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Taking advantage of technology on new Wacol site



When Queensland contractor Gunne Civil Constructions was engaged to carry out site preparation earthworks for Komatsu’s new Wacol Distribution Centre and technology hub in Queensland, it was an opportunity for the company to take advantage of the latest technology in managing its side of the project.

Gunne Civil has a substantial fleet of Komatsu equipment, many fitted with “bolt-on” Topcon machine control systems.

But for the Wacol site’s earthworks, Gunne Civil also hired in Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers and excavators, while also using its SmartConstruction offering for enhanced site surveying and management.

Construction on the 3.8ha site began in March 2020 and was completed in early 2021. Komatsu’s Wacol Distribution Centre was officially opened in March 2022.

Gunne Civil’s fleet includes 11 Komatsu excavators, from a PC18MR03 to a PC600LC-8EO, with a number fitted with Topcon GPS-based excavator indicate systems, plus a D65EX-17, fitted with a Topcon machine control system.

According to company co-owner Leon Gibb, Gunne Civil has been using machine control systems since 2008, switching to Topcon systems and its dealer Position Partners around 2012.

“We carry out a lot of major infrastructure works throughout south-east Queensland: schools, defense works, local government services and with the major builders,” Gibb said.

“We do all the civil works from scratch up to final completion, and these days we find the machine control systems are essential for all our detail trimming, whether it’s long batters and trenches with the excavators, or gravel spreading, bulk earthworks trimming or subgrade work with the dozer.”

When Gunne was awarded the contract for the Wacol site, it was an opportunity to see first-hand the capabilities of Komatsu’s iMC technology, with the company hiring in a D61EXi-24 dozer and PC210LCi-10 excavator from Komatsu Rental.

“We were very impressed with the capabilities of these machines,” Gibb said. 

“We had the dozer basically doing all our final trimming, with the iMC excavator doing a lot of the batter work, as well as detail and trimming in the tighter spots.

“The iMC dozer’s capabilities, in particular its ability to carry out everything from the bulk earthworks right through to final trim with a very high degree of accuracy, were very impressive.”

In addition, Gunne Civil purchased a new PC138US-11 short-tail excavator, fitted with a Topcon GPS-based machine guidance system to work on this project. 

Gunne Civil’s surveyor Shane Gregory worked in with Komatsu’s Queensland project solutions consultant Brent Parker, who introduced the company to the suite of  SmartConstruction solutions.

“We have our own drone survey system, but for this project Brent and Shane worked closely together, so that we were able to compare Brent’s SmartConstruction results with what we were getting,” Gibb said.

“Brent has been extremely helpful to us in learning about this technology, plus he can even assist us with our Topcon gear as he’s ex-Position Partners.

“SmartConstruction is a very impressive tool and it’s excellent for the client, as they can see exactly what’s going on. 

And because it’s generating real-time data, there’s no hiding; it’s all right there on the table so you can see exactly what you’ve done each day, the volumes of material moved, and the accuracies you are achieving.”

Gunne Civil’s history goes back to 1989, when Leon dad Noel Gibb teamed up with Michael Dunne to form Gunne Constructions. In 2008, Leon teamed up with business partner and long-time mate Adam Stafford to buy out Michael Dunne, then in 2014 renamed the company Gunne Civil Constructions, buying Noel out of the business in 2016.

The company initially ran a lot of equipment from another supplier, as a result of a long-term relationship with Alec Harries who worked there. When Harries joined Komatsu in 2011 as Major Account Manager – Civil & Quarry in Queensland, Leon and Adam followed him.

“It’s very much the relationship we both have with Alec that brought us to Komatsu,” Gibb said. “We’ve known and worked with him for many years; he was my and Adam’s rugby union coach when we were kids from about 25 years ago, so we go back a long way. 

“And we’ve found Komatsu’s an excellent brand, and our definite preference when their products are within the range we are after. I’d have to say we are more than impressed, so we buy it whenever we can.

“We did recently purchase another company that primarily runs another product line, but we’ll pretty much swap that over for Komatsu equipment when its time is up.” •

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This article also appears in the April edition of Quarry Magazine. 

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