CONEXPO: Trimble Announces Equipment Guidance Module Coming Q2 of 2023

Trimble announces its answer to upstart companies launching solutions that do not automate an excavator but rather give the operator visual feedback to help them accurately execute against a design.


Trimble at CONEXPO March 14 announced it plans to launch in Q2 of 2023 a new product to increase the productivity of excavator operators—Siteworks Machine Guidance.

Siteworks Machine Guidance extends Trimble Siteworks Software for surveying, layout and to provide guidance to the operator via an in-cabin display. What this means is a single operator with an excavator can perform surveying, in-field design and then report on production once work is complete based on data captured by the application.

While entrepreneurial companies have launched machine guidance products, this new offering offers contractors a path to step up to Trimble automation solutions.

“This is machine guidance, and we are not automating the operation of the machine but are offering visual indicators for the operator,” Trimble Civil Construction Product Manager Jack Young said. “But not only can the contractor continue to use this system after upgrading into our automation solution, but we are offering a stepping stone into the more advanced technology. It is extremely buildable and very good. So it is not a dead end.”

The lower price point and complexity of Trimble Siteworks Machine Guidance means it can be a viable choice for even the smallest contractors.

“A huge target for this technology someone with one machine,” Young said, stressing that the machine enables a single operator or sole proprietor to perform the work typically performed by others or would require the operator to be outside of the cab, including surveying, staking and flag work.

What It Is

Contractors opting into Trimble Siteworks Machine Guidance can get the install turned around in a few hours by a SITECH dealer organization.

“The system on the rod is installed by SITECH, and we provide the user a machine kit that includes a sensor for the dog bone of the excavator,” Young said. “There is a Bluetooth transmitter to send to display in the cab and a harness to connect the sensor to the battery.”

The solution also relies on the Trimble Siteworks platform.

“That is where the horsepower of our system comes into play,” Young said “It is where we perform all of our workflows on or off the machine. This is the source of the power for site positioning and in-the-cab visibility of where the bucket is relative to the design.”

As-a-Service or Buy it Outright

While the price point for Trimble Siteworks Machine Guidance that makes it easier to dig will be lower than for their offerings that automate the boom and bucket, Trimble is lowering the barrier to entry even further with flexible financial arrangements.

“We are offering Trimble Siteworks Machine Guidance through an as-a-service model or they can just buy the equipment outright,” Young said.

Excellent Timing

Trimble’s announcement is well-timed given that insurgent companies, seeing the opportunity for a lighter weight technology solution to improve the productivity of excavator operators without going all the way to automation have been bringing products to market.

An Austrian company, Sodex Innovations, came to market in March 2022 with an automated measurement tool targeted at small excavators. The company’s technology automates the surveying, documentation, and billing of excavated material on construction sites through continuous measurement of the three-dimensional terrain.

Norway-based Unicontrol has meanwhile launched Unicontrol3D, a straightforward guide-on-the-side interactive tool to make excavation easier. In a march 2022 briefing with ForConstructionPros, Unicontrol Chief Commercial Officer Ehsanullah Ekhlas described how the company is offering a software-centric approach that makes using excavators, wheel loaders and backhoes more intuitive, putting technology in the hands of even the smallest contractor and potentially making rental equipment easier to use. At CONEXPO, the company was working to finalize its initial distributorships for North America.


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