Caterpillar has announced the release of Cat COMMAND for Compaction, an operator-assisted technology that automates the soil compaction process and helps contractors achieve compaction quality. The COMMAND for Compaction system is available for use on select Cat vibratory soil compactors as a dealer installed kit on both new and existing B-Series machines.
Revised weight regulations in Ontario behind the design of new vacuum excavator truck
Regulations focused on various types of trucks and equipment in the province of Ontario have had a small loophole in them for quite some time – a fact discovered recently by the Provincial Government during a licensing review that was undertaken to raise fees on heavy commercial vehicles. For owners of vacuum excavators, the loss of that loophole may mean a loss of payload, which would mean a loss of efficiency. One long-standing Ontario dealer, Joe Johnson Equipment (JJE), took the concerns expressed by its customers straight to the manufacturer, Vactor Manufacturing, which has responded by developing a truck that can meet regulations both in Ontario and throughout other regions where operators face weight-limit challenges.
The problem with vacuum excavators, according to Patrick McGee, Eastern Canada Sales Manager for vacuum excavation at JJE, is that they fell into a grey area in Ontario government regulations. "It was pointed out to the Ontario government by the Ontario Trucking Association . . . that there was a class of vehicles that wasn't paying anything; hydro excavators, combination sewer cleaners, concrete pumpers and cranes were all exempt from licensing in Ontario," McGee said. "Nobody is exactly sure why, but it goes back at least 50 years in the books. Under the previous category, they were categorized as ‘roadbuilding machines' – the same as a wheel loader or a farm tractor. As such, they weren't subject to standard licensing requirements, tantamount to being exempt from weight restrictions and a host of other road safety and other regulatory requirements."
Licensing changes cost efficiency
Consultations with the government determined that changing the licensing requirements would also mean some significant changes for the vehicles themselves that would cut down on efficiency, McGee said. "One of the big things it was going to drive was a sizeable reduction in payload, which has a dramatic impact on the efficiency of these machines as they're going out to do their jobs," he described. "Instead of being able to stay on site and dig for six or eight hours, suddenly they were only going to be able to stay on site for four or five hours. You can imagine the chaos in what's probably the largest hydrovac market in Canada, and perhaps North America, where the equipment would essentially lose efficiency of 50 percent."
Those challenges would result in changing the way the weight distribution had to be approached on these types of machines. The implementation of new regulations in July 2017 led JJE to bring the issue up with Vactor, a manufacturer of vacuum excavators that JJE has partnered with for over two decades. Based in the U.S., Vactor has had to deal with varying state laws involving truck weight and axle loading. According to Vactor product manager Ben Schmitt, there was interest in investigating the new situation in Ontario to support the industry in the province.
"We have a pretty good market share there; it's a significant part of our business, which increased the urgency of doing something," Schmitt said. "We wanted to understand what was happening in Ontario, and what challenges our customers have in the other regions of North America that we support." Schmitt and the JJE team started a consultation process with customers, both in Ontario and elsewhere. "I went through and visited customers in all of these regions, and brought their feedback to our engineering department. We asked ‘what are your challenges, what do we need to address, and how are we going to do that?'" Schmitt said.
Vactor has a deep R&D process. Their engineers went through the customer concerns and produced a number of concept ideas, which were then presented to the customers for further fine tuning. Once that was done, the Vactor engineers went to work. At September's ICUEE trade show in Louisville, Kentucky, Vactor displayed the results of that work: a concept truck that is intended to be a jumping-off point to meeting the many different weight management requirements in different regions.
"We have two trucks – one is built specifically for Ontario, and one for everywhere else," Schmitt said. "We're now taking the trucks back to the customers, getting more feedback as we continue these trials, and our engineering department is in the stages of preparing it for manufacturing." The challenge with vacuum excavators is that the weight is not static – it moves around in the vehicle's water tank and debris body. As the machine does its job, that weight can shift depending on the work being done.
"You start the job with a full water tank, so wherever the water tank is located is where the weight on the chassis falls," Schmitt said. "So, you may be at your legal limit on your front axle, with say 20,000 pounds from a full tank of water. As you use that water, the weight decreases in that area, and goes onto the debris body. If you look at any manufacturer out there, the centre lines of the water tank and debris body are in different spots. As the weight is shifting, it's moving throughout the chassis – you never optimize it. We paid strict attention to this reality in the product redesign."
Another issue that was identified is that as the water is used, and spoils are vacuumed into the debris body, the water's weight is a known quantity but the debris being picked up by the truck is not, Schmitt noted. "You know how much water weighs, but you don't know if they're finishing the job with 100 gallons or 1,200 gallons. You don't know where to put that to maximize it, and you don't know how heavy the debris is they're loading – it could be 10 pounds a gallon or 20, or more," he said. "So what we did is said ‘okay, these are two variables we can't control – so what if we put them in the same spot? Then we know the variability of weight on the chassis is in that spot.'"
Making the most of axle capacity
Vactor's engineers determined the precise spot on the chassis of the company's popular HXX vacuum excavator to place the debris body so that, when the front axle reaches its maximum weight capacity, the rear axle is also at its maximum. The idea, Schmitt explained, is to have the axles reach their maximum capacity at the same time.
"Let's say a chassis can have 20,000 pounds on the front axle, and you can have 34,000 pounds on a group of two . . . with today's designs. When you're at 34,000 on the rear, you're only at 16,000 or 17,000 on the front – so you're losing that 3,000 pounds of capacity," he said. "What this new design allows us to do is reach those at the same time, so you're getting the maximum legal load capacity."
In addition, Vactor has taken this opportunity to make a few other adjustments to the truck design, responding to feedback from years of working with customers in the market.
"Weight was our number one goal. But we've got years and years of feedback on our current product so some additional enhancements were in order," he said.
The truck's boom was an area that many customers wanted to see adjusted. As the part of the truck that's used every time they dig, customers had many thoughts on how to make improvements.
"Every customer is using the boom all day, so being able to reach as much as they can, being able to dig deeper holes and reach farther from the truck with it is key for them," Schmitt said. "One of our goals was to increase that boom, so we went from a 21-foot reach to 27 feet – 6 feet farther. Plus, we gave them two more feet of boom movement in and out . . . they've got a more full working range around the equipment."
"Reduced setup and teardown time at each jobsite are benefits of that wider working range. Normally, a vacuum truck may have to move several times to dig a particular set of holes, which means downtime and lost productivity. A longer boom means less time doing resets and more holes per location," Schmitt said.
"We did a lot with the ergonomics of the equipment so everything is in a better spot for the operator, and then added a lot more reliability and service features as well," he said. "We're also introducing a new water pump on this product."
The concept truck was on display at ICUEE as a way to encourage more feedback before Vactor continued toward completion of the new vehicles, Schmitt said. Response at the show was strong, and according to McGee, customers back home also responded to the updates on the HXX.
"Customers were excited to be part of the process of developing what would be their next generation of equipment, and to see the finished product," McGee said. "Seeing the finished product, they were able to pick out the things that they had provided feedback about. Not everything made it onto the truck, but collating those ideas led Vactor engineering to a lot of new ideas and how they can approach it."
More from Earthmoving
JCB is offering a new high-lift (HL) loader arm option for its 457 HT wheel loader. With a hinge pin height of 15 feet 5 inches – 23 inches higher than the standard ZX loader arm – the JCB 457 HT HL is now the highest lifting four-cylinder, 4.5-cubic-yard loader available in North America.
Case Construction Equipment has upgraded its with new adjustable electro-hydraulic controls. This added functionality allows operators to adjust the responsiveness of the lift and tilt bucket functions for improved control and efficiency on the jobsite.
JCB today announced the availability of two new X Series excavators in North America, the 13-ton 131X and the 15-ton 150X. Like the 220X introduced in 2018, the two new X Series models result from JCB's four-year development program to create the industry's most productive, comfortable and easy-to-use large tracked excavators.
LiuGong North America has introduced its first compact track loader, the 388B CTL. Built specifically for the demanding North American market, the new 388B gives its customers their first track machine.
Cummins Inc. is expanding its 2020 X15 portfolio with a new X15 Efficiency Series engine and the X15 Productivity Series offering operational efficiency without compromising the performance and drivability that drivers demand.
Lance Matheson from Layton, Utah, is not your average kid – most 14 year olds don't operate excavators, let alone run their own contracting business! Learn how Lance started Sage Demolition and Land Clearing and his plans for the future of the company in these videos from Volvo.
Evolved technology is changing the game within the industrial equipment landscape. With a variety of new technological advances happening at the blink of an eye, your machine maintenance process no longer needs to rely on outdated data or guesswork to get the job done.
Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. announced a partnership with Bell Equipment. In addition to utilizing the Allison 4800 ORS in an industry leading 60- ton articulated dump truck (ADT), Allison introduced the 3400ORS transmission for the Bell B30E (ADT). Additionally, the South African manufacturer has recently announced the extension of Allison Transmission as their exclusive transmission supplier for the next five years.
Caterpillar has released 16 new Cat D3 Series skid-steer loader (SSL) and compact track loader (CTL) models. These new machines advance the D and D2 Series' reputation for quality, comfort, and performance and deliver improvements in operator experience, and track loader stability. An industry first, the D3 Series models also support a line of new Smart Attachments. This advanced machine technology recognizes certain attachments and tailors the controls and operator information to match the tool and the task.
French contractor Spac has taken delivery of the first electric Volvo compact excavator, the ECR25 Electric, in the customer trial phase.
JCB has made manufacturing history by going into full production with the construction industry's first fully electric mini excavator - with more than 50 machines already delivered.
Komatsu America has introduced the 354-horsepower D155AX-8 LGP (low ground pressure) dozer which incorporates proven Komatsu technology used in the D155AX-8, enhanced with two blade options and more track on the ground. With 12% wider track gauge, 9% longer track on ground and 47% lower ground pressure than the standard model, the D155AX-8 LGP offers improved performance, flotation and stability.
CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, today announced an update to their Motor Grader Simulator Training Pack that includes a powerful operator scoring feature.
CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, today announced an update to their Dozer Training Pack that includes all-new training exercises and teaching tools, as well as new high-precision earthmoving simulation technology.
Designed for the toughest and most demanding work sites, the new John Deere Class Production Class L-Series wheel loaders offer customers the power and comfort they need on the job. Three models – including the 744L, 824L and 844L– are equipped with a roomier cab, new electrohydraulic (EH) controls and an improved HVAC system, resulting in better overall all-day comfort and productivity.
Komatsu's Proactive Dozing Control logic is integrated 100 percent of the time for boost in productivity
Komatsu America Corp. recently introduced its Proactive Dozing Control logic, a fully integrated dozing control system that allows operators to perform auto-stripping, auto-spreading and high-production dozing, as well as finish grading. Available on the Komatsu D51EXi-24, D51PXi-24, D61EXi-24 and D61PXi-24 dozers, Komatsu's Proactive Dozing Control logic is built on the company's existing intelligent machine control.
Komatsu America Corp. has introduced the WA900-8. The 256,618-pound (116,400 kg) wheel loader is equipped with an EPA Tier 4 Final certified emission regulations-compliant engine, and is purpose-built to load 70–150 ton haul trucks.
Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas will showcase its equipment solutions for the utility industry when it participates in the October 1–3 ICUEE (International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition) show. Attendees will find Hyundai in Booth K345 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
New Fecon Cab Guard protects mid-sized excavator windows from flying debris. Durable polycarbonate panels, tested using ballistic testing standards, protect cab windows (and the operator behind them). Designed with a universal fitment to most makes/models in the 8-12 ton class, this add-on attachment installs in less than 30 minutes without special tools or modifications to the cab. Hinged polycarbonate frame allows for easy cleaning. Polycarbonate panels can be replaced without removing the guard frame, saving time and labor. A kick-open feature allows egress through guard in emergency situations. Ideal for mid-sized (8-12 ton) excavators tasked with land clearing, ROW mulching, forestry operations, pipeline work, and more.
Automation is the word of the day for machine control systems, with more options for greater precision regularly becoming available. Automatic systems that take advantage of advancing technology are making life easier for operators while also improving the bottom line for owners.
A mythical machine arose at CONEXPO 2017 with Case's introduction of Project Minotaur. According to Case, Project Minotaur is the world's first dozer-compact track loader hybrid. Since that unveiling the company has documented the journey of Project Minotaur in a series of videos.
Doosan Infracore North America, LLC, is expanding its crawler excavator lineup with the new DX170LC-5 excavator. The 17-metric-ton model falls below the 80,000 gross vehicle weight rating limit for simplified and less expensive transportation.
John Deere compact wheel loader operators can now reach new heights with the addition of the high-lift option on the 344L Compact Loader. The 344L High-Lift offers operators increased height and further reach for dumping or stacking, ag material handling, general construction or landscaping and snow removal tasks.
Today's heavy equipment is benefiting from innovation more than ever before. With research and development in engine technology, electronics, design and other areas booming among manufacturers, the machinery that rolls onto jobsites is constantly improving.
The hot days of summer are upon us, and this skilled operator is ready to serve up some relief using JCB's electric excavator to flip burgers and open a bottle of wine.
It used to be that contractors would use crawler dozers for a very specific type of job: pushing a whole lot of dirt in a short amount of time. They are a workhorse for cutting down to grade, even today, but with advancements in technology owners are using these powerful machines for much finer detail work than ever before. We asked our industry experts to tell us how the dozer landscape is changing and how pushing dirt has turned into much more.
Watch a how a Volvo wheeled excavator stacks up against a Volvo backhoe in trenching and pool digging.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG wins Construction Junkie's Best Construction Podcast vote, introduces new direction and host – Missy Scherber
Beginning in August 2019, construction business owner and social media influencer Missy Scherber will take the mic as the host of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio in a new series called "Contractor Conversations." This announcement comes on the heels of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio being named by Construction Junkie for the second year in a row.
The bottle cap challenge is the latest internet sensation and involves performing a precise roundhouse kick to spin the cap off a bottle without knocking the bottle over. It was started by Farabi Davletchin, a Kazakh Taekwondo champion, who then challenged action stars such as Jason Statham to give it a go – and now all the kids are doing it. Not to be left out of the silliness, JCB has gotten in on the fun with its first electric compact excavator performing the stunt.
The TB250-2 compact excavator, with a weight of 10,957 pounds (canopy), provides Takeuchi with a true 5-ton excavator offering that is well-suited for a wide range of applications including landscape, general contracting and rental.
Caterpillar Inc. recently celebrated 30 years of small vibratory roller manufacturing and surpassed the 30,000th roller production mark. To commemorate the milestone achievement, Caterpillar held a sweepstakes in the United States to give away a special-edition Cat CB24B roller. Thousands of contractors entered the Feelin' Lucky sweepstakes held from February 4 through April 15, 2019.
Doosan Infracore North America has added three new models in the 3.5-, 4- and 5-ton mini excavator classes: the Doosan DX35-5, DX42-5 and DX50-5, complementing the existing DX63-3 and DX85R-3 models.
CASE has extended 0/60 financing on its entire line of skid steers and compact track loaders, including the powerful new TV450 CTL. The newest and largest CASE CTL ever built features an industry leading 9,188 pounds of breakout force, and optional high-flow (3,450 psi at 39.5 gpm) and enhanced high-flow (4,000 psi at 35 gpm) hydraulics for high-power attachments.
The future is electric: Volvo CE unveiled the first machines in their line of all-electric compact excavators and wheel loaders at bauma
Volvo Construction Equipment has not shied away from showcasing its ambition to lead OEMs in offering a range of electric-powered equipment across a variety of sectors.