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Embracing technology to optimize efficiencies

July 26, 2021
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While the construction sector has lagged behind some other industries in adopting new technologies, some contractors are fully embracing these innovations to enhance their fleets, lower costs and complete projects faster.
One of those companies is Acres Enterprises, a Kamloops-based contracting firm operating for more than 40 years in general, industrial and civil construction throughout B.C., with a newly opened office in Kelowna. 
"We are a true concept to completion company with the ability to take a project from the start to the finish line," says Jeremy Buchner, Director of Acres’ Civil Department. "We strive on our strong relationships and repeat clientele. Over 75 percent of clients are returning or new clients that want to  collaborate and sole  source on projects, which has been key to the successful growth of our company."

Acres invests heavily in technology to ensure their fleets are equipped with the latest industry innovations.

"On the technology side, we've always been ahead of the curve," Buchner says. "We've always had the GPS technology for all the surveying equipment. Back in 2015, we bought our first fully automated dozer – a Komatsu D51. We still have that machine. That was what really turned our heads, the automation on that machine for the lot grading, the subdivisions and roadworks. From that point on, we kept adding more and more."
Over the past three years, Acres has rapidly expanded its embrace of new technologies for its fleets. The company continues to invest in fully automated machine technology.
"We strongly consider including machine control technology on every purchase. That's how critical it is for our business and our success," Buchner says.
Acres Enterprises has a long-standing relationship with SMS Equipment, acting as one of the company's three key vendors. "We've always had some form of Komatsu equipment over the past 20 years," Buchner says.

IMC 2.0 Excavator

One of the company's most recent investments was in a new Komatsu PC210LCi-11 excavator equipped with IMC 2.0 fully integrated technology. The IMC 2.0 technology features a new PH700 iMC control box with increased memory capacity, 3X faster processing speed for improved processing of complex designs, a front-facing USB port for easy access, a slimmer and lighter build, and easier positioning, mounting and dismounting.
"The biggest thing with Komatsu is that their technology is built right in; nothing is hanging off the machine. That is a big selling feature," Buchner says. "Being fully integrated, there's less maintenance, there are fewer pieces to knock off, and there are fewer components to wreck."
Acres’ previous positive experiences with Komatsu equipment played a significant role in purchasing the PC210LCi-11 excavator.
"We’ve had a lot of good previous success with Komatsu 200s,” Buchner says. “It was also a competitive package. We compared it against our other top manufacturers with technology bolted on. The Komatsu stood out with the fact that it’s fully integrated. Komatsu has had that full integration for a while now. There’s a lot of reliability and comfort wrapped around that.”
The IMC technology offers Acres significant competitive advantages.
“As long as your data prep is correct, you can complete the work with fewer bodies on the ground. In addition, you can complete the work with a less-skilled operator. There are multiple advantages to the IMC technology,” Buchner says. “It allows us to reduce our costs on estimates and that, in turn, gives us more of a competitive advantage – the reduction in labour costs, and waste on materials like earthworks, bedding sands, preparation.”

Integrated Advantages

To see the differences between using a bolt-on technology versus Komatsu’s integrated technology, SMS Equipment’s Smart Construction Sales Representative Jeff Martin set up a presentation and demonstration with team members Steve Ten Veen (Sales Representative) and Blair Baignee (Technology Solutions Expert).
“Bringing the right people into the conversation early was key to eliminate any confusion on the systems,” says Ten Veen.
Martin says significant differences exist between purchasing a bolt-on GPS technology and an integrated technology like Komatsu offers.
“They’re not the same thing,” Martin says, adding that one key difference is that the warranty offered on the machine by SMS Equipment also covers the IMC technology. “All of the IMC components are covered under the warranty of the machine. We don’t charge you for the mechanic to go out there and fix those things for you.”
The integrated technology also gives SMS Equipment the ability to remotely train operators on the equipment and troubleshoot the machine using remote Komatsu applications.
Operator Driven

Operator Driven

For Acres Enterprises, operator preferences are another key consideration when selecting equipment.
“If an operator doesn’t like a machine, they can make the best machine look poor,” Buchner says. “Key operators are tough to find these days. So you have to consider that when you are purchasing machines.”
Buchner says reliable service is also vital to the success of their operations.
“These are machines, so they do break down, so the dealer support is key,” he says. “That’s why we stick to our top three, including SMS Equipment. We know they can support our business in the way we need to be supported.”
SMS Equipment’s Blair Baignee says technical solid service and support are crucial to success for people in the field, so it has to be a top priority. Baignee comments, “We take pride in the support services that we offer our customers. Everything has to be immediate as far as I’m concerned”.

Quick Specs


165 HP @2,000 rpm (123 kW @2,000 rpm)


53882 lb (24440 kg)


1.57 yd3 (1.20 m3)


21′9″ (6620 mm)

Explore the PC210LCi-11
New iMC 2.0 excavator delivers greater accuracy, comfort and versatility for increased productivity
What if you could dig basements, footings or utility trenches without worrying about over-excavating? How about using the same machine to accurately excavate slopes and finish grade ponds with limited movement? What if you could do it all with little or no need for a finish dozer, stakes or surveying?

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