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How Construction Professionals Can Regain Control of Project Accuracy and Waste Through Machine Control

Benefits of Construction Technologies and their Impact on Society, a new paper from Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), describes how four major advances are making construction sites safer, more efficient, and less environmentally impactful.

One such technology is machine control, which is revolutionizing the way paving and earthmoving jobs are done. Unprecedented levels of precision and productivity are being attained, leading to safer and more efficient work environments as well as quicker and less wasteful project completion.

Insights from Industry Experts

According to Brad Viernow, OEM director for North America Heavy Construction at Leica Geosystems, a provider of sensors, software, and services for geospatial data intelligence, “machine control is a technology system that calculates the position of machinery.” “Machine control employs measurement data from either satellites (GNSS) or an on-site surveying device called a total station to identify accurate location. The positioning data can then be compared to a project design by machine control.

Equipped with this knowledge, machine control can then direct and support an operator of a piece of machinery. It’s pretty simple: Better information leads to better results.

Viernow stated that “poor data and missed communication account for 52% of all rework globally on average.” The equipment operator can view all of the design information on the display in the cab while they are working thanks to the sharing of current data via cloud connectivity. To take things a bit further, machine automation may also be used. In fact, machine control can relieve the operator of some of the labor while making it even easier to achieve the required accuracy.

Applications such as paving and earthmoving are good fits for machine control. When it comes to factors like compaction density, grade, cross slope, and material placement, equipment operators have to operate under very strict limits. Because of this, machine control is currently used in many typical pieces of equipment, such as motor graders, dozers, excavators, and pavers. But there is far more potential for machine control.

“This type of technology is being used in some capacity in every piece of machinery used in the construction industry,” stated Adam Woods, general manager of innovation and product portfolio strategies at LBX Company, the company that makes Link-Belt excavation equipment. Machine control will be beneficial even for seemingly simple products like compactors, which simply roll back and forth. The amount of compaction that has occurred and whether more compaction is required to reach the required specifications are both determined by machine control. Even machines can now accomplish that on their own thanks to automation. The goal of everything is to increase the efficiency of job sites.

This also applies to smaller equipment and job sites. According to Sean Mairet, group product manager for Grade Control at John Deere, “the utility of something like a compact track loader, paired with the benefits of a technology like grade control, is really a winning combination.

“On average, 52% of all rework globally is caused by poor data and missed communication. Sharing up-to-date data via cloud connectivity allows the equipment operator to see all of the design information on the panel in the cab while they are working. Going one step further, machine automation can also come into play. Machine control can actually take some of the work out of the operator’s hands while achieving the desired accuracy even more easily.”

Leica Geosystems’ Brad Viernow 

The Role of Machine Control in Reducing Rework and Waste

The accuracy that a machine control system aids in achieving is the foundation of everything. Consider grade control as an example. With good reason, 3D grade control is the most sophisticated system and is highly praised. However, even a more basic 2D system yields useful data.

By directing the user as they dig, a 2D grade control system helps to eliminate inaccurate digging. Key parameters like depth and slope are entered by the operator into the software. The machine then uses a sensory system to measure those data points while it digs, giving the operator visual and/or auditory coaching through a display screen in the cab.

Plane and slope are the foundation for this level of machine control, according to Mairet. For projects like sloping terrain away from a house, where a complex site design is not necessary, it is the perfect solution. When the operator instructs the machine to maintain, say, a 2% slope, the blade or bucket is controlled by the 2D grade control system to accomplish that goal. By avoiding over-cutting or over-digging, even a 2D system can contribute to significant time and material savings.

Accuracy is elevated to a new level by contemporary 3D grade management. Actually, some systems can assist operators of equipment in achieving millimeter accuracy. Furthermore, 3D systems are more advanced. To determine a machine’s exact location at all times, 3D systems integrate with position data and a site design. Either satellites (GNSS) or an on-site surveying device known as a total station supply the position data. Everyone has benefits of its own. Regardless, even higher gains in productivity and resource optimization may result from the fine accuracy of 3D grade control.

For example, industry estimates indicate that the application of grade control in construction projects results in a 10–20% reduction in material use. This indicates that the quantity of concrete and asphalt that is saved annually on public road construction projects is sufficient to pave a two-lane highway running from Chicago to Phoenix. That directly affects everyday people’s finances as well as those of construction companies. Taxpayers saved roughly $3.6 billion in material costs on public road construction projects in 2022 alone thanks to improvements in accuracy and waste reduction.

Project scheduling can benefit from grade control as well. In construction projects, time is money. Woods has seen some construction companies increase productivity by 30–50% when using machine control equipment.

Woods said, “Consider a project like an irrigation canal.” “If the canal is 1,000 feet long and slopes 0.3%, then there won’t be much variation in the slope from one location to another. The slope can be continuously checked by machine control to ensure accuracy. Because the operator doesn’t have to constantly stop and check the grade, productivity can really increase there. Using this technology, some contractors are even finishing projects ahead of schedule—something that used to be practically unheard of.

Viernow continued, “We’ve discovered that 35% of working time on a jobsite is spent on non-value-adding activities.” Furthermore, rework can result in an average 10% increase in schedule. Throughout the construction process, machine control greatly contributes to the reduction of waste. On a jobsite, waste can be significantly decreased by just moving the correct dirt the first time.

Enhancing Site Safety with Machine Control

On a construction site, machine control technologies such as grade control can also aid in lowering safety-related incidents.

Surveyors, civil engineers, and other workers on a jobsite must constantly check grade without the use of technology like this, according to Woods. They approach and maneuver around the machine on a regular basis. Frequently, they are operating in a trench. You can lessen the need for these people to enter these potentially dangerous situations by using grade control technology.

Additionally, job sites are being improved by machine control features tailored to safety. The first thing that springs to mind is a camera system. Cameras provide equipment operators with improved peripheral vision around a machine, frequently alerting them to objects and people approaching the machine in danger.

Even though such a system of operator guidance is crucial, machine control is capable of much more. When a possible collision is detected, technology can actually stop a machine. Furthermore, Viernow said that geofencing—another essential construction technology—can be used to create 3D avoidance zones.

Viernow explained, “Let’s say someone is using an excavator in a place where there is a powerline directly overhead them.” One of the main goals of machine control is to make things safer and less stressful for the operator, and “through location-based geofencing, the operator could set up an automatic stop so the excavator arm couldn’t extend beyond a certain point.”

Addressing Skilled Labor Shortage with Machine Control

Machine control not only increases productivity and safety in equipment but also facilitates easier operation. Machine control can assist operators in becoming proficient faster and experiencing fatigue much less frequently by increasing accuracy and taking over specific functions.

“Getting on a piece of construction equipment and starting to do what these operators are asked to do isn’t easy,” Mairet remarked. Grade control technology, for example, can make operators more comfortable and productive much more quickly. Technology that reduces workloads will be beneficial even to experienced operators of machinery. Operators who experience this are happier and more productive.

“You can take an experienced operator and make them stand out with machine guidance,” Woods continued. Within a day or so of operating the equipment, a novice operator could learn how to cut grade with machine control. Without this kind of technology, it might take months or even years to complete the required training.

Up until that point, one way to address the growing scarcity of skilled labor in the construction sector is through machine control. Instead of relying solely on intuition and years of skill development, machine control enables equipment operators to rely on real-time data and semi-autonomous operation.

Mairet remarked on the impact of machine control technologies in modernizing construction workflows. He acknowledged that skilled operators and surveyors have always been capable of maintaining grade, but emphasized that machine control enhances this process, making it safer and more efficient. Mairet views machine control as a contemporary approach to shaping the world.


As we see, machine control is pivotal in modernizing construction sites, elevating efficiency, safety, and precision. While Satel USA does not provide full machine control systems, our expertise in reliable communication technology positions us as an essential partner in the machine control ecosystem. We provide robust and reliable radios that ensure seamless communication, a critical component in the effective operation of machine control systems.

For more information and to understand how our technology can support your machine control needs, visit Satel USA’s Machine Control Page

Discover how we enhance communication reliability in construction technology, contributing to the overall success of your projects.

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Elevating Off-Highway Connectivity: Discover the SATEL MCCU-20 LTE for Mission-Critical Operations

In the dynamic landscape of off-highway machinery connectivity, challenges are omnipresent, but so are groundbreaking solutions. Enter the SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF, one of SATEL’s latest innovation and a testament to reliability and innovative technology, designed to meet the complex demands of mission-critical operations in various fields, from smart farming to emergency response. With this cutting-edge technology, long distance challenges are made short, complex tasks more manageable, and challenges are transformed into successes. Let’s dive into it!

What is SATEL MCCU-20?

The SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF is a unique dual-technology RTK transceiver for receiving the GNSS RTK correction data to a moving vehicle with UHF radio based RTK or NTRIP over LTE. The RTK correction data is forwarded over RS-232 serial communication to machine control system. It’s a unique blend of technology that supports dual-technology operation – allowing data reception through both UHF radio-based RTK and NTRIP over LTE networks. This versatility makes it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications requiring precise location data and reliable communication in mobile settings.

Robust Solution for Off-Highway Challenges:

The SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF is expertly engineered to provide reliable, efficient, and cost-effective connectivity for off-highway machinery. Deployed across various sectors such as construction, mining, surveying, and forestry, this device ensures seamless and effective operations even in the most challenging conditions.

The machine and vehicle manufacturers and machine control system providers can integrate SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF to their offering without knowing what kind of technology is available in the operating area. The vehicle can be operated under varying connectivity environments.

Mission-Critical Connectivity Applications:

  • RTK Correction Signaling: Delivers centimeter-level positioning accuracy, crucial for precision tasks in smart farming, surveying, and more.
  • Collision Avoidance Signaling (CAS): Bolsters safety and prevents accidents in active, dynamic work environments.
  • Machine to Machine Commands (V2V and V2X): Enables smooth communication between various machines and vehicles, essential for synchronized and efficient operations.
  • Secure Firmware Updates: Maintains system integrity and security with safeguarded, dependable updates.
  • Central Control Signal: Facilitates streamlined operations through centralized management, enhancing overall efficiency.
  • Safety Signaling: Upholds stringent safety standards, vital in all mission-critical activities.
  • Mission-Critical Telematics: Offers essential data for effective operation in high-stakes scenarios.

Customer-Oriented, Solution-Focused Approach:

The SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF is not just a product; it’s a tailor-made solution for the unique challenges encountered in off-highway applications. Its dual-technology operation, sophisticated cybersecurity features, and durable design ensure uninterrupted, secure, and comprehensive connectivity.


Use Case 1

This scenario shows the flexibility of MCCU-20 LTE / UHF where the off-highway machine can use RTK in a job site and can switch to UHF when cellular connection becomes unreliable or unavailable.

Use Case 2

This situation shows an example of an agricultural off-highway machine where the tractor is utilizing the LTE functionality of MCCU-20.

Use Case 3

This example depicts a scenario showcasing a tractor operating off-highway and employing the MCCU-20’s UHF capabilities.

Looking Ahead:

  • MCCU-15 is coming soon! This new device is similar to the one that came before it, but it has a specific purpose in mind: it’s exclusively an LTE-only device. Designed for seamless integration into various operational frameworks, MCCU-15 promises to revolutionize connectivity with its dedicated LTE technology, ensuring faster and more reliable communication channels. This device is tailored for scenarios where LTE coverage provides optimal performance, making it a perfect fit for modern, connected applications.
  • SATEL NARS-BT & SATEL MOBILE: Together with the SATEL Mobile application, the sturdy Bluetooth-RS232 SATEL NARS-BT device matches wireless configuration requirements for Machine Control applications. Below is a sample use case featuring MCCU-20.


Embrace the future of confident and innovative connectivity with the SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF. For a deeper dive into its technical features and to understand how it can revolutionize your mission-critical operations, visit our detailed product page here: SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF.

Get in Touch:

Curious about how the SATEL MCCU-20 LTE / UHF can be integrated into your specific mission-critical machine control operations?

Our team of experts is ready to assist you in harnessing the full potential of this innovative solution. 

Contact us today to explore the possibilities and elevate your operational efficiency.

Reach out to us via our Contact Form and let’s discuss how we can help!

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Four Smart Trends in Construction Machine Control

Machine Control Construction sites are becoming smarter and more efficient, thanks to new technology from companies like Caterpillar and Trimble. These advancements are making it easier to work safely and solve the problem of finding skilled machine operators.

Step into the future with Satel USA as we spotlight four transformative trends in construction machine control. Our deep dive reveals not just what these trends are, but how they offer practical solutions, inspire confidence in your projects, and cater directly to your needs. Get ready to be energized by the professional insights and innovative approaches that are shaping a smarter, more efficient construction industry.

Remote Operations: Controlling Machines from a Distance

Caterpillar has developed a system called Cat Command that lets people control big machines like excavators and loaders without having to be inside them. This can be done from as far away as four football fields. This was shown off at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, proving that it’s not just an idea—it’s really happening.

Safety is a big deal with this new tech. As mentioned in For Construction Pros, these technologies are supported and enabled by safety features like radar and camera systems in Cat Detect, ensuring that remote operation does not increase risk. Cat Command is sold in a package that includes:

  • Line-of-sight remote control and can also be used in non-line-of-sight remote settings
  • Dealer-installed field kits to make a machine Command-ready
  • Multiple cameras for non-line-of-site operation and stream on-site video feeds
  • A microphone, cameras, indicator lights, a wireless receiver and antenna for mounting on top of the cab
  • Advanced features including Grade Assist, Swing Assist and E-Fence

The market for operating construction equipment remotely is so promising that new companies are entering the space to claim their share. Teleo, a startup from Palo Alto established in 2019, is a prime example. It secured $12 million in Series B funding in June 2022, building on an earlier seed round in March 2020. The firm, which employs 20 people primarily in engineering roles, is led by co-founder and CEO Vinay Shet. During the CONEXPO event, Teleo revealed its collaboration with notable new clients such as the John Aarts Group, Teichert, and Tomahawk Construction. Significantly, the company also expanded its network by partnering with dealers across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, setting the stage for its growth in the near future.

Teleo’s remote operation systems are designed with safety as a core feature, ensuring operators have clear visibility at the rear. Shet highlights the use of cameras beneath the bucket to provide clear views of the work zone for those operating wheel loaders and skid steers.

While certain remote control technologies are intended for operators to use within their line of sight, systems like Cat Command and Teleo’s offerings need a reliable internet connection. This connection must be fast enough to allow operators to control equipment in real-time without delays.

Making Machine Operation Easier

Another big step forward is making machines easier to use. SRI International is working on tech that lets operators use simple hand signals or a joystick to control machines. This could make it much simpler for someone who’s never operated a machine before to jump in and start working.

SRI International’s Senior Robotics Engineer, Reuben Brewer, envisions a system where operating an excavator doesn’t require being physically present in it. Operators have the flexibility to control the machinery from the construction site or remotely from another location, such as an office. This is particularly useful when the excavator isn’t being used, allowing the operator to engage in productive work from afar.

Although this concept might seem similar to what Cat Command and Teleo offer, SRI’s research goes beyond just remote control. Brewer emphasizes that their system is unique because it includes the ability to detect humans in the vicinity, allowing the excavator to stop or slow down to prevent accidents. They also immerse the operator in a virtual reality setting for a more effective remote operation experience.

Brewer points out the importance of virtual reality in providing a full sensory experience, which is critical for precision. Initially, without virtual reality, operators missed their target half the time because they lacked depth perception. With virtual reality headsets, they achieved a perfect success rate.

The system’s comprehensive sensory feedback, including 360-degree camera views, is vital for safety, especially in urban settings where the machine automatically shuts down if someone approaches. This safety feature is adaptable, allowing for the creation of no-go zones to prevent the excavator from moving if there’s an obstacle behind it.

Operators can control the excavator using a joystick or simple hand gestures, which mimic the actions they want the machine to perform. This intuitive control method quickly brings new operators up to speed and helps alleviate the labor shortage. Brewer explains that they’ve developed a more natural control pattern that mimics the actual movements, making it easier for operators to perform tasks like scooping and digging, which is especially helpful for those who haven’t operated machinery in a while.

OEM or Aftermarket Machine Control

Fleet owners have a decision to make when it comes to the type of machine control technology they use, whether it’s for remote operation, precision grading with GNSS, or tech that allows machines to interact with their environment. They can either go with systems provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or choose from solutions offered by third-party vendors after purchase.

According to the 2023 State of the Industry Construction Technology Report, the trend is leaning towards automation technologies that are either built into the equipment by the OEM or added later by third-party companies like Trimble, Leica, Unicontrol, and Teleo. The majority of the industry professionals surveyed are leaning towards OEM-provided controls, with 27% already using them, 5% allocating funds for them, and 11% planning to adopt them in the future. In contrast, 15% are using third-party machine controls, with an equal 5% budgeting for them and a slightly lower 12% considering them for future use.

Contractors might prefer OEM solutions to minimize the risk of damaging sensitive equipment during installation. The ease of purchasing and the potential for a higher resale value of machines equipped with OEM technology are also persuasive factors. Caterpillar, for instance, is progressively including machine control features like grade control as standard on certain models, such as hydraulic excavators. Case is also providing a universal machine control option compatible with major tech providers, including Topcon, Trimble, and Leica Geosystems.

Even though built-in machine control options are currently more widely used, the growing presence of third-party providers like Unicontrol, Sodex, Teleo, and others suggests that the market for retrofitting machine control may expand. As more OEMs begin to standardize machine control features, the industry may continue to favor OEM solutions, or the trend could stabilize. The industry is keeping an eye on this development to see whether the convenience of OEM-integrated machine control outweighs the benefits of third-party options.

Machine Control Data: The Secret to Smarter Construction

None of this would work without data. Another trend shaping the construction machine control landscape is the growth of technology that prepares data for machine control systems and gathers information for progress tracking and final construction reports. 

Trimble Earthworks stands out as a leading solution for these tasks, offering the capability for users to send files straight to machines on-site either wirelessly through Trimble WorksManager software or via a USB drive with the File Flipper app.

There are also other tools available for managing machine control data. InSite Software’s InSite Elevation Pro, for example, underwent a major overhaul in 2020 to enhance its user-friendliness and performance. The platform continues to evolve, with the recent introduction of RockAlert in April 2023. This feature provides machine control systems with valuable data on the presence of rocks, water, and other underground layers.

Additionally, Quantum Land Design introduced the Quantum Flight Pack in April 2023. This tool allows contractors to set ground control points with a GPS rover, automate drone flights to survey the area, and then process the collected drone data to perform volume measurements for project planning.


As we navigate the evolving terrain of construction technology, it’s evident that the industry is not just building structures—it’s building a smarter future. The four smart trends in machine control we’ve discussed are not just reshaping the landscape; they’re providing tangible solutions to real-world challenges such as the skilled labor shortage and on-site safety concerns.

At the heart of this technological revolution, companies like Caterpillar are driving innovation, ensuring that construction sites are not only more efficient but also more interconnected. And while Satel USA may not produce complete machine control systems, our expertise in robust communication technology positions us as a cornerstone in this dynamic ecosystem.

Our Satel radios are the silent heroes behind the scenes, providing the reliable communication that is critical for advanced machine control systems to function seamlessly across vast distances and challenging environments.
Discover how our Satel radios can amplify the effectiveness and reliability of your machine control operations. Visit our Machine Control Page today!

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Machine Control System Market Global Forecast to 2028: GNSS and Excavators Leading the Charge

The global machine control system market is on the rise, projected to grow from $5.1 billion in 2023 to $7.3 billion by 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets report. This surge is fueled by the construction industry’s focus on safety and efficiency. Two notable segments fueling this growth are the GNSS technology and the use of excavators. 

Dive into our comprehensive breakdown where we unravel the key elements driving this market growth. Discover how GNSS technology and excavators are revolutionizing the construction landscape, and what this means for the future of machine control systems.

Market Growth Drivers:

Enhanced Safety Measures: At the core of the market’s expansion is the demand for increased safety. Machine control systems minimize the risk of accidents by giving operators real-time feedback on the proximity of workers and potential hazards, crucial for heavy construction environments.

Technological Advancements: The integration of high-tech components like GNSS receivers and sensors provides unprecedented precision in machine operation, essential for tasks that demand exact positioning.

Market Restraints:

Costly Initial Investments: Despite their benefits, the incorporation of sophisticated machine control systems is hindered by the hefty initial costs. The R&D expenses, coupled with the need for specialized software and hardware components, add to the financial burden, potentially slowing market penetration.

Market Opportunities:

3D Modeling Wave: The construction sector’s burgeoning interest in 3D modeling and scanning technologies presents vast opportunities. These technologies enable precise project planning and monitoring, facilitating a smoother workflow from conception to execution.

Market Challenges:

Maintaining Data Integrity: The reliance on GNSS technology for machine control systems introduces the challenge of ensuring data accuracy. Environmental factors such as atmospheric conditions or urban structures can disrupt signal quality, leading to inaccuracies that can impact operational efficiency.

GNSS Technology: A Cornerstone for Growth

  • High CAGR Expected: GNSS technology stands out as the segment expected to grow at the highest CAGR within the machine control system market. Its precision positioning capabilities are vital for industries where precise location data is paramount.
  • Versatility Across Industries: The utility of GNSS in construction, agriculture, and mining for tasks such as grading and excavation makes it indispensable. This global coverage ensures that machine control systems can be effective in any geographical setting.
  • Accuracy Challenges: Despite its advantages, GNSS-based machine control systems must contend with accuracy issues due to potential environmental signal interferences. This includes atmospheric conditions and obstructions in urban or densely foliaged areas.

Excavators: Cementing the Largest Market Share

  • Widespread Industry Use: Excavators are projected to claim the largest share of the market due to their extensive use across various industries, including construction and mining.
  • Enhanced Precision and Efficiency: Machine control systems augment the capabilities of excavators by offering real-time positioning and automated guidance. This not only boosts precision but also operational efficiency, leading to better resource management and reduced error margins.
  • Market Share Factors: The versatility and application breadth of excavators have made them a staple in the machine control system market, and this trend is expected to continue through the forecast period.

Regional Insights: Asia Pacific’s Promising Outlook

  • Fastest Growing Market: The Asia Pacific region is anticipated to experience the highest growth rate. Economic growth, urbanization, and substantial investments in infrastructure development in countries like China and India is driving this trend and are propelling the demand for machine control systems.

Key Market Players:

Leading Innovators: The market is competitive, with players like Topcon, Trimble Inc., and Hexagon leading the charge. Their strategies include new product developments, collaborations, and partnerships to solidify their market position and drive innovation forward.


The machine control system market is poised for substantial growth, shaped by technological advancements and a strong emphasis on safety and efficiency.  GNSS and excavators stand as pivotal elements in this growth story. However, the industry must navigate the challenges of high initial costs and the need for reliable data to fully realize its potential​.

As the machine control system market continues to evolve, the role of reliable communication becomes increasingly critical. At Satel USA, we specialize in providing robust Satel radios that are integral to the infrastructure of effective machine control systems. Known globally for their long range, superior transceivers, and unparalleled reliability, our radios ensure that your machine control solutions remain effective over vast distances and through challenging terrains. 

While we may not offer full machine control systems, our expertise in reliable communication technology makes us a vital partner in the machine control ecosystem. 

We invite you to explore how our Satel radios can enhance the efficiency and dependability of your operations. Visit our Machine Control page for a closer look at how we’re driving the future of machine control communication, ensuring your projects are built on solid ground.

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CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023: Innovations in Machine Control Technology

Machine control technology has long been a transformative force across industries, including construction, paving, mining, smart agriculture, and the marine industry. The integration of high-precision positioning solutions, GNSS, and RTK technologies is ushering in a new era of efficiency and precision and the landscape of these industries is evolving rapidly. 

This article delves into the cutting-edge advancements in machine control technology presented at the recent CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll discuss their influence on various sectors and the upcoming innovations to watch out for.

Recent Innovations in Machine Control Technology

The recent CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas, one of the largest construction and heavy machinery conferences in the world, showcased some of the most exciting innovations in machine control technology. 

Digital Twin Technology

One innovation is the concept of the Digital Twin Technology (DTT) also known as a virtual job site. Digital Twin Technology is redefining how industries approach planning and resource allocation. By creating a virtual job site, this technology allows the engineers to  diverse scenarios, optimizing both planning and resource deployment. Satel USA Inc.’s  CEO, Paul Tacci, had the privilege to see these innovations live at the show and witness these seismic shifts to the industry first-hand, one the key takeaways was that advancements in machine control technology are no longer a nice to have but are now becoming necessary in some way or another. If you do not implement these new technological advancements for your projects or for your clients, it’s very likely that your competitors will be more than happy to do so, saving costs and increasing efficiency along the way. 

Machine Control 2.0

Industry giants are all competing to be the best  in this technological race. Komatsu, for instance, unveiled their intelligent Machine Control 2.0 for excavators, a technology aiming to harmonize the expertise of seasoned operators with the enthusiasm of newcomers. Simultaneously, Hexagon is carving a niche with its autonomous robotic carrier and pioneering the first-ever autonomous LiDAR UAV. These strides are not just expanding the horizon of possibilities but are also recalibrating industry benchmarks for efficiency and productivity.

Trimble’s Spot – Boston Dynamics Robot Dog

The future of construction and land surveying is not just confined to the latest machinery and tools. It’s also about the integration of advanced technologies that redefine how tasks are accomplished. In addition to some of the largest heavy machinery we have ever seen in person, the spotlight is on the integration of Trimble’s X7 laser scanner with Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot dog. This combination is set to transform site scans, reality capture tasks, and even the very essence of construction progress tracking.

At the Trimble station, attendees witnessed how the robot dog seamlessly navigated through an array of obstacles, simulating the future landscape of land surveying. This demonstration was a testament to the evolving land surveying technology. This shows how Trimble’s X7 laser scanner integrates with Boston Dynamics’ Spot robotic dog. This integration provides an unparalleled solution for site scans and reality capture tasks. The precision of the X7 laser scanner, combined with the mobility and agility of Spot, ensures accurate and comprehensive site scans.

Moreover, this integration is not just about capturing the present. It is about tracking the progress of construction sites. The autonomous laser scanning capability of this integrated solution offers real-time tracking of construction progress, ensuring that projects stay on track and any discrepancies are immediately identified.

Furthermore, another Boston Dynamics robot dog was on display, designed specifically for the security and monitoring of predefined geographical spaces. This robotic sentinel followed a predetermined route, ensuring the safety and integrity of the area it was tasked to monitor.

Impact of These Innovations on Different Industries

These cutting-edge innovations are already reshaping the very fabric of industries:

  • Construction: Digital twins have emerged as a powerful tool for cost management in construction. By facilitating rapid and accurate estimations, they offer teams real-time data access. This enables early identification of areas for cost reductions during planning phases, ensuring budgets stay on target. Moreover, they provide invaluable insights into possible future expenses, thereby optimizing project timelines.
  • Marine: Enhanced precision in positioning solutions is revolutionizing navigation and underwater mapping handled by autonomous or semi-autonomous water crafts.
  • Agriculture: Smart machine control technologies are fine-tuning planting, fertilization methods,  and earthmoving processes, culminating in better crop yields and increased profits.

Future Innovations in Machine Control Technology

The next wave of machine control innovations promises even greater advancements. We foresee a future where excavation becomes fully automated, elevating productivity throughout construction workflows. Machines, in their evolved forms, will double up as sensors, overseeing project milestones and churning out detailed productivity reports. This will inevitably lead to streamlined construction methods and significant reductions in project delays.

Machine control technology isn’t merely a passing phase; it symbolizes an industry-wide revolution with lasting impacts. Its potential to recalibrate industry standards and bolster efficiency marks an exciting phase in technological evolution.


In summary, the evolution of machine control technology is making a big impact, touching everything from construction to agriculture. At SATEL USA, we’re not just watching from the sidelines; we’re actively supporting our clients who are part of this change. Discover how our advanced solutions can help elevate your projects here.

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The Role of Automation in Machine Control

In industries like construction, mining, and agriculture, the role of automation in machine control is becoming increasingly pivotal. As the demand for efficiency, precision, and productivity intensifies, automation offers a solution that can redefine operations in these sectors.

Efficiency Through Automation in Machine Control

Automation is a key player in the ongoing evolution of machine control. By reducing manual undesirable tasks and limiting human errors, the result is increased efficiency, reliability, and precision.

How is this achieved?

  • Powerful computer tools and smart systems can quickly handle lots of information, making instant changes that are hard for manual methods to achieve.
  • Automated systems operate continuously, leading to less downtime and more productivity.

Practical Applications of Automation in Machine Control

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Autonomous Construction Equipment: Many machinery manufacturers are now producing autonomous equipment to improve efficiency and safety on construction sites.
  • Robotics in Construction: Robots are becoming more common in construction, handling tasks like bricklaying and concrete pouring, reducing errors and improving safety.
  • Digital Twin Technology: Software systems allow operators to test scenarios virtually before deploying them in real situations.

Challenges of Automation in Machine Control

Automation offers many benefits, but there are challenges to consider:

  • Financial Constraints: The initial investment into automation technology can be high, which might be a hurdle for smaller companies. However, the long-term benefits often outweigh these initial investments.
  • Workforce Implications: Automation can mean that workers need new skills, and there’s a potential for a shakeup in the number of workers needed in specific positions and jobs.. It’s important to manage the transition carefully.
  • Data Security: With the heavy reliance on data, strong cybersecurity measures are essential.

In the world of machine control, Satel radios is a trusted name. While we don’t offer full machine control systems, Satel USA is your go-to resource for Satel radios. Our radios are known around the world for their long range thanks to high quality transceivers, reliability, and dependability in machine control environments.

Our goal is to ensure machine control systems work effectively over long distances, regardless of terrain challenges.

Interested in how our Satel Radios can boost the reliability of your machine control systems?

Contact our team for more information or visit our Construction Machine Control page.

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Machine Control 101: Understanding How It Works

In the world of construction, agriculture, mining, and related industries, precision is everything. That’s where the power of machine control shines. Before we delve deeper into the intricate world of machine control, if you’re looking for foundational knowledge like understanding what is machine control and why it is important, our previous article, Machine Control Explained: What You Need to Know, addresses those topics and more.

Once you’re up to speed or if you’re already familiar, read on to gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject and dive deep into the mechanics and features of these systems.

Decoding Modern Construction: Machine Control Systems Explained

Positioning Fundamentals: Beginning in the Atmosphere

Precision in machine control starts high above the site in the atmosphere with GPS satellite constellations. These satellites determine their positions through triangulation, offering location accuracy down to the centimeter. Software engineers then create a digital model of the construction site. By using the precise positions of assets and machines, they sync the machinery on the actual construction site with this digital plan, ensuring the desired outcomes of the job are achieved on the ground.

Base Stations: Crucial Players on the Ground

Base stations are essential components on the construction site. They capture GPS signals and then broadcast correctional data across the job site. Whether through their built-in radios or using powerful external radios like the Satel EASy Pro+ 35W, they guarantee centimeter-level accuracy throughout the site. This level of precision is indispensable in today’s era of smart construction.

The Role of Rovers in Advanced Construction:

Rovers, equipped with advanced receivers like the internal MR-TR4+, tap into the signals and receive the correction data. The onboard computers map their location in the onboard display which shows a 3D map of the site, pinpointing their exact location on the site and guiding their actions accordingly giving the operators a competitive advantage over traditional machines

Alternative Systems:

Cellular Systems/NTRIP: These are a modern twist, leveraging cellular signals and connecting to offsite reference stations, eliminating the need for onsite base stations.

IMUs (Inertial Measurement Units): These are the unsung heroes in the background, rapidly calculating position changes and working in tandem with other systems to ensure precision in the relative location of the machine in the digital blueprint.

The Building Blocks: Components of a Machine Control System

External Components:

  • Satellite Constellations: Orbiting the Earth, these are the primary sources of the GPS signals.
  • GNSS Base Stations: Acting as the middlemen, they refine the signals for on-ground precision.
  • Radio Base Stations: These radios, both high and low power, transmit signals across the job site from a central antenna location, often amplifying the signal for greater coverage.
  • Cellular Reference Stations: A modern alternative to base stations, they provide signals over vast distances.

Rover Components:

  • Rovers & Machines: While man rovers help in calibration and layout, machines like dozers and excavators reshape the landscape.
  • Receivers & Antennas: They are the ears of the system, constantly listening for signals.
  • Data Collectors: The brain of the operation, processes signals and guides the machinery using advanced software systems designed for precision positioning.
  • Machine Blades & IMUs: While blades reshape the ground, IMUs ensure every move is measured and precise.

In Action: Machine Control Systems on the Ground

From the initial excavation to the final touches, machine control systems play a role in every step:

  1. Excavating: Precision digging to craft the site’s foundation.
  2. Paving: Guiding vehicles for perfect alignment and slope.
  3. Piling: Strengthening foundations by ensuring correct material placement.
  4. Compacting: Ensuring a firm surface, ready for construction.
  5. Drilling: Precision drilling, ensuring safety and accuracy.
  6. Dozing & Scraping: From rough leveling with dozers to fine-tuning with scrapers, machine control ensures a perfect finish.

Designing with Precision: Factors to Consider for Machine Control Systems

When venturing into the design of a machine control system, it’s not just about integrating advanced technology. It’s about ensuring that the system is robust, reliable, and tailored to the specific needs of the project. Here are some pivotal factors to consider:

  1. Purpose & Application:
    • Understand the primary purpose of the system. Is it for excavation, drilling, paving, or another specific task? The design should cater to the primary application to ensure maximum efficiency.
  2. Environmental Conditions:
    • Consider the typical environmental conditions of the job site. Factors like temperature extremes, moisture levels, and terrain can influence the performance of the system.
  3. Accuracy & Precision:
    • Determine the level of accuracy required. While some projects might need centimeter-level precision, others might be more forgiving. Design the system to meet or exceed these requirements.
  4. Integration with Other Systems:
    • Ensure that the machine control system can seamlessly integrate with other onsite systems, whether it’s data management tools, communication systems, or other machinery.
  5. User Interface & Training:
    • The system should be user-friendly, with an intuitive interface. Consider the training required for operators and ensure that resources are available.
  6. Scalability & Upgradability:
    • As technology evolves, so should the machine control system. Design it with scalability in mind, allowing for future upgrades and expansions.
  7. Safety & Redundancies:
    • Safety is paramount. Incorporate multiple redundancies to ensure that in the event of a component failure, the system can still operate safely or shut down without posing risks.
  8. Budget & ROI:
    • While it’s essential to have a state-of-the-art system, it’s equally crucial to consider the budget. Ensure that the system offers a good return on investment by improving efficiency and reducing errors.

By taking these factors into account, one can design a machine control system that not only meets the technical requirements but also ensures smooth operations, safety, and long-term value.

Bringing the Pieces into Focus

Machine control isn’t just a trend—it’s the linchpin and backbone of modern-day construction, agriculture, mining operations, and many other jobs. As you embark on the journey of precision work and aim to make your tasks smoother and more accurate, understanding the basics is essential but only the starting point. Reflect and think:

How can these insights and knowledge help elevate your daily tasks?

Are you leveraging and maximizing the potential of this groundbreaking technology to its fullest?

Consider any gaps or aspects you might be missing in your current operations and workflow that could be revolutionized by the efficiency and precision of machine control systems. The future of your job is in your hands, so ensure you’re equipped with the right tools.

To ensure you’re at the forefront of this technological evolution and to discover how machine control can elevate your projects, subscribe to our newsletter or reach out to our expert team for personalized advice and solutions. We’re an authorized dealer for Satel Radios in the USA, our mission is to provide reliable wireless communications hardware in Machine Control Systems and other mission-critical applications. We’re here to help.

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Machine Control Explained: What You Need to Know

Machine control has revolutionized various industries, from construction and smart agriculture to mining and forestry. By integrating advanced GPS and positioning systems with heavy machinery, it optimizes efficiency, accuracy, and safety. In this article, we delve into the fundamentals of machine control, its evolution, common applications, and where you can get your next machine control system.

What is Machine Control and Why is it Important?

Machine control, also known as machine guidance or automated machine control, refers to the integration of positioning technologies with heavy equipment to improve its performance and precision. By utilizing GPS, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), and other positioning technologies, machine control systems enable real-time data exchange, allowing machines to perform tasks with enhanced accuracy, speed, and efficiency.

The Evolution of Machine Control

Machine control technology has come a long way since its inception. Initially, it relied on basic laser leveling systems and manual grade control. However, advancements in GNSS and GPS technologies have revolutionized the industry, paving the way for more sophisticated and automated solutions combining software applications, real time positioning, and sophisticated 3D models of job sites.

Common Applications of Machine Control

Machine control systems have found widespread use across various industries. Some of the most common applications of Machine Control include construction, agriculture, mining, and water and waste management.

Where Can You Get a Smart Machine Control System?

To find the complete range of equipment tailored to your project needs, your local GNSS dealer will be your best resource. While Satel USA proudly serves as an authorized dealer for Satel Radios in the USA, it’s essential to note that our primary focus is providing the radio communications link for Machine Control Systems. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’d be happy to introduce you to a local dealer or Satel Reseller to ensure you’re fully equipped.

Tying it all Together

In today’s industrial world, machine control systems are indispensable. Paired with advanced GPS in heavy machinery, we’re seeing an industry revolution. These systems amplify productivity, heighten precision, reduce costs, and significantly elevate safety. This isn’t just a passing tech trend; it’s reshaping the very way industries function. As automation takes center stage, Smart Machine Control isn’t just an option – it’s becoming the standard. Leading construction firms are already harnessing their power, consistently finishing jobs ahead of schedule and under budget. Don’t let progress leave you in its dust.

Ready to optimize your construction projects?

Experience the difference that a well-integrated system can make in streamlining your construction workflows. Visit our machine control application page to learn more and dive deeper.

Understanding the Complete Setup

While we offer a pivotal component for your Machine Control System, understanding the complete setup is essential. Reach out to Satel USA today, and we will guide you through how our products fit into the bigger picture. If you are unsure of your next steps, our dedicated support team is here to assist, even introducing you to local dealers or Satel Resellers to ensure you get the full range of equipment you need.

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Tech Note: Adding a Channel List to the SATELLINE-4Pro

Because the SATELLINE-4Pro is only available with “Survey Mode” firmware, Configuration Manager software is essential for loading a channel list and changing most settings. The most recent version of the software can be downloaded from our Support page.

Following are step-by-step instructions on loading a channel list to your 4Pro radio:

  • Connect the 4Pro to power (check that you have the right voltage).
  • Open SATEL Configuration Manager & click the “Program Preferences” tab.
  • Confirm that the correct COM-port is selected and that the baud rate matches that of the radio (default baud rate of the 4Pro is 115200 bps). (Important: to be able to change settings, in the “Program Preferences” tab, under User Level Settings enter the maintenance password and login.)
  • Select the blue “Connect” tab to fully access the modem settings.
  • Select “Modem Settings” tab
  • Select “Channel Selector”, blue button at the top right.
  • If creating a new channel list, in the Channel Selector Window, select “Add” and the Channel Editor Form will appear. Here you can set the User Channel (1-XX), Tx and Rx Frequencies, Bandwidth (12.5, 20 or 25 kHz), and Channel Tx Power (NOTE: if Tx Power is left blank, the radio will default to the max. power of that unit and the saved channel list can be reloaded to any SATEL radio. See previous blog post here for more information.). Input your selection for the user channel and press OK. Continue this process for each subsequent channel, to complete your channel list. (If loading an existing channel list, in the Channel Selector Window, select “Load”, where you will then be able to browse for your saved CFG or CSF file)
  • It is recommended that you then click the “Save” button, to save your new channel list to your PC.
  •  When done, click “Close”. Change “Channel List In Use” to “ON”. The edited settings will show in red font. 
  •  Select the blue “Write Settings” button. Once complete, these settings will change to black font, indicating they’re loaded to the radio.
  •  We recommend you select “Save Configuration to File” to save all specified settings to your PC, before selecting “Disconnect”.

For additional questions, or if you’d like to suggest a technical topic for us to review in our blog, please email