Oct 11, 2017

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GM unveils SURUS, a fuel cell chassis for autonomous work and military trucks of the future


One year after debuting the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered pickup designed in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, General Motors has unveiled a new platform that the automaker hopes will translate what has been learned from the ZH2 into larger commercial and military trucks.

Dubbed the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), this fuel cell platform doesn’t just generate electric power: it also supports autonomous operation. GM says the chassis is designed to produce instant torque, traverse off-road terrain and to “minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm.” The platform is being designed as a single-chassis solution that can be outfitted with or without a truck body for a number of applications.

The SURUS platform features a high-voltage lithium-ion battery system, two electric drive units, four-wheel steering and a hydrogen storage system capable of more than 400 miles of range.

GM says it hopes SURUS will form the foundation for a whole family of primarily commercial vehicles with the SURUS chassis at the heart. However, GM says the SURUS could be equally well-suited for military applications. GM is evaluating the SURUS for use as utility, light- and medium duty trucks. The platform could also be used for mobile and emergency backup power generation, commercial freight and cargo delivery.

Since April the Colorado ZH2 has been in testing on stateside U.S. Army bases in order to “determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles” in military operations. GM is calling fuel cell technology “a key piece” of its zero emissions strategy saying the technology has shown itself capable of scaling to larger vehicles that need to operate over longer distances with large payloads.

Beyond cool features like emitting potable water as a byproduct of the process of turning hydrogen into power, the Army has found that the ZH2 reduces acoustic non-detection distance by 90 percent when compared to current military vehicles in operation. In other words, the ZH2 is able to get troops 10 times closer to an area before being detected by the enemy.

The Army’s ZH2 testing will continue through next year.

Source:: Equipment world

Loftness debuts Battle Ax mulching head, Bad Ax disc mulcher


The new Battle Ax design features depth gauges that prevent the attachment from engaging too much material at one time.

At the ICUEE show last week, Loftness debuted the two latest mulching attachments in its VMLogix lineup. The new Battle Ax mulching head is available currently available for 7- to 15-ton excavators with a skid-steer model on the way, while the Bad Ax disc mulcher is designed for skid steers.

Both the skid-steer and excavator models of the Battle Ax feature a 17-inch diameter rotor with a unique design that incorporates depth gauges. These depth gauges have the look of a shark fin jutting from the rear of the rotor’s teeth and Loftness says they function similarly to raker teeth on chainsaws to prevent the mulcher from engaging too much material at one time.

The Battle Ax excavator head is available in 41-, 51- and 61-inch cutting widths, while the skid-steer model is available in 61- and 71-inch widths. Two tooth options are available for both models: Quadco reversible knives and carbide teeth.

The mulcher features a two-stage cutting chamber allowing material to be cut twice by the rotor. Loftness says the attachment produces some of the smallest particle sizes in the industry.

For jobs more about speed than a finer mulch, the Bad Ax disc mulcher features a 60-inch diameter, fully machined disc with no welding. Features include Quadco reversible teeth, bolt-on replaceable tooth mounts and an adjustable tree-pusher bar.

Bad Ax

Source:: Equipment world

ASV to expand Mich. HQ with new parts distribution center


ASV Holdings plans to add a parts distribution center at its corporate headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the state providing incentives that will cover about 60 percent of the new center’s construction costs, the company says.

The state’s assistance will total about $450,000, including zero- or low-interest loans that will be partially forgiven after a qualifying period.

ASV, which makes rubber-tracked compact track loaders and wheeled skid steer loaders, says the new center will allow it to better manage its aftermarket parts distribution to its dealers and will bring cost savings starting next year. Moving the distribution operation to Grand Rapids is expected to be completed next spring. The company has been outsourcing its distribution.

“This is another significant step in the reestablishment of the ASV brand as a quality leader in the compact track loader business,” says ASV CEO Andrew Rooke.

“After the relocation process, not only do we anticipate improving the speed and quality of parts support for our customers, but we expect to be able to do so at a lower operating cost to the company from the synergies of consolidating in one location with unified systems,” added COO Jim DiBiagio.

The company expects to record expenses of $250,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017 for the new distribution center.

Source:: Equipment world

Deere donates $1 million to help with hurricane recovery efforts


Deere & Company announces a $1 million donation to Habitat Hammers Back, a long-term recovery initiative by Habitat for Humanity International to help repair and rebuild communities ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The $1 million commitment to Habitat Hammers Back will include:

  • An annual $500,000 contribution by the John Deere Foundation to the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program that helps the Red Cross pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles, and train volunteers, so response can begin immediately.
  • Personal employee contributions of more than $100,000 to the Red Cross, local food banks, and other aid organizations — a total which will be matched by the John Deere Foundation.
  • Deployment of heavy equipment by John Deere’s business divisions and dealers to help in the recovery efforts.

“Habitat for Humanity has many years of experience helping families build back after disasters, providing longer-term, sustained efforts to help people and communities recover,” says Samuel R. Allen, chairman and CEO of Deere & Company, in a press release. “Deere and its employees, dealers, and customers have already and will continue to be involved in these efforts.”

Habitat is in its immediate response phase, the first of its three-phase disaster responses that include immediate relief, community stabilization, and long-term recovery. The immediate response phase includes damage assessments and clean-up in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Deere will also encourage and help organize individuals and teams of employees who wish to support the recovery efforts through the company’s employee volunteer program.

Source:: Equipment world

Miss. roads open after Hurricane Nate but some work remains


A Mississippi welcome sign near in Vicksburg. Credit: TravelingOtter/Flickr

The Mississippi Department of Transportation says its crews continue road recovery efforts following Hurricane Nate, which struck the Gulf Coast on October 8.

“All travel lanes are open, but MDOT crews will continue clearing sand from medians and shoulders along the U.S. Highway 90 corridor,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom King in a news release. “Motorists should continue being on high alert for roadside crews clearing these areas throughout the week.”

MDOT reports that most traffic signals along U.S. 90 are running, but several in the Biloxi area remain in flash mode and should be treated as four-way stops. MDOT crews will also spend the week raising the high-mast lighting systems that were lowered before the storm.

Source:: Equipment world

West Virginians approve $1.6 billion for roads and bridges in referendum


West Virginia voters decided it was time to spend some money on roads and bridges and agreed Saturday in a referendum to issue $1.6 billion worth of bonds over the next four years.

Gov. Jim Justice has called for a special legislative session October 16 to implement the plan, including streamlining the hiring process for the state’s Division of Highways.

The Legislature had previously approved an increase in the gas tax, as well as increased Department of Motor Vehicle fees and tolls.

The bonds are to go toward improving and building highways, secondary roads and bridges.

Source:: Equipment world

Highest death stats in years seen for motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians


More people died on U.S. roads in 2016 than 2015, an increase of 5.6 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Seeing the most dramatic fatality increases were motorcyclists, with the most deaths since 2008; bicyclists, with the most deaths since 1991; and pedestrians, with the most deaths since 1991, the NHTSA reports.

Fatal crashes caused by distracted or drowsy driving dropped in 2016, but the year saw increases in deaths caused by speeding, drunken driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Those three issues caused the most fatalities by far.

The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads increased in 2016 by 2.2 percent. The fatality rate jumped 2.6 percent, to 1.18 deaths per 100 vehicle miles traveled.

Statistical breakdown

The NHTSA released the following statistics on the 37,461 reported deaths on U.S. roads in 2016: (Note: Accidents also have multiple contributing factors, hence the higher number of total causes versus the total number of deaths.)

  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities) increased by 5.1 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities) increased by 9 percent.
  • Bicycle deaths (840 fatalities) increased by 1.3 percent.
  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent.
  • Drowsy driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent.
  • Drunken driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 per­cent.
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4 percent.
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent.

Source:: Equipment world

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