Full control of the surveying job with Leica iCON soil compaction solution

Case study


Author: Arne Forsell

We are at PEAB’s site office in Tollarp south of Kristianstad, Sweden. A fenced area at the outskirts of the forest with several red container offices placed along the fence. Storehouses, materials, machines and cars fill up the remaining space. This is a place vibrating with activity, and it is the very heart of the new highway project PEAB is working on.

“I think this is the best machine control system for soil compactors that is available today. We use it for almost all of our soil compactors, and we are very familiar with the solution. The Leica iCON compaction solution contains all the functions that we need,” says Fredrik Larsson, chief surveyor at PEAB.

Larsson leans back into the seat of the chair and looks at the workers’ meeting room. He contemplates the printed construction plans that are taped up on the wall. A green line runs as a worm from one plan to another. It shows the project that Larsson has been working on for several years and that he and his colleagues expect to complete around Christmas 2020. The project is the construction of the E22 highway, Sätaröd-Vä.

Everything is managed and controlled from here: the construction of a 16-kilometre-long double-tracked highway through fertile farmland in the southeast region of Sweden crossed by 26 different bridges and bordered by numerous stone fences that are removed and placed back again during the construction phase. The project involves extensive environmental considerations such as fragile surface watercourses that the project must protect during the construction process.

“I have full control of my work.”

You could call this project “working on a knife’s edge because it contains a lot of potentials but can also provoke nervous sweating from many of the responsible persons involved,” explains Larsson.

In his home in Hässleholm, located a 45 minutes’ drive away, he enjoys spending time with his family. If there is any free time left, he runs his mountain bike in the surrounding forests together with his friends from the cycling club. “I used to run a lot of cycling tours when I was younger,” says Larsson, “but one day my knees put an end to that, and I have taken up cycling and mainly mountain biking since then.” It is a nice hobby for someone who works on large heavy construction projects.

In this part of the highway project E22, Larsson works as chief surveyor, a job that requires a lot of as-built checks and data analyses. But Larsson is confident in his work, and one of the reasons for that is because he is supported by the Leica iCON soil compaction solution.

Just as important as the heartbeat is for a human body, so is the compaction of the filling material in a construction project, it is essential. To have the complete insight into the various stages of the project and all the layers from the terrace and upwards, to see all the values and work with the data in real-time is of great importance, and Larsson can rely on the solution. He and his employees have tested several machine control solutions for compaction. Still, he knew that he had found the right solution when he was presented with the solution from Leica Geosystems, and he experienced that his ideas and requirements on how to fine-tune the solution were being heard.

“With iCON soil compaction, I have full control of my work. It is so easy to handle it. Any of our foremen can work with the solution and easily oversee the workflows and find the weak spots in the compaction. All the values and data are registered by the soil compactor’s Compaction Meter Value Sensor and transmitted wirelessly. Everybody involved in the project can monitor the workflow in detail from their computers,” says Larsson.

Project E22 is the largest highway construction project since the construction of the bypass road around Malmö was completed in 2000. The budget for the project was around 67,000 million Euro, and for Larsson and his colleagues, it has involved earthmoving of 1 million cubic meters of material. A project of this scale requires the right technical equipment, and the chief surveyor on Project E22 has found it.

Larsson does not need to go to the physical construction site that often, and it is not because he is afraid of leaving the office chair and go out in the real world. He receives continuous updates on his computer on how the compaction process is going. The data is shown with colour codes. Every movement that the soil compactor makes is displayed, and the colour codes are reflections of the variation in soil stiffness. Exact measurement indications along the line show the exact location of weak spots, so you don’t have to look for them. This results in higher quality of the work and lower operational costs.

“Looking at the results of using the solution, it is not hard to understand what it means for time and costs savings,” says Larsson.

It was easy right from the beginning

Seated on the vibration soil compactor, a 12 tonnes Dynapac CA 3500D, machine operator Edis Mazlovic has full control of his work thanks to the crisp clear MCP80 panel placed in the right side of his windscreen. He can monitor the passes he has made, how the soil has been compacted under his machine and how he can avoid over or under compaction. Mazlovic can detect the weak spots early in the process and ensure that the compaction work is done as cost-efficiently as possible. The data is continuously transferred in real time to the office where Larsson receives it.

“It was easy to get to learn the system,” says Mazlovic. “I have only worked with soil compactors for a couple of months, but I haven’t had any problems with the program. It was easy right from the beginning.”

The detection of weak spots in the soil made by the iCON compaction solution has also changed the work of the geotechnicians testing the weak spots. Only two compaction tests are now required on the areas identified as weak by the machine control solution. The workflow has been streamlined, resulting in significant costs and time savings.

Efficient, accurate, easy-to-use as well as cost-efficient. These are the keywords for the Leica iCON soil compaction solution, which is why chief surveyor at PEAB has found his favourite solution and dares to say: “this solution is the best on the market!”

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