Creativity is a W M Donald core value. We believe that being open to new ideas and investing in innovation will build a more resilient and exciting future for us and our clients.

Some of the product, process and service innovations at W M Donald are commercially sensitive: they underpin our competitive advantage. Other innovation investments, such as suction excavation, are highly visible and allow us to improve the quality and effectiveness of the services we offer or to further extend the scope of our capabilities.

Trimble PCS900 3-D Paving Control System


  • Quality - achieves highway surface finish tolerances of +/- 3mm
  • Time saving - eliminates the requirement for traditional setting out
  • Improved driver experience - eradicates highs and lows in the road surface
  • Flexibility - facilitates the rapid construction of complex highway designs: sags, crests, cambers, gradients, intersections
  • Pedigree – used on airport runway projects where quality and speed are critical

Over recent months W M Donald has commissioned and tested a 3-D paving control system that achieves surface tolerances of +/- 3mm. The Trimble PCS900 system takes a 3-D highway CAD design and ‘translates’ it using satellite positioning technology to automatically guide the paving machine. The system produces a truly exceptional surface finish that improves the driving experience on highways and is often used on airport runway projects where speed, accuracy and finish are critical.

Mike Meldrum, W M Donald’s Engineering Manager, was tasked with implementing the 3-D paving technology: "It’s a steep learning curve. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to embark on the journey without the extensive experience of CAD and satellite positioning technology I have built up over the years. However, the effort has been worthwhile. The ability of the system to cope with changes to the horizontal and vertical alignment geometry – sags, crests, cambers, gradients - of highway designs is quite exceptional."

Whilst the 3-D paving system really comes into its own when clients want a truly exceptional quality finish there are also operational benefits once onsite. The system’s ability to work to fine tolerances means that materials usage is optimised and the avoidance of highs and lows in the surface course eliminates reworking.

As the 3-D paving system enters active service, we will develop case studies to showcase its full potential.

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