Construction Management

How to Hang Christmas Lights Correctly

Everyone loves the warm glow of Christmas lights in the dark months of the year. However, setting them up correctly can be a daunting task if you don’t approach it with a plan. To make things easier, we’re sharing some tips for setting up your yuletide display for success.

Plan your design and make your budget

When you are starting a project like this, it’s an excellent first step to establish a budget. You want to make sure that your joyous display is something that’s going to continue to spark joy, not something that you finished over your estimate. Going in, knowing your number is going to make sure that you’re happy with your result.

As you’re looking around your property, you’re going to want to know how much a given area will need. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need 100 lights for every 1.5 feet of tree or shrub that you’re hanging, and you can use a similar figure for covering 1.5 square feet of roof or siding. This will help you get your head around how much design you have to play within your budget.

Where are you going to place your lights?

When you’re placing your Christmas lights, you want to start by establishing a few features of your house or property that are going to be focal points of your design. Many houses are asymmetrical or weighted more heavily on one side or the other, which is frequently offset by the architect with architectural or landscape features, but the asymmetry may look awkward if you just light up everything.

Good places for focal points tend to be windows, large trees, door frames, pillars, posts, and the eaves but try to pick only one or two to focus around and leave the other areas less fully populated to emphasize the places where you’ve put in the work. Window boxes and planters that you already have are also usually instinctively placed around these areas and can be lit up to accent the features they’re near. If you’re hanging and you feel like something’s off-balance, don’t be afraid to subtract lights from the side that feels too heavy. Taking away something is free, but adding more things can be a lot of work while only making the problem worse.

Carefully choose the lights you plan to hang

Your power supply and the type of lights you choose can also determine how much lighting you can afford in your design. For example, a lot of people favor incandescent bulbs for their warm glow. However, these lights tend to overheat if left on for an extended time, and you are only likely to be able to attach three to six light strands per outlet, which means that you have to be more strategic in your placement and more attentive to when you turn them off.

If you are looking to be more ambitious with your lighting designs, it’s likely that you’ll want to go with LED string lights, which can fit up to 25 strands per outlet on most standard circuits. They also don’t overheat as much and are much more energy efficient. However, regardless of which type you choose, you want to make sure to buy all your lights in a single type or color at a time as year-to-year variations in manufacture can lead to mismatched lights, which will make your display less peaceful.

For expanding beyond your initial wiring system, there are weatherproof battery-powered light packs of both varieties. However, these need frequent maintenance, and you’ll want to make sure you have backup rechargeable batteries on hand to keep those lights running night in and night out. Otherwise, a significant portion of your carefully plotted design could go down.

Numerous lighting styles are available

For different effects, you may want to pick different sizes of lights. The largest lights are C9 Christmas lights (1¼ inches diameter and 2½ inches tall), while smaller ones are available down to C7 (¾ inch diameter and 1⅛ inches tall). Of course, a bigger light will provide brighter output and fill more space, so plan for the size of your light as you’re considering applications.

For roof lines, overhangs, and peaks, there are some styles that you might consider as an accent instead of a simple outline. For example, icicle and raindrop lights hang down in chains from a single line that attaches to the gutter or the drip edge and give a nice cascade effect in these areas.

It’s also worth considering whether you want to have twinkling or stationary lights. With programmable lights, the motion of light displays can get quite intricate. However, some people find these effects to be overwhelming. So be judicious about using them and consider exactly how much of your house or tree you want to be dancing. Done right, it can be lovely, while done wrong, it can be a bit much.

Don’t forget to gather all the tools you’ll need

Once you’ve got your design in place, you want to double check that you have the appropriate tools for the job. One of the first things you need to check is that all of your extension cords and lights are UL rated for outdoor use. If a light display isn’t safe, it will not be very effective at bringing peace and joy.

You’re also going to be working upon an elevated surface, so in addition to making sure that your extension ladder is in good repair, you’re also going to want to invest in a tool belt or over-the-shoulder bag. This ensures that your hands can remain free while climbing. You’ll also want your sturdiest and best traction shoes to make sure you stay ON the roof.

In your kit, you should avoid nails or staples whenever possible at all, instead of opting for plastic clips. There are a few different kinds of plastic clips which attach to the edge of shingles without going under or to the dripline or gutter.  Some of these clips combine simple hooks or latching hooks, and there are specific roof peak clips that attach to the side of the shingle while sitting on top of it. These will make removal easy come spring and prevent you from punching holes in the roof. Clips are generally sized to go with the size of your bulbs, so make sure you know whether you’re using C7 or C9 clips.

For vertical spaces like windows, columns, or the side of your house, there are adhesive clips that stick to the surface and allow you to hang lights vertically up the side of the building. These are great as for many applications. You can put them up without even getting on a ladder, and they let you adorn otherwise unavailable spaces.

Last, it’s very smart to invest in app-controlled smart plugs or timer plugs that will save on your electricity bill and prevent you from leaving them on. If you’re using a smart plug, make sure your internet is secured, as you don’t want to find out if you have a mischief-maker in the neighborhood.

Check roof condition and the weather forecast

When you’re ready to head up there, the first thing you absolutely need to check is what the weather is going to be. You should never work on a roof when it’s wet or uncleared, and you should plan to be up there for a few good hours, so check the weather report and look around at the clouds.

Get someone to help you

You have to have someone with you to hold your extension ladder as you head up after you’ve secured and leveled it. People hurt themselves every year by not asking someone to just do this one small thing, but you don’t have to be one of them.

Line up your lights

Untangle your lights on the ground, not up on the roof, and take the time to inspect and test each line. You’re going to be much better equipped to fix any problems with the lines and detect any fraying, loose bulbs, or damage when you’re not also trying to stay up on the roof. Once they’re untangled, carefully coil and pack them so that they come out of the bag or off the shoulder cleanly.

Clips need to go on first

As most people are rarely on their roof, you want to take the time to set up your clips first and make sure that you’re setting the shingles back correctly with no gaps underneath. Then, after that’s all set, you can return to string the lights knowing that you did the first job correctly.

Now that you have your lights all fixed up, you can enjoy their glow all season long, knowing that you’ve set yourself up for success and that come spring packing the kit away won’t be a huge problem. Of course, it’s also worth taking time to inspect your lines when they come down and to stow them away as untangled as you can get them.

The post How to Hang Christmas Lights Correctly appeared first on Mr Roof.

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Construction Blogs

Rokbak Sales Start Strong in North America

The first Rokbak units have reached U.S. shores and dealers are snapping them up, the company says.

The articulated hauler manufacturer, formerly known as Terex Trucks, has received confirmed orders from almost all dealers across the U.S., including:

Bane Machinery, B-C Equipment Sales and Easton Sales & Rentals in Texas >G.W. Van Keppel, with locations across the Midwest >Hills Machinery, Carolinas>Border Equipment, Georgia >Lawrence Equipment, Virginia>

Under the Rokbak brand, Volvo Group subsidiary Volvo Construction Equipment is offering two models, the 30.9-ton RA30 and the 41.9-ton RA40. The units offer fuel economy, lower emissions, improved safety, and greater durability than previous Terex Truck TA300 and TA400 models.

“We knew once we launched as Rokbak that the response would be positive because we have such a strong relationship with our dealers,” says Robert Franklin, director of sales – Americas at Rokbak. “But even we were surprised by just how successful our new direction has been. We’ve got a long history in the U.S. and Canada in our previous incarnation, but it’s exciting to see how enthusiastic our partners are about our new direction and backing up that enthusiasm with multiple orders.”

Rokbak offers two models: the 30.9 US ton payload RA30 and 41.9 US ton payload RA40.RokbakRokbak says orders are a mix of RA30 and RA40 units, with some already confirmed for delivery to end user customers, while others will join dealers’ rental or sales stock.

“Although the Rokbak brand has only existed a couple of months, it’s evolved from one of the world’s oldest hauler manufacturers,” says Kyle Fuglesten, COO at Hills Machinery. “We’ve been really impressed by the new branding – there is absolutely no doubt what it stands for. The team’s commitment to hard work, reliability, performance and environmental care are front and center – and with the Volvo Group’s backing, the quality is 100% guaranteed.”

Easton Sales and Rental took delivery of the first-ever Rokbak articulated hauler in early November. The RA30 was immediately sold to Linco Construction in Houston.

“Our business is built on delivering quality work that is competitively priced and performed by experts, so these new Rokak machines are ideal tools to help us do that,” says Steve Brown, president of Linco Construction. “They’ve only been at work for a few weeks, but we can already see they are workhorses. We have built relationships with our clients on our commitment, hard work and quality, and when we look at the Rokbak haulers, we see those same values shining through.” 

Dozens more of the eye-catching grey haulers are set to arrive in North America in the coming months. 

“We are so thankful for the loyalty and support of our customers and dealers in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Paul Douglas, managing director of Rokbak. “We are excited to demonstrate our passion, personality and skill under our new brand and can’t wait to see the first units at work on project sites.”

Construction Blogs

Titan Machinery Posts 25% Total Revenue Increase in Q3

West Fargo, North Dakota-based Titan Machinery has reported $454 million in total revenue for the third quarter of 2021, a 25 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

“The combination of our larger base of revenues, healthy inventory position, and lean infrastructure has allowed for powerful operating leverage that drove a 109% increase in pre-tax income for the quarter,” says David Meyer, chairman and chief executive officer, Titan Machinery.  “Our Construction and International segments are also generating strong gains in profitability, each producing another solid quarter and building upon the improvements made fiscal year-to-date. We are excited about finishing the fiscal year on a strong note after a successful harvest and construction season and will continue to work toward delivering the unmatched customer service that Titan Machinery is known for.”

Gross profit for the third quarter reached $92.5 million, compared to $72.6 million in the third quarter last year for the agricultural and construction equipment dealer. Higher variable expenses on increased revenues drove up operating expenses by $8.8 million to $62.9 million, compared to $54.1 million in the third quarter last year.

Revenues for the company’s construction segment were essentially flat. Same-store sales increased 11.1% due to increased equipment demand but was offset by the lost contributions from the company’s Arizona stores following the January 2021 divestiture. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 was $79.7 million, compared to $79.0 million in the third quarter last year.

The company is continuing to pursue acquisitions to grow its footprint and effectively service customers amid ongoing supply chain challenges. “While supply chains remain challenged, we are getting factory shipments, as well as leveraging our parts and equipment inventories collaboratively across our network of stores,” says Meyer. “This has allowed us to take care of our customers during the critical harvest and pre-winter construction season – which enabled us to continue to deliver strong top line growth. Looking to the fourth quarter, we remain confident that we will be able to sustain our increased sales momentum and profitability, which we believe will allow us to deliver a record year of earnings per share.”

Based on fiscal modeling assumptions, Titan expects the construction segment to be up 2- to 7-percent for the 2022 fiscal year.

Titan Machinery carries CNH Industrial brands, including Case Construction and New Holland Construction, and has locations in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Construction Blogs

Product Roundup: Komatsu harvester and forwarder feature ground-gripping traction

There is probably no tougher environment for equipment than forestry, and Komatsu’s two new purpose-built machines, the 931XC-3 harvester and 855-3 forwarder, are made to stand up to these gnarly conditions.

Designed for maneuverability in everything from thinning operations to felling big timber, the 931XC-3 harvester balances power, torque and fuel economy to optimize low-speed operation with a high torque backup when needed. The machine’s eight-wheel-drive traction and smooth ride come courtesy of what Komatsu calls its “Comfort Bogie” drive system. The bogies oscillate to keep tires on the ground, following the terrain closely while maintaining a high clearance. Additionally, a fixed rear-axle design reduces rear ground pressure.

The harvester’s automatic cab/crane leveling system keeps your operator in the best possible position to work comfortably throughout the day. An automotive-quality cab features heated and cooled meal storage, a big front window for visibility, an ergonomic seat and climate control.

Designed with a high departure angle for climbing obstacles, the Komatsu 855-3 forwarder offers an optional blade for stump removal.KomatsuThe 14-metric-ton Komatsu 855-3 forwarder also operates on Komatsu Comfort Bogie axles with a high portal offset and V-shaped frame for ground clearance. For ground or stump leveling, an optional heavy-duty stacked blade is available. Mounted with a high angle of departure for climbing obstacles, there’s no interference between blade, battery boxes or hood guard. Operators can monitor and control everything from the engine and crane to the transmission and service ladders with the MaxiXT system. And operator-specific controls can be fine-tuned to achieve the finesse and speed each operator prefers.

AUSA has announced the global launch of its AUSAnow fleet manager.
Keep tabs on your AUSA machines with cloud-based monitoring.AUSANew software gives customers telematics info for AUSA vehicles

AUSA has announced the global launch of its AUSAnow fleet manager, an online fleet control solution. With this new digital service, AUSA is offering its customers a product to improve their efficiency and profitability by monitoring their machines with mobile phones or computers.

The new software communicates real-time information about maintenance requirements, technical and performance issues and any unexpected movement of machines.

Machine information is stored in the cloud, so AUSAnow can be accessed anywhere you can connect to the internet. The new system will allow users to view and create their own personalized charts, obtain in-depth information about the operation of their machines and make decisions that are based on detailed information.

Mecalac 156MRail
Mecalac 156MRailMecalacMecalac debuts new MRail-Series, a dedicated line of machines for the rail industry

Purpose-built for right-of-way maintenance or the construction of new tracks, Mecalac’s four new MRail-Series machines offer advanced safety features and performance tailored to meet the requirements and track sizes of public and private railways, light rail and subway networks.

The two tracked models, 106MRail and 136MRail, are based on the MCR crawler skid excavator concept. The 10-ton 106MRail can travel up to 6.2 mph on ground and 14.3 mph on rails. The 13-ton 136MRail offers ground speeds up to 5.6 mph and rail speeds as high as 12.4 mph.  

Both models offer 360-degree rotation. Optional rear and side cameras provide extra safety, visibility and precision when working in-between tracks, in tunnels or confined spaces.

Based on the MWR wheeled excavator, the 156MRail and 216MRail models provide solutions tailored to rail networks, different track sizes and available workspace. The 156MRail is ideal for users looking for a machine to work on subways or private tracks without the expensive features required by rail regulations. The 156MRail’s compact design provides good visibility for work in hard-to-reach places. It boasts travel speeds up to 21 mph on the ground and 18.6 mph on rails.

Built for the toughest rail jobs, the 216MRail model brings agility and maneuverability to users looking to complete projects on national and urban railways. With the greatest boom reach of the MRail models, the 216MRail can reach up to 24 feet 7 inches. It travels at speeds up to 18.5 mph on both ground and rails.

GPS Trackit's GL500MG protects unpowered assets including construction equipment.
The hidden installation and a tamper-proof design of GPS Trackit’s monitoring system enables you to keep tabs on unpowered equipment.GPS TrackitStop trailer theft with GPS Trackit monitoring

According to the International Risk Management Institute, only 10 to 15 percent of stolen equipment is ever recovered. One solution is GPS-enabled electronic monitoring. The recently announced GL500MG tracker from GPS Trackit monitors truck trailers and cargo to deter theft and assist in asset recovery.

GPS Trackit’s GL500MG protects unpowered assets including construction equipment, freight trailers, flatbed trailers, freight containers, generators, tool storage boxes, and recreational equipment.

The device features a five-year, onboard battery and durable housing to help construction companies, carriers and trucking companies locate and control their trailers around the clock. Geofences provide alerts whenever an asset leaves a pre-set area. A user update button immediately shares the GL500MG’s GPS coordinates to help you and law enforcement find the stolen asset.

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Construction Management

Honda’s Autonomous Work Vehicle Put to the Test at 1,000-Acre Jobsite (Video)

Every newbie who ever worked in construction knows the grunt work of having to haul material around the jobsite. Well, good news newbies.

Honda has a prototype robot that someday may put an end to this backbreaking tradition. At a large-scale Black & Veatch solar installation jobsite in New Mexico, the company successfully tested the latest prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV). (Check out the video at the bottom of this story.)

And perhaps the coolest thing about the Honda AWV project is that it is actively soliciting contractors who want to help design the next version of the robot. Companies interested in testing the Honda AWV in their work environment can contact Honda at: [email protected].

Hefty payloads

During the month-long field test in New Mexico, the second-generation prototype of the fully electric Honda AWV performed a range of functions including towing activities and transporting construction materials, water and other supplies to pre-set destinations within the worksite.

The vehicle carried payloads of nearly 900 pounds, and in a separate use case, it towed a trailer hauling more than 1,600 pounds. While Honda previously tested an earlier generation of the Honda AWV, this field test was the first to deploy multiple units working collaboratively to support construction use cases.

Honda has been tinkering with the AWV platform for a while. It was introduced as a concept at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. You can see what we wrote about the first version here: Honda unveils autonomous construction robot, wants your input on what to do with it   

GPS guidance

The current version of the Honda AWV employs a suite of sensors to guide the unit autonomously, using GPS for location, radar and LiDAR for obstacle detection and stereoscopic (3D) cameras for remote monitoring. The vehicle also can be operated by remote control.

To validate the capabilities of the Honda AWV, the company selected a Black & Veatch’s solar energy construction site where support structures for solar panels are laid out in a grid pattern at regular intervals over a thousand acres. The site was an ideal environment to test the ability of the Honda AWV to stop at precise points along a pre-set route.

Cloud-based directions

Honda produced a high-definition map of the site that allowed Black & Veatch operators to precisely set start and stop points for multiple Honda AWVs using a cloud-based app interface that runs on tablets and PCs. The vehicles successfully delivered materials and supplies along a calculated route and stopped within centimeters of their pre-set points.

The field test also demonstrated the viability of the Honda AWV battery system to support energy-intensive sensors and provide vehicle propulsion, while operating up to eight hours in a high-temperature environment.

Based on the capabilities verified in this field test, Honda says its AWV will be capable of providing a wide range of services to a variety of industries that need a rugged off-road autonomous solution, especially where workforce constraints and safety concerns make other solutions impractical. The ability to operate autonomously, or with remote control, and carry large payloads, along with the potential to add attachments and tools, make the Honda AWV a suitable platform for many work environments.

Efficiency and safety

The goal of the project, according to Honda, is to create a rugged and durable off-road side-by-side platform with advanced autonomous technology capable of being deployed in a variety of dynamic work environments.

“We believe the Honda AWV has the potential to bring greater efficiencies, higher levels of safety and better environmental performance to the construction industry and to other industries seeking an autonomous off-road solution,” says Kenton Williams, project lead for the Honda AWV. Honda has not announced commercialization plans for the AWV yet, but is continuing to advance the platform through field testing.

You can watch a video below of the Honda AWV doing its thing:  

Honda AWV Specs

Dimensions: 9 feet 6 inches long; 8 inches high; 4 feet 11 inches wideUnladen weight: 1,590 poundsMax load capacity: 880 poundsTowing capability: 1,653 pounds (including trailer)Min. turning radius: 12 feet 9 inchesRange: 27.9 miles depending on use case Charge time: Up to six hours        
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Construction Management

Skip the Upfront Costs of Grade Control with Trimble’s New Subscriptions

Contractors hesitant to bite at a big price tag now have a more affordable option for machine control and surveying solutions. Trimble’s Earthworks Grade Control Platform and Siteworks software are now available as a subscription service.

The scalable subscription service provides software solutions at a contracted, fixed monthly price with flexible terms of 12, 36 or  60 months, giving customers the ability to modernize their fleets and survey equipment without a large initial capital investment.

“Providing customers around the world access to Trimble field software as a subscription service means contractors no longer have to spend time or resources tracking technology assets, training or troubleshooting users on multiple software versions or worrying about technology upgrades,” says Scott Crozier, general manager of civil construction at Trimble. “The rate of change for technology continues to increase. With a subscription service, contractors can rest assured that they will always have the latest and greatest from Trimble.”

Contractors dipping their toe in the technology pool or considering switching providers can now test Trimble platforms without a big commitment.

Plans include Trimble WorksManager Software, the cloud-based application that allows users to wirelessly transfer data from the office to the field. This ensures that field teams are always working with the latest 3D constructible models.

Hardware and software upgrades are also included for the full term, and accidental damage protection for hardware is available in some regions. Local technical support, training and customer service packages from SITECH construction technology dealers can be included in the subscription service. 

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Construction Management

FHWA Launches “One-Stop Shop” Website for $1 Trillion Infrastructure Law

A new website is serving as a “one-stop shop” for state and local governments, as well as contractors, transportation agencies and others, that want to learn how the new $1 trillion infrastructure law can benefit them.

The new Federal Highway Administration site includes information on how to apply for grants and other funding under the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes an additional $350 billion in highway spending over the next five years. That amount includes the largest investment in bridges since the Interstate Highway System’s launch in 1956.

The law, signed by President Joe Biden on November 15, also creates more than a dozen new highway programs for such things as “rehabilitating bridges in critical need of repair, reducing carbon emissions, increasing system resilience, removing barriers to connecting communities and improving mobility and access to economic opportunity,” according to the FHWA.

The law enables local governments, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Native American tribes, and other public authorities to compete directly for funding, the agency says.

You can also comment on how the FHWA should implement the funding under the law, through a Request for Information recently published in the Federal Register.

The FHWA says it will update the site in the coming weeks and months as more information becomes available.

For now, the site features sections that provide a summary of the law’s highway provisions via PowerPoint or PDF document, a breakdown of highway funding authorizations in a PDF or Excel document, information on how to find technical assistance and local support, fact sheets on what’s in the law, and a link to the legislation, which the site also calls the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“FHWA is committed to providing easily accessible information on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as the first of many steps we’re taking to deliver the largest transportation investment in generations,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “As this website is expanded and updated it will be a great asset for states, counties, cities, towns and tribes seeking to take advantage of both formula and grant programs to modernize their infrastructure, improve safety and create good paying jobs.”

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Construction Blogs

Back on Track(-ish): 2022 Construction Equipment Trade Shows and Events

After two years of disrupted industry events, construction equipment trade shows and conferences will be making their (somewhat normal) return in 2022.

Earlier this year, Bauma announced it would be pushing show dates from April to October 2022, citing ongoing uncertainties due to the global pandemic. Some major OEMs have since pulled out of the show, including Volvo Construction Equipment and JLG. Caterpillar corporate announced German dealer Zeppelin would exhibit in its place.

The American Rental Association will not hold a traditional 2022 ARA Show due to the proximity of its 2021 event, which was pushed from February to October. Show organizers have instead announced an innovation and technology adoption conference with exhibits. 

Mark your calendars. Here is the slate of construction industry events for 2022:

Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Summit

Location: Orlando, Florida

Dates: January 17-19, 2022

World of Concrete

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dates: January 18-20, 2022

National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) Annual Meeting

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Dates: January 23 – 26, 2022

Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exposition

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Dates: January 25-27, 2022

Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) 2022 Winter Convention

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Dates: February 15 – 19, 2022

National Pavement Expo 

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Dates: February 23 – 25, 2022

National Demolition Association (NDA) Annual Convention & Expo

Location: San Diego, California

Dates: February 26 – March 1, 2022

American Rental Association Innovation Conference & Exhibits

Location: Dallas, Texas

Dates: March 9-10, 2022

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) Annual Convention

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Dates: March 15 – 18, 2022

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) 2022 Convention

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Dates: March 15 – 17, 2022

Equipment World’s Contractor of the Year Awards

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dates: March 17-20, 2022

World of Asphalt

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: March 29-31, 2022

AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: March 29-31, 2022

North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) 2022 No-Dig Show 

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dates: April 10 – 13, 2022

Equip Expo (formerly GIE + Expo)

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Dates: October 19 – 21, 2022


Location: Munich, Germany

Dates: October 24 – October 30, 2022

Trimble Dimensions

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dates: November 7-9, 2022

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Construction Services

Cat Command Expands to 374, 395 Excavators

Operators can now dig, lift and track large excavators from a safe distance at hazardous jobsites or remote locations. Cat Command for Excavating is now available for the 374 and 395 models.

The remote-control system – which can be operated from onsite or hundreds of miles away – provides contractors with three primary benefits:

Enhanced safety: Suitable applications include working on steep slopes, soft underfoot conditions, hazardous material handling and demolition. It also allows production to restart immediately following disruptive processes such as blasting in quarry applications.  Increased productivity: Operators can move from one machine or one jobsite to the next with the touch of a button, saving time moving between locations and reducing the chance of falls from climbing on and off machines.A solution to combat the skilled labor shortage: Operators with physical limitations can comfortably run a machine from a station.

Both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight operating options are available for Command for Excavating.

The Command console is ideal for short-term or emergency remote operation and is worn via a shoulder harness.

“Say you’re running in a safe environment, but you’ve got some work to do on a slope where there is some opportunity for danger,” says Cat product marketing consultant Mike Lenzie. “[The operator] can jump out, switch to remote-control mode, run it with that line-of-sight Cat Command console for an hour or two, and switch back to manual mode and continue operating.”

Using either a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz frequency communications protocol, the console offers a machine control range reaching up to 437 ft. Built-in safety features stop all excavator movements if the remote shutdown switch is pressed, wireless communication is lost, or the console is tilted more than 45 degrees.

The Command station is a long-term solution for non-line-of-sight operation in an office onsite or a distant location.

“The station itself is set up with a seat that you would see in a Caterpillar piece of equipment. It has displays set up in front of you that mimic the exact display you would see inside the cab,” says Lenzie. “Then we have the ability to set up cameras not only on the piece of equipment but also at the site it’s running to give the operator the ability to visualize what he or she is doing.” Operation distance is limited only by the capabilities of the wireless network.

Users can control up to five different machines from the same or different locations, reducing downtime for shift changes or the need to travel to the jobsite. A touchscreen monitor similar to the in-cab display offers precise machine control, and screen mounts positioned in front of the user provide easy view of the excavator’s camera feeds.

Standard machine technologies including Grade Assist, Swing Assist and E-Fence can be set, activated and deactivated remotely. 

Construction Management

JCB’s New Electric 505-20E Loadall Telehandler Delivers Diesel-Like Performance

JCB has unveiled the 505-20E, a fully electric version of its Loadall telehandler. The new zero-emissions machine has a lift capacity of 5,250 pounds and 20 feet of lift height.

Dual electric motors power the machine, one for the driveline and the other for the hydraulic system. The 30-horsepower hydraulic system pushes a fixed displacement gear pump that delivers 21 gallons of flow per minute maximum.

The 96-volt lithium-ion battery holds enough charge to work for a full shift. Charging options include on- and off-board rapid charging. The 110-volt/16-amp on-board charger can fill the battery in 8 to 10 hours, and a 220-volt on-board charger is available as an option. JCB also offers a universal charger that can be used for a rapid top-up in as little as one hour.

The emissions-free operation of the JCB 505-20E is not only an environmental plus, it enables you to use the machine indoors, where diesel exhaust would be problematic. The battery power also drops noise levels dramatically — from an in-cab level of 92.2 decibels to just 66.7 decibels — less volume than a vacuum cleaner. To keep crews safe around this quieter machine, a white-noise reversing alarm is standard equipment. It is available in cab or canopy configurations.

At 5,250 pounds, the 505-20E is slightly lighter than its diesel counterpart, but the dimensions are the same: 12-foot 1-inch outside turn radius and an overall height of 6 feet 2 inches. Cycle times are likewise the same with no loss of performance, and it can be used with forks, a range of buckets and other JCB Loadall attachments.        

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