Building the E39 road in Norway – a cliff-hanger for RTK

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Support from Septentrio was invaluable to success of a Norwegian construction project

DigPilot AS is a subsidiary of well-known Norwegian surveying equipment and instrument company, Gundersen & Løken AS Their equipment includes dredgers, piling machines, subsea excavators and earth movers. Since 2011, DigPilot have been integrating Septentrio GNSS products in their machine control solutions.

Volda Maskin AS was the first Norwegian contractor to use GLONASS capable receivers for machine control in their construction projects. In the past, Volda Maskin had used a number of different GNSS receiver suppliers for their machine control operations. In 2012, they approached DigPilot to replace the machine control systems in most of their excavators. This decision was based on their experience with their previous DigPilot systems.

In the same year, Volda Maskin won a contract to rebuild a 3.5 km section of the E39 European Route in outside Volda Town on the west coast of Norway. This project included installing a number of security measures such as rock slide protection, equalisation of adjacent terrain, creating a visibility zone, new asphalt paving and building road barriers. The contact was worth 25 million Norwegian krone (€ 2,700,000/$ 3,000,000)

When Volda Maskin commenced the project, it was soon discovered that the equipment they were using was not suitable for such rugged mountain terrain, with large signal disturbance and bad satellite visibility. The construction site was literally right next to a cliff, and the requirements of accuracy and reliability surpassed greatly what normal RTK systems can do.

When this became apparent, DigPilot visited the site to conduct a full test and record the findings, using a special feature in Septentrio’s receivers that allows recording of signals for in-depth analysis. With these findings and input from other customers, Septentrio engineers worked to tune the performance of the RTK algorithms to work precisely in this very challenging environment.

Within weeks, DigPilot revisited the site to install the new firmware provided by Septentrio. The upload was successful and Volda Maskin completed the upgrade on time and on budget.

“The combination of close support from DigPilot, the fast reaction of the Septentrio team and the excellent performance of Septentrio’s technology, convinced Volda Maskin to continue to invest in DigPilot equipment into the future.” - Erik Sørngård, Project Engineer, DigPilot.