Las Vegas is hosting the CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017 show this week, with seemingly every player in the heavy equipment world present. In addition to the brute and braun of construction machinery are new technologies aimed to enhance the construction and agriculture equipment industry. Booths filled with VR simulators, remote controls, and even 3D printers give the feeling of a CES show and Blue Collar mixer.
The CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017 show brought in hosts and guests that included internet personalities, Hollywood celebs, and reality TV stars. Some of those in attendance are Tony Beets and his crew (family) from the show Gold Rush. Tony is the Russian-accented gold-digger (literally) that attracts many viewers with his accent and no-nonsense approach to employee and HR issues. Of course, who could miss Mike Rowe, best known as the “dirtiest man on TV” from the show Dirty Jobs. Mike has a passion to give the trades a better name in society, as well as educate young people that well-paying jobs are available if they’re willing to work.
CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017 Show Tech Experience
Virtual Reality simulators allowed the user to experience operating heavy equipment or taking a ride on a variety of terrain. Allowing guests and potential buyers to experience the technology firsthand helps provide a sense of reality rather than just reading a brochure or listening to a salesperson.
“We just got here and the first place I wanted to go was the Tech Experience, because I’m interested in all the new technology,” said Samanthea Totten-Perry, a construction management consultant from Oregon who was attending her fifth show. “To see this, it’s pretty remarkable.”
Investing in technologies is monumental even in heavy equipment today. “Association of Equipment Manufacturers Director and Caterpillar Group President Rob Charter said during a press conference on Monday that CAT invests as much as $2 billion into research and development for the company’s products.” -CONEXPO-CON/AGG press.
Project AME – Excavator – 3D Printed
3D printing continues to evolve as we see larger and larger pieces being printed, but Project AME is blowing minds this week. They unveiled the world’s first 3D-printed excavator, and this is a functioning excavator, hence onlookers watch it dig right there in the Vegas parking lot. Project AME (advanced manufacturing excavator) demonstrates the potential use of 3D printing in the heavy equipment industries. Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) initiated the 2-year project incorporating US undergraduate engineering students.
Induction Heating In The Field – Saving Hours
Miller shows off their ProHeat 35 Induction Heat System aimed to save technicians hours in the field. What may take more than an hour to heat with conventional torches can take only minutes with the induction heating. The whole setup of this induction system gives the feeling of a “set it and forget it” infomercial. The 35KW power source delivers power to heating coils for both pipe and flat plates, with temperature output North of 1,400 degrees F. Heating coils are available for both air and liquid cooling. We’re sure there are welders out there that would love to have access to one of these.
Cranes Cranes and More Cranes
You name the crane company, and they are here. JLG, BMC, Liebherr, Manitowoc, ENERPAC and Terex just to name a few, display their grandest creations from tower cranes to all terrain, hydraulic boom, gantry and more. If you’re outside, just look up; the horizon is full of booms, lifts, forks, hooks, flags and anything to suspend in mid-air.
General Heavy Equipment
Inside and outside of the Las Vegas convention center has all the major brands’ latest equipment on display. Whether you want Caterpillar, Kobelco, Komatsu, or Volvo, you don’t have to walk far to find your flavor. In a fight to win with onlookers, many of these mammoth machines are covered in designer wraps. Construction-yellow wasn’t good enough for Kobelco, so they wrapped their excavator in a stars and stripes theme. Volvo attracted some audience members with the aforementioned Tony Beets crew from TV.
It’s great to see the construction and agriculture markets in full swing, which shows apparent here at the CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017 Show. Combining job growth in the trades and technology should prove to become a more efficient work force. If you haven’t had the chance to attend the CONEXPO-CONAGG event, make sure you mark it in your calendar now, for next year.