machines consists of excavators.

Tommy Berntsson has a lot of experience with machine control. “We started using machine control 20 years ago. I realised at an early stage that we could work smarter and more efficiently even when the technology was not as developed as it is today. At that time, we worked with rotating lasers and later on with one and two slope laser control without GPS. A lot has happened the past 20 years, and it feels gratifying to have been part of this development”, says Berntsson.

Exploring the PowerSnap technology

Daniel Laurison inside his 250E Volvo excavator.

Daniel Laurison is an excavator operator and works on the Varberg tunnel project as a sub-contractor for the company Implenia. He drives a tracked Volvo 250E excavator and has used Leica Geosystems’ MCP80 panel and the MC1 software since 2019.

Laurison finds the MCP80 panel very practical, especially the PowerSnap feature, allowing simple and fast exchange of the panel between different machines.

“The MC1 machine control solution has a larger display than the old panel, and it is very robust which is an advantage when working in harsh environments. The main advantage for me is the docking station, so that I can quickly take the panel with me. I always remove the panel from the machine, when the day is over and lock it up for safety reasons”, explains Laurison.

The interchangeable Leica MCP80 panel together with the versatile Leica MC1 3D machine control software is developed to use on all heavy machines, including:

  • Excavators and loaders
  • Dozers and graders
  • Pavers, cold planers and rollers
  • Drillers and pilers
  • Snowgroomers.

While working on the Varberg tunnel project, Laurison benefitted from the cable-free panel with multi-touch screen and hard buttons. Thanks to the easy-to-use interface, compatibility with various heavy equipment and design, he could mount the panel quickly on every different types of machines. “The advantage of MC1 is the easy-to-use interface and the logical order of the project files. The panel gives a good overview of the different categories without going into several submenus to find the right model to work with”, says Laurison.

Better overview of the jobsite with machine control

Lerbergs Entreprenad has been a Leica Geosystems customer for over 20 years.

Daniel Laurison’s colleague, Jim Götthesson, worked on a completely other type of project, an archaeological excavation. Jim drives a Volvo 235E tracked excavator and has not gained a lot of experience with the new machine control solution from Leica Geosystems yet.

“On this particular project, I haven’t used machine control that much, compared to when I work on trenches, foundations or slopes. My first hand impression of the MC1 is that it is a very agile software, where you can move around in the model and see the entire jobsite on the display. I get a better overview and it feels more like a real drawing”, explains Götthesson.

Götthesson also explained that he enjoys learning new technologies, especially with the MC1, it is easy to navigate and the software is intuitive enough to shorten the learning curve.

"I have used the old technology for a long time, and I know it very well, but it is part of the development to learn new things. When you get a new software, there is always quite a lot to learn", said Götthesson.

Proximity to a base station is not necessary anymore with satellite positioning

In combination with Leica Geosystems iCON portfolio of machine control solutions, HxGN SmartNet, Hexagon’s GNSS correction service, guides and control earthmoving equipment for precise digging, grading and paving. With more than 4,500 reference stations worldwide, HxGN SmartNet provides the most coverage with 24/7 service. 

Lerbergs Entreprenad subscribed some of their machines to SmartNet, receiving GNSS corrections to improve single receiver position accuracy up to centimetre accuracy.

“The advantage of subscribing to SmartNet is that you are not as tied as you are working up against a base station. With SmartNet, we are always connected, and even when we don’t have the project model available, we have the height we can work from”, explains Berntsson.

Benefitting from remote support service

When Lerbergs Entreprenad decided to invest in digitalising their fleet, customer care service and support from experts was an important factor choosing Leica Geosystems.

Lerbergs Entreprenad subscribes to Leica Geosystems’ Customer Care Package (CCP), letting them benefit from field support and remote support via internet, software updates, yearly service checks and extended warranty.

“We use all the services in the CCP. The service technicians calibrate the machines and they upgrade the software for us on site”, says Berntsson.

The operators have direct contact with the support department at Leica Geosystems, in case of any problems they can ask for help and benefit from the remote support through the software.

“We are 30 employees, and I haven’t driven excavators for some years now,” says Berntsson. “I no longer have detailed information about the latest technology. It is an advantage that the machine operators can call support directly instead of going through me.”

Jim Göthesson uses Leica Geosystems’ technical support and has the direct contact to one of Leica Geosystems product expert. “I call support when I need them and I receive help quickly. If the support technician that I normally use can’t solve a problem, he will get help from another technician.”

Why excellent support service is important?

Meet Tommy Berntsson, the founder of Lerbergs Entreprenad.

Most of Lerbergs Entreprenad’s contracts are based on hourly payment and their contractors hire several of their machines and operators. It is important that nothing goes wrong.

“Stakeout on the construction site is not very common anymore, because most of it is done on the computer. If the machine control solution is not working, everything stands still. It is therefore important with support and quick feedback, as for example remote support. We can’t wait several hours, because the production is then standing still”, explains Berntsson.

Keep up with the technological advancements and become a leader in the market is a key for Lerbergs Entreprenad, but not only for the business but for their employees.

“I want us to be at the forefront of technology in the business," says Berntsson. “The same counts for the machine fleet, I want new machines with the latest equipment. This is also important for the operators. With good machines and modern technology, the work is more fun and supports their everyday workflows. When we invest, we buy exclusive products.”

Berntsson has been a Leica Geosystems customer for 20 years, among many reasons he highlighted why he feels comfortable working with us: “the technology is leading and the relationship with Leica Geosystems’ experts is uncomplicated. I feel comfortable and safe with them.”

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