It’s one of the simpler maintenance chores you can do, but adjusting the tension on the tracks of your compact track loader is critically important. If your tracks get too loose, they may spool off the undercarriage and put you in a bind – replacing tracks in the field takes at least two people and often auxiliary equipment. If your tracks are too tight, they can damage the undercarriage and lead to premature wear.
We teamed with Leland Garrison, service technician at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama, for a quick lesson on the proper way to tension the tracks on a Cat CTL. Note that different brands of CTLs will have different ways to accomplish this task, so consult your owner’s manual or your dealer and follow their instructions for the brand of machine you have.
And don’t miss our video of this guide below where Garrison takes you through each step of this process.
1. Jack up the machine
Raise one side of the machine with a jack and place a suitably rated jack under the jacking points fore and aft on the machine.
2. Remove the cover plate
This will allow you access to a special grease zerk connected to a cylinder that increases in length to stretch out or tighten the track.
3. Add or remove grease
Use a grease gun to add grease to tighten the track. Remove grease to loosen the track.
4. Measure the track sag
The top of the lower run of the track to the bottom of one of the rollers should measure about 1 inch for optimal performance. Once that’s achieved, replace cover plate, lower machine and repeat on the opposite side.
Source:: Equipment world
Caterpillar has entered into an agreement with Australian company Minetec to develop underground hard rock mining technology.
Cat says the goal of the partnership is to “deliver best-in-class site solutions for mining customers.” The company says the resulting technology will be integrated solutions offered as part of Cat’s MineStar platform. MineStar provides telematics, data analysis, safety features and real time cost optimization recommendations to mining operations.
Minetec delivers similar mine optimization technology, offering underground tracking, communication and task management to underground operations. The company says its product is the “next generation of automation” and allows its customers to “see in the dark” of underground mines.
The work of the partnership will focus on underground mobile equipment with the hopes of expanding MineStar capabilities “through the use of high precision tracking and wireless communications, task management technology and proximity detection,” Cat says.
Minetec is a subsidiary of Codan Limited. The Newmont Mining Corporation has agreed to host the first trial of the solutions delivered by this partnership at the mining outfit’s Tanami Operations in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Source:: Equipment world
Few processes in construction produce more paper (and sometimes fraud) than contract trucking and truck tickets. And while many construction companies rig their own trucks with GPS and telematics to monitor cycle times, fuel use and the rest, GPS is not a viable solution for contractors using brokered trucks to haul asphalt and other materials.
At its annual Users Group Meeting last week, HCSS showed attendees a new solution to the problem, a simple, low-cost software-plus-hardware system for trucks running to and from asphalt plants and other heavy-haul situations.
Called “HCSS Trucking” this system eliminates the paper ticketing process with two simple pieces of hardware and cloud-based software apps, explains Josh McDonald, R&D product manager for HCSS. “In paving operations, the vast majority of the trucking activity is brokered, so the goal of this system was to eliminate the stacks of paperwork and sometimes conflicting claims about that paperwork,” he says.
The hardware consists of a Bluetooth enabled iBeacon Proximity broadcaster that’s about the size off four quarters stacked together and a larger “black box” iBeacon receiver. The small iBeacon broadcasters are put in each truck and send out a ping to the receiver every two minutes. The receiver has cellular and GPS functionality and is placed near the entry/exit points for the trucks. It logs the time and identity of truck as it enters the jobsite, disconnects when the truck gets out of range and reconnects with the truck when it comes back to the site with a full load. The receiver automatically uploads this data to the cloud giving drivers and dispatchers real-time status reports. At the end of the day, instead of a bunch of paper tickets, you have a digital record of every trip every truck made to your jobsite.
The information on trucks entering and leaving the worksite is relayed via the system’s Ticket Writer app to any designated mobile device, tablet or phone. The Manager app allows you to set up jobs and dump sites cost codes, materials and drivers, and can set schedules for company and brokered drivers. The Drivers app keeps drivers informed about their status and cycles during the day.
To set up the iBeacon broadcaster you simply scan the QR code on the device with a tablet or phone, enter the truck ID and other info on the web page that pops up and you’re ready to work. A piece of double sided tape can adhere the iBeacon to the dashboard, windshield or other surface inside the cab.
HCSS is giving the iBeacon broadcasters away free and charging $3 per truck per day for the service. But you don’t pay the $3 until the truck comes within range of the iBeacon receiver so your broker’s trucks can move on to other jobs and keep the iBroadcaster in the cab ready for any future jobs you may call them to.
The batteries that send out the pings from the broadcaster last about two years. The receiver with its GPS and cellular functionality has an average battery life of about 80 days and costs about $1,000. The receiver batteries are rechargeable, and HCSS even has a solar charger you can connect to the device and keep it fully charged at the jobsite.
HCSS had several of its beta testers in the first session describing its trucking app to customers. The big question from the audience was what kind of response the beta testers were getting from their trucking brokers. The beta testers said pushback was minimal, especially after they told their trucking brokers to either accept the iBeacons in their trucks or lose the business.
The system also allows you notate other types of information as well. If the broker still wants to issue paper tickets, you can take a photo of the ticket and electronically upload it to the website, says Mike Bordelon, HCSS vice president of product management. “If you really don’t trust the ticket writer and think he is colluding with the truck driver, make him take a picture of the truck for validation. That’s how airtight this system is. You can have a picture of the truck, a picture of the ticket, longitude, latitude, time stamp and then all this other data. No broker is going to be able to argue with you on that,” Bordelon says.
“Once you get to that level of transparency, the fraud just melts away,” says McDonald. “Everything is out there in real time, all the time.”
HCSS plans to integrate many of the information fields generated by its trucking app with HCSS Heavy Job and HCSS Aggregates programs, and scale and weighing systems later this year.
Source:: Equipment world
U.S. construction spending was flat in January as a dip in nonresidential spending wiped out a slight increase from home construction.
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.26 trillion, total U.S. construction spending remains 3.2 percent above the January 2017 rate, according to the Commerce Department.
Spending from private homebuilders, which includes renovations and improvements, rose 0.3 percent during the month to a rate of $523 billion. Spending on single-family homes rose 0.6 percent to $277.7 billion and is now nearly 9 percent higher than the January 2017 rate. Multi-family spending fell 1.3 percent to a rate of $61 billion and is 2.4 percent below the year-ago rate.
Total private residential spending is 4.2 percent above the January 2017 rate.
Total nonresidential construction spending fell 0.1 percent during the month to $733 billion, but remains 2.4 percent higher than the year-ago rate. Top percentage declines were power, down 6.7 percent to a rate of $93.6 billion; water supply, down 4.4 percent to $11.4 billion; and conservation and development, down 3.3 percent to $7.3 billion. Top percentage increases were public safety, up 7.1 percent to $10 billion; communication, up 5.3 percent to $25 billion; and highway and street, up 4.4 percent to $93 billion.
Spending on highway and street construction is up 3.8 percent over the January 2017 figure.
Total private sector spending on construction fell 0.5 percent during January to a rate of $962.7 billion, while government spending rose 1.8 percent to $300 billion. Private and government spending are up 1.7 percent and 8.2 percent over their year-ago rates, respectively.
Source:: Equipment world
At The Farm Shop in Edina, Missouri, co-owner Alan Dixson was waiting Friday for his first Kubota sign to arrive so he could put it up.
But the word was out in these parts of Northeast Missouri, and customers were already stopping by the store to price the first wave of Kubota machines at The Farm Shop.
Dixson and fellow owner Jim Hamm have been longtime AGCO and Massey dealers for farm equipment. These days, they’re busy adding their new Kubota line of skid steers. The additions represent the first step of this dealership’s expansion into serving construction contractors, in addition to the farmers who have long been their customers.
“We signed up in December,” Dixson says, adding that they’re also adding Kubota RTVs and tractors to their inventory as they expand offerings.
A challenging beginning in tough times
In 1980, there were six ag machinery dealerships in the Missouri county of Knox. In 1985, The Farm Shop first opened its doors. That was during the worst farm economy since the Great Depression.
Dixson and Hamm started as a repair shop for farm equipment, then decided to start selling shortline equipment such as Great Plains, Krone, Vermeer and A&L grain carts. By the next year, they were selling AGCO. Then came Massey Ferguson.
Their belief in servicing what they sold helped them grow into a full line dealership by 1987. And by that same year, they say, there was only one ag machinery dealership left in Knox County: The Farm Shop.
Kubota machines stir interest in this county seat
In recent years, they’ve been selling a lot more brands than they did back in the mid 1980s. Kubota is the newest.
With one of the sparsest populations in Missouri, the dealers say the only way they’ve stayed in business in this area for 33 years was by taking care of their customers. Their wives and sons also work for the dealership, and the dedication of these families and other employees is strong when it comes to service.
One Memorial Day, for example, they were officially closed so their employees could spend time with their families. But somehow, the doors were open, the phones got answered, and parts were available for more than 11 hours that day, just like when they started out with a repair shop back in 1985.
The Farm Shop’s address is 54618 State Highway 6, Edina, Missouri, 63537.
Source:: Equipment world
A rendering of the future I-74 Mississippi River Bridge between Illinois and Iowa.
Though the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge between Iowa and Illinois is still three years from completion, people can now see what it will be like to actually drive across the future span.
The Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University have collaborated to create a virtual reality video that not only shows what it will be like to drive over the bridge but also what’s been going on beneath the surface of the water to protect sensitive aquatic life.
The video uses 3D models by Alfred Benesch & Co. engineering consultant team and is being shown on virtual reality headsets provided to the public through May. Funding came from state and federal sources.
DOT and university officials hope the video will keep the public’s eyes on the prize as construction of the new bridge is not scheduled to be completed until 2021. That means a few more years of sitting in traffic jams on the current bridge.
Construction began in July on the $1.2 billion project to replace the current bridge, which is overcapacity and frequently requires repairs. The new bridge is designed to last 100 years, according to the Iowa DOT. It will connect Bettendorf, Iowa, with Moline, Illinois.
Work is currently occurring on the foundations for the bridge’s piers.
The project involves constructing two bridges, one headed toward Illinois and the other to Iowa. They are being built east of the current bridge and will have a true-arch design and 795-foot main span. The bridges will also provide pedestrian and bicycle access to 14-foot-wide paths. An elevator will be included on the Bettendorf side of the Illinois-bound bridge for walkers and bikers to get to the path. The path will also have a glass bottom at the center of the bridge for people to watch the water.
The bridge will be twice as wide as the current bridge, with four lanes in each direction.
Work occurs on building pier foundations for the future I-74 Mississippi River Bridge.
Source:: Equipment world
SB1 will fix over 17,000 lane miles of pavement across the next decade, and that includes re-striping roadways from 4- to 6-inch stripes to improve safety and visibility, Caltrans says.
California’s $54 billion plan to repair and build roads and bridges will boost the state’s economy, including the construction sector, by $183 billion over the next decade, a new report says.
Of that amount, the state’s construction industry would see an additional output of $34 billion and the creation or support of 160,000 jobs, according to the report by Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).
The transportation investment law – often referred to by its bill number, “SB1” – took effect last April and has been the subject of controversy recently, as a group seeks to repeal the law’s gas-tax increase. Reform California is trying to gather more than 580,000 petition signatures by May to put the repeal question on the November ballot. The Coalition to Protect Local Transportation Improvements has formed to defend SB1.
Black’s report says the economic activity and user benefits from the law will permeate all sectors of the economy and create 682,029 jobs over the next decade.
For the construction industry, the increased investment will lead to more work to build and maintain highways, bridges and transit systems. The wages paid to workers will then spill over into the larger economy as those workers spend their pay. And the improvements to the state’s transportation systems will provide future economic boosts.
“SB1 is not only providing economic benefits for the California economy over the next decade,” Black said in a news release, “but will also provide infrastructure improvements that will lay the foundation for economic growth for the next generation.”
In creating the report, Black sought to put a monetary value on such benefits from the transportation investment as increased safety, lower operating costs, reduced congestion, modernized equipment and increased mobility. She estimated that savings at $38.2 billion over 10 years.
As for direct and indirect economic effects, SB1 will increase sales and output by California businesses by $111.8 billion, the report says. It will also provide $32.6 billion in additional earnings from the 682,029 jobs Black estimates will be created during the decade.
The study was commissioned by the California Alliance for Jobs, California Transit Association, and Transportation California.
To see the full report, click here.
Source:: Equipment world