This is a special report, Construction News Tracker from World of Concrete 2015 in Las Vegas. Brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
After four days of wonderful weather, fantastic exhibits and a well attended crowd, World of Concrete 2015 is now history. Fourteen hundred exhibitors were here to show there wares. Over 50,000 people attended. Show exhibitors tell us that's about a 20 percent increase from last year.
Larry Stewart, the ForConstructionPros.com editor, elaborates on his take of what happened at World of Concrete 2015.
World of Concrete 2015 started with the best kind of fanfare with the Portland Cement Association forecasting a doubling of construction spending growth from 2.5 percent that we saw in 2014 to 5 percent in 2015. And the kind of enthusiasm that sort of economic energy brings was sort of obvious here in the aisles and the demonstration areas and all the attendee participation events.
"We're expecting 8 percent growth in cement consumption this year and similar rates in 2016. In fact, it might even accelerate next year," said Ed Sullivan, chief economist for Portland Cement Association. "So the United States is getting its footing again, and we're starting to see that translate through all sectors of the economy including construction."
US economic strength, especially relative to other parts of the globe where things are a little more uncertain, brought investment in North America, and we saw that here in the booths at World of Concrete. Wirtgen brought a million dollar plus 30-foot concrete paver to the market. Gehl and Genie both introduced 12,000-pound 55-foot telehandlers where there had been holes in their lines before. And Kubota introduced a skid-steer loader to accompany the compact track loaders they've had in their line for quite some time.
"About 10 years ago Genie decided that we wanted to get into the telehandler line," said Chad Hyslop, director of product management for Genie Telehandlers. "We wanted to add to our aerial business. We wanted to be a major player in telehandlers so over the last 10 years you've seen us bring new machines out — obviously the success of the 5519, 844 and 1056 — and they've been really good categories for us. But we haven't been able to offer our customers really a one-stop-shop for telehandlers until today. We're pretty excited today with the addition of the 636 a few months ago and now the 1256 at World of Concrete. We're pretty excited to fill out the telehandler line. Now we've really got a capable machine in every single category class the customer would expect for telehandlers."
Much of the equipment news here at World of Concrete did have to do with emissions technologies, although not exclusively.
Case, for instance, brought a 90-hp line of skid steer loaders that are the first on the market to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and the accompanying diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to satisfy emissions regulations. But among those machines, Case brought the largest radial-lift skid steer on the market and advanced the technology in the cabs pretty significantly.
“Any of our 82-hp models are going to be discontinued,” said Warren Anderson, skid steer product manager at Case. “For the price increase over 74 hp, it didn’t make sense to keep an 82-hp unit. We’re either at 90 or 74 hp, much like our competition.
“So we had an SR220 at 82 hp. That model is discontinued. We came out with an SR240, with 200 lb. more rated operating capacity, but at 74 hp (with no SCR), so a less-expensive Tier 4 Final solution for you.
“Just like our SR270, here,” Anderson continued. “We had an SR250, we keep it at 90 hp but we give you 200 more pounds of rated operating capacity, and now you have an SR270.”
Caterpillar upgraded its small wheel loader line, small track-type tractors and backhoe loaders to the latest generation, largely driven by Tier 4 Final emissions regulations, but also bringing in productivity technologies that you really shouldn’t miss.
“Now we have application profiles (programmable in the loader’s memory using the in-cab monitor),” says Scott Britton, product application specialist for Caterpillar’s small wheel loaders. “So I simply go in to Info > Settings, and think ‘What am I doing today?’ Well, today I’m going to run the broom, so I probably want my kickouts turned off because I don’t have any use for those. And I want continuous flow enabled, and I probably want to limit my speed.
“Today I’m doing load and carry. Well, in load and carry I’m going to be at 15 to 16 miles per hour, so I’m going to put it in 3 and get my speed up a little bit. I’m going to do repetitive cycles for my lift, so I’m going to turn those kickouts back on, and my tool is going to flip over to the bucket mode so I have those quick reaction times in my bucket as well.
“It’s that kind of concept,” Britton said, “And there’s 10 different profiles in there, based on customer feedback. It’s right there in that display, very simple to get to.”
“So that’s something the operator has control over,” asked Larry Stewart, editor of ForConstructionPros.com.
“He can choose to do that (program the 10 operating profiles) in 22 different languages,” Britton answered. “Whenever he wants to, he can simply get in there and it will tell him what to do with it. It’ll even (show him a profile) and say ‘Hey this is what I’m about to change. Does this look right?’ If he hits OK, it’ll change it.”
You’ve gotta look closely at some of the features coming on new machines. There are some things coming from many different manufacturers that are helping to make operators better at what they’re doing, more productive, to make your jobs more profitable.
Video: Bobcat Introduces New Depth Control for 3- to 5.5-ton Excavators
Video: Husqvarna Discusses Electric's Potential to Replace Gasoline for Concrete Cutting
Video: Mack Introduces Heavy-duty mDRIVE for Granite Trucks
GOMACO Commander III Four-Track Concrete Paver
Video: Stihl's Battery-Powered Saw Cuts 30 Cinder Blocks on a Charge
Topcon Announces OEM Agreement with GOMACO
Video: Hilti 2nd Generation TE1000 Hits 50% Harder than Previous Model
In closing, if people are talking about you behind your back, be happy that you’re the one in front.
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