Trimble Brings 3D Machine Control to Milling Machines with New Roadworks

The latest version of Trimble’s Roadworks paving control platform brings 3D machine control to milling machines and is now available.

Running on an Android operating system, the control platform software enables operators to precisely control the cutting depth of the cold planer, according to the project design.

It is designed to guide compatible machines to meet the specs of complex projects, minimizing over-cutting and creating a smoother surface.

For milling, a 3D design is displayed to the machine operator showing areas that are on, above, or below the ideal grade, comparing the actual drum position and slope with the digital design. Trimble

For milling, a 3D design is displayed to the operator showing areas that are on, above, or below the ideal grade, comparing the actual drum position and slope with the digital design. The platform automatically guides the milling drum to cut the defined depth and slope without stringlines or manual adjustments. 

“Complex paving projects such as airport runways and heavily traveled highways have some of the tightest specifications in the construction industry,” said Kevin Garcia, general manager of civil specialty solutions at Trimble. “Trimble Roadworks for milling and cold planing takes both the guesswork and the rework out of milling, making it easy for operators to mill precisely to a 3D design elevation.”

In early 2023, Schaumburg, Illinois-based Rabine Paving became a beta tester for the upgraded Trimble Roadworks paving control platform.

The pavement maintenance, design, construction, and construction management firm, which specializes in large commercial/industrial parking lot and utility restoration projects, has been running 3D-enabled concrete screeds for several years, but its milling machines had remained 2D.

Kyle Miller, director of operations at Rabine, noted that for milling, a well-trained operator can see the changes of slope and contours necessary for drainage and ADA requirements in a parking lot without machine control, but any deviation outside the specs found by a third-party inspector can be costly. 

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Trimble’s new software was installed on a Rabine milling machine in April 2023 and was on a jobsite in Wisconsin in May, a small parking lot with complex slopes and a roundabout.

Trimble’s software will automatically adjust to slopes and roundabout radius. Trimble “The software automatically adjusted to slopes and roundabout radius at a fairly quick speed,” Miller said, noting that the 3D milling workflow is straightforward. The crew sets up control, shoots the edges, curves, and basins, and then uploads it to Trimble Business Center to create 3D milling plans and quality and production reports.

The new Roadworks paving control platform has the same user interface as existing Trimble Roadworks applications and is compatible with Trimble WorksManager and Trimble Business Center software for data management and creation of 3D milling plans and reports.

“The technology automatically calculates the surface, so we’re able to accurately read the profile ahead of time,” said Miller. “It takes the operator’s guesswork out of the equation. Instead of the operator having to gauge mill depth based on experience, the Roadworks solution mills to the design profile within the designated precision. It allows our crews to optimize material quantities that are milled on a site.”

The benefits of the system extend through the entire paving process and beyond.

“It’s really the next level and an opportunity for us to significantly improve our efficiency, field safety, and precision,” Miller said. “It’s also a key component of our efforts to attract new operators to our industry.” 

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