This year's CONEXPO-CON/AGG offered a global showcase of the latest product innovations and construction technologies, materials and allied industries, with nearly 1,000 new products and services on display. The CW team, on the grounds of the mega event, met the head honchos of the construction equipment industry - Caterpillar Inc, JCB Group, Terex Corporation, Volvo - to get a pulse of what's trending and the future of the construction industry. Presented here is a pulse of the expo through excerpts of the conversation and the newly launched products.
Caterpillar showcased more than a dozen new machines at Conexpo 2014, including its 982M medium wheel loader. The machine is capable of loading highway trucks in only two passes, resulting in productivity gains over earlier models. The loader is suited for work in sand and gravel pits as well as excavation of earth banks. Caterpillar also displayed the 972M XE wheel loader, which features a redesigned power train that the manufacturer claims can result in 25 per cent lower overall fuel consumption than wheel loaders with traditional torque converters.
Volvo CE unveiled the GaiaX concept compact excavator, inspired by Swedish chairs. Award-winning Swedish furniture designer Monica Förster has been involved in the project from its inception where the operator's seat is formed from three-dimensional moulded wood - a first in the construction equipment industry. The excavator is the first of a generation.
JCB showcased a new compact model to add to its growing Hi-Viz Loadall range for construction. The launch of the 525-60 brings full-size telehandler performance and features to the compact sector. Customers can choose between JCB's Q-fit carriage or a skid steer compatible attachment interface for ultimate versatility and fleet acceptance.
The new Superlift 3800 crawler crane has been designed to redefine performance in the 650 tonne capacity class. It has a maximum lift capacity of 650 tonne at 12 m and a maximum hook height of 190 m. All the crane's components weigh less than 40 tonne and are below 3 m in width and height to facilitate ease of transportation.
Case Construction Equipment introduced the new CX350D hydraulic excavator, Case 821F and 921F wheel loaders and five models of the M series dozers; all equipment meeting the new Tier 4 final regulations for emissions control and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. Case CE is now all set to introduce the new product range with Tier 4 norms in India once it is implemented.
Yokohama Tire Corp
Yokohama's RL45 off-road radial tyre is designed for articulated dump trucks and scrapers, with a version available for front-end loaders. Its non-directional block-pattern tread offers traction when moving backward or forward. Yokohama also displayed a RT41 E-4 tyre that features a new, cut-protective-underground (CPUG) tread compound, with extra durability for heavy equipment doing underground work.
Manitowoc is targeting a global market with its MLC165 lattice-boom crawler crane, which is available with either a Tier 3 or Tier 4 Interim Cummins engine, rated at 300 hp and 320 hp, respectively. The 275-ft boom has a maximum lift capacity of 182 tonne, with a maximum counterweight configuration of 78 tonne. The crane can be used in both fixed-jib and luffing-jib configurations.
Link-Belt's 50-tonne TCC-500 telescoping crawler crane boasts of an adjustable boom length of 35 ft, 6 in, to 110 ft. Its four-section boom consists of one box section and three telescoping sections, each with diamond-shaped steel impressions to improve the crane's power-to-weight ratio. Powered by a Tier 4 Final Cummins QSL engine rated at 215 hp, the crane has an integrated 25,000-lb counterweight and a transport weight under 100,000 lb.
He set the tone for Conexpo 2014 as he described his position as "guardedly optimistic" on global economic outlook. On China, he stated that Caterpillar's days of double-digit growth in the country are probably over. As construction continues to drive investment in the private residential segment, he remained optimistic about the housing recovery in the US.
- Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc
"We continue to invest for our future. Following the 2012 opening of our $100-million factory in Brazil, we are now planning to open later this year JCB's $100-million factory complex in Jaipur - our fourth in India. It has actually two factories, covering 700,000 sq ft on a 114-acre site. This forms part of JCB's plan to remain India's number one in construction equipment." - Graeme Macdonald, CEO, JCB Group
"While North America, Europe and the Middle East will be the strongest markets, North residential construction is still weak. Our construction products are still too expensive but give us sometime. We have Genie lifting equipment that can evolve and give us an edge. We also have Crossover 8000, the largest capacity boom truck available in North America."- Ron DeFeo, Chairman and CEO, Terex Corporation
"SDLG has not compromised our Volvo sales in India. On the contrary, it has helped in achieving better volumes. The products have found their own market and niche and helped us consolidate."- Eberhard Wedekind, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Volvo CE
"We see the world as flat. Except China, growth in terms of units will be flat. We were fortunate to acquire SDLG at the basic brand segment. We will soon be adding Terex trucks to our portfolio. We are well invested to capture growth and are focusing on making costs more rational without affecting quality." - Martin Weissburg, Executive Vice President and Member, Group Executive Team, Volvo CE
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