Construction Services

New Cat attachments give carrier machines multi-dimensional functionality

Given the versatility of attachments, you might say you can never have too many. To meet that need, the engineers at Caterpillar spent a good portion of the past year developing new and improved versions of their work tools. The media got their first look at the new designs in Peoria, Illinois, recently and here’s what we found:

Selectable frequency and power settings on Cat’s new hammers match the attack to the hardness of the material.CaterpillarHigh-performance, low-maintenance hammers

Two new Caterpillar Performance Series hammers, the H190 S and H215 S are designed for high production and low maintenance. The piston and tool mass on these hammers have been closely matched in diameter and weight to pack more punch. Operators have a choice of running in the high-frequency/low-power mode or low-frequency/high power to best suit the hardness of the material being broken.

Cat says a proprietary buffering material dampens vibration feedback. The automatic shut-off that prevents blank firing can be turned off for horizontal and overhead operation, but otherwise instantly stops the hammer motion when the tool breaks through the material, preventing damage to the carrier and hammer. Depending on your preference, these hammers can be configured for joystick or pedal control.

The new H190 S hammer is sized for operation on Cat 349 through 374 excavator models, while the larger H215 S is designed for the 374 and 395 excavators. The dimensions for both hammers are programmed into Cat’s E-Fence technology which will stop the carrier from positioning the tool outside of digital “fences” on the job.

All daily and routine maintenance on these hammers can be performed without removing them from the carrier. A field-serviceable and rotatable lower bushing increases service life and reduces parts costs. Standard auto-lube ensures that these hammers get continual doses of grease during operation. The operating weight of the H190 S is 11,440 to 12,430 pounds. The H215 S weighs 16,280 to 16,830 pounds. The H190 S hits with 13,000 foot-pounds of force and the H215 S pounds out 18,000 foot-pounds.

Six new, fast-cycling pulverizers

Cat has an interesting metric for its new line of pulverizers. With 52% faster cycle times these concrete demolition tools produce more tons of rubble per liter of fuel. And that matters when you have a lot of concrete to reduce.

The new line includes three rotatable primary models—the P318, P324 and P332–with 360- degree rotation, and three new fixed secondary models—P218, P224 and P232. Both series fit 18- to 50-ton machines.  Bidirectional 360-degree rotation for the P300 series models positions the jaw to grab material from any angle for producing material properly sized for further processing.

Wide jaw openings allow operators to grab more material from any angle, increasing processing speed and improving overall material throughput. Bolt-on wear components can be quickly replaced in the field with no hard-face welding required for maintenance. All hydraulic components are protected inside a housing with a bolt-on removable panel that provides complete access for servicing

Cat designed its new pulverizers around the SpeedBooster technology found in the company’s Multi-Processors. The SpeedBooster design quickly closes the jaws when there is no load. As soon as the jaw taps the material the hydraulic valve switches to power mode to crush the concrete. Integral rebar knives chop up pipes, rebar and other embedded metal debris for more efficient processing.

The new pulverizers also have integrated asset tracking to help you quickly locate these attachments and deter theft and unauthorized use when subscribed through Cat VisionLink with Product Link. Cat Next Gen excavators include pulverizer settings in the controls, allowing the excavator to quickly recognize the attachment and automatically establish the proper operating settings.

Cat excavator with tiltrotator attachment.
New tiltrotators from Cat feature an optional grapple module that lets you move debris out of the way before getting back to the main task.CaterpillarTiltrotators attack any job from any angle

American contractors have finally caught on to versatility of tiltrotators (long popular in Europe) and Cat has obliged with a full series of these multi-dimensional work tools. Sized for carrier machines from 11 to 30 metric tons, these tiltrotators have 360-degree bi-directional rotation and 40-degree left and right tilt. This allows you to attack the work from an almost unlimited number of angles without having to reposition your excavator.

The TRS10, 14, 18, and 23 models come with pin-on or S-type coupler top interfaces and S-type coupler bottom interfaces. Using a tiltrotator with a coupler top allows the operator to maximize the versatility of attachments by switching them out for application and task appropriate purposes. An optional grapple module allows the operator to move materials out of the way, such as large rocks or pipe, without switching attachments.

An oil-filled gear box and single point lubrication simplify your tiltrotator’s maintenance. A heavy-duty bolted joint secures the housing, rotator and coupler as a single unit. Wide bearing surfaces distribute excavation force in all directions. Pins, shafts and bushings feature heavy duty construction, and the hydraulic rotator motor is protected inside the cast housing.

Cat tiltrotator safety features include double-acting tilt cylinders that have built-in load holding valves to keep the attachment secure to the unit in the event of a pressure loss. Additionally, operators can remain inside the cab while switching to the optional grapple module to move heavy objects. 

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Construction Services

Dealers, Take Note: 89% of Customers Prefer Texting

During the pandemic, we have seen an uptick in equipment purchases, and with that comes an increased demand in service departments.

This can be a good thing, especially during slower months, but many dealers are now complaining about slower response times from customers, and a backlog in equipment being worked on.

According to a recent study, more than 88% of dealers said that they need to save time and be more efficient in their service department. Around 61% of dealers said that saving time in parts and service was their big focus on 2022.

One of the main issues we are seeing so far is centered around communication between customer and dealer.

New data shows that 89% of customers prefer to have businesses send a text rather than call. This is a trend that has been growing through the pandemic. Customers want simple and direct responses to get what they want.

We also found that 98% of all text messages sent to customers are opened, and customers are seven times more likely to text you back after getting a text, than call back after getting a voicemail. This means dealers don’t need to play phone tag with customers anymore, they can text and get a response within minutes.

Make sure you don’t wait for the customer to reach out to you. Send customers a quick text with updates even if they aren’t asking for it. Tell them what you are working on, and maybe tell them what they can do to improve their equipment.

This will significantly cut down on time in service departments. If you need approval to fix something, send the customer a text with an update. You will get a quick response, rather than waiting for the customer to call you back or return a voicemail.

In recent months, we found 95% percent of all text messages are responded to within 3 minutes. No waiting around. You can get approval, get to work, and get the customer out the door.

In addition to getting approval for fixes, dealers need to have a quick and easy plan in place to allow customers to pre-pay or set up a time to come get their equipment. During the pandemic, we saw that customers do not want to wait around in-person. They want to stay distant, get updates, and limit interactions.

In the data we collected from dealers, we have seen a four-fold increase in text-to-pay in just the past year. We are also seeing some dealers running 80% of their parts and service payments through text-to-pay.

One of the key things to remember is to make the customer feel like they are part of the team. Anyone in the service department can send reminders, pictures, and videos showing what’s being worked on to let the customer experience what is being done first-hand.

If you somehow get into a lull and are looking to increase traffic in your service department, there are some simple things you can do to get things moving, and it doesn’t need to center around cold calling.

Text everyone who has bought from you in the last three years. You can set up automated reminders through any texting platform, so you don’t have to call. You can also space out these reminders to keep things flowing at a good pace in your service department during slower months.

Have a plan in place to ensure things keep moving. Make sure you keep track of who has come through your service department in recent weeks, who you have sold to, and who you are trying to target to the work flowing.

KenectKeep in mind, customers want to be texted. Phone calls just won’t cut it anymore. The pandemic has changed the way service departments operate, not just in-house, but for customers as well. Make sure you are meeting the customers in the platforms they are getting used to so you can keep communication clear, and service departments operating fully.

Ben Leighton is a Content Marketing Specialist with Kenect, a provider of simple texting tools to connect businesses with their customers. 

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Construction Management

10th Day of Construction Gifts: A Portable Cleaning Station for Dirty Jobsites

Editor’s note: From now until Christmas, Equipment World is featuring a new gift idea each day for the construction enthusiast in your life. Check back daily to our Gear section or subscribe to our Equipment World Daily newsletter to see each day’s new idea.

Moving dirt can get messy and water isn’t always readily available on the jobsite. For easy cleaning on the go, RinseKit offers a high-capacity, battery pressurized portable shower.

Its use isn’t limited to just showering though.

The manufacturer says the water station can be used to cool down on a hot day, spray off your boots, or hose down your equipment or truck.

The tank features a top-fill cap and can hold water ranging in temperature from 33 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (A heater for the pro model is slated for release in 2022.)

The hose offers five spray settings at up to 50 psi to match the output for the task at hand. A 12-volt battery plug also allows for charging of external devices.

The RinseKit comes in a variety of sizes and can be purchased on the company’s website. 

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Construction Blogs

Deere to Acquire Majority Ownership in Battery Technology Company

Expanding its investment in alternative power, John Deere is set to acquire majority ownership of Kreisel Electric, an Austrian-based developer of immersion-cooled, high-density battery technology.

For Deere, the deal was prompted by growing demand for batteries as a sole- or hybrid-propulsion system for off-highway vehicles. The manufacturer intends to apply the technology to its lineup of turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction equipment, and some road building equipment, as it works toward a future with zero emissions propulsion systems.

“Kreisel’s battery technology can be applied across the broad portfolio of Deere products, and Kreisel’s in-market experience will benefit Deere as we ramp up our battery-electric vehicle portfolio. Deere will provide the expertise, global footprint, and funding to enable Kreisel to continue its fast growth in core markets,” said Pierre Guyot, senior vice president, John Deere Power Systems. “This is an opportunity to invest in a company with unique technology that’s designed for the demanding conditions where Deere customers work.

In addition to its patented battery technology, Kreisel has also developed a complementary charging infrastructure platform (CHIMERO).

Deere has been testing a battery-electric backhoe since early this year and debuted the 310 X-tier E-Power at The Utility Expo. The unit will head into Phase 2 testing next year, with Deere indicating many of the specs will change before it is available for sale. It is unknown at this time if Kreisel’s technology will appear in this machine. 

Kreisel Electric will retain its employees, brand name, and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location in Austria. The company, founded in 2014 by brothers Johann, Markus, and Philipp Kreisel, has approximately 160 full-time employees. 

The transaction requires final regulatory approval in Austria and is expected to close in February 2022. Financial details are not being disclosed.  

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Construction Blogs

Test Drive: Mack’s Return to Medium-Duty Trucks Doesn’t Disappoint

Mack’s MD Series is a rebirth of sorts for a company whose mantra is “Born Ready.”

Mack exited the medium-duty segment almost 20 years ago with the retirement of the Freedom, which was mostly a rebadged Americanized Renault. The Freedom concluded Mack’s 20-plus-year run with its medium-duty Mid-Liner.

The MD entered production just 13 months ago at the company’s new 280,000-square-foot Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) facility in Roanoke Valley, Virginia. Mack announced its re-entry into the medium-duty market in January 2020, but COVID protocols delayed production from July to September 2020. 

Targeting medium-duty trucking vocations with frequent urban stop-and-go cycles like dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank, the 25,995-pound gross vehicle weight rating MD6 and 33,000-pound GVWR MD7 are both exempt from the 12% federal excise tax, and the MD6 model slides in just under the cutoff for requiring a commercial driver’s license for non-hazardous payloads.

Nextran Truck Centers Sales Manager Bruce Graham said the bulk of the units moving through his Birmingham, Alabama, dealership have been spec’d with flatbeds, but service bodies have become increasingly more common, with some vans mixed in. 

Bruce and his team at Nextran loaned me an MD6 to shuttle around the greater Birmingham-area – a Glacier White Class 6 outfitted with a Lyncoach box. This is a fairly standard configuration for a local-route beverage hauler, which is exactly where this unit was headed. 

Mack didn’t have to look far for inspiration for its MD Series. There’s no denying the influence of Mack’s on-highway flagship Anthem. The squared-off nose; the grille; the body lines; a wrap-around dash with ergonomic controls; a tilt telescopic steering column with flat-bottomed steering wheel; power windows and door locks; cruise control and a driver air-ride seat are all regular long-haul driver comforts found in the MD Model. Anthem’s paw prints are all over the MD inside and out. 

The MD6 and MD7 models feature a sharp wheel cut for enhanced maneuverability, and their air-suspended steel cab features an industry-best bumper-to-back-of-cab measurement of 103 inches. Eight wheelbase lengths will support typical bodies from 10 to 26 feet. My test drive model was a 270-inch wheelbase.

The wheels are a standard 22.5 inches, but 19.5-inch wheels are available. Other standard features include the basics like power windows and locks, cruise control and air conditioning. An optional two-passenger bench seat allows fleets to deploy crews of three, and a flip-up bottom grants access to a large bin for storage.

MD’s turning radius was tight, making navigating crowded surface streets easy and safe when coupled with the shorter nose and improved visibility. 

The view from the standard air-ride driver’s seat is commanding, and the air-suspension cab is comfortable. Base models get a spring rear suspension, but Mack’s Maxlite air suspension is available. My test unit had air. 

It would be easy to assign a lot of the truck’s pleasant on-road manners to the air system, but that would overlook the durable yet lightweight chassis (7mm thickness for the MD6 and 8mm thickness for the MD7), constructed to an industry standard 34-inch frame width using 120,000 psi steel rails – a considerable bump from an industry standard 80,000 psi.

The MD is Mack’s first all-new truck model since the 2017 debut of Anthem. It’s also one of very few bulldogs to offer a non-Mack powertrain. Both MD models are equipped with an inline 6-cylinder Cummins B6.7 engine, making up to 300 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque.

The B6.7 is the most popular diesel engine Cummins builds, and its B Series has been on the market for nearly 40 years in various iterations. It’s pretty much the ubiquitous medium-duty engine. Cummins’ Single Module aftertreatment bundles the diesel particulate filter, selective catalytic reduction and diesel exhaust fluid doser into one unit.

In the MD, the B6.7 is matched with an Allison 2500HS transmission and Meritor axles. An Allison 2500RDS is available for applications needing a PTO.

My drive around Birmingham covered a little less than 100 miles, not an uncommon daily trip shunting around Coca-Cola products, and the truck felt just as at home at 70 mph pulling a grade as it was at 15 mph navigating a loading zone, or low-speed in a crowded Buc-ee’s parking lot. Yeah, I know. Buc-ee’s isn’t truck-friendly, but sometimes, when you want a Coke Icee, you have to take matters into your own hands. 

Now that a formal infrastructure plan has finally passed, Mack couldn’t have picked a better time to get back into medium duty – especially with a model as versatile as MD. 

In all, the MD Series is a comfortable and capable traffic fighter with plenty of workhorse capabilities and flexibility that both fleets and drivers will love, especially if you need to make a black-ops Icee run.  

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Construction Management

Volvo Becomes First U.S. Fish & Wildlife Partner on Electric Equipment

It’s like the project and the equipment were made for each other.

Volvo Construction Equipment recently partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to demonstrate the environmental merits of its electric drive technology and do some heavy lifting at one of the country’s most visible and important wildlife refuges.

A battery-powered, zero-emission ECR25 electric compact excavator and a L25 electric compact wheel loader made by Volvo CE are being used in a pilot program to build a new ADA-accessible trail in the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles from our nation’s capital.

Volvo ECR25Volvo Construction EquipmentThe machines are no lightweights either. The ECR25 excavator is a 6,000 pound, 48-volt/20-kilowatt machine that can dig to a depth of 8-feet 1-inch or 9-feet 1-inch (short arm or long arm) and offers a breakout force of 5,020 foot-pounds.

The L25 wheel loader weighs 11,023 pounds, sports a 48-horsepower electric motor driveline, hits the pile breakout force of 12,252 foot-pounds and offers a tipping load capacity of 7,275 pounds.

Construction of the trail supports the conservation mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the National Wildlife Refuge System — a network of 567 refuges across the U.S. that provides access to a host of popular activities and habitat for thousands of wildlife species.

These are the first pieces of electric heavy equipment to be used on a project by a federal agency. The pilot program helps the service explore ways to minimize its carbon footprint in natural areas and reduce the emissions produced while maintaining public lands. It also provides Volvo CE with valuable feedback on electric equipment performance.

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Construction Services

6th Day of Construction Gifts: A Cooler that Boasts Serious Ice Retention

Editor’s note: Each day until Christmas, Equipment World is featuring a new gift idea for the construction enthusiast in your life. Check back each day to our Gear section or subscribe to our Equipment World Daily newsletter to see each day’s new idea.

Scorching summer days call for ice cold beverages. Ice cold beverages call for, well, ice. If you’re looking for serious ice retention, Blue Coolers is a great bet. 

This heavy-duty, roto-molded cooler is durable enough for the jobsite and boasts 10 days of ice retention.

The 55-Quart Ice Vault, the company’s most popular model, includes wheels (a must-have for easy transportation), a folding handle, grip handles, non-skid feet, a lockable lid, a freezer-style gasket, a drain plug, tie-down slots and 2 inches of insulation.

For the best possible ice retention Blue Coolers recommends the following:

Pre-chill your cooler: Keep the cooler in a cool place or fill it with a sacrificial bag of ice to lower the internal temperature before adding your food and beverages. Pre-chill your food and beverages: Start with cold or frozen drinks or food to reduce ice loss.Leave no air space: After filling your cooler, top it off with additional ice or fill in any air gaps with newspaper or towels. Air contributes to ice loss. Close and secure the lid with lockdown straps and limit access: Only open the lid when necessary and keep it securely closed as much as possible.Keep out of direct sunlight: Place the cooler in a shady area, or if it must be in direct sunlight, cover it with a tarp or towel. 

Head over to the Blue Coolers website to scoop up this tailgate hero for $279. 

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Construction Services

7th Day of Construction Gifts: Phone Mounts Built for Rugged Environments

Editor’s note: Each day until Christmas, Equipment World is featuring a new gift idea for the construction enthusiast in your life. Check back each day to our Gear section or subscribe to our Equipment World Daily newsletter to see each day’s new idea.

If you’ve ever tried to mount your phone in a cab or in the shop, you know how flimsy most store-bought models really are.

Mob Armor’s MobNetic mounting series features 90-pound pull-force rare-earth magnets for one of the strongest grips this side of the Mississippi.

The mounts are capable of nearly unlimited mounting locations for your smartphone or other handheld devices. It can be tilted 90 degrees, rotated 360 degrees or angled for optimal viewing.

Mob Armor phone mounts are built to withstand rugged environments.Mob ArmorThe magnet will attach to almost any surface made from iron, steel, nickel or several other metals. It also comes with two MobNetic shield plates and two Mob discs for mounting on non-metal dashboards and other surfaces.

“My phone always stays put even when riding through harsh terrain and large bumps. Worth the price – and so far no other magnet mounts that I have tried come close to the strength of these,” says one reviewer.

The MobNetic Maxx (MobNetic Pro) Magnetic Car Mount features solid metal construction and is hand-assembled in the United States. The mount is $49.99 and can be purchased from the Mob Armor website or Amazon. 

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Construction Blogs

Tunnel Machine “Mary” Arrives for Virginia’s Largest Ever Road Project (Video)

“Mary” the tunnel boring machine has arrived for Virginia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

The 9-million-pound TBM will dig two 8,000-foot-long tunnels for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion Project.

The new tunnels will take more than two years to build and will be about 50 feet deeper than the existing tunnels. The $3.8 billion project will increase tunnel capacity and widen 10 miles of Interstate 64 between the cities of Hampton and Norfolk from four to eight lanes in places, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

It is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country and is expected to be completed in 2025.

The interstate section is one of the state’s most congested, with traffic backing up as much as 6 miles during rush hour, VDOT says.

The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion Project is expected to be completed in 2025.Virginia DOTMary is named after Mary Winston Jackson, an African-American mathematician and aerospace engineer at NASA from Hampton. The TBM was built in Germany and then disassembled to be shipped to Norfolk.

It will take about six months to reassemble the 170-piece TBM in a 65-foot-deep launching pit on South Island. When reassembled it will be 46 feet tall and more than 430 feet long. It will tunnel at 50 feet per day, not only digging but installing concrete panels along the way.

The TBM will start on the South Island and tunnel to the North Island. That should take about a year. Then the machine will be turned around, a four-month process, and dig back to the South Island for another year of tunneling.

The project is expected to create 28,000 jobs and generate $4.6 billion in economic impact, according to VDOT.

Check out this concept video of what the future HRBT will look like when completed:

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And here’s one that shows a time-lapse of Mary’s construction in Germany:

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Mary was built by Herrenknecht at a cost of $101 million, which included shipping.

Here’s a video that demonstrates the tunneling process, provided by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel District and Dragados/Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture:

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The contractor on the HRBT Expansion is a joint venture with Dragados USA serving as the lead contractor and HDR and Mott MacDonald as lead designers. Other team members: Flatiron Constructors, Vinci Construction, and Dodin Campenon Bernard.

south island construction for Mary tunnel machine
The South Island of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is being prepared for tunnel boring machine Mary’s reassembly in a 65-foot-deep launching pit.Virginia DOT

Construction Management

8th Day of Construction Gifts: Realistic Equipment Toys from Bruder

Editor’s note: From now until Christmas, Equipment World is featuring a new gift idea each day for the construction enthusiast in your life. Check back daily to our Gear section or subscribe to our Equipment World Daily newsletter to see each day’s new idea.

If your kids keep trying to swipe your collection of diecast model equipment, get them these realistic construction toys from Bruder instead. 

These impressive toy models are made to look as close as possible to the real equipment, and Bruder says they can stand up to the toughest sandbox conditions. The models feature functioning parts, like individually linked tracks, for an authentic look and sound. Accessories and spare parts can be purchased separately.

Featured brands include Caterpillar, JCB, JLG, Liebherr, Mack, Manitou and Volvo.

Prices range from $15 to over $100 depending on the size and complexity of the equipment. You can view and purchase the toy models on Bruder’s website.

Once you see this video, you’re going to want these toys too. 

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