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Machine technology ensures Balmoral maze is fit for a King

Construction technology specialist SITECH®UK and Ireland, is playing a supporting role in the creation of the giant thistle-shaped maze at Balmoral which is due to open to the public later this year.

Civil engineering company Nicol of Skene in Aberdeenshire called in machine technology experts, SITECH in their capacity as UK authorised dealer for Trimble® machine control systems to work on this prestigious project.

The specialist team from SITECH installed the Trimble Earthworks grade control platform to the six-ton excavator being used to create the paths and planting areas for the maze. The team trained operator, Liam McAllan, who was then able to achieve the near zero tolerances needed to create the 1.2-metre-wide curving paths and 0.8-metre-wide beds which will become the 6ft high walls of the maze once fully grown.

Liam says: “I’d not worked on a maze before or used Trimble Earthworks, but the system was easy to learn and pick up which was important, as working in such a small area meant there was no room for error.

“It was challenging because I could only see what we were doing at ground level, so we had a drone fly over to check all the lines were precise and everything was symmetrical.

“The GPS system made things quicker and go smoothly. Without GPS we would have needed an engineer on site throughout the entire project to ensure everything was accurate and precise.”

The team at Nicol of Skene used Trimble Business Centre to convert the original architect drawings into a 3D model which was then uploaded to the working machine, then measured and calibrated from two positions by the expert team at SITECH to complete the shapes needed for the design without any errors.

SITECH regional sales consultant for Scotland, Liam Payne, said while they had collaborated with Nicol of Skene before, employing the technology to create a maze for the King was a truly unique and a clear demonstration of the accuracy of Trimble machine technology.

“This really shows how site positioning systems can do so much more than dig holes,” he said.

“Using Trimble® Earthworks machine technology for this project saved Nicol of Skene considerable engineer man hours and gave them complete peace of mind that they could deliver exactly what was wanted by the King.”

As a result, the maze groundworks were successfully completed within 12 weeks and the maze is set to open to the public this year and attract even more visitors to the Balmoral Castle and 50,000-acre estate.

To find out more about more about SITECH machine control systems support, training and software solutions go to or contact the sales support team on 0808 1969139.