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Lindum Plant trials new GPS-enabled excavator

Posted Wednesday 1st November 2017

Cutting edge construction techniques were showcased when a major development on the edge of Lincoln reached a key milestone. A Bolt Tightening ceremony was held at the site of Lincoln Precision Engineering’s new £1.5m home on Discovery Park, off Whisby Road.

The event marked the completion of the building’s steel structure, meaning the next phase of building work could begin.

And during the ceremony, experts from Lindum Plant demonstrated how their cutting edge GPS-enabled excavator is laying new foundations for the future of construction.

All 23 members of staff from Lincoln Precision Engineering (LPE Ltd) visited the site in Whisby Road for the Bolt Tightening ceremony. A highlight was a demonstration of Lindum’s new GPS-enabled excavator.

Lindum is the first main contractor in the UK to have the latest version of the Trimble GPS equipment installed – an investment of £50,000.

The cutting edge technology allows construction teams to complete fast and accurate excavations by programming the excavator with the engineering drawings.

Using links to up to 20 satellites, the Trimble system identifies the excavator’s precise location to within 2cm and then uses geometry to work out exactly where the digging blade of the machine’s bucket is – showing this to the operator on a tablet display in the cab.

The systems will save Lindum - and its customers - time and money.

Lindum Civils Director Tom Robertson said: “Essentially, it means a job that used to take four weeks will now take three. Currently excavating requires two people. Someone in the digger and another person on the ground, who is regularly checking the direction and depth of the work.

“The new technology means the machine operator can see in real time what is going on and operate the controls of the machine accordingly to work as efficiently as possible.

“We are really excited to be using this technology and, after completing tests and trials over the coming weeks, it will be in active service in November.”

LPE Ltd is a specialist engineering firm which is currently based on the Lindum Business Park in North Hykeham. The company has been in existence for 30 years and supplies a diverse range of industry sectors with laser cutting and folding services for all forms of metal.

Managing Director Trevor Wherrell said he shut down the current factory for an hour as the entire team wanted to see how the new building was progressing.

“It was really exciting to see how the development is taking shape,” he said.

“We are already gearing up for the move – we’ve ordered a major new laser cutting and two folding machines, which will be delivered from Germany in the new year.

“The team is working to generate new orders as we will have so much additional capacity - our current factory is about 10,000 square feet in size and this will be around 16,000 square feet.

“We will be looking to increase our workforce too.”

Lindum Group sold LPE Ltd land at the seven acre Discovery Park and designed the company’s bespoke premises, ahead of starting work on site in August.

The new building is on schedule to be completed in March 2018.

Lindum’s Contracts Manager Simon Hope said the site was progressing well.

“Everything is currently on schedule. The steel structure has been completed, the fall arrest installed ready for the roof sheets to be installed from Monday (30th October),” he said.

“In four weeks’ time, the wall cladding will start. The project is coming along very well.”

When complete, Discovery Park is expected to attract significant investment of over £10m for the local economy, securing upwards of 100 jobs, with tremendous benefits for the local area and community.

The 16,200 sq ft office and production facility being created for LPE Ltd will take 1.2 acres of the seven acre site, allowing Lindum to still be able to offer other businesses bespoke premises solutions on competitive freehold or leasehold terms.