In the fully automatic mode, novice operators can cut precise, complex shapes easily and rapidly.
Last year Komatsu let us do some digging with their new intelligent Machine Control (iMC) technology on their big PC360LCi-11 and PC490LCi-11 excavators. And now the company has introduced the second generation model of its first semi-auto excavator, the 23.5 metric ton PC210LCi.
First launched in 2014, the PC210LCi-10 (the ‘i’ stands for intelligent) was Komatsu’s first excavator to feature machine control integrated from the factory. This iMC technology uses GPS/GNSS signals to orient the machine in space and guide the joysticks, hydraulics and bucket so that the operator cannot over-dig or cut a profile other than what’s detailed on the 3D topo map loaded into the excavator’s computer.
Can’t Cut Too Deep: Komatsu unveils PC360, 490LCi semi-auto excavators. We put one to work (VIDEO)
In addition to updating its fleet of new dozers sporting the company’s intelligent machine control with a radio-controlled model,Komatsu has added two new excavators to its …
That essentially turns this excavator into a giant CNC router, machining away the earth to centimeter-level precision. The benefits are huge. In the fully automatic mode, it is physically impossible for operators to over excavate. The GPS guides the machine’s hydraulics and bucket to cutting precise trenches, slopes and swales with no need to refill or recompact to make grade.
Komatsu says the new second-generation model, the PC210LCi-11, can provide up to a 63-percent improvement in excavating efficiency over the standard PC210LC-11.
With the action of the bucket dictated by GPS/GNSS signals and a 3D topo plan loaded into the machine’s computer, you can eliminate survey stakes and grade checkers.
The process also eliminates the need and expense of using grade checkers or doing finish dozing. And if you’re trenching, you get a perfectly sloped, flat bottom trench at an exact depth without ever having to put a man with a survey pole in the trench. You save on survey costs and can use inexperienced operators to do the kind of work that used to take a highly skilled craftsman.
With the PC210LCi-11, all the machine control functions are now located on the joysticks for comfort and convenience. And you can set the system to dig in the “indicate” mode, where you manually guide the bucket to targets on the screen, or a “fully automatic” mode where the hydraulic system takes over the positioning of the bucket to prevent over-digging.
Komatsu’s iMC is used on a half dozen of its dozers as well. To help contractors new to the technology figure it all out, Komatsu is employing a new breed of product support specialists, called Technology Solutions Experts or TSEs, at its dealers. These TSEs can help with 3D modeling, jobsite setup, operator training and remote support and troubleshooting.
To see our video demonstration of the larger excavators with Intelligent Machine Control go here.
Source:: Equipment world
The Intel Falcon 8+ System is outfitted for industrial inspection, surveying and mapping. Photo Credit: Intel
“DATA IS THE NEW OIL”
The words flashed upon the large screen in giant letters above Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s head shortly after he took the stage at the International Drone Conference and Exposition (InterDrone) in Las Vegas earlier this week.
The phrase is integral for understanding not only Intel’s new role as a drone company, but also why construction companies should care.
Though Krzanich’s behemoth company has built its name on microprocessors, the tiny silicon chips that act as the brains of our personal computers, he wasn’t at the conference to talk about processors. Rather, Krzanich’s keynote address focused on the introduction of the Intel Insight Platform for drones.
The new cloud-based platform is designed to harness the flood of data drones are capable of producing and help industrial users, like those in construction, make sense of it all.
“If you go back to the turn of the century, oil was transforming every industry. … The combustion engine turned oil into something even more productive,” Krzanich said. “But when oil was discovered it was actually thought of as a nuisance material. People didn’t know what to do with it.”
Data—though it is capable of providing “insights and opportunities to everyone who wants to understand what’s going on around them,” as Krzanich put it—went through a similar nuisance stage as early memory systems struggled to provide enough space for storing all the data being created.
But now, Krzanich says data has found its combustion engine.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is extracting insights and understanding and value out of data and it’s become one of the most valuable commodities,” he said.
Krzanich added that when you bring drones together with data and AI, “the whole world will begin to change.”
“The future of drones is more about what you can do with that data and what that data means and the insights it provides than the actual flight itself. And that’s an important shift that we all need to start thinking about,” Krzanich said.
Like spell check for inspections
Intel’s Falcon 8+ eight-rotor industrial drone flies a demonstration inspection of a facade during an InterDrone 2017 keynote.
Krzanich then demonstrated the capabilities of the Insight Platform by doing a structural inspection in the conference hall. A curtain on the left side of the stage was pulled and out of the black appeared the two-story facade of a building with windows, doorways, awnings, wall-mounted flagpoles and more.
He talked a bit about how Intel’s latest commercial eight-rotor drone, the Falcon 8+ features Real Sense technology, which utilizes cameras and depth of field sensing in order to avoid obstacles and keep a safe distance from the surface being inspected. The drone also has an impressive indoor location technology on-board which provides location data when GPS cannot be used.
Krzanich oversaw a piloted inspection of the facade and a second inspection flown autonomously that was launched by Intel Mission Control, a flight planning software.
Upon return of the second inspection flight, the Insight Platform got to work.
Krzanich showed the process of uploading images to Insight which, even before processing takes place, gives the user a pre-visualization of the operation you’ve just flown. This pre-visualization is like a rough sketch of the inspection surface with the photos organized and placed with respect to their proximity and orientation to one another based on location data. It allows operators to ensure that the operation went as planned before uploading the photos to Insight for processing—which can take a few hours.
After the photos are processed in the cloud they are delivered as a 2D or 3D model. For this demo, Krzanich used a 2D model generated beforehand. He then demonstrated a feature called change detection which Intel says works “like a spell check function,” cycling through each of the detected changes in the facade between the latest inspection and a previous inspection. During the demo, the software was able to detect large differences, such as sections of stucco having chipped away or a missing balcony column, and very small changes like a badly installed drain bracket and a missing flag mount.
Though Insight is capable of producing 2D and 3D models, Krzanich says that it is currently only able to provide analysis on 2D models. “We are looking at being able to do analysis on 3D models,” in the future, he said.
The company says the platform “will address a range of commercial applications and verticals—from inspections and surveying in construction, mining, precision agriculture, oil and gas, and more.”
Intel is initially offering Insight to select enterprise accounts only.
Automation is the aim
During his keynote address, Krzanich said that Intel’s work in applying machine learning to drone hardware like the Falcon and analytical software like Insight is all in the service of increasing automation.
“These systems, these drones have to become more and more automated,” he said. “Especially when we think of visual line of sight or flights over groups of people or at night. The system has to become more automated more intelligent.”
Source:: Equipment world
Ditch Witch’s new MT9 Microtrencher attachment for the company’s compact skid steers provides a narrow, shallow cut for installing fiber optic cables in residential areas without disrupting surrounding utilities.
It excels in tight, confined areas, such as street closings, the company says. It creates trenches up to 9 inches deep and 1.5 inches wide. Ditch Witch’s FX65 vacuum excavator can be attached to the microtrencher to suck up the spoils, for a clean trench.
The microtrencher can be pushed or pulled, which allows the saw blade to remain positioned for accurate, efficient cuts. The device works with Ditch Witch’s PDC Fiberblade, which has diamond-embedded carbide and lasts up to 20 times longer than standard blades, the company says.
Source:: Equipment world
Photo: Still from Kibby Equipment YouTube video.
Kibby Equipment, a construction supply company that has been a fixture in Vermont for 60 years, will close September 15, according to the Valley News.
William Shambo Sr., 85, who started working at the store in White River Junction in 1957 as a parts salesman, has owned the business with his wife, Phyllis, since 1985.
Phyllis Shambo, 80, told the Valley News they could no longer compete with low-priced chain retailers. She also cited a drop in the number of construction companies and a trend toward replacing machinery rather than repairing it, as other factors in the business’s demise.
Source:: Equipment world
Systra is part of a consortium to design and build the Chacao Bridge (rendering above) in Chile, which will be the longest suspension bridge in South America.
Global mass transit engineering and design firm Systra has acquired San Diego-based International Bridge Technologies in its quest to become a top-10 international bridge specialists, the company says.
Before the acquisition, Systra was ranked 14th in the world in bridge engineering. Buying IBT will give Systra bridge design centers in the United States, Canada and Dubai. It currently has centers in France, Korea and India.
Systra has operated in North America for 30 years through its subsidiaries Systra Consulting and Canarail. The IBT acquisition will allow it to expand its reach in the continent, the company says.
Systra’s bridge projects include Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad A-Sabah Causeway in Kuwait, one of the largest maritime causeways in the world, and the Chacao Suspension Bridge in Chile, which will be the longest suspension bridge in South America and a world record for two-span suspension bridges.
IBT specializes in segmental and cable-stayed bridges. It will now be called Systra IBT.
Terms of the acquisition were not revealed.
Source:: Equipment world
Drone technology is making it possible for aggregate and construction industries to do things faster, cheaper, and/or safer, allowing them to quantify its value. Some companies have developed their own drone program, but some outsource the services. For those that want to outsource, Commercial UAV News reports that Stockpile Reports CEO David Boardman announced an exclusive offer for one company, where his company will perform inventory counts with drones at 100 locations every month for an exclusive price.
“I think the whole notion of building out your own flight operations for an enterprise is going to make a lot of sense for some companies,” Boardman told the news agency.” For other companies though, it will just prove to be too burdensome to try and do that at scale. If you start adding up the costs of buying drones and getting people with their licenses and paying people to fly, the math starts to get big real fast. Leveraging drone service providers is going to bring an interesting dynamic to the conversation for enterprises.”
The increased frequency at which data can be gathered by drones can help aggregates and construction companies make better informed day-to-day production and delivery decisions. Boardman says Stockpile Reports is poised to showcase how this technology can and will change some fundamental expectations and approaches.
“The business we’re in starts with inventory management, and that’s not something anybody really wants to do,” Boardman explained to Commercial UAV News. “It’s kind of like doing your time card. It’s a pain, and you don’t want to spend any time thinking about it. That’s where inventory has lived for a long time. But the reality is that as our customers now are starting to do it more and more frequently, it’s becoming more of a production tool. And it’s something that lets someone run their day-to-day business more efficiently as you get into monthly and even weekly measurements.”
Drone technology has changed how information is captured and used. Using the technology will allow inventory management to have a far more direct relationship with production management. The process won’t look the same for everyone, but Stockpile Reports is ready to explore what it can look like for a company that wants to do inventory counts at 100 locations every month.
“I really love working with companies where the business initiatives are driven from a financial perspective, and people are looking at things like how they can increase their delivery area by 3 miles,” Boardman told the news agency. “We’re looking for anyone who has ever thought about how they might be able to get company-wide insights into their inventories and products, but could never figure out how that would be possible.”
Source:: Equipment world
The Champ Clark Bridge, which links Pike County, Missouri, and Pike County, Illinois, is being replaced, with construction on the new bridge scheduled to end in Fall 2019.
Construction will soon begin on a new bridge across the Mississippi River linking Missouri and Illinois.
The $60 million project to replace the 89-year-old Champ Clark Bridge will start in Louisiana, Missouri, at the U.S. 54/Missouri 79 interchange starting the week of Sept. 11, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The MoDOT is splitting the cost of the new U.S. 54 span with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The first phase of the project involves removing and replacing sidewalk and then removing and replacing road surface at the intersection, which leads to the bridge.
The current bridge will remain open while the new one is built beside it; however, the MoDOT says drivers should expect lane restrictions on and off during the construction, which is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2019.
The contractor for the project is Massman Construction Co.
Source:: Equipment world
Interstates in Florida and Georgia are experiencing heavy traffic from Florida evacuees, transportation officials report.
The Miami Herald reports that the Florida Turnpike and Interstates 75 and 95 are experiencing heavy traffic from evacuees. The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that Interstate 75 is experiencing heavy traffic from Florida evacuees heading toward Atlanta.
That traffic is only expected to increase as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina departments of transportation monitor the storm and determine whether to call for evacuations. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has said he is planning to call for a mandatory evacuation Saturday morning.
At noon September 7, parts of Broward County and Miami Dade, Florida, were under mandatory evacuation. Motorists in Florida can check fl511.com for real-time traffic information. The governor has also issued an order for the Florida Highway Patrol to escort fuel resupply trucks to gas stations in the state.
State departments of transportation along the possible path of Hurricane Irma are gearing up online guides to help residents prepare for the storm and possible evacuations.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has set up a webpage specifically geared toward Irma. The page has downloadable evacuation routes, traveler information such as travel times and camera images, a downloadable interactive map of road conditions, storm reports and links to other response agencies.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has also set up a webpage to assist in Irma preparations..
USDOT emergency declaration
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a regional emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Such a declaration exempts drivers from safety regulations who are providing direct assistance to an emergency, the USDOT says. The exemption only applies to 49 CFR Parts 390-399. The exemptions, however, do not include those related to commercial driver’s licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size and weight.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a special webpage for Irma, with resources, information and links for motor vehicle carriers and drivers.
A regional emergency declaration also remains in effect for storm Harvey. The FMCSA’s webpage for Harvey is fmcsa.dot.gov/harvey.
Source:: Equipment world