SPE GmbH & Co KG, located in Hamburg, Germany, is an engineering firm that’s been developing innovative solutions for dredgers in the sand and gravel industry since 1995. As a pioneer in the field of land and underwater dredging, SPE has decades of expertise in developing dredge monitoring systems for onshore and offshore dredging. As an early innovator in dredge monitoring and underwater dredging, SPE developed its own dredge monitoring system, MARPO_DGPS. This modular system easily adapts to each project in order to meet the requirements of clients for efficient resource extraction.
A Need for Greater Accuracy
In 2019, SPE ventured into full automation of dredgers. The goal was to create an autonomous dredging system in which sensors would independently collect data from the area to be dredged, and then use the data to control the system autonomously.
“It is difficult to find a qualified dredge operator to work in a mining area. The conditions can be very demanding, and one goal is to support the employee in his work and take the pressure off him so he can be used in other areas.”
says Peter Klemp, SPE’s Managing Director. When developing this new system, it was initially only possible to achieve a maximum accuracy of 30 centimeters, which did not meet the company’s own requirements, or those of the customers.
A Vision for Cleaner, More Efficient Dredging Operations
In its search for highly accurate GPS systems, SPE found the ideal partner in Trimble. The Trimble® BX992 receiver and GA830 ruggedized antenna, along with Trimble CenterPoint® RTX correction service, resulted in the ability to meet the customer’s increased accuracy requirements and provide highly accurate visualization with sonars to depths of more than 80 meters, even in turbid water. After installing the receiver and antenna to the roof of their office building to test its usability in harsh conditions, SPE integrated it into the dredging system. Because SPE sells dredge monitoring systems in almost every country in the world, it relies on Trimble’s global presence if a problem arises anywhere. With the BX992 receiver combined with CenterPoint RTX corrections, SPE has a reliable and easy-to-use solution that consistently delivers corrections with 2cm accuracy.
End-to-End System Operates Autonomously
In March 2021, with the integration of Trimble hardware and corrections service, SPE launched its first autonomous end-to-end dredging solution for the dredging industry. The benefits are significant: increased productivity, reduced carbon footprint, lower skilled labor costs and optimized dredging. With greater visibility, the new monitoring system has enabled vast improvements to SPE’s dredging activities. SPE has significantly improved mining and dredging operations with the full automation of the dredge monitoring system, and the consistent accuracy of less than 2 centimeters. Klemp and his team were impressed: