Ford pushed back today against a class action lawsuit alleging that the automaker knowingly installed emissions cheat devices in 2011-2017 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty diesel pickups.
In its 273-page complaint filed today in U.S. district court in Michigan, the Hagens Berman lawfirm of Volkswagen ‘Dieselgate’ infamy also names Ford supplier Bosch as being complicit in altering emissions software that allegedly increased pollutants up to 50 times the legal limits.
Not so, says Ford.
“All Ford vehicles, including those with diesel engines, comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations,” said Dawn McKenzie, product communications manager for Ford’s North America trucks and commercial vehicles. “Ford vehicles do not have defeat devices. We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims.”
The class action hits Ford and Bosch with a total 58 counts of violations of state consumer laws, false advertising laws, deceptive trade laws as well as violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), adding that “Ford did not act alone,” but colluded with Bosch in an organized scheme to evade emissions requirements.
“Our firm is the only law firm that has developed a system of independent research, including a team of dedicated scientists road-testing vehicles to uncover the next instance of emissions fraud that has blindsided consumers,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.
“In certain common driving conditions, such as modest uphill road grades, or with the use of a trailer that adds weight, emissions exceed the standard by 30 to 50 times,” the lawsuit states. “Ford advertised these vehicles as ‘best in class towing capabilities’ and expected Super Duty trucks to pull significant loads. Ford omitted to disclose that with ‘best in class towing’ came with a byproduct of high NOx emissions, sometimes exceeding legal standards by 30 to 50 times.”
The suit says Ford also deceived consumers in calling its diesel Super Duty trucks “fuel efficient,” and that without manipulating its software to turn off emissions controls, Ford could not have achieved the fuel economy it promises.
Neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board or any other U.S. government entity has charged Ford with any wrongdoing concerning its diesel-equipped Super Duty trucks.
Hagens Berman is no stranger to diesel emissions lawsuits. The firm, which has over 70 attorneys in major cities throughout the U.S., brought emissions suits against Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes, General Motors and Volkswagen.
Source:: Equipment world
Chevrolet says it will reveal the all-new Silverado Class 4500 and 5500 chassis cab trucks at The Work Truck Show 2018, which takes place March 6-9 in Indianapolis.
The Work Truck Show is North America’s largest work truck event and this year it is expected to draw more than 11,000 public and private truck fleet operators, dealers and equipment distributors to the Indiana Convention Center.
The trucks, announced in October 2015 and set to launch in late 2018, represent a long-awaited return to the medium duty and vocational truck markets for Chevrolet. The Silverados are GM’s versions of the Class 4 and 5 vehicles. Navistar-International-branded versions will also be available. Though there will be some cosmetic differences between the two versions, the trucks will be the same at their core.
As we learned back in March, GM has handled the trucks’ powertrain while Navistar has developed their design and will handle manufacturing at its Springfield, Ohio, plant. A Duramax engine and Allison transmission will lie at the core of these trucks.
The trucks will be available in regular and crew cab models, with 2WD and 4WD capability and a wide range of GVWRs and wheelbases. Chevrolet will also offer these trucks with an expanding suite of industry-leading driver connectivity and fleet management solutions, including OnStar, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and a number of telematics offerings.
“The Silverado 4500HD/5500HD trucks are the flagship of our full-line commercial truck portfolio and we’ve designed them to be among the best in the industry in maneuverability, serviceability, visibility, quietness and comfort, diesel fuel economy and more,” says Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet. “At GM Fleet, we are determined to deliver on our three pillars: great products, innovative business solutions and an exceptional customer experience, and I’m confident that with these new trucks, we’ll exceed the expectations of not only our fleet customers, but the drivers and upfitters as well.”
Additional technical specifications for the new Silverado 4500HD/5500HD will be released at the reveal in March. The trucks are expected to go into production in late 2018.
Source:: Equipment world
Amid shortage of skilled laborers, Nev. contractors build operator training facility with high-tech simulators
Nevada contractors are building a new training facility featuring two Caterpillar simulators.
Virtual-reality simulations will be the centerpiece of a new education and training facility that’s intended to provide a pipeline of sorely needed construction workers in Nevada.
The heavy equipment operator training program will use the region’s first virtual reality construction heavy equipment simulators, according to the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, which recently received a $200,000 government grant to help launch the facility in Reno.
Contractors in Reno and beyond are looking for ways to address a shortage in skilled workers – from heavy equipment operators to diesel mechanics. In Reno, that’s evolved into a brick and mortar approach that will become a concrete reality within months.
“Spending on infrastructure in Nevada, and the nation, is expected to increase resulting in many new positions over the next ten years – positions we are having a difficult time filling without proper training avenues,” says Lance Semenko, president of the ACG’s Nevada chapter.
“The lack of a simulator training program has proven to be a barrier to employment. Before training students on valuable machines, and running the risk of a mishap, operator training can begin in an always-safe environment of a simulator.”
The new facility will be in the ACG Nevada chapter Reno’s offices in what’s currently storage space, association officials tell Equipment World. Doors will be open and training will begin by late Spring 2018, they say.
The preconstruction phase is under way for a 1,200-square-foot classroom that will feature Caterpillar’s newly released Large Wheel Loader Simulator System as a tool to enable students to get a realistic training experience. Two of the systems are being ordered, the association says.
The simulators incorporate state-of-the-art technology from Simformotion. That’s a privately held business headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, near Caterpillar’s operations. Simformotion is owned and run by three self-described “tech-loving gurus” who also own a sister company, CSE Software.
The simulators combine original controls with common machine applications to teach the type of jobs that are performed on worksites worldwide. The system is also the first model to offer a three-monitor configuration, which gives the operator a virtual reality experience by increasing visibility in all directions, according to Simformotion.
STEM grants make training facility possible
A STEM Workforce Challenge grant of nearly $200,000 kick-started the much-needed program, the Nevada ACG says.
The Challenge Grants are administered by the Nevada governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology to create public-private partnerships that provide education and skills training that match the greatest needs of Nevada employers, the association says.
Severe blow to the industry prompts a rallying response
Reno has been hit especially hard by the shortfall in experienced operators.
At the beginning of this decade, Reno area’s construction employment numbers plummeted by 20,000 jobs, and saw the metro area experienced the nation’s highest unemployment rate – 70 percent. Many skilled workers were forced to leave the market. Many never returned.
“Our industry here is rebounding right now in a pretty big way,” says Semenko, who is CEO of Q&D Construction Company, headquartered in Sparks, Nevada.
But while the local economy is recovering, the recession and resulting exit of skilled labor has left a void to this day and an attendant dilemma, the contractors’ association tells Equipment World.
“We need to fill the pipeline of qualified workers. But we are lacking sufficient secondary school curriculum and technical education training to meet the growing demand for skilled workers,” Semenko stresses.
Meeting labor demand in construction, mining
Lance Semenko, president of ACG of Nevada, CEO of Q&D Construction Co.
“The Construction Access Program is being created to meet that demand and will provide construction and mining companies with workers qualified to safely and effectively use heavy construction equipment, one of our most critical needs areas, now and into the future,” he says.
The training will based on the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum, which combines classroom education with simulator and lab experience. Students who complete this six-week course will receive a nationally-recognized NCCER Heavy Equipment Operations Level 1 Certification.
A network of area construction companies will assist with hands-on training and student outreach.
The Nevada Chapter AGC expects that each year, about 160 students from ACE Charter High School, Truckee Meadows Community College, Washoe County School District trades curriculum as well as students from Carson City and Lyon County will use the simulators.
The goal is to eventually provide secondary and post-secondary students, along with older workers needing re-training, the opportunity to qualify for well-paying construction sector jobs, Semenko says.
Projections: demand continues to rise for heavy-equipment operators
The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation estimates the demand for heavy equipment operators will grow at a rate of 32-percent rate – by 1,130 jobs – based on needs from 2014 through 2024.
The average annual wage in 2016 for heavy equipment operators in Nevada was $57,990 according to the department. Despite the attraction of good pay, the construction industry faces stiff competition from high-technology industries who also are vying for more workers, the association also notes.
The Nevada Chapter AGC has been active in national and regional construction issues including job site safety and worker health care, vocational education and recognizing the best contractors in local building projects.
For more information, visit nevadaagc.org.
Source:: Equipment world
iQ Power Tools – manufacturer of premium power tools with integrated dust collection technology – has appointed Jim Mackall to the firm’s newly created position of sales vice president.
Mackall will lead the nationwide sales team, as well as develop existing market and new business.
iQ Power Tools President Joel Guth says Macula will be responsible for expansion and continued growth as the company further diversifies.
“Jim’s leadership and extensive sales experience in previous roles at US LBM Holdings, Steeler, BlueLinx and Hitachi Power Tools have given him a strong foundation within the construction industry sector,” says Guth.
“Jim brings a wealth of knowledge to all areas of our business, including contract negotiations, market research, distribution, integrated supply programs and project management.”
Mackall has more than 15 years experience in sales and regional development and has led nationwide expansions.
“The iQ story is an impressive one,” says Mackall, voicing excitement for the chance to build and lead the sales team. “Their superior products come from a proven commitment to create and market the most safe and effective tools to the industry.”
Source:: Equipment world
Contractors are looking for more simplicity in their curb-and-gutter machines. So, manufacturers have made that a top goal in their design principles.
“A big part of making the machine more productive is making it easy to run,” says Stephen Bullock, vice president of sales and marketing for Power Curbers. “The simpler you can make it, the better.”
Simplicity also helps contractors bring new operators onboard.
“The number one concern we hear from our customers is that labor, specifically skilled labor, is the hardest thing to find,” Bullock says. The easier you can make machine operation, the more flexibility a customer has in whom he can choose to be a machine operator, he says.
Customers also want easy loading and unloading, so the Power Curbers machine has been designed with a low center of gravity and low profile that make it easier to get on and off.
They also want all-around visibility – from the front, where the chute man is feeding the machine, to the back, where concrete is coming out of the mold and an operator needs to easily make adjustments to the finished product, manufacturers note.
Wirtgen says its AutoPilot system reduces construction costs, allows faster setup and improves accuracy. Even an inexperienced operator can quickly learn AutoPilot, the company says.
“Offset slipform applications such as parapet barriers and curb-and-gutter work can benefit from Wirtgen’s proprietary AutoPilot system, which permits stringless paving on a variety of jobs,” says Tim Nash, director of concrete products, Wirtgen.
“Today’s contractors are looking to purchase concrete paving equipment with the newest technology available because they know that technology will make things faster, easier and better for them on their projects,” says Kevin Klein, vice president of engineering, research and development at GOMACO.
He notes that the G+ control system offers “simple sophistication” on GOMACO’s full line of concrete paving equipment. With G+, an operator simply connects a 3D stringless control system to the paver, then connects two paver-mount GSI (GOMACO Smoothness Indicator) units to the back of the paver to get real-time smoothness results on screen for easy monitoring of paver operation and diagnostics.
Contractors also want to simplify diagnostics. Klein notes that with G+, customers can make diagnostics with GRD (GOMACO Remote Diagnostics). “It’s more than telematics – giving owners the visibility of how, when and where their equipment is being used,” he says. Without leaving the owner’s shop or jobsite, technicians can get a diagnostic review of a machine from corporate headquarters in Ida Grove, Iowa.
Several features make the Easi-Pour machines “operator friendly,” including the operator control platform and simple machine setup, says Curtis Bales, business and sales manager.
“Everything is within reach of the operator, and very simple design allows for operator comfort,” he says. “The Compact 880 sets up in less time, making the contractor more efficient.”
Smaller machine considerations
“In our niche of the market, simplicity is exactly what contractors are looking for,” agrees Tim Messinger, president of Curb Fox, which makes smaller curb-and-gutter machines. “We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible, so an operator can be trained in how to run the machine in a couple of hours.”
MBW’s three models range in weight from 3,000 to about 4,000 pounds, compared to 12,000 to 15,000 pounds for typical curb-and-gutter machines, says MBW President Frank Multerer. The controls and sensoring devices are designed to be much simpler in the smaller machines, he says.
“If you have a problem,” Multerer says, “you want a problem to be easy and cost-effective to deal with, so we’ve stayed with simple potentiometers and control systems.”
These smaller machines can maneuver in tight quarters, so they’re best for work in malls, parking lots and subdivisions, he says.
The extrusion machines can provide more shapes and sizes of curb than the larger slipform pavers, says Larry Dewey, Curb-Tec president and engineer. They range in price from $9,000 to $25,000.
Extrusion machines minimize hand work, which cuts labor costs, and they provide easy layout with a consistent finished product.
“One key that makes our machines unique and easy to use,” says Hank Rochette, sales manager of Miller Curber, which also makes extrusion curbers, “is that we offer so many different options for so many different jobs.”
Here’s a round-up of what’s on the market:
Power Curbers’ 5700-C curb-and-gutter machine features three-crawler steering that enables tight turns, within a 2-foot radius.
“Being able to turn those radiuses with the machine keeps you from having to manually form it up,” says Stephen Bullock with Power Curbers. “An operator could go out and pour island after island with the machine versus spending hours on one island and having to set up forms.”
The 5700-C Smart Amp control system combines the simplicity of analog with the added benefits of a digital controller, Bullock says. “It’s a simple way of setting the sensitivity on the sensors for the machine, to dial in the machine to get the steering and elevation controls just right.”
Power Curbers also offers 150, 5700-C Max and 7700 curbing machines.
Most of Curb Fox’s customers don’t want the high-tech GPS, stringless option because of the higher cost, the company says.
Curb Fox’s best-selling model, the 5000-T, bears the slogan, “simple versatility.” The company claims it’s the smallest all-track machine on the market. Curb Fox’s smaller units all use tires, but about six years ago, at customers’ requests, Curb-Tec came out with this all-track unit, a design more commonly found on large pavers.
The company has taken into account the increasing demand for stringless/GPS capability. The Curb Fox 5000-T offers an option to plug in a Leica stringless system.
Curb Fox also offers the 2000, 3000 and 5000 models.
Wirtgen America offers three slipform pavers for curb-and-gutter/parapet placement using offset molds. The new SP 61i is capable of paving offset up to 9 feet, 10 inches wide and 7 feet, 2 inches high.
The SP 15i is capable of paving offset up to 6 feet wide and 4 feet, 3 inches high. The SP 25i paves offset up to 8 feet, 2 inches wide and 6 feet, 7 inches wide. Both the SP 25i and SP 61i can place sidewalk or pavement slabs in inset mode as well.
The AutoPilot stringless control system is available on the Wirtgen SP 15i and SP 25i. The system uses a computer integrated in the machine and a control panel. For course control, two machine-mounted GPS receivers communicate with an additional GPS reference station positioned onsite. For precise grade control, a laser, ultrasonic sensor or total station is used.
The Miller Formless M-1000 has a compact four-track design for greater accuracy and more maneuverability, the company says. The design enables easy, quick turnarounds and 24-inch radius.
The M-1000 can pour up to 5 feet wide. It transports at 8 feet, 6 inches in width. Standard equipment includes a diesel engine rated at 110 horsepower and 2,000 rpm, patented microprocessor controls for elevation and steering, three vibrators and a heavy-duty modular auger.
It offers visibility for monitoring all aspects of the pour process, and it can be ordered as a left- or right-hand pour.
Miller Formless also offers the M-8100 and M-8800.
With its smaller machines, MBW makes transport and cleaning of its pavers easy and keeps maintenance low, the firm says.
MBW makes three models. The two-wheel drive C101 pours to a 12-inch width with an 18-inch height. The two-wheel drive C101-18 pours to an 18-inch width and height. And the three-wheel drive CG200 slipform profiles within a 48-inch-wide by 18-inch-high parameter.
While production rates vary and are dependent on mix, grade and crew proficiency, a typical day’s pour with its pavers would be 1,000 to 1,500 feet of curb and gutter, MBW says. And in the tack-on curb over pavement application, the MBW Paver has the potential to slipform up to 5,000 feet a day.
The C101 is easily converted into a C101-18 or a CG200.
The new three-track GOMACO Commander III X, or Xtreme, can slipform pave at 24-inch radius. It features rotary-sensored slew-rig steering, sensored leg positioning, independent travel circuits to each track and a three-sensor radius system. It has improved fuel efficiency and capacity, GOMACO says.
Using the new Xtreme radius software bundle, the operator can simply program the size of the radius into the G+ controller. Approaching the radius, he or she activates the radius program, and the paver slipforms around the radius.
The smart hydraulic cylinders on all three legs of the Commander III X allow G+ to know the position of the tracks at all times, the company says. Smart hydraulic cylinders are also used for telescoping the mold-mounting system for intelligent offset and repeatable mold offset.
GOMACO also offers Curb Cadet, GT-3200, GT-3400, GT-3600, 3300 and the 4400.
Curb-Tec makes two small extrusion curbing machines, the CT-3000 and the CT-900. Both have extra-large material hoppers to make life easier for the operator.
The CT-3000 is self-propelled by just the touch of a button, in forward and reverse, using a rear-wheel power system. The material feeder system and hydraulic elevation jacks are electronically controlled. The “reverse on the fly” auger is a key feature. The CT-3000 can fill a trench and form a curb at the same time.
The 25-horsepower machine paves up to 18 inches high and 18 inches wide in standard offset position. With optional belt conveyor, it paves up to 20 inches high and 2 feet wide. Functions are controlled from the operator’s panel on the steering handle.
Miller Curber, which also makes extrusion curbers, says its most popular machine is the MC650. Miller Curber’s machines are designed for constructing small to mid-sized continuous curb from either concrete or asphalt. Nearly 2,000 curb shapes with custom choices are available.
The machine produces quality, dense curb at a rate of up to 15 feet per minute, according to the company. A larger machine, the MC900, can produce curb at a rate of up to 30 feet per minute.
Popular options include a lifting lug, cast compaction tube, removable hopper plate, vibrator, hydraulic brake and swivel rear wheel.
Also available are the MC655, which is the same as MC650 but with modified frame allowing extrusion under existing guardrail. The MC750 has two continuously turning auger assemblies, allowing immediate changeover from right- to left-hand extrusion.
Source:: Equipment world
Route 8 and I-84 meet at what is called “The Mixmaster” interchange in Waterbury, Conn. Replacement of the Waterbury Mixmaster is among hundreds of transportation projects now stalled over what the governor and DOT commissioner say is a lack of state funding. Photo credit: Google Earth data
Hundreds of Connecticut transportation priorities could be stalled as a debate heats up over the state’s depleting transportation funding, which a new report says could fall into deficit within six months.
On January 10, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker released a list of projects totaling $4.3 billion that they say would be postponed until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund.
The Governor says his administration will announce detailed proposals this month that, if adopted by the General Assembly in 2018, would bring the projects back online.
The STF finances the state’s transportation system, including the operating costs of the CTDOT and all services it provides.
Last month, Malloy reiterated and increased his warnings on the solvency of the fund following the release of a report showing that without prompt action, the STF will be in deficit by fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018.
Postponements indefinite – or until funding comes
The governor and Redeker say without needed funding, it’s necessary to postpone hundreds of projects set to take place in the next five years across the state, such as critical improvements to the I-91/Route 15 interchange on the Charter Oak Bridge; the replacement of the Waterbury Mixmaster; and the widening of I-95 from Bridgeport to Stamford.
The postponements are indefinite, or until resources are identified to allow projects to continue, according to the governor and DOT commissioner.
Even routine highway maintenance and transportation aid to cities and towns are seriously jeopardized, the governor stresses in a press release.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy says.
“If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be. I want to be very clear – this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
Download the list of CTDOT projects now postponed indefinitely by clicking here.
“The cupboard is bare. Without a dedicated, stable stream of revenue to the Special Transportation Fund, our infrastructure will continue to rot and decay,” according to State Representative Tony Guerrera, co-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.
“We sit at the precipice of a transportation tragedy that can be avoided by investing in roads and bridges. We must act immediately in the 2018 legislative session and institute tolls or another revenue stream to avert the oncoming crisis.”
The Governor will be releasing his recommendations to ensure the solvency of the STF in advance of the 2018 legislative session.
Construction industry faces impact
The head of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association, Don Shubert, explains that a major contraction in the state’s transportation program could cause hard-to-reverse damage to a construction industry already in retreat, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
“The construction industry is not geared up for fits and starts,” the newspaper quoted Shubert as saying at the governor’s Jan. 10 news conference.
Schubert adds that Connecticut already has 1,000 fewer construction jobs than it had one year ago and that employers are struggling to overcome a “skills gap” with the workers they can find.
Source:: Equipment world
Photo credit: Orange County Indiana Law Enforcement
After two years of reconstruction work, the historic Paoli Bridge in Indiana is once again open to traffic, WDRB.com reports. The bridge, which was built in the 1800s, collapsed on Christmas Day 2015 when a semi truck carrying 35 tons of bottled water, nearly six times the weight limit of the bridge, tried to cross and got stuck.
The bridge sat in a state of disrepair for more than a year while the insurance details were worked out. The trucking company’s insurance ended up paying approximately $700,000 for the repairs, and the woman driving the truck, Mary Lambright, was found guilty of destroying the bridge. She was sentenced to jail time and had her license revoked for 180 days.
On January 3, 2018, a crowd waited as the barriers were moved to allow traffic to cross the newly opened bridge, which was renamed the Sol Strauss and James M. Tucker Memorial Bridge.
Source:: Equipment world
After Texas truck driver Rafael Sanchez accidentally left his passport and other important documents on the side of his truck, then drove down an Arizona interstate, the chances of ever retrieving those blown-away papers seemed bleak.
But Christmas came early for Sanchez.
The story is best told in a blog by Tom Herrmann, a spokesman for ADOT, who puts it this way:
It all began just days before Christmas, when Sanchez bought a new truck in his former hometown of Hawthorne, California.
Eager to get his new truck back to his home just outside Dallas, Texas – perhaps too eager – Sanchez crossed the Colorado River into Arizona.
He pulled into the port of entry, located in the median on Interstate 8 about a mile east of the state line. Not knowing the port was closed at that hour, he looked in a manila envelope and removed permits to show safety inspectors, then set the envelope down on his truck. Finding the office closed, Sanchez climbed back in his truck, pulled back onto I-8 and headed for Texas.
The manila envelope was still sitting on the side of his truck. As he brought his truck up to freeway speed, the envelope blew off. He realized the mishap about 15 miles later, but it was too late. The envelope – containing Sanchez’s passport, Social Security card, receipts, truck title and other papers – was gone. Despite two anxious trips up and down I-8, he failed to find it.
Sanchez called inspectors with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division and explained the problem. Bruce Fenske, a senior operations engineer with ADOT, asked that Arizona Department of Corrections have inmate work crews cleaning litter along the interstate keep an eye out for the missing envelope.
Wednesday morning, a member of one of those inmate work crews spotted the envelope in the I-8 median. The envelope, its contents having survived the adventure, headed back to a grateful Sanchez via the mail.
“I have been praying that you guys would find it, and my prayers were answered,” says the relieved trucker. “I’m very happy to get it back. I was getting ready for Plan B, and I didn’t have a Plan B yet. I’m very thankful to you guys.”
Source:: Equipment world