High tech solutions to make quarrying faster, productive


While the world may have slowed down courtesy of the global virus crisis, quarries are still reaping the benefits of great strides in technology solutions. A distributor of a global brand of earthmoving plant and equipment tells Nickolas Zakharia what some of these developments are.

It can be difficult to keep up in a world filled with the stresses and mayhem of day to day life. In the workforce, it is always crucial to keep up and stay productive on the task at hand. Sometimes this can be easy, and other times quite complex. 

Constant enhancements to technology across all sectors are adding productivity, efficiency and simplification to the melting pot of work-related tools to boost performance like never before. The quarrying industry is no exception. 

New strides are being made as the sector continually grasps the full potential of a digitalised world. The Industrial Internet of Things (aka IIOT or Industry 4.0) has accelerated the output and productivity of many quarrying and construction sites with data analysis, automation, and sensor technologies, just some of the many areas that the bright minds of companies such as Volvo CE are at the forefront of developing. 


Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) E-Series excavators were launched in Australia in the past year, combining smart technology with the fuel efficiency of Stage 5 engines to deliver a machine that is ready for the modern era of quarrying. 

Off the back of a 28-year partnership with Volvo CE, CJD Equipment is distributing the new E-Series excavator range to Australian customers. CJD Equipment has helped push the industry into a more environmentally friendly space in recent years by providing a range of efficient, productive construction equipment from several major brands.

Lindsay Daniels, CJD Equipment’s national product engineering and training manager told Quarry about what’s on offer with Volvo CE’s new E-Series range and its assist technologies for the construction industry.  

“One of the new features that customers can expect with the E-Series are Stage 5 engines which meet the latest Stage 5 European measurements,” Daniels explains. “They are some of the ‘greenest’ machines on the market at the moment. Most people are still offering Tier 4 Final or less.”

With fuel being a major expense in any quarrying application, Volvo CE have designed the E-Series with efficiency in mind and a reduction to maintenance costs using machine monitoring. 

At the heart of the E-Series is Volvo CE’s Co-Pilot system with Dig Assist technology that is available on crawler and short swing excavator models. Volvo Co-Pilot is intuitively designed and provides real-time information about how a machine is operating. 

Using a high definition touchscreen, Volvo CE’s state of the art technology can provide a range of fuel-efficient, uptime and safety solutions through the Co-Pilot system. This includes Volvo CE’s Dig Assist and Haul Assist for construction and quarrying applications. Co-Pilot only requires a SIM card and a 3G connection to access the smart technology opportunities available.   

“The beauty of the Co-Pilot system, which is what these two assist programs are based on, is that it allows these applications to be loaded in a similar way to how you would download an app on a mobile phone,” Daniels explains. “This ensures future programs down the track will be able to be downloaded onto the Co-Pilot system and into the machine and away you go. The apps are driven both by customer demand and vision for the future.”

There are several areas that the Volvo Co-Pilot system can help improve. This includes the ability for operators to trim more accurately in a very short period of time, using the control system. The system also offers the ability to simplify the digging of complex shapes by allowing operators to draw 2D shapes from the cabin. This decreases the time spent checking the accuracy of slopes and provides visual and audible collision and obstacle alerts – all of which improve productivity and safety respectively.

Dig Assist and the Volvo Co-Pilot system are designed to be user-friendly.


Dig Assist ensures Volvo CE’s E-Series excavators live up to their full potential. Dig Assist Start, the basic package as standard for Volvo CE’s 14- to 48-tonne E-Series excavators has the ability to help both beginner and experienced operators deliver productive drilling results through the 2D system. Volvo CE states that the 2D package has a combination of measurement sensors, a laser catcher, two satellite antennas and a smart receive loaded onto the machine. 

“All E-Series machines can be fitted with Dig Assist technology,” Daniels says. “The Dig Assist technology is an ex-factory option because our base Dig Assist system already comes with satellite antennas. Even our 2D system, you can do line, slope and depth with the satellites. Most other systems don’t have the satellite dishes unless they have a 3D system.”

Volvo CE also includes upgradeability of Dig Assist to either Dig Assist In-Field Design or Dig Assist 3D apps.

The In-Field Design app provides strong excavation accuracy, allowing operators to dig complicated shapes using three dimensions, which prevents the need for surveyors.

“With the In-Field design system the operator can actually input simple designs and work to satellite position or work to a laser position because Volvo CE’s 3D system comes standard with a laser catcher as well,” Daniels explains.

The 3D system of Dig Assist has been designed by Volvo CE for complex and large-scale projects. For Volvo CE’s excavators, the 3D option incorporates Topcon or Trimble Earthworks apps to be used with Volvo Co-Pilot. 

“In quarrying, it’s the same accuracy that you get with Trimble or Topcon because that’s the system we’re actually using,” Daniels says. “Volvo CE makes the Dig Assist program, but once you go into 3D, you’re actually using the Trimble or Topcon 3D system.”

Dig Assist and the Volvo Co-Pilot system have been designed with user-friendliness in mind. 

“It’s a very simple program to use in either the 2D, 3D or the In-Field Design. Volvo has a very good In-Field Design system which is an intermediate step between 2D and 3D.”


Another assist program powered by Volvo Co-Pilot is the Haul Assist, which gives quarry operators more fluid control over their haul fleet with the Map and On-Board Weighing apps. 

The On-Board Weighing app does exactly what it is named to do – monitor the amount of material moved. On top of this, useful data and insights on an articulated hauler is also provided. This enables quarries to deliver optimal payloads and eradicate the stress of over-loading, which can reduce fuel efficiency, and under-loading, which can reduce productivity. 

Haul Assist Map gives quarries the ability to monitor their articulated hauler fleet and control traffic across the site through GPS tracking. Maps can be personalised and edited to suit a quarry’s loading and dumping areas, speed zones, haul roads, lanes, and more. 

Due to the user-friendliness that extends across all Volvo Co-Pilot technology, a Haul Assist Map can be set up in only a few hours.

“Haul Assist technology is very simple to use,” Daniels says. “It provides the ability to monitor the load of the machine, and it includes an on-board weighing system. The advantage of Haul Assist is that it allows the operator of the articulated hauler to know whether he needs to speed up or slow down.

“There’s no point for an operator, as an example, belting back from where the dump point is to the load point if the loader is still loading a truck. So he gets to slow down and arrive there on time, rather than using up a lot of fuel to get there in a hurry and having to sit there idle, waiting for his turn.”

Haul Assist will be standard on Volvo CE’s A35G through to A60H haulers, and will be optional on the A25G and A30G models when released into Australia later in 2020. Retrofitting will also available be on Volvo CE’s F-Series haulers. 

“Volvo, like all manufacturers, follows customer demand closely and the apps
 that are available for load assist and dig assist are a reflection of what the customer wants now and what Volvo foresee will be
on the customer’s wish list in the future,” Daniels concludes.

Volvo Assist is comprised of Dig Assist for excavators, Load Assist for wheel loaders, and Haul Assist for articulated haulers.

What is Volvo Co-Pilot? 

Volvo Co-Pilot is an intelligently designed interactive display from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) offering real time insight into work performed by select Volvo machines, ensuring the highest standard of efficiency and accuracy in any application.

Volvo CE has developed Volvo Co-Pilot, a cutting edge on-board display for select Volvo machines. The high definition touchscreen is the operator’s partner in the cab, providing unrestricted access to all the integrated functionality required to unlock a Volvo machine’s full performance potential. Delivering a range of productivity, fuel efficiency, uptime and safety solutions, the 25cm display gives the operator and owner all of the information they need to ensure highly productive, and profitable, operation.

Whether digging trenches or loading heavy-duty material, Volvo Co-Pilot offers exceptional control, thorough accuracy and uptime across a variety of applications and machines. The interactive display is designed to work seamlessly and simultaneously with Volvo Assist across numerous machines, providing real time operational data for a responsive, harmonious and efficient operating experience. Volvo Assist is comprised of Dig Assist for excavators, Load Assist for wheel loaders, and Haul Assist for articulated haulers.

With Volvo Co-Pilot, the operator has simple and easy access to all the unified functionalities of Volvo Assist. With machine, job and material information at their fingertips, operators can do more work per litre of fuel, maximising fuel efficiency and productivity.

In addition to ensuring precise performance, the heavy-duty display is designed to keep production running at capacity. Regardless of the job, Volvo Co-Pilot and the total synchronisation with Volvo Assist can help both the operator and the machine to achieve greater uptime to keep the job on schedule and the business profitable.

Not only does Volvo Co-Pilot make light of heavy-duty jobs, but it also minimises interruptions in the workflow for greater on-site safety. The ergonomically-positioned display reduces operator interaction with fewer on-screen menus, helping to keep their focus on the task at hand. When pre-set operating limits are met, Volvo Co-Pilot alerts the operator through audio and visual signals. With this intelligent technology, movement around the machine is eliminated as well as the need for additional on-site personnel, improved safety and operator autonomy.

With Volvo Co-Pilot, the operator can quickly and independently manage all operations with ease. The on-board display is intuitive enough to operate with minimal training and provides on-screen tips, optimising ease of operation and uptime. Operators can also customise functions and targets in seconds and easily monitor the progress of their work with greater independence and confidence.

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