Caterpillar has announced plans to move its worldwide operations to the Chicago area later this year and will no longer build the Peoria headquarters complex as previously announced.
The company says a “limited group” of support functions and senior executives, adding up to about 300 employees, will be located in Chicago when the new office is fully operational. While the current headquarters building will still to be used, some of the positions at the new site will be relocated from Peoria.
“Caterpillar’s Board of Directors has been discussing the benefits of a more accessible, strategic location for some time,” says Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. “Since 2012, about two-thirds of Caterpillar’s sales and revenues have come from outside the United States. Locating our headquarters closer to a global transportation hub, such as Chicago, means we can meet with our global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently.”
Umpleby says the “vast majority” of the company staff will stay in the Central Illinois area, and emphasized that Peoria “will continue to be our hometown.”
“If Caterpillar succeeds globally, we win in Central Illinois,” says Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand. “I’m disappointed we can’t keep every job here, but if moving some of its team near Chicago helps Caterpillar thrive, it will benefit Peoria, our county and the surrounding communities.”
Cat says the company, its employees and retirees have contributed more than $60 million over the past five to support “thousands of families, organizations and programs” in the area, with continued “philanthropic support and deep civic involvement” planned in the Peoria area.
“As mayor, I never want jobs moving out of the city,” says Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “However, the overwhelming majority of Caterpillar employees and their families based in the Peoria area won’t be impacted by this decision. I’m pleased Caterpillar continues to call Peoria its hometown.”
Source:: Equipment world
Volvo Construction Equipment has added increased tonnage to its G-Series articulated dump trucks with the addition of the A45G.
“We have taken the industry’s best lineup of articulated haulers and made them better by increasing payload capacities and including a range of new features that make them even safer and more efficient than before,” says Eric Fatyol, GPE products manager, Volvo CE. “The newest addition to the line — the A45G — holds an advantage in that it’s capable of 45-ton payloads, but is built upon a dimensionally smaller, lighter and more agile platform than other 45-ton trucks — making it more nimble, more off-road capable and more fuel efficient.”
The A45G, along with the A35G and A40G, now has On-Board Weighing as standard. It’s a fully automatic feature that needs to intervention from the operator, the company says. The dump truck operator and excavator operator are notified by three load indicator lights when nominal load has been met, and they are signaled with warnings in the event of overloading. Actual tonnage is displayed on the in-cab Contronics display.
The G-Series, built on the same platform of previous Volvo articulated dump trucks, feature hydro-mechanical steering, Automatic Traction Control, 100-percent differential locks, and can work in 4×6 and 6×6 drive combinations. The A45G FS offers fully hydraulic suspension on all wheels. Both the A45G and A45G FS feature the Volvo D16, 16-liter, Tier 4 Final engine with 469 horsepower.
Volvo says the three smallest machines in the G-Series have been given increased capacity, with the A25G at 27.5 tons, the A30G at 32 tons and the A35G at 38 tons.
The three smallest of the G-Series machines now have a 1-ton higher capacity than before, including: Volvo A25G at 27.5 tons, A30G at 32 tons and A35G at 38 tons. The A40G remains at 43 tons, and the new A45G / A45G FS has a 45-ton capacity. The A45G and A45G FS are powered by the latest Volvo D16, 16-liter, Tier 4 Final engine, which boasts 469 horsepower (350 kW).
Other features of the G-Series include:
Volvo Dynamic Drive. The company says this offers improved gear shifting that factors in payload and slope gradient, with the machine automatically detecting when to select a higher starting gear or when to shift up earlier.
Dynamic Volvo Engine Brake. Torque and shift points can be dynamically adjusted against the current load, inclination and rolling resistance to improve brake life due to the break and retarder pedal being used less frequently when going down hill.
Hill Assist. This holds the hauler in place on steep slopes without requiring the parking brake be engaged and automatically activates at a complete stop on a hill.
Dump Support System. This feature provides percentage side inclination to the operator and sets parameters for safe dumping, with off, on with an alarm, and on with an alarm and a complete bed stop configurations.
Source:: Equipment world
David Covington sees people and the relationships they can develop as a big part of the longevity of his company and a key to good business.
But when he first started DECCO Contractors-Paving, he relied on his own personal drive rather than the skills and advice of other people. “I learned on the job,” he says. “I didn’t have any prior training in construction. I just thought I’d try it and see.”
Not having a mentor didn’t seem to hold him back, he says. He had previously worked for a farm and construction equipment dealership near Wichita, Kansas, where he started out driving a delivery truck. He then shifted to mechanic work and some sales before making the big switch to dirt work.
“One day I decided I was going to do something else, and I bought an old backhoe and dump truck,” he says. “I think my backhoe payment was $60 a month.. At the time we were getting $10 an hour for a backhoe and operator.”
That was in the late 1960s. In 1970 he moved his equipment, and his family, to the Rogers, Arkansas, area.
“I came down here and starting digging footings for builders and basements – whatever backhoe work there was to do,” he adds. “It just grew from there.”
For more than 20 years DECCO’s focus remained on excavation. It wasn’t until 1997 that the company added paving to its business, and a bad experience with an asphalt supplier made them decide to put in their own plant. Soon after, in 1999, they landed a big job paving a Walmart parking lot on the west side of Bentonville.
“One of the fortunate things about living in northwest Arkansas is that Walmart has always been in play,” says David’s son Eric, who is the company’s vice president. “Being a discount retailer, when the economy goes down, it doesn’t affect them or us as much.”
“Northwest Arkansas has been good to us,” David says. “There’s a lot of growth here. Of course, we went through the downturn in 2007 to 2009 like everybody else, but we didn’t do a lot of things different during that time. We didn’t lay off anybody, but we didn’t hire a lot new folks during that time, either.”
David says he didn’t look at purchasing equipment at the time and took some low-paying projects to keep the business moving.
“I’d always been conservative, so I just kind of tightened the belt a bit and hung in there,” he says. “I never did feel we were going to have to close the doors.”
Eric says that conservative nature helped during the downturn. “One of the things that helped during that time, which was something dad was conscientious early on about, was not having a lot of payments,” Eric explains. “Most of our equipment was paid for. We had some, but to be honest, that was a key factor in that time frame.”
“Even today, a lot of times on big ticket items we’ll lease with an option to buy,” David says. “And we usually buy at the end of the lease period. It depends on the job, as we may lease for a short period, or for a five-year term. There’s no set method.”
“We don’t run the newest equipment in northwest Arkansas, but it’s paid for, and we try to remind our guys of that,” Eric adds.
People and relationships
Many of those guys have probably heard that mantra time and again, as some employees have been with DECCO for more than 30 years.
“Our number one concern is the people who work for us,” David says. “Number two is receivables and number three is dealing with the government in trying to meet all their requirements.”
“If it weren’t for the people we’ve got here, I’d have given up a long time ago,” David says. “We’ve got some guys who kind of grew up with us.”
“They’ve watched me grow up, and then I’ve watched their kids grow up,” says Eric, who worked a bit as teen for the company before joining the company full-time not long after finishing college.
He explains that this close, family-like relationship is what helped him decide to go into the family business. “We just have such good people here,” he says. “It’s not a perfect world, so we all have our issues, but we’ve got some really good employees and that’s what makes us unique.”
In basic terms, Eric says DECCO is no different than the next contractor down the road. “We can all go buy equipment. It’s who you have managing the people that are doing the work, and the people that are actually doing the work.”
“It’s important to know what your limitations are as an owner, and bring in the right people,” he adds. “You’ve got to surround yourself with people who can do things better than you. I can’t go out and operate a paver. We hire people to do that.”
But finding and keeping qualified and skilled workers has become more of a challenge, says David, partly because of an aging workforce.
“It’s hard to find highly-qualified grader operators,” he says. “The old construction guys that have been in it for years, those guys are gone. They’re maturing, retiring out. You don’t just get a guy out of high school and put him in a grader. It’s an art.”
“Those people we talk about who have been here a lot years – those are superintendents,” David says. “They are operators in addition to superintendents, and most of them are motor grader operators.”
And those employees are the primary ones who are aging out, which is pushing DECCO to actively pursue younger operators in order to fill the gaps.
Serving northwest Arkansas, Covington has provided paving services for four different cities, as well as the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. That range of clientele has helped to make them a flexible and accommodating contractor.
Bentonville Transportation Director Mike Churchwell says David Covington creates a comfortable working relationship.
“He’s watching out for his business, but he also understands our problems. On any project there will be issues, but he’s willing to sit down and listen,” Churchwell says. He adds he has a personal relationship with Covington that gives him a unique perspective, so his observations aren’t just on his working relationship. “I talk with others, and everyone speaks highly on integrity, and how problems always get worked out in an amicable manner.“
Churchwell adds he always looks forwards to working with DECCO because he knows he’s going to get a quality product.
Concern brings success
“With our number one concern being employees, we hire the right people who can fill the needs we have,” David says.
That concern extends to his customers. “If your customer is successful, then they’ll come back,” he adds. David even has a sense of fairness with competing businesses. “We’ve never felt it was advantageous to compete with other folks in their own territory.”
All this underscores his key message for business: Develop good customer relationships, do good work, and you will become larger and more successful.
Source:: Equipment world
The big show is fast approaching, and ConExpo exhibitors have given us a sneak peek into what they’ll have in store for those attending the March 7-11 massive exhibition. Here’s the spotlight on three exhibitors in the South Hall:
Kenworth, booth S-62939
Kenworth’s T880S has a set-forward front axle configuration, designed for ready-mix, dump and mobile crane operations. The truck is available with a 114-inch BBC and 2l8-inch bumper setting, important in specifying a Bridge Formula chassis required to stay under the 40-foot length limit. Operations can specify a mixer tapered (114-inch BBC), dump tapered (115.5-inch BBC) or straight box bumpers (117.5-inch BBC) in a variety of finishes and materials. Removable and cast center-mounted tow hooks are available, depending on bumper selection.
Other units on display: A total of five T880S trucks in different configurations will be at the Kenworth booth.
The Power Curbers 5700-C curb and gutter machine has a compact size, allowing contractors to quickly get in and out of tight spots, making radius work and parking lot jobs easier. The machine can also handle highway barrier, sidewalk and irrigation ditches.
Other equipment on display: Both Power Curbers and Power Pavers will display a wide variety of products, including equipment for extruded curb projects and road paving equipment for highway and runway jobs.
Hydraulic Stabilization Legs have 16,000 pounds to 115,000 pounds of lift capacity, and mechanical load holding of up to 245,000 pounds. Stroke lengths range from 12 to 48 inches. The legs are equipped with counterbalance valves, which provide a relieving function and integrate load holding. Options include robust universal footpads and mechanical locking.
Other equipment on display: Landing gear systems and cab tilt systems
Source:: Equipment world
The Illinois Tollway board of directors has approved three construction contracts valued at $22.2 million during its January meeting.
These contracts, the Tollway reports, is the beginning of the sixth year of the Move Illinois Program, which as had more than $4.5 billion invested in that time.
“With nearly $1 billion committed for capital spending in 2017, the Illinois Tollway continues to fuel Illinois’ economic engine with opportunities for heavy highway construction firms throughout the region,” says Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “This month’s contract awards show that there is strong competition for Tollway work and that participation in the Earned Credit Program can provide contractors with a competitive edge.”
The Tollway says this month includes Earned Credit Program (ECP) credits used by Plote Construction, giving the contractor “an advantage over 10 other contractors and resulted in the lowest bid for work as part of the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project.”
“ECP offers contractors and subcontractors a chance to earn bid credits toward future Tollway construction bids when they hire workers from a pool of qualified, pre-screened candidates that includes minorities, women, eligible offenders and exonerated individuals, veterans and other Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) eligible individuals,” the Tollway reports. “Once an eligible employee is hired and retained, a contractor can continue to accumulate bid credits for up to five years.”
Twenty-six construction contractors and subcontractors hold active Illinois Tollway ECP certificates.
The three approved contracts for January include:
- $11.8 million contract to Judlau Contracting, College Point, New York, for pavement and bridge repair work between 147th Street and Bishop Ford Freeway on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294/I-80).
- $5.8 million contract to Industrial Fence, Chicago, Illinois, for fence replacement and bridge signage installation between Mill Road and Randall Road on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90).
- $4.6 million contract to Plote Construction, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, for the widening of Illinois Route 19 (Irving Park Road) between York Road and Taft Avenue to accommodate the new I-490 Tollway.
Source:: Equipment world
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has made available to the public views from cameras mounted on a few select snowplows via its 511mn.org website.
“The plow cams are another way for travelers to make good decisions about their travel plans during the snow and ice season,” says Kelly Braunig, 511 program manager. “If they go on the 511 site and see that travel is not advised, they can actually see an image of the road the cameras take as the plow is traveling. Seeing is believing.”
The plow views are supplements to the fixed cameras placed at 97 sites across the state available from the Road Weather Information System (RWIS) that’s also part of the 511 program. The benefit of the new cameras is that they offer real-time conditions of roadways as the plow travel.
“The RWIS and plow cameras are both used for maintenance purposes, and the public also benefits,” says Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer. “They give maintenance managers and supervisors a quick snapshot of what’s going on in the field but the plow cams will show the road conditions from the driver’s seat along a route.”
The images are available on the Plow Cameras section of 511mn.org, with live camera feeds indicated by an icon on the map shown. MnDOT says the images are displayed for two hours, and if a new image isn’t taken for 15 minutes, the icon for that snowplow is removed until active.
The agency purchased 200 cameras for this winter season, so the system is primarily in a testing state now, as there are 838 plows in its fleet. If the system is deemed successful, MnDOT will consider adding more cameras to the vehicles.
“All the new features we’re putting on 511 come down to intelligent transportation,” said Braunig. “We want to be on the cutting edge of that. If motorists can just pick one or two features to use, they can make better travel decisions.”
Source:: Equipment world
Photo courtesy of Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
CH2M, the MoPac express lane project contractor, has announced that it plans to subcontract the remainder of the project, due to a $66 million loss from delays, the Community Impact Newspaper reports. Delays have been caused by a number of things, including bad weather, unknown underground utilities, hard rock, and changes in orders from the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which oversees the project.
“The bottom line is work is progressing and change orders are ongoing,” Dee Anne Heath, the Mobility Authority’s director of external affairs and media relations, told the newspaper. “We have no reason to be negative or concerned.”
Connecticut-based Lane Construction, which has been a subcontractor on the MoPac project since early 2014, will complete the rest of the work.
“We’re really happy with what we’re seeing from Lane,” Mobility Authority deputy executive director Jeff Dailey told the newspaper. “They’re working on a tough section from Enfield [Road] to [RM] 2222.”
CH2M said the change is not expected to affect the timeline of the new opening date for the entire project, which has been pushed back to June.
According to the newspaper, during a Mobility Authority board meeting on Jan. 25, CH2M Project Director Craig Martell said, “We’re pretty confident in hitting mid-June.”
Source:: Equipment world
John Deere Construction and Forestry has added Foresight Intelligence as an endorsed construction data solutions provider for its network of dealers to use in managing daily machine alerts with its customers as part of its WorkSight telematics system.
Foresight Intelligence’s Intelligent Alert Triage Center (IATC) is designed to allow dealers to capture, consolidate and prioritize such factors as diagnostic trouble codes, oil sampling results and preventative maintenance alerts into a secure and centralized portal, Deere reports.
“Teaming up with Foresight Intelligence allows our dealers to be even more proactive by managing machine health before a customer is aware of an issue,” says Jena Holtberg-Benge, director, John Deere WorkSight. “IATC further enhances the power of John Deere WorkSight and is another tool for our dealers to increase customer uptime and create a sustainable competitive advantage.”
Deere says many of its dealers are currently using IATC as a means of identifying trends, with one example being when a type of machine typically fails or honing in on a common problem with certain machines or certain applications. A dealer can track individual or branch performance and then find solutions and improvement areas using real-time data, and then share this information across locations.
“IATC has helped streamline our alert monitoring process and has made us more efficient,” says Steve Deller, product support manager, West Side Tractor. “IATC has given us one portal to monitor and distribute alerts as well as access a host of other diagnostic and machine information that’s helped us to respond quicker to our customer’s needs and create accountability at the branch level.”
Source:: Equipment world
In its latest five-year forecast, the American Rental Association (ARA) expects equipment rental revenue for 2017 will reach $48.9 billion, and grow 4.3 percent per year to reach $56 billion by 2020.
The latter is an increase of $500 million compared to the previous 2020 forecast of $55.5 billion released in November 2016.
ARA Vice President for Government Affairs and Chief Economist John McClelland says most of the growth will come from consumer spending and strong residential and nonresidential construction.
For construction and industrial equipment revenue, ARA forecasts a growth rate of 3.7 percent this year, followed by 4.2 percent in 2018, 5 percent in 2019 and 4.2 percent in 2020.
“The big question is how much additional spending is forthcoming under the new administration of President Trump,” McClelland adds. “Our current view is that increasing infrastructure spending is more likely to affect the out years of our forecast.”
General tool segment growth may be faster during the out years of the forecast, McClelland says, due to the improving health of the U.S. housing market. This category is expected to grow 2.9 percent this year, 5.1 percent next year, 5.2 percent in 2019 and 6.6 percent in 2020.
The expected gradual increase for 2017 reflected in the first new quarterly forecast for the ARA Rental Market Monitor this year is in contrast to the expectations for growth last year, which gradually slowed quarter by quarter.
Economic forecasting firm IHS Markit compiles the projection data for ARA and its managing director, Scott Hazelton, says “early initiatives” from the Trump administration show a commitment to more infrastructure investment, as well as “business-friendly” tax and regulatory tendencies and a “more accommodative energy policy.”
“The results of these policies will not affect 2017, but will improve our outlook relative to baseline in 2018 and beyond,” he adds. “The nature of tax and regulatory reform is that they play out over a number of years, hence, improved growth compared to our prior forecast for 2018-2020.”
Source:: Equipment world
“It just creates the perfect storm for potholes,” Mike Lanz of the Idaho Transportation Department told the news agency, referring to the freeze-thaw conditions.
Although the potholes aren’t too deep, there are lots of them, and some drivers have reported having blowouts. Filling the potholes isn’t easy, however, as ITD says the fill mixture hasn’t been holding up due to wet, cold temperatures.
“The biggest issue that we have right now is all of our forces are in plow trucks and deicers,” Lanz told the news agency. “That’s a tough task to balance between filling potholes and taking care of the slick conditions.”
ITD has been paving four different parts of the highway through the Coeur d’Alene area as a quick fix, but laying asphalt this time of year is not ideal. Some of the asphalt work has been contracted out due to department personnel being busy maintaining the roads in icy conditions. But there is good news, ITD told the news agency that it plans to completely rebuild that stretch of highway over the next two summers.
Source:: Equipment world