Topcon: Meeting you at the Intersection of Infrastructure and Technology

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Topcon designs and manufactures precision positioning equipment and solutions for the global surveying, construction, agriculture, civil engineering, mapping and geographic information system, asset management, and mobile control markets.

The company specializes in providing GPS solutions for GIS mapping in the fields of environmental and agricultural research, natural resource management, mineral exploration, and military applications. It offers laser products, optical instruments, global positioning systems, machine control products, mapping and geographic information systems field controllers, and agricultural purpose products, as well as software and utilities for machine control, global positioning system, and surveying needs.

Topcon’s African Footprint  

Speaking on African reach Gaël Basseville, Topcon business development manager for Africa states that, “Africa is a hugely important market for Topcon and we really feel that our unique product offering can help to bolster the ongoing construction and infrastructure boom across the continent.

Topcon already has a presence in Africa, but we are looking to expand our reach in the region over the next few years. Out of all the continents, Africa has the world’s youngest and fastest growing population, meaning there are a lot of opportunities for development in infrastructure-related business areas such as construction, mining and agriculture. As a leader in workflow solutions for these sectors, Topcon can bring a wealth of experience and expertise to projects in the region and really help to accelerate infrastructure and the wider economy through the adoption of intelligent technologies.

Through extensive work with some key distributors, Topcon has an established presence in parts of Northern and Western Africa where our hardware and software solutions are being used to improve accuracy and efficiency on projects from road construction to developing international airports.

As mentioned, Africa is a key market for Topcon and we are looking to expand this network over the next year. Our main focus will be to continue bolstering our offering in Western Africa, but we are looking to expand our reach to Eastern and Southern nations too.

Topcon has been involved in a variety of significant projects recently. For example, in Benin we have been working in partnership with Société des Aéroports du Bénin (SAB) – the company in charge of airport management at the Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport – on the complete resurfacing of the airport runway. Using Topcon’s SmoothRide technology, including the RD-M1 scanner and RD-MC paving and milling machine control solutions, road construction company Colas Afrique has been leading on the Benin government-funded project to bring the runway up to standard, increase airport capacity and improve safety. The Topcon tools have ensured that project teams are working accurately and efficiently, which is vital when it comes to airport runways due to the obvious safety and compliance considerations.

Meanwhile, in Burkina Faso, we have partnered with Japanese construction company Dai Nippon and African contractor Sogea Satom on the renovation and widening of the south-east bypass of Tansoba Boulevard in Ouagadougou. As one of the busiest roads in the capital of Burkina Faso, this is a significant project, not least because the road actually links Burkina Faso with connecting roads to its six border countries. This is a community anchored project with 95 per cent of the employees being recruited locally. The teams are utilizing Topcon’s GPS MC2 grader technology, which has enabled them to build the road quickly and to the highest safety standards, thanks to the accuracy of the 3D machine guidance as well as improving the overall smoothness of the road”.

Topcon’s unique selling point

According to Basseville all Topcon products are designed to increase on-site productivity and accuracy. The firm provide construction workers with a variety of innovative and reliable solutions – both hardware and software – to improve efficiency on a range of projects, from construction and geopositioning through to mining and agriculture.

For example, when it comes to large-scale infrastructure projects like road building and resurfacing, Topcon’s unique technology can not only speed up the process, but also eliminate mistakes. The SmoothRide solution covers the entire paving workflow, from the initial scanning and design stages, to milling existing surfaces and laying the new asphalt, meaning the entire operation runs seamlessly and efficiently. By utilizing a one-stop solution like this, teams can ensure a high-quality end result in a fraction of the time.

Specific products in Topcon’s portfolio including the Millimeter GPS+ (mmGPS) system and the 3D-MC Max technology are also worth mentioning, as they are particularly unique due to their intelligent features. Both solutions maximize efficiency by ensuring the highest levels of accuracy on site, whilst cutting down on rework as they enable the correct grade to be found right away, meaning productivity is accelerated on projects.

Training and aftersales support are also incredibly important for them at Topcon. Customers should feel reassured that their dealers are on hand to offer technical advice and support for Topcon technology whenever it’s needed, so there will always be help available.

Advice on potential customers

Gaël Basseville finally urges clients: “Given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the sector, at a global level but also on individual local projects, it will be crucial moving forward for construction firms to invest in technologies that can help them to accelerate economic recovery.

Hardware and software that helps to improve productivity and accuracy will become invaluable for helping the industry to recover, as intelligent tools can keep projects on schedule, avoid costly mistakes and even minimize excess waste and materials on site –benefitting individual jobsites as well as helping the wider sector to recover following the pandemic. To assist with this, our network of trusted Topcon dealers provides all the up-to-date and relevant information to help potential customers choose the right solutions to make their projects a success.

Our Topcon technologies perfectly answer the African market’s expectations regarding the road, mining and agriculture projects across the continent. Our systems are also very robust, meaning they can withstand the varying and specific weather conditions in Africa. We envisage that in the near future, 3D Topcon positioning systems will soon be a standard for every project.”