Jul 4, 2017

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“Disruptive” electric tractors might end up hauling heavy trucks in the opposite direction


Slated for availability later this year, the Nikola One is an electric semi truck whose charge is supplied by a hydrogen fuel cell and regenerative braking.

A couple of years ago, you were probably being inundated by the sheer volume of headlines proclaiming natural gas as trucking’s great disruptor.

Then diesel prices – the ultimate disruptor – dropped and have held under $3 per gallon for more than a year.

One of my Facebook friends recently posted a query, asking his friends to share words that bother them.

First of all, I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t like the word “moist.”

Secondly, as I sat there and read the comments where people listed their least favorite words – words like deplane, gullet and meat – I thought long and hard about what words really rub me the wrong way.

I could only come up with one: disrupt, which is overused and often misapplied in this industry.

A decade ago this month, Steve Jobs and his iPhone changed how the world communicates and accelerated the exodus of the land line from many U.S. homes.

Now, that’s disruptive.

The pace of innovation in trucking is always going to ebb and flow with the price of every fleet’s single largest expense, but with diesel prices at their lowest point in more than a decade we’re seeing the resurgence of one of fossil fuel’s oldest rivals: Electricity.

Navigant Research says electric vehicles already make up more than 3 percent of all new vehicle sales, and that could to grow to nearly 7 percent by 2020.

In September, Elon Musk is expected to debut his Electric Semi tractor – about 127 years after William Morrison debuted the first electric car in the U.S.

While we’ve been down this electrified path before, the biggest difference between then and now is that technological advancements have made pieces of it more viable.

Morrison’s six-passenger electrified wagon featured a top-speed of 14 miles an hour. Tesla’s Model S will hit 60 MPH from a dead stop in 2.5 seconds.

The kind of electric technology needed for a heavy-duty tractor is already here. What’s not yet ready for prime time is the power supply – banks of gigantic, heavy, payload-zapping batteries.

Tesla’s Model S weighs just south of 5,000 pounds. A Toyota Camry weighs in about 1,500 pounds less. For a passenger car that weighs about as much as a King Cab F-150 pickup, a 30 percent uptick in curb weight is no big deal. For a combination unit that shouldn’t weigh more than 80,000 pounds, it’s fairly significant.

If you wipe out 30 percent of your payload just to offset battery weight, that’s disruptive: Disruptive in your ability to cover your payroll and pay your bills.

Thanks to a lower center of gravity coming from the low-slung battery bank, a Tesla handles and corners better than probably any car you’ll ever drive. But that’s hardly important to drivers dragging a 53-foot trailer around the highway.

Electric tractors have already carved out a niche in the refuse and drayage segments, but the idea of a long-haul electric tractor has always been sold on the idea of cutting out fuel costs to deliver a faster payback. Leaving almost a third of your load on the dock isn’t an efficient way to bank those bucks.

And I’m willing to bet that all that added on-demand torque is going to stress a tire budget.

Trucking has spent much of the last 10 years getting lighter, implementing everything from wide-base tires to aluminum wheels and replacing 15-liter engines with 13- and even 11- liters. An electric truck, almost by its very nature, takes us in the opposite direction.

The work being done in the electric truck space is important and will almost certainly lead to advancements that can be used across a host of applications, even if you never drive an electric tractor.

However, in the century-long fight for mobility, I think we’re looking at an innovation like the Motorola StarTAC – the world’s first flip-style mobile phone – not a major, game-changing iPhone-like disruption.

Source:: Equipment world

VIDEO: Weekend replacement of Georgia SR 299 bridge over I-24 in just 90 seconds


Video screenshot.

In the time-lapse video below, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) replaces the State Route 299 bridge over Interstate 24 in Dade County in just one weekend using Accelerated Bridge Construction. The bridge was built in two segments next to the existing bridge while traffic continued to flow underneath. Once the bridge was completed, the old bridge was closed for the weekend and demolished, then the new segments were slid into place.

“This is the first time Georgia has done a full ABC project,” GDOT’s Andrew Hoenig told WSB-TV 2. “And what we did was, we moved the bridge into place in one weekend.”

The key to the bridge replacement was keeping Interstate 24 open, as that part of the interstate handles 65,000 vehicles per day, and one fourth of those are big rigs.

“If they would have shut it down, even another week or so, every 24 hours, it’s tremendous the loss that these people here would take,” county executive Ted Rumley told the news agency.”

“That weekend, we closed 299 and actually moved the eastbound side first, and then we moved the westbound side,” Hoenig told the news agency. “This is the first time, we think, in the country, where they did two moves over live traffic in one weekend.”

Source:: Equipment world

Equipment Roundup: John Deere unveils 620G, 622G graders; New Komatsu forwarders; New Manitou telehandlers; Cat excavator in Transformers movie; Impact of electric trucks on suppliers;


Manitou intros MTA 5019, MTA 9050 telehandlers

Manitou has introduced two new telehandlers to its MTA machine lineup, the Series III MTA 5019 and the Series II MTA 9050.

With an operating capacity of 5,500 pounds, the MTA 5519 is powered by a 69-horsepower, Tier 4 Yanmar Engine paired with a two-speed Rexroth transmission. Lift height is 19 feet, 1 inch, with a load capacity at max height of 3,000 pounds. Max forward reach is 11 feet with capacity at max forward reach of 1,850 pounds.

The machine boasts 173 lbs.-ft. of torque and a maximum travel speed of 15 miles per hour.

Read the full story here.

New 845 forwarder anchors Komatsu’s more powerful lineup

Komatsu has introduced a new lineup of forwarders that offers improved performance and operator comfort and includes a new 12-metric-ton model.

The four-model lineup includes the new 845 along with the updated 855, 875 and 895 models. Each of the new models is powered by Tier 4 Final engines and the three returning models feature horsepower and torque increases nearly across the board.

Komatsu says the engines powering these new forwarders also feature high torque backup, high capacity cooling systems and lower noise levels.

Read the full story here.

Cat excavator makes cameo in “Transformers: The Last Knight” (VIDEO)

The latest of what feels like 100 Transformers movie sequels has hit theaters and we know you’re probably itching for the weekend for a chance to see what explosion fanatic and director of movies Michael Bay has in store for us in “The Last Knight.” (And if you’re anything like me it will be a complete surprise because I can’t make sense of any of the trailers for this movie. Something about King Arthur, Optimus Prime being a bad guy and also now there are dinosaur Transformers? Oh, and Anthony Hopkins has decided he would like some Transformers money too.)

Along with the movie’s release, Caterpillar has announced that one of its machines has a small part in the film. The company says a Cat 320 excavator can be seen “hiding in an auto salvage yard” alongside Mark Wahlberg‘s character Cade Yeager and a group of Autobots.

Read the full story and watch the video here.

Electric trucks will drive supplier innovations says Michelin COO

The pending tidal wave of electric trucks that may or may not ever see the highway presents a unique set of challenges for tire makers: Torque management.

In an interview with sister site CCJ during the company’s global summit for sustainable mobility in Montreal Tuesday afternoon, Michelin Americas Truck Tires Chief Operating Officer Ralph Dimenna said innovations in trucking have will have an impact on suppliers from the bumper to the underride guard.

“I’m positive the [electric truck] movement will have an impact on tires of the future,” he says of electric motors that can more than double the amount of torque of their diesel counterparts. “Do you change [tire] sizes? Do you change the rubber compounds? Do you tune the [electric motor] down? You try and work through all that.”

Read the full story here.

John Deere unveils 620G, 622G motor graders with new dual joystick on GP models

John Deere is expanding its G-Series lineup of motor graders with two new models aimed at customers who prefer lighter, more fuel-efficient machines.

The new 620G and 622G are powered by a Tier 4 Final 6.8-liter Deere engine. This engine delivers 215 horsepower on the 620G and 225 hp on the 622G. Both machines will also be available in Grade Pro (GP) configurations. The 620GP and 622GP will benefit from a new dual joystick option, says Luke Kurth, Deere’s product marketing manager for graders.

“Now operators and owners can select from the traditional antler rack mechanical controls, interchangeable GP fingertip controls or dual joysticks, whichever they prefer and are most productive with—all while retaining the steering wheel,” Kurth says.

Read the full story here.

Source:: Equipment world

Business Roundup: New GM at Deutz Power Center Midwest; Groff Tractor supplies Dire States Equipment Grant winner; Ritchie Bros. sells $46 million in Houston; $1 million construction theft ring busted; 2017 Safety Award winner


Vermet named GM of Deutz Power Center Midwest in North Kansas City

Nick Vermet has been named general manager of Deutz Power Center Midwest in North Kansas City, Missouri, and also will have oversight of Deutz Service Center St. Louis and Deutz Service Center Chicago when it opens.

Deutz Power Centers provide dedicated engineering and technical sales resources to small and mid-sized machinery manufacturers.

Vermet previously served as a regional business manager for Deutz in the South Central region, working with distributor Stewart & Stevenson in Houston, Texas. Prior to serving for Deutz, he worked for Penske Corporation, Toyota, Daimler Chrysler and Hino Trucks.

Read the full story here.

Groff Tractor supplies equipment rental for Case equipment grant winner Quincy Township

Case Construction equipment dealer Groff Tractor is supplying the $25,000 in free equipment rental to 2017 Dire States Equipment Grant winner Quincy Township, Pennsylvania.

“Dire States was built on the concept of improving state and local infrastructure, and the positive personal and economic effect that infrastructure development has on rural communities—even when it comes to a single bridge,” says Scott Harris, vice president – North America, Case Construction Equipment. “This project in Pennsylvania represents exactly the type of impact Case is looking to create with Dire States.”

The township will replace and repair the Old Forge Bridge, which has had its weight limits lowered each of the last five years due to condition ratings. The bridge is reportedly on a major route in the area.

Read the full story here.

Ritchie Bros. sells $46 million in equipment and trucks at Houston auction

Ritchie Bros.’ third Houston auction of the year brought in more than $46 million in sales with more than 4,700 equipment items and trucks sold over the two-day event.

The company reports there were more than 4,250 bidders from 57 countries at the event, with more than 2,850 registering to bid online. Roughly 58 percent of the sales were to online bidders.

“We had a very successful auction with a wide range of equipment items and trucks selling for just about every sector,” says Ritchie Bros. Regional Sales Manager Alan McVicker. “Enthusiastic bidder turnout both onsite and online, along with strong pricing, helped make this our largest June auction ever in Houston. We had an impressive line-up of cranes that attracted a lot of attention from around the world, we were particularly pleased with the price we got for a customer selling a Manitowoc 16000 440-ton crawler crane that went for US$2.25 million. I would like to offer a big thank you to all of our consignors, bidders and buyers that continue to make our auctions great events.”

Read the full story here.

Ten-year, $1 million construction theft ring busted in Memphis

Shelby County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s deputies recently busted a longstanding theft ring responsible for the loss of more than $1 million in equipment and materials from residential jobsites in and around Memphis over a 10-year period.

Deputies said the Sheriff’s office had been aware of the theft ring for some time, telling WMAC TV 5 that they simply couldn’t track down the thieves responsible. That changed last week with the June 15 raid of a home in Memphis.

Deputies found their way to the house after studying surveillance footage. Inside, they found so much equipment, it took days to haul it all out. They also had a fight on their hands since some of the suspects inside the home fought deputies as they entered the home, WMAC reports.

Read the full story here.

Hard-working heritage establishes ground work for Sun Construction, Equipment World’s 2017 Safety Award winner

As you pull off Gov. Williams Highway in Darlington, South Carolina, and onto the property of Sun Construction, the first thing you notice is how much land the company sits on. And if you keep your eyes to the right as you make your way down the long driveway, you get a clue as to why the office sits among so much green.

Just off this driveway is a silo. It’s one of few remnants from the many decades when the property was a dairy farm.

That dairy farm once belonged to owner Marshall Flowers’s father, Frank. “In the seventh grade our milking man gave daddy notice that he was going to work at the steel mill,” Flowers says. “So me and my two brothers were told that we were going to start milking cows before school and after school. We did that all through high school.”

Read the full story here.

Source:: Equipment world

USDOT rescinds from states $857 million in unobligated federal-aid highway funds


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has rescinded $857 million in unobligated Federal-aid highway funds from states as of June 30. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the move in a notice June 21.

The funds were rescinded as part of the Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2017, title I of division K, Public Law (Pub. L) 115-31. This was part of the short-term bill approved in May that funds the federal government through September this year.

Any funds not allocated or obligated by states as of May 31 were included. Programs affected include the Highway Safety Improvement Program, Railway-Highway Crossings Program and the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, among others.

The top 10 states losing funding by amount include:

  1. California – $88.7 million
  2. Texas – $85.3 million
  3. Ohio – $41.4 million
  4. Pennsylvania – $39.9 million
  5. Michigan – $31.1 million
  6. New York – $29.6 million
  7. Florida – $26.9 million
  8. New Jersey – $24.6 million
  9. North Carolina – $24.1 million
  10. Georgia – $23.8 million

The FHWA notice is available here, and includes tables showing each state’s total rescinded amount and the itemized amount from each program.

Source:: Equipment world

NW Florida’s largest transportation project, Pensacola Bay Bridge, begins


Construction of Northwest Florida’s largest transportation infrastructure project, the Pensacola Bay Bridge, has begun. Gov. Rick Scott recently kicked off the project with a ceremony at the site.

The project, set to open to traffic in 2019, includes $398.5 million in state investments. The structure will allow traffic to temporarily transition to four lanes to allow for the demolition of the existing bridge, and the second and final bridge will be complete in 2020.

“This investment will help increase safety and efficiency for the many families and visitors that travel through this beautiful community each day and will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs,” says Scott. “Thanks to our commitment to making record transportation investments, critical projects like the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement will help ensure Florida’s transportation infrastructure remains a national leader for generations to come.”

Officials report the two bridges will have three 12-foot travel lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Design-build contractor Skanska USA Civil Southeast says construction of the project may directly employ more than 500. The University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development also estimates the project could help “create and sustain approximately 4,200 jobs in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, along with an additional 600 jobs throughout Florida.”

Source:: Equipment world

MDOT staffers receive 2017 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials awards


Michigan DOT’s Qline


The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) has presented three awards to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

MDOT Metro Region Engineer Tony Kratofil was named the 2017 Trasnportation Pioneer Award winner for his work in “encouraging and promoting diversity in the transportation industry and within MDOT projects and programs.”

Kratofil has served the last eight of his 25 years with MDOT as head of MDOT’s Metro Region in southeast Michigan, covering Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. The department says he has been a “key figure” behind “efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within MDOT, including: developing MDOT’s Small Business Programs; advancing of the proposed On-the-Job Training Voluntary Inventive Program; creating the I-94 Modernization Project’s Small Business Program initiative; and bringing the U.S. Department of Transportation Bonding Education Program to Michigan.”


COMTO presented Paul Ajegba, MDOT University Region engineer, with its 2017 Public Agency Executive of the Year for his “participation and support of COMTO’s Michigan activities.”

MDOT’s M-1 Rail (QLine) Team was presented with the 2017 Innovative Project of the Year.

“I’m extremely proud to see the department’s efforts recognized by COMTO,” says State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Each of these awards reflects an unwavering commitment to inclusion and equal opportunity in our workforce. Tony’s receipt of the Pioneer Award puts a fine point on that commitment.”

Source:: Equipment world



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