The dawn of the bionic construction worker is not quite here yet, but it’s coming.
At ConExpo this year, “Wearable Technology” was the subject of one of the show’s Tech Talks, and while most of this technology has yet to make it into the field, in the next two to three years wearable technology products may become regular features on the jobsite and a boon to safety and productivity.
Gesture control with Myo armband
The Myo Gesture Control Armband from Thalmic Labs can detect five distinct hand gestures and wirelessly control a number of different technologies. By reading the electrical activity in your muscles and the motion of your arm with a nine-axis motion sensor, it can enable you to direct the flight of a drone, change the slides on a PowerPoint presentation or manipulate figures in a video game. Using the Myo armband allows you to eliminate remote controls, touch pads, buttons and voice control while remaining hands free. Third party developers can configure the armband for a variety of applications. It’s available on Amazon for about $200.
Multiply strength with Exoskeletons
Hyundai’s Iron Man inspired wearable robot exoskeleton.
Bending, lifting, twisting. When that’s all you do all day long, it can take a toll on the body. The big box retailer Lowes is experimenting with exoskeletons to help reduce strain on the muscles and joints of workers engaged in these activities. According to a report on CNN, Lowes collaborated with Virginia Tech to create a harness-like exoskeletons that use flexible carbon fiber reinforcements running down the back and thighs. The carbon fiber shafts flex and release energy, adding power to lifts and reducing the strain on muscles.
Last year, Hyundai announced an exoskeleton project that looks like something out of a science fiction flick—or a comic book.
In the announcement of its exoskeleton, Hyundai made several mentions of Marvel’s Armored Avenger, pointing to Iron Man as the company’s inspiration. The exoskeleton is designed for manufacturing and trades workers whose lives could be made much easier with a dash of super strength. Hyundai says the suit gives workers the ability to lift “hundreds of kilograms,” or as much as 600 pounds. And while the suit makes the wearer both stronger and safer while on the job, it only weights about 110 pounds, allowing quick movement over long distances.
Rise Robotics is another company experimenting with an exo-suit that is a backpack like apparatus using compressed air to drive what it calls a BeltScrew Drive actuator style type transmission to power human heavy lifting operations.
And a firm called Ekso Bionics makes a bionic arm, the EksoZeroG, that can be tied off to a structure to enable a worker to hold a heavy tool like a breaker overhead or horizontally for long periods of time.
Keep your cool
You can’t change the weather but you can take measures to keep yourself cool and this Vortec Personal Air Conditioning vest (PAC) beats shade and Gatorade, hands down.
The vest hooks up to a regulator-like device that takes air from an air compressor and cools it down 45 to 60 degrees below the ambient air temperature. The cool air is blowing into the vest which is perforated with small holes that distribute the cooling air around your upper torso and neck. There are three models, two cooling only and one that can be switched from cooling mode to heat mode and deliver warm air in cold situations.
Source:: Equipment world
Ram Commercial has introduced two programs to assist commercial upfitters, dealers and customers in viewing, certifying and installing a variety of truck-mounted products.
Ram Commercial’s Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator and Q Pro are both designed to make it easier and faster when it comes to determining the best work-related options for a Ram van and chassis cab truck.
“The commercial truck segments rely heavily on customer options, reliability, and ease of conversion and no one does it better than Ram,” said Mike Manley, Head of Ram Brand, FCA – Global. “As part of continued improvement, Ram Commercial addresses all three areas with the introduction of Ram Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator and Q Pro while maintaining industry leadership for ease-to-upfit on our Chassis Cab trucks and ProMaster vans.”
Introduced late last year, the Ram Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator is a computer-generated visual program allowing upfitters and dealers to virtually showcase a number of solutions to customers. Perspective buyers have the opportunity to virtually walk around the vehicle and even view inside to assess the various options via computer simulation. Originally offered on the Ram ProMaster full-size van, the configurator has now expanded to the Ram ProMaster City and the entire Ram Chassis Cab line (3500, 4500 and 5500).
Ram Commercial also announced the official launch of Q Pro, a new qualification process for upfitters to certify their product with Ram Engineering. Q Pro allocates Ram Engineering resources to survey, make recommendations and certify upfitter products. Once certified, the upfitter can use Ram’s Q Pro co-brand to help market their product and customers will know that their new truck and upfit meet various standards including:
- Quality, reliability and durability
- Regulatory compliance
- Standardized process controls
- Warranty and continuous improvement
Ram reports that it’s designed and engineered its Chassis Cab truck line with the upfitter in mind. The Chassis Cab truck line includes Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500.
Ram Chassis Cab 3500, 4500 and 5500 features:
- Industry standard Cab-axle (CA) lengths and frame width
- No DEF tank relocation required
- Flat frame rails
- Vehicle system interface module (VSIM) to communicate with aftermarket modules
- Left- or right-side power takeoff (PTO) capability
- Largest-in-class brakes
- Electronic stability control (ESC) on all models
- Best-in-class fuel tank capacity of 74 gallons
Ram ProMaster vans
- Vertical interior walls
- Lowest load floor
- Predrilled holes for ease of upfit
- Best-in-class standard V-6 horsepower
- Best-in-class turning diameter
- Best in class standard interior cargo height
Source:: Equipment world
Designed for a wide variety of applications, the new Michelin X Multi D tire introduced this week features a number of innovative design features.
The rubber in the tire is not a uniform compound, but rather a co-extruded rubber compound that combines a top layer of scrub resistant rubber with a bottom layer at the belt package that keeps the tire cooler, says Adam Murphy, vice president and director of marketing for Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
Tear-drop shaped groves at the bottom of the siping help prevent the tread blocks from cracking under high torque forces and decrease heal-toe wear. The full depth, matrix siping widens the grooves as the tread wears away to optimize traction throughout the lifecycle of the tire, he says.
Additionally, the Michelin X Multi D tire’s open shoulder tread configuration allows water, mud, snow and slush to exit under the tire to maintain tread contact patches in all conditions. And a double-treated casing additive helps forestall ozone and weathering damage, says Murphy. The benefits these design innovations bring to the customer include long lasting tread life, suitability for high-torque applications, and all-weather traction without a sacrifice in scrub resistance.
The market segments Michelin is aiming at for the X Multi D tire include regional haul, urban and on/off road—pretty much everything except line haul, says Murphy. This includes energy and construction, less-than-truckload carriers, pick-up and delivery and food and beverage. Murphy characterized the construction applications as those that would be termed light- to medium duty, or trucks that spend 5 to 10 percent of their time off road.
Michelin currently has two sizes in three load ranges: an 11R22.5 in a G and H load range and an 11R24.5 in the H load range. A 275/80R22.5 in the G load range will be offered this fall and two additional sizes are on tap for 2018.
Source:: Equipment world
Thompson Tractor has named Charlie Stevens as vice president for earthmoving sales with responsibilities that also includes the company’s Cat Rental Store Division.
Stevens first worked for the company in 1989 as a sales trainee, followed by serving as an Earthmoving Sales Representative. He has been the Region Manager for the Western Sales Regions for the past 10 years.
“Charlie has lengthy experience in dealing with customers, employees and suppliers,” says Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Rooney. “He is well-suited for this position.”
Source:: Equipment world
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has created a new transportation project grant program that replaces the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) Grants program and makes $1.5 billion available and aims to use investment from private industry.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program, USDOT reports, aims to advance the FASTLANE program by using “updated criteria to evaluate projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding.”
USDOT announced the program through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in the Federal Register on June 29. The NOFO will remain open for 120 days.
Another goal of the INFRA program is to use public-private partnerships to increase funding availability, speed up permitting and construction time, promote safety solutions and apply performance and accountability guidelines to projects.
“The president and the department are committed to revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure,” says Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “By ensuring the right incentives, projects selected under this program will be better able to make significant, long-term improvements to America’s transportation infrastructure.”
The INFRA program will award grants to large projects at a level of at least $25 million and small projects of at least $5 million. Only 10 percent of available INFRA funds each fiscal year will go toward small projects.
At least 25 percent of the funding will go to rural projects, a previous requirement mandated under the 2015 FAST Act.
“The administration understands that rural needs may well exceed this limit, and the department will consider rural projects to the greatest extent possible,” USDOT says. “For rural communities in need of funding for highway and multimodal freight projects with national or regional economic significance, INFRA is an opportunity to apply directly for financial assistance from the federal government. For these communities, USDOT will consider an applicant’s resource constraints when assessing the leverage criterion.”
USDOT also says it is “specifically focused” on projects that have local sponsors “significantly invested” in them and projects in which construction is ready to “proceed rapidly.” Projects to be deemed eligible for INFRA grants, USDOT reports, include reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition and operational improvements directly related to system performance.
The department says entities who have submitted previous FASTLANE applications can reapply for the INFRA program by filling out the FY17-18 INFRA Repeat Application Form here, and must provide explanation of how the project meets the new program’s criteria.
Source:: Equipment world
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signs the WOTUS repeal proposal.
The Trump administration took an official step toward repealing the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation on Tuesday, The Hill reports. The new proposal requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to go back to using a 2008 guidance document to decide if a waterway is subject to federal oversight. The Trump administration plans to write a new water regulation with a more industry-friendly definition of federal power over waterways.
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement, according to the news agency. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty in a way that is thoughtful, transparent, and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”
Although environmentalists see it as a direct attack on water protection, supporters applauded the action.
“The final WOTUS rule issued by the last administration was unworkable, a fact acknowledged by courts around the country, and amounted to a massive grab of regulatory authority by an EPA that was overreaching,” Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment and regulatory policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the news agency.
Source:: Equipment world
Five states representing eight projects received honors for top transportation projects as western regional winners for the America’s Transportation Awards. The awards were presented during the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials annual meeting.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the AAA motor club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sponsor the America’s Transportation Awards program, which honors the best transportation projects in the categories of Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Technology and Innovation and Operations Excellence. This is the tenth year of the program.
“Every project nominated in this competition represents the hard work and dedication of state DOTs across the country to meet the transportation needs of the communities we serve,” says David Bernhardt, AASHTO president and commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. “For 10 consecutive years, the America’s Transportation Awards have given state DOTs the recognition they deserve for providing the essential connections that keep people, goods, and our economy moving forward.”
Thirty project nominations from 12 states were submitted for the western region this year. The winners include:
Quality of Life/Community Development
The Nevada DOT won in the small category (projects that cost under $25 million) for its Cave Rock Tunnel Extension and Stormwater Enhancements project.
“After heavy rain loosened huge boulders from the face of the Cave Rock tunnels near Lake Tahoe, Nevada DOT sprang into action to keep motorists safe. For this $6 million project, NDOT constructed a tunnel extension with a flat top filled with sand, allowing any falling rocks to nest naturally in that sand instead of falling onto the roadway. While they were at it, the department also installed new tunnel lighting and automatic signs for the protection of bicyclists and other recreational travelers. Through the process, NDOT worked with the local planning agency to preserve the environment around Lake Tahoe and the Washoe Tribe to protect the sacred significance of Cave Rock.”
The Montana DOT won in the medium category (projects costing between $25 million and $200 million) for its Kalispell Bypass-US 93 Alternate Route project.
“After funding shortages and land acquisition difficulties that put the project on hold for years, MDT’s Kalispell Bypass-US 93 Alternate Route opened to traffic in October 2016. This new alternate route around Kalispell, which serves as a gateway to Glacier National Park and other natural attractions in the area, has cut travel time by more than 15 minutes for drivers. In addition, this $140 million alternate route has increased safety for drivers and allowed for a much more pedestrian friendly Main Street.”
Best Use of Technology and Innovation
The Idaho Transportation Department won in the small category for its U.S. 20 Thornton Interchange project.
“Marking the culmination of more than a decade of safety improvements on U.S. 20, the new $11.2 million Thornton Interchange improves access management and traffic flow between Idaho Falls and Sugar City. This section of the 4-lane divided highway was prone to vehicle crashes because of its ground-level intersections. The Thornton Interchange was the last of 7 new interchanges on U.S. 20 to curb this problem. Despite a 115-percent increase in traffic in this area, these improvements have cut the rate of serious injury crashes by 75 percent and cut fatalities to less than one per year. The project utilized 3D modeling, used Automated Machine Guidance, and coordinated closely with the railroad and local utilities to save money and time.”
The Colorado DOT won in the medium category for its SH 9 CO River South Wildlife and Safety project.
“In an effort to improve safety, CDOT built two wildlife overpasses—the first in the state—and five wildlife underpasses along a 10.6 mile stretch of Colorado Highway 9 to allow deer, elk, moose, bear and Rocky Mountain sheep to travel safely from one side of the highway to the other. This incredible $48 million partnership effort included some very unorthodox funding. Local residents contributed nearly 6 million dollars, which came from sources ranging from large personal donations to small bake sale proceeds. The project came in ahead of schedule, under budget and most of all, has made the highway much safer for drivers and animals alike.”
The Colorado DOT also won in the large category (projects costing more than $200 million) for its US 36 Express Lanes project.
“To accommodate traffic in one of the fastest-growing areas in Colorado, CDOT tackled this $487 million multimodal project that included building an Express Lane in each direction of US 36, replacing eight bridges and widening five others, building a commuter bikeway, added BRT improvements, installing an Active Traffic Management system, and installing Intelligent Transportation Systems for tolling, traveler information, and incident management. Travelers in this area now enjoy a faster, safer ride to their destinations, whether it be by car or bike.”
The Idaho Transportation Department won in the small category for its Elk City Slide Cleanup.
“The 2016 Elk City landslide unleashed 47 million pounds of mud, rock and debris on the Idaho 14, cutting off access in and out of a remote Idaho town, threatening all residents. ITD employees from all over the state came to help in the cleanup effort. The original slide loosened more than one hundred thousand cubic yards of dirt, rock and debris, 20 feet deep in places. Two months later, a second slide brought down more material and pushed what was already loose debris even closer to the highway. In all, the cleanup took about six months and cost about $3.5 million, but ultimately made residents safer through more reliable access in and out of the area.”
The Colorado DOT won in the medium category for its I-70 Mountain Express Lane project.
“The I-70 mountain corridor is the only east-west interstate and primary access route from Denver to the mountains. The segment of the corridor that runs from Empire Junction to the Twin Tunnels at Idaho Springs is one of the most heavily populated areas of Clear Creek County—and one of the narrowest sections of the corridor. To combat severe traffic delays during peak periods for eastbound traffic, CDOT created an express lane on existing right-of-way by allowing traffic to use the shoulder only during peak periods. The shoulder lane is open only to drivers willing to pay a toll (which is determined through Active Traffic Management and Dynamic Pricing). The project also included the design and reconstruction of two bridges, a roundabout, bike and pedestrian facility improvements, and retaining walls to limit impacts to fishing and rafting along Clear Creek. Since completion, the project has reduced the impacts of heavy traffic on businesses and residences in the mountain communities. The new lane, which cost $72 million, captured 8 percent of traffic in its first summer season and cut travel time for drivers by 40 percent in the general purpose lanes.”
The Texas DOT (TxDOT) won in the large category for its SH 99/Grand Parkway Segments F&G project.
“Part of TxDOT’s proposed 184-mile Grand Parkway around the greater Houston area (spanning seven counties), Segments F1, F2 and G consist of 38.4 contiguous miles delivered as a single design-build project that opened to traffic last March. That design-build concept unified the flow of work for faster delivery, lower costs and better design. The billion dollar project was also a public-private partnership, which streamlined coordination at the federal, state and local levels. These segments enhanced mobility and economic growth for the area, made residents and travelers more safe through the addition of hurricane and emergency evacuation routes for Houston residents, added much-needed capacity to alleviate traffic problems caused by population growth, and allowed for faster and safer travel altogether.”
The winners from the three other regions will be announced at various times this summer. The top 12 projects, which will be made up of the three highest-scoring projects from each region, will compete for the Grand Prize, selected by judges, and the People’s Choice Award, selected by online voting. These winners will receive $10,000 to be donated to a charity or scholarship of the winner’s choosing. The winners will be announced at AASHTO’s annual meeting in September.
Source:: Equipment world
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has released a prioritized project list rated by its new Strategic Highway Investment Formula for Tomorrow (SHIFT) that looks at a project’s safety, congestion, asset management, economic growth and cost-benefit ratios.
The Virginia Department of Transportation instituted a similar project assessment program called SMART SCALE last year.
KYTC says it has evaluated and scored more than 1,100 projects using SHIFT, a program directed by Gov. Matt Bevin to prioritize spending in particular for review of the $2.6 billion estimated available for fiscal years 2018-2024.
“With limited dollars to spend, we must make wise investments that improve safety for our citizens, increase mobility and drive the state’s economy,” says Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas. “SHIFT is a tool to help us propose a prioritized and balanced Highway Plan to present to the governor and lawmakers.”
The agency reports projects were identified and ranked based on “statewide significance” and those interstates and highways that “move people and goods” across the state and from Kentucky to other states.
The prioritized list includes 70 projects that are part of the National Highway system. They will be considered for funding through a statewide funding pool to be designated in the state highway plan released later this year.
Projects will next be ranking transportation projects within regions of the state – North, South, East and West – each made up of three districts. Local transportation officials, KYTC says, will meet to prioritize projects.
Thomas also says the upcoming highway plan will include $205 million more each year for repairing and replacing older bridges and roads. The state has more than 1,100 structurally deficient bridges and more than 3,700 miles of roadway needing “significant” repair. The agency reports a $1 billion backlog of pavement improvements.
“We must take better care of the roads and bridges that motorists depend on today,” Thomas says. “The backlog of deteriorating infrastructure is significant and we must invest more resources to preserve our existing system.”
More details on the shift program, including a list of projects, are available at http://transportation.ky.gov/SHIFT.
Source:: Equipment world
Hennessey’s 2017 VelociRaptor 600 upgrade brings 200 more horsepower to the F-150 Raptor. Photos courtesy Hennessey Performance.
John Hennessey didn’t mince words following his ¼-mile run in a stock 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.
“This truck is bad ass,” Hennessey said in a video of acceleration testing for the truck. “We all kind of expected that anyway, but I was not expecting 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds. I was not expecting horsepower and torque curves on the Dynojet chassis dyno that are in some cases a 100 foot pounds more than the V8 Raptor, the 6.2 liter.”
Nonetheless, Hennessey Performance is offering even more power for the Raptor through its new VelociRaptor 600 upgrade. Ford’s EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 engine gets bumped up from 450 hp and 510 lbs.-ft. of torque to 605 hp and 622 lbs.-ft. of torque. The increased power and twist yield a 0-60 mph time of just 4.2 seconds while running down the ¼ mile in just 12.9 seconds at 110 mph.
Hennessey Performance recently released a video showing a 2017 VelociRaptor 600 racing against a stock Ford F-150 Raptor. But the ¼-mile drag race is not much of challenge for the VelociRaptor which wins by eight truck lengths.
“Our last VelociRaptor 600 was very popular with our V8 Raptor customers,” Hennessey, founder and CEO of Hennessey Performance, said in a company press release. “We are very excited about our latest upgrades for the twin turbo EcoBoost V6 engines and for our clients upgrade who want even more power, performance and off-road capability from their new Raptor trucks.”
Power is increased by additional airflow coming from higher flowing twin turbochargers which breathe through a lower restriction intake system. The compressed air, at higher boost pressure (21 psi vs 18 psi stock) is fed through a larger, more efficient air to air intercooler system and then into the intake tract and motor.
Exhaust from the turbos exits via a free flow true dual stainless steel exhaust system. Revised tuning of the factory engine management system allows the VelociRaptor to deliver increased power and performance while retaining factory-like driveability.
“It’s got a nice sound. People bag on the EcoBoost V6, but it’s growing on me. From a performance standpoint, I’m sold. I’m absolutely sold,” Hennessey admits.
The VelociRaptor 600 twin turbo upgrade comes with Hennessey’s 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty.
“We only plan to build 100 units for the 2017 model year,” Hennessey explained. “Our customers like having something special and exclusive as well as fast and fun to drive.” The VelociRaptor 600 upgrade costs $22,500 installed at the Hennessey facility in Texas and can be ordered directly from the company or local Ford dealers.
The team at Hennessey is also offering a special VelociRaptor Off-Road Package which includes heavy duty front and rear bumpers, LED lights, 20-inch Hennessey wheels with 35 inch Toyo tires and an overall lift of 3 inches. This system is available by itself or as an additional option to the VelociRaptor 600 package. Cost for the VelociRaptor Off-Road package is $12,995 installed.
Source:: Equipment world
The move from Tier 3 to Tier 4 Final diesel engines above 74 horsepower brought with it a whole grab bag of new components and systems – diesel particulate filters (DPFs), diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) and, finally, selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which involves a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) dosing system and a DEF tank.
That’s a lot of hardware to hang on any engine block, not to mention all the sensors, fittings, brackets and weldments that go along with it. There is a trend underfoot now, however, that seeks to simplify this arrangement. We took a look at a handful of these devices at ConExpo.
A few years back, Cummins started talking about a single module arrangement that would put all the exhaust aftertreatment components into one streamlined device. Then last year at Bauma, the big construction equipment trade show in Germany, Cummins announced it would use the single module concept in its forthcoming Stage V diesel engines.
Cummins’ single module system for exhaust aftertreatment allows the company to do away with heat generating EGR systems.
The single module system combines a diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction in one torpedo-shaped canister. According to the company, this cuts the size of the aftertreatment in half and the weight 30 percent. Passive regeneration keeps the DPF clean with no impact on equipment operation and no operator intervention.
American contractors got their first look at the system at ConExpo. Cummins calls this a “fit and forget” system. That means simplified installation for the OEM, and for the end user, it can reduce emissions almost entirely by passive means, requiring no work slowdowns or operator interventions. Cummins will use the system on engines ranging from 100 to 430 horsepower.
John Deere Power Systems’ integrated exhaust emission module can be mounted vertically or horizontally depending on application needs.
John Deere Power Systems also showed contractors its simplified solution at ConExpo. Deere will initially offer its system in two sizes on its new 13.6-liter engine. One mounts vertically, the other horizontally. The emissions system’s design uses an inline aftertreatment containing a DPF, SCR and diesel oxidation catalyst packaged into a single unit.
“Our ability to tailor the configuration of our integrated emissions control system allows us to accommodate increasingly complex package requirements while meeting the expanding complexity in world emissions standards,” says John Piasecki, director of marketing, sales and customer support.
The company claims the benefits include improved integration, reduced connection points and reduced leaks.
Deutz is using the same concept in some of its engines. The Deutz DVERT (Deutz variable emissions reduction technology) system combines a DOC/DPF with SCR module in either a single long canister or what the company calls its “flexible unit,” which is two shorter canisters mounted side by side.
And back in 2013, JCB introduced a “one-can” engine solution, which is unlike the others mentioned above in that it does not need a DOC or DPF and reduces the length of the mixing tube for the SCR dosing to take up less space in the engine bay.
Source:: Equipment world