Faster and Easier Are the Goals For New Tech Being Developed By Manufacturers

Engcon’s Tiltrotator excavator attachment is among the equipment advancements on display at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Faster and Easier Are the Goals For New Tech Being Developed By Manufacturers

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Finding an easier and faster way to work is a goal of nearly every contractor. Actually accomplishing that goal, however, can be tricky.

It’s what the company Engcon had in mind when it introduced the Tiltrotator, a hydraulic attachment for excavators. 

“We listened to contractors and introduced the Tiltrotator three years ago at the 2017 CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and we didn’t anticipate all the attention it would get,” says Krister Blomgren, CEO of Engcon.

Engcon is again at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, which is held every three years and is occurring this week in Las Vegas. Blomgren says that after the 2017 show, he and his staff went back to company headquarters in Sweden and developed a plan. This year, the company has a larger booth at the show with excavators from many different manufacturers on display, all using the Tiltrotator.

“The goal for any manufacturer is to make this easier for contractors,” Blomgren says. “The easier you make it, the faster they are getting the work done, the more jobs they can do, the more money they make, the happier they are.”

The Tiltrotator allows the bucket — or any attachment on an excavator large and small — to be able to be tilted in many different directions. 

“This allows them to use just one piece of heavy equipment on a job site and just switch out the attachment,” Blomgren says. “They don’t need to have a whole lot of excavators coming on and off the job site, closing off whole roads, and so on. It’s just one piece of equipment now.”

Finding helpful new technology isn’t difficult to do at trade shows. Many manufacturers are unveiling equipment at every show they attend to pull in both current and potential customers.

At CONEXPO-CON/AGG, there is an entire area devoted to future technologies on the horizon, both within the construction industry and outside of it: Vehicles that run on electric and can recharge simply by driving (with compatible technology built into the road), new ways of building roads that are cleaner for the environment, insulation made from hemp, and a hovering motorcycle, to name a few.

“I’m not looking for anything in particular, but there have been a few things that have caught my eye,” says Alvin Myers, a general contractor from California. “It’s interesting to see what new technology is on the horizon and how it could affect what I can do.”

At the show this week, Myers was looking at equipment that would allow him to operate earth-moving equipment remotely. He was also checking out new equipment to lift concrete and pipes, and ways to monitor the performance of trucks and equipment to get optimal performance out of them.

“It’s amazing how technology is changing everything,” Blomgren says. “We love being a part of that and want to continuing doing that.”

Other CONEXPO-CON/AGG Notes:

  • At CONEXPO-CON/AGG this year, a large 3D-printed statue of a female construction worker was unveiled to represent the growing role women play in the construction industry.

    It is the world’s largest 3D-printed statue of a person. Standing on a 10-foot base, the statue extends an additional 19 feet, with the feet placed approximately 10 feet apart. The statue was designed by Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based 3D artist Anna Benjamin and printed by White Clouds in Ogden, Utah, over the course of two months.

    This new statue joins two other statues that depict male construction workers that have been greeting CONEXPO-CON/AGG attendees since the 1990s.

    Benjamin says she put almost 400 hours of work into the design, which is the first statue she has ever created. She primarily does 3D texture for digital characters, including video game characters and 3D models for television and movie projects.
  • Many manufacturers announced new grade-control tools and software at the show, including Komatsu, Hitachi and John Deere.

    Hitachi was previewing its Hitachi Solution Linkage Integrated Grade Control with Topcon — a new excavator technology developed in cooperation with Topcon that allows an operator to set a grade and hold it. 
  • The Komatsu booth receives a lot of attention at CONEXPO-CON/AGG since it features some of the largest equipment on display at the show. Attendees have been busy getting selfies taken with the equipment.

    “This is so cool,” says Nathan Jules, 13, of Arizona, who was attending the show with his dad. “I already told my dad that when I take over his construction business I am going to add this equipment just to drive it around.” 


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