Posted on

4 Key Considerations in Choosing Machine Control Solutions for Construction Equipment


Selecting the right machine control options for construction equipment is crucial, depending on specific use cases. With the evolution of construction equipment machine control, including grade control, its application is expanding beyond typical excavation and earthworks contractors to commercial, security, residential sectors.

Key decision factors extend beyond choosing between 2D and 3D grade control systems. While 2D systems utilize physical landmarks or lasers for grading accuracy, 3D systems employ advanced positioning technologies like GPS, and sometimes local position systems (LPS), especially in areas where satellite signals are obstructed.

One critical consideration is the absence of a universal standard for topographic data in machine control technology. This is particularly relevant for contractors using mixed fleets, rental equipment, or those integrating subcontractor equipment into a unified digital workflow.

Consideration 1: Movable vs. Hardwired Systems

For sites or projects using rented machines or integrating subcontractor equipment, movable machine control systems are advantageous. These systems can be transferred between machines and often feature wireless, magnetic sensors for easy installation without permanent alterations to the equipment. Solutions like Trimble Earthworks GO! 2.0 and the iDig System, which includes solar-charged sensors, exemplify this adaptability.

Consideration 2: Aftermarket vs. OEM Solutions

The 2023 State of the Industry Construction Technology Report highlights the adoption of both OEM and aftermarket machine control. Despite OEM solutions being more prevalent, the lack of data standards and the need for flexible solutions make aftermarket options, like those offered by Unicontrol, appealing for their versatility and compatibility with various machine types.

Consideration 3: Purchase or Subscription Models

The choice between buying or subscribing to machine control technologies is significant. Subscription models, like Trimble Works Plus, offer flexibility and financial accessibility, particularly beneficial for smaller contractors. Larger contractors also find value in subscriptions for aligning technology costs with project budgets.

Consideration 4: Automated Equipment vs. Robotics

The emergence of construction robotics is extending the capabilities of traditional equipment. Vendors are increasingly adopting robots-as-a-service models to introduce innovations like Moog’s solar Cobot and various robotics solutions by Sarcos Robotics. These advancements present new opportunities for enhancing productivity and safety in construction operations.


Selecting machine control solutions for construction equipment involves careful consideration of various factors, including technology type, compatibility, financial models, and the emerging role of robotics in enhancing construction capabilities.

SATEL USA’s Role in Machine Control

At SATEL USA, we understand the critical importance of minimizing downtime and maximizing operational reach on the construction site. Our Machine Control solutions, featuring the cutting-edge SATELLINE-EASy, are tailored to meet these exact needs. Designed specifically for integration in heavy equipment cabs, this kit represents the pinnacle of precision and reliability. At its heart lies the robust and high-quality SATEL EASy radio, ensuring that your fleet remains versatile and fully compatible with any UHF base station on-site.

The EASy Machine Control Kit distinguishes itself with its ability to seamlessly connect to the GPS on the cab, allowing for the continuous reception of RTK corrections without any downtime.

Check out our EASy Machine Control Kit for more details.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.