2D OR 3D GRADING SYSTEMS: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT
YOU NEED?

Grading technology is getting plenty of buzz these days. People who use it swear by the benefits.

No doubt about it—this technology can help you make more money.

But when there are so many options available, choosing the right system can be confusing. If you’re considering an investment in grading technology, take a minute to learn the basics. A quick review of the fundamentals will help you make the right decision for your business.

 

What do these systems do?

Cat® GRADE technologies perform two key functions.

  • Some GUIDE operators to grade visually—showing where to cut and fill and giving feedback along the way
  • Some CONTROL the blade or bucket automatically—eliminating or greatly reducing manual effort
  • Some do both.

Your Cat dealer will help you select a system with the functions you need.

 

So what’s the payback?

Every situation is unique, but studies show Cat GRADE technologies can improve productivity by up to 50%—and pay for themselves in about 6 months.

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2D vs 3D: What’s the difference?

2D SYSTEMS

3D SYSTEMS

Work on flat planes and slopes Work on planes, slopes, contours & comple curves
Use an external point of reference (stringline, curb or laser) Use an internal point of reference (digital design plan)
Use one or more of these sensing technologies: slope, rottion, sonic, laser Use one or more 2D senors + GPS/GNSS receiver or Universl Total Station
Cost less than 3D Cost more than 2D
Require less infrastructure (no additional surveyoers, design managers, base stations or data radios) Require additional infrastructure (people, base stations, data radios)
Work well when job conditions and applications rarely change Work well when job conditions and applications are always changing

Don’t assume you need 3D

You may depend on GPS for driving directions, but that doesn’t mean you need it on your dozer. 2D systems are simple, less expensive and easily upgraded to 3D. So before you make any decisions, talk it over with your Cat dealer.

Rule of thumb: the more capabilities a system has, the higher its price tag will be.

Affordability & Accuracy Grade chart
of
Affordability & Accuracy Grade chart

Sensors at a glance

Each system, whether 2D or 3D, is built with a variety of sensing technologies.

2D Systems

Type:

Control Blade/ Bucket With:

Typical Uses:

Slope

Slope or angle information Motor grader blades
Dozer blades

Rotation

Rotational Information excavator buckets
Motor grader circles

Sonic

Time and speed of sound calculations Motor grader blades
Pavers and cold planers

Laser

Laser light Motor grader blades
Dozer blades
Excavator buckets

3D Systems

GPS/GNSS

Positioning satellites Motor grader blades
Dozer blades
Excavator buckets
Scraper bowls

UTS

Robotic device that tracks a machine-mounted prism Motor gradaer blades
Dozer blades
Excavtor buckets
Pavers and mills

*What’s GNSS?

Most people use the term “GPS” to describe the space-based navigation system that’s all but replaced the paper map. But to be perfectly accurate, GPS refers to the US system of satellites only. The worldwide network is called GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System). It includes:

  • GPS (USA)
  • GLONASS (Russia)
  • BeiDou (China)
  • Galileo (EU)

 

Factory-integrated or dealer-installed?

Another choice to make with help from your Cat dealer.

Factory-Integrated (Cat® Grade)

Integrated design
Built into your machine
Limited portability
More component protection

Dealer-Installed (CAT® ACCUGRADE)  

Cat-branded aftermarket option
Optimized for your machine
Maximum portability
Less component protection

It's a big decision. Your dealer can help.

If you’re in the market for a grading system, have a conversation with your Cat dealer. Together you can explore all the factors that affect your decision.

  • Job requirements
  • Site conditions
  • Application issues
  • Budget priorities
  • Fleet size and makeup
  • Skilled workforce availability
  • Contractor-subcontractor relationships
  • Future plans

Whether you choose 2D or 3D, factory-integrated or dealer-installed, you can be sure this technology will help you improve safety, productivity and profitability.

 

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