Post-Show Report From The Utility Expo 2023

At the largest show in history, the utility industry gathered for education, equipment and networking.

The Equipment Today team got to operate the EC230 electric excavator.
The Equipment Today team got to operate the EC230 electric excavator.
Volvo CE

John Deere demos the excavator's grade control.John Deere demos the excavator's grade control.Lori DitoroThe Utility Expo did not disappoint. It returned to Louisville, Kentucky, with a record-setting gathering of more than 21,000 utility construction professionals, according to a press release from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. These industry experts came together to experience firsthand the latest equipment and cutting-edge technologies for the utility sector. This event assembled industry leaders, decision-makers, and stakeholders, to attain education, learn about the latest equipment information and network.

“From every perspective, this year’s Utility Expo surpassed all expectations, offering an abundance of sights and experiences for attendees,” said John Rozum, The Utility Expo show director. “Our goal is to bring utility pros together with exhibitors and equipment manufacturers to advance the utility industry and showcase how the equipment, products and technologies help keep our communities working and thriving."

While our team couldn't visit every booth, we share here what we learned and saw during the event in the order that we explored the show.

John Deere

During John Deere's press conference, the team shared several equipment improvements and launches for the utility industry. The goals of the equipment exhibited are to get work done faster, do more with the labor and skill levels that contractors have, and maximize uptime.

A demo during the event featured dozers and tiered excavators with grade control and backhoes, which are regaining popularity in North America. The top tier excavators include:

  • Larger cabs
  • 17% more horsepower
  • Better machine stability
  • Bluetooth audio and phone calls
  • Left/right camera systems
  • Angle blade with float
  • Swing boom, which allows it to fit into tight spaces

The contractor and dealer Q&A during the John Deere press conference.The contractor and dealer Q&A during the John Deere press conference.Lori DitoroDuring the event, John Deere also conducted a Q&A with Mike Cunningham, VP McCoy Construction & Forestry (a John Deere dealer), and Thomas Karczmarczyk, President & CEO of KZ Construction, Inc, who does residential work including underground utilities. On of Karczmarczyk's favorite technologies is 2D grade control. The benefits for his team include:

  • Being able to easily dig on grade
  • Allowing operators to have more info to solve problems in the field
  • Pulling exact grade prevents manual work in the ditch

Learn more about Karczmarczyk's use of technology from this video that was shot at the John Deere booth.

Case Construction Equipment

The Case wheeled excavator.The Case wheeled excavator.Lori DitoroThe first equipment Case discussed was the wheeled excavators on display. While wheeled excavators have been popular in Europe for a while, they have not seen much use in North America, until now. While they debuted at CONEXPO/CON-AGG (CONEXPO), the wheeled excavators have a partnership with Steelwrist for their tiltrotators (these provide flexibility to perform more tasks), have trailer hitches and travel up to 25 miles per hour on the road. This speed allows them to move from location to location, which reduces transportation costs for the contractor.

The WX175E SR and WX155E SR have a grading bucket and grapple attachments with a quick coupler. The blades and stabilizers are bolted on and can be removed or swapped.

Case also announced upgrades to its 650, 750 and 850 dozers. Improvements include electric over hydraulic blade control (750 and 850) and machine control.

The last equipment discussed was Case's five new backhoe loaders (also launched during CONEXPO), which included the 695 SV and the 580 SV with a center pivot, which was introduced during the last year. They also have side shift for a narrower footprint. This allows for parallel digging against a wall or fence.The Case center pivot backhoe loader.The Case center pivot backhoe loader.Lori Ditoro

Ditch Witch  

The SK1750 stand-on skid steer and its patent-pending track system was one of the featured machines at the Ditch Witch booth. The Tri-TRAX track system provides three benefits:

  • Smoother ride
  • Longer life
  • A tension window that allows for visible tensioning correction

Lori Ditoro and the Ditch Witch team with the SK1750.Lori Ditoro and the Ditch Witch team with the SK1750.Nikki LawsonThe team was also displaying its PT37 Ride-On Plow/Trencher for longer working distances. The PT37 is a dedicated plow with an optional trencher, reel-carrier and hydra-bore configuration to meet a range of jobsite needs. An adjustable side-facing seat allows the operator to see all four tires and the plow box while operating. While at the booth, we had the chance to see this equipment in operation.


At the Vermeer press conference, the company launched the prototype VX75 Vacuum Excavator, which is the platform for all future Vermeer machines. It is compact for urban environments. It is equipped with a 1,500-cubic-feet-per-minute vacuum blower capable of generating 15 inches of mercury of suction force. It is available with a 5-in hydraulic boom option for standard units and a 4-inch hydraulic boom option for air and jetter versions.

The Vermeer VX75 is unveiled.The Vermeer VX75 is unveiled.Lori DitoroThe Vermeer team also unveiled the redesigned VXT600 Vacuum Excavator. The load capacity has been increased for road use, and the component and technology reliability and serviceability have been optimized. It was demoed  for the press conference attendees.  This new design allows for even weight distribution when traveling while maximizing the volume of the material hauled. It also has a low profile with a height (with boom) of 12.25 feet so that it can maneuver under trees, power lines and bridges.


The iC70R Crawler Carrier was featured at the KATO booth. The machine has 360-degree rotation and a three-way opening dump bed. It doesn't need a wide-load permit and is joystick operated. The iC70R operates in tighter areas, and because it is easy to use, it does have rental interest.The KATO iC70R Crawler Carrier.The KATO iC70R Crawler Carrier.Lori Ditoro

Lincoln Electric

During a press conference, the Lincoln Electric team discussed the Ranger Air 260MPX, which is a multifunction engine drive designed for the work truck industry. This machine can run a laptop, provide auxiliary power and produce compressed air. It also is a generator, battery charger, battery jump assist and multi-process welder. The 260MPX is part of the Vanair  


Among the many products at the Vanair booth was the Air N Arc 330 Diesel ALL-IN-ONE Power System, which includes a partnership with Lincoln Electric. The system stands alone and is fully functional without being integrated with the chassis fuel system and battery, enabling effortless removal and installation on and off the vehicle. This flexibility empowers fleets, providing the option to leave the unit behind at the jobsite. Another testament to the Air N Arc's adaptability is the streamlined access to all functions through a single control panel, positioned for convenience and safety.The Air N Arc 330 Diesel ALL-IN-ONE Power SystemThe Air N Arc 330 Diesel ALL-IN-ONE Power SystemLori Ditoro

The PTO Shaft-Driven Underdeck ALL-IN-ONE Power System was also featured. This system provides six forms of power:

  • Air compressor
  • Generator
  • Welder
  • Battery boosting
  • Battery charging
  • Hydraulic-driven power

The underdeck capability saves up to 2,000 pounds of space, frees up the hitch of the truck and requires less maintenance.


This Single-Reel Utility & Telecom Trailer was a winner of the Contractor's Top 50 Products.This Single-Reel Utility & Telecom Trailer was a winner of the Contractor's Top 50 Products.Nikki LawsonThe Stellar team exhibited new products at the expo. The first was it its bale-style pull-handle toolbox system. This new addition replaces the existing pull-handle toolbox system and introduce several beneficial improvements.

Designed with user convenience and versatility in mind, the bale-style pull-handle toolbox system features a dual-action handle design that allows users to activate the latches by grabbing the handle from either above or below offering a more ergonomic and user-friendly experience. 

Another product featured was the the Stellar LM220M Poly Lube Skid. This new addition is designed to enhance lubrication services for mechanic trucks with its improved contamination control, reduced leak points, serviceability and ability to be lifted by a crane. The product was developed because of customer demand.

Western Global

The FuelCube Type-S, a compact fuel tank that fits in the back of a truckThe FuelCube Type-S, a compact fuel tank that fits in the back of a truckWestern GlobalDuring our booth visit to Western Global, we got to see the FuelCube Type-S, a compact fuel tank that fits in the back of a truck. Available in the U.S., the FuelCube Type-S is a transportable fuel tank designed to safely transport and dispense diesel fuel when and where it’s needed without hazardous material placard requirements. It is a robust and secure alternative to slip tanks. This new solution offers 110% containment, security features and increased versatility, including the lid protecting the equipment. It is stackable when empty, saving yard space, and theft resistant. The dual-purpose adaptability of the tank allows businesses to use it as a truck bed tank or an onsite tank because it is

Hyundai Construction Equipment

The Equipment Today team was thrilled to present Hyundai with the Contractors' Top 50 Products award.The Equipment Today team was thrilled to present Hyundai with the Contractors' Top 50 Products award.Nikki LawsonThe Hyundai team shared a lot of equipment at their booth including HX40A Compact Excavator. The prototype was featured during CONEXPO, but the production unit was at The Utility Expo. The HX40A includes:

  • Standard quick connect couplers
  • Pilot-controlled hydraulics
  • Easy serviceability
  • A control valve bank accessible by a panel
  • Improved visibility
  • Changeable tracks


Fecon launched Fusion, a user-friendly telematics platform that uses state-of-the-art features such as automatic machine calibration, location services and performance tracking to make industry-changing productivity gains in mulching operations. The technology automatically calibrates the attachment to the carrier in real-time to optimize performance, minimize downtime and expand the machine’s lifespan. Fusion will initially be available on high-flow Bull Hog and Blackhawk attachments.The Trim Ex is a patented tree trimming saw allows landscapers, landowners and DOT’s to perform tree maintenance with machines they already have.The Trim Ex is a patented tree trimming saw allows landscapers, landowners and DOT’s to perform tree maintenance with machines they already have.Fecon

Another feature is how the technology continually collects and adapts to information based on dynamic conditions such as temperature, altitudes, carrier settings and carrier efficiency. For example, at the start of the day, Fusion will detect a cold carrier and automatically adjust the machine settings so that the machine will work best in colder temperatures. As the machine warms up, Fusion will tune the settings for higher temperatures. The machine starts learning as soon as it is attached to a carrier, but an operator can choose to initiate a learning sequence through the Fusion app. Designed to fit small to midsize carriers, Trim Ex, a patented tree trimming saw allows landscapers, landowners and DOT’s to perform tree maintenance with machines they already have. Cutting faster than a chainsaw bar, the Trim Ex 26S saw attachment features a 24-inch carbide-tipped forestry blade that spins at 3,000 rpm and operates with standard flow machines between 10 gallons per minute (gpm) to 27 gpm with no high flow needed. The operator hydraulically rotates the saw head from the cab as much as 180 degrees to optimize the cutting angle and increase productivity. The boom telescopes to 18 feet, which provides a working height of 26 feet. 

Volvo CE

The Equipment Today learned about the wheeled excavatorThe Equipment Today learned about the wheeled excavatorVolvo CEDuring the booth visit with Volvo Construction Equipment (CE), the Volvo team shared two interesting machines. The first was a wheeled excavator, following the trend of this machine's growing use in North America. It has the versatility of traveling on roads, up to 23 miles per hour, and the capability of pulling a trailer behind it with tools. Operators can also use different attachments with it.

Another machine that drove much interest was the EC230 Electric Excavator. Volvo had recently added this medium-sized excavator. The EC230 excavator is a 23-metric-ton excavator. It is one of Volvo’s heavier battery electric machines. It has an extendable battery pack.