First off, Unicontrol pioneered a trail-blazing 3D machine control system designed for small excavators. The Danish developer is now ready to launch its latest innovation: an intuitive control system intended specifically for backhoe loaders. The project was run in partnership with Huddig, the renowned Swedish machine manufacturer.Together, the two companies have developed a user-friendly control system for machine operators that not only widens the scope of backhoe operations, but also paves the way to increased profits. At the same time, distribution and service have been given a shot in the arm via a new partnership agreement with L5 Navigation, which runs 15 local offices in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
The less time construction machines spend standing still on site, the better it is for the bottom line of the project. Even though backhoes are much more versatile than standard excavators, these machines are often overlooked on large construction sites because – until now – there has not been a 3D control system that covered all their many functions. As a result, backhoes have not been able to collate all the relevant data and keep pace with the wave of digitalisation sweeping through the construction sector.
It is this challenge that Unicontrol has now neatly tackled in partnership with Huddig. The parties worked closely with backhoe operators in the development project to assure a peerless level of user-friendliness in the final, patent pending, universal solution.
Bengt Thisner is a backhoe operator with PEAB, a Nordic contractor that employs 15,000 people. He has had the opportunity to test the new Unicontrol solution in his Huddig machine.
“I had Unicontrol 3D installed in my backhoe in January 2021. It’s turned out to be an excellent solution and I’m really pleased with it. The technical functions are helpful and stable, and it’s easy to use. All in all, it’s a solid, reliable aid to my backhoe work,” he says. As an added bonus, the new system means that Bengt’s employer no longer has to use surveyors and labourers to mark the site out manually – they can devote their time to more profitable tasks instead.
As a pioneer in the development of 3D machine control for all kinds of excavators, Unicontrol now has a network of 21 dealers supplying local service and support throughout Finland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as on its domestic market in Denmark. The company is expanding operations from Scandinavia into the rest of Europe, where Unicontrol is already receiving an increasing stream of enquiries from interested dealers, OEM partners and end customers.
Operators up and running quickly
Every year, Huddig delivers 160 advanced backhoe loaders to the building and construction industry in Europe and the United States, and the machines are now available with the option of Unicontrol 3D machine control.
“When all machines on a construction project can work on the basis of digital coordinates, a few clicks is all it takes for the foreman to send instructions and data to all the machine operators on site. As well as improving efficiency on the construction site, this assures a high level of quality and precision in the actual excavation work, and in the associated documentation,” explains Daniel Myrgren, Marketing Manager at Huddig, which is based in Hudiksvall, Sweden.
At Unicontrol’s new partner L5 Navigation, Johan Spector is gearing up for a swift expansion of 3D machine control systems for backhoe loaders and other excavators in Finland, Norway, and Sweden: “The test operators have welcomed the backhoe control solution with open arms, because there haven’t been any viable solutions on the market before. So, we’re already hearing a lot of interest from the Nordic construction and machine industry. We’ve been working with machine control systems since 2013, and the dream team of Unicontrol, L5 Navigation and Huddig offers the construction industry the best possible solution at an extremely manageable price. The Unicontrol 3D system is actually so straightforward that operators can get to grips with it and start using it in as little as 30 minutes – even if they have no previous experience with similar systems.”
The two Swedish companies are quick to express their delight with their new Danish partner: “Unicontrol is impressive on several levels. It’s a growth company with a highly dedicated, technically experienced and efficient team, and it has solid backing from a number of major tech investors,” emphasises Daniel Myrgren from Huddig.
Unicontrol expanding rapidly
The Unicontrol 3D system has been developed on the basis of user involvement and process analyses of the workflow that applies in the construction industry. The solution is suitable for machines with a derrick, swivel arm and bucket that are fitted with sensors. For its next project, Unicontrol is already working hard on developing a consolidated system for backhoe loaders that makes it possible to control both the front loader and the excavator arm.
Ehsan Ekhlas, CEO at Unicontrol, has nothing but praise for the company’s new partners:
“It’s a real pleasure to work with an experienced manufacturer like Huddig on the development of state-of-the-art machine control systems that add value to their machines and for customers in the construction industry. We can now continue to build on the excellent experience from both excavators and backhoe loaders, using it to adapt the technology to accommodate even more of the requests from the construction industry regarding modern machine control. We’re also delighted, through our partnership with L5 Navigation, to be able to offer skilled sales and service from a network of 15 offices in the Nordic region. The experts at L5 Navigation have a combined total of 250 years of experience with 3D machine control,” he concludes.
Unicontrol was founded in 2018 and recorded a five-fold increase in its turnover for 2020, returning a positive result on the bottom line for the second year in succession. The company currently employs 17 people and is now seeking seven more. The majority of the staff work at the head office in Odense, Denmark, although some are based in Poland.