Question: What drives a 67 percent reduction in fuel consumption, more than $200,000 in labor savings and project completion two months ahead of schedule? For Primorje Ajdovscina, the company responsible for grading and paving the reservoir at the Avce Hydroelectric Powerplant in West Slovenia, the answer was the Cat® AccuGrade™ Grade Control System.
The Avce Powerplant consists of a two-million-cubic-meter storage lake, connected via a two-kilometer-long pipeline to a power station 550 meters below. Water is pumped up to the reservoir at night when electricity prices are low and flows down to the power station’s turbine to generate electricity at times of peak demand.
Because the reservoir’s soil is very porous, Primorje Ajdovscina was charged with grading and paving the side slopes. The reservoir walls required a 40 percent slope with a 30-centimeter gravel layer. Prior to adopting AccuGrade, three operators—two in dozers and one in a motor grader—spread and graded the material. The company employed three grade checkers who used string lines across stakes to check the thickness of the gravel layer.
After seeing a demonstration of a D6K equipped with AccuGrade Dual GPS, though, Primorje Ajdovscina quickly decided to make a change. One of the dozer operators learned the new system in just two hours, and the site supervisor was able to reassign the other dozer, the motor grader and the three-man survey crew to other jobsites in the area.
“After only a few hours of working, we realized that this was the ideal solution,” the D6K operator says.
Ideal might be an understatement. By reducing manpower from three operators and three surveyors to just one operator, Primorje Ajdovscina was able to save $205,500 USD ($150,000 EUR) in labor costs—and by reassigning equipment, the company reduced fuel consumption by 67 percent. Even more impressive, the grading and paving project was completed in just four months, 30 percent faster than the original six-month timeframe.