Understand and Pick the Best Models
There are many types, makes and models of machine mounted laser receivers available for laser machine control. By understanding the basics of machine laser receivers you can make a wise purchase decision, whether new or used.
Machine laser receivers are made for use on backhoes, mini-excavators, skid steer attachments, box blades, scrapers, graders and bulldozers to achieve laser machine control. These machine receivers will universally detect the signal from all red beam rotating lasers. Machine laser receivers are priced from around $1000 up to about $2700, depending on features. Receivers for machine control may be used to visually “indicate” grade status, thus identifying the required operator action to achieve grade. A remote display can be used with many receivers for in-cab visual indication. Most machine receivers facilitate connection to a control box which, when connected to hydraulic system, provides for automated laser machine control — control of a machine based on the grade status indicated by the machine receiver.
Machine laser receivers differ from rod mounted receivers in that they are larger, are dampened to protect electrical components from shocks and vibration, are usually weatherproof (water, dust), generally allow reception from all directions, have a larger vertical reception range, and mount firmly on construction equipment. Most quality machine laser receivers are made by small number of companies, and reputable brands include Trimble Spectra Precision, Trimble Apache, AGL, Topcon, Leica, and MEI. These brands of receivers, when used but well cared for, are generally a good buy.
Below is a summary of characteristics, parameters and features that may be available in machine laser receivers to help determine the features you need.
Vertical reception range refers to the height of laser reception band, which contains a set of receiving sensors. Depending on model, the vertical reception band may range from about 6” to10” in height, with a band of greater height providing more range (a wider band) of status indication.
Horizontal reception range refers to the circular range of reception. Virtually all machine receivers are designed to receive a laser signal from any direction (360° reception).
Level of precision settings: Machine receivers generally have three or more settings to allow selection depending on the measurement tolerances needed (coarse setting for rough earthwork to fine for finish grading),
Indication for direction to on grade: Machine laser receivers use bright LED lights to guide the user to grade. Many use lights, often configured as directional arrows, to guide the operator up or down to the target grade, sometimes using green lights to indicate that grade is reached.
Brightness controls: Some machine laser receivers allow brightness selection based on jobsite light conditions.
Out of beam indication: Some machine receivers provide indication that the receiver is out of the reception area and directs which way to move in order to get back into the beam.
Plumb indication: Allows operator to monitors the excavator’s dipper arm vertically for consistent and accurate grade checking for excavators and backhoes.
Blade tilt indication: This feature provides indicationto help the operator keep the blade level for increased accuracy and productivity, such as when grading.
Center on-grade feature available on some models provides an equal amount of grade information above and below on-grade when use on dozers, graders, scrapers and box blades.
Offset on-grade feature available on some models provides additional above grade information for less undercuts and more efficient excavation.
Weather protection standards: Machine laser receivers are designed to withstand rough conditions and most are weatherproof (sealed against water, dust), often to IP66 or IP67 standards.
Shock resistance: As conditions on and around construction equipment are often severe, machine laser receivers are rugged, designed to withstand high levels of vibration and shock, with tough housings and isolating shock mounts to protect internal electronics.
Mounting: Most machine laser receivers have integral clamps that allow the receiver to be attached to a fixed pole, electric mast or magnetic mount.
Power Supply: Machine laser receivers commonly use alkaline batteries or rechargeable packs, and sometimes can be set up to operate on 12v machine power.
Understanding machine laser receiver features available will help you select the right receiver for the type of work you perform.