EarningsHave you ever wondered how a construction site works? It’s much more complicated  — and way higher-tech — than most people realize.

Trimble has been on a mission over the last 5 years or so to bring technology to the job site, since that’s often the part of the project that can benefit the most from efficiency improvements. We’re doing more to simulate during design (with BIM, 4D and other concepts) but the job site … we’ve all walked past sites where more workers seem to be standing around than actually constructing.

Last week, Trimble announced that it had acquired the privately-held Actronic Technologies of New Zealand, which makes weighing technology and payload information systems. Bet you didn’t even know that existed — but it’s hugely important in replacing manual process and their potential for error.

Operators install Actronic’s LOADRITE on loaders, excavators, conveyors and waste collection vehicles and weighs their payloads. This allows operators to ensure that machines are loaded to their optimal capacity and that loads are accurately recorded. Not sure about New Zealand, but in the US, there are significant penalties for vehicles that are overweight, and the load limits on bridges, for example, make it imperative to know the load’s weight.

Let’s say that you’re a contractor and have ordered a couple of truckloads of sand. Underloaded trucks mean more trips; overloaded trucks can result in fines and possible damage to the truck. With a LOADRITE on the excavator, the operator can accurately determine the maximum payload for each truck and eliminate any overloading. If the operator wants, a printer in the excavator can also make a copy of the load information — creating a paper tracking document.

Now sync this local-to-the-excavator system with office systems, and we’ve made an entire job-site more efficient. Trimble plans to connect LOADRITE to its construction management portfolio, Connected Site, to give managers have better, real-time insight into what’s happening on their job-sites, letting them see potential problems and assess progress.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.