ARTBA Reports: Major Economic & Job Creation Boost Expected from Kansas Highway & Bridge Infrastructure Increase, New Analysis Finds

A new report finds that an annual $264 million increase in state highway and bridge infrastructure investment would support nearly $600 million in economic activity throughout all sectors of the Kansas economy. The additional demand, in turn, would also support or create 5,000 jobs—with over half being in sectors outside of the construction industry.

The analysis, conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black shows how the impacts of transportation capital investments trigger immediate economic activity, including cost savings for drivers, and new and sustained jobs, while yielding long-lived capital assets that facilitate economic activity for decades to come.

Black testified March 23 before a Kansas state legislature hearing about the report’s findings. The study was commissioned by the Kansas Contractors Association.

An annual investment level of $264 million is consistent with an increase in the state motor fuel tax of about 15 cents per gallon, which would cost the average driver about $5 to $10 a month, or less than 20 to 40 cents per day, but would help businesses increase output, grow the tax base and support jobs across all major sectors of the state economy, Black said.

The improvement in the state’s transportation network would include enhanced safety, lower operating costs, reduced congestion and an increase in both mobility and efficiency, ARTBA said.

In addition, Black’s analysis reveals that increased investment would:
Generate $594.3 million in additional economic output;
Increase gross state product (GSP) by nearly $304 million;
Grow state and local tax revenues by $29.4 million; and
Support or create an additional 5,308 jobs, with 52 percent of the employment outside of the construction industry, including an estimated 549 jobs in retail trade, 330 jobs in manufacturing and 321 jobs in health care and social assistance

Research shows that the economic return for every $1 invested in transportation infrastructure improvements can range up to $5.20. For drivers in Kansas, this could add up to as much as $1.3 billion in savings, not including the additional benefits of improving access to critical facilities like schools and hospitals or increases in business productivity, Black says.

More than 660,000 Kansas jobs in tourism, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and forestry, mining, retailing and wholesaling alone are fully dependent on the work done by the state’s transportation construction industry. These dependent industries provide a total payroll of $25.2 billion and their employees contribute $4.6 billion annually in state and federal payroll taxes, the ARTBA report found.

The annual $264 million investment would help restore some of the recent cuts to the Kansas highway program. The Kansas state legislature will have diverted about $3.5 billion from the state Highway Fund to the General Fund and other state agencies between FY 2011 and FY 2019 for non-transportation purposes. These diversions have had a significant market impact, Black said, delaying over $600 million in road projects because of a lack of funds and resulting in the loss of 3,000 construction jobs.

If the diverted funds were instead invested in highway and bridge projects, the construction work would generate $7.8 billion in economic activity throughout all sectors of the economy and provide an additional $4 billion in state GSP, the association said.

Read the full report: www.artba.org/economics/research/.

Cat® D6T Features Optimum Fuel Efficiency, Fully Automatic Transmission And Technology To Match The Job

The new Cat® D6T Dozer features a new, fully automatic transmission to optimize performance and achieve fuel savings of up to 20 percent in heavy work and as much as 30 percent in light work and finish grading applications. The fully automatic bulldozer is easier to operate – just set the desired ground speed and the four-speed transmission will set the powertrain for optimum efficiency.

Availability of the full range of Cat Connect GRADE for Dozers technologies enables equipping the D6T for the application. Cat GRADE with Slope Assist is now standard on the D6T, providing basic blade positioning assistance without the need for added hardware or a GPS signal.

Four-speed automatic efficiency

The new D6T uses a fully automatic, four-speed, power-shift transmission with an integral lock-up clutch to provide a significant increase in fuel efficiency. The operator simply sets the desired ground speed, and the Auto Shift system smoothly and automatically chooses the optimal gear and engine speed to match operating conditions.

The new D6T transmission adds a gear between first and second ranges for smooth shifting and to maintain power to the ground during load changes. The added gear allows the machine to remain in the most efficient mode for a higher percentage of the time. The operator experiences an aggressive feel in the dirt, as well as up to 2.5 percent greater productivity.

Powering the new D6T is the fuel-efficient Cat C9.3 ACERT™ engine, Tier 4 Final certified with a net power rating (ISO 9249/SAE J1349) of 215 horsepower (161 kW).

Many choices of GRADE technology

Cat Connect GRADE technologies help get work done more efficiently and more accurately. With the D6T, customers have a wide range of technologies to choose from—to equip their dozers to work best in their applications. Technologies range from simple grade indicators to full factory-integrated GPS, all supported by Caterpillar and Cat dealers.

   Cat GRADE with Slope Assist, a new standard feature for the D6T, automatically maintains pre-established blade position without the need for added hardware or a GPS signal.

   Cat Slope Indicate, (standard), displays machine cross-slope and fore/aft orientation on the primary monitor, assisting operators to work accurately on slopes.

   Cat Stable Blade, (standard), complements the operator’s blade-control input to achieve finish grades faster with less effort.

   Cat GRADE with 3D is an available, factory-integrated grade-control system that provides three-dimensional guidance both for production dozing and fine grading. The system feature roof-mounted antennas, and the Cat AccuGrade Ready Option is included with the system, as is the AutoCarry™ system that adjusts the blade for optimum load retention.

   Cat AccuGrade is a dealer-installed after-market grade-control system that provides the flexibility to scale system features to changing needs, ranging from lasers for 2D flat-plane and slope work, to systems using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or universal total stations for complex contours and precise finish grading.

   AccuGrade Ready Option allows the machine owner to upgrade to an AccuGrade 2D or 3D system as requirements demand.

In addition to grade control technologies, the Cat Product Link™ telematics system integrated into the D6T provides timely, pertinent data—such as location, hours, fuel usage, productivity, idle time, and diagnostic codes—that is easily accessed through the online VisionLink® interface. The system assists machine owners achieve more effective asset management, improved productivity, and lower operating costs.

The D6T remains a versatile workhorse, available in multiple undercarriage configurations and with a wide range of blades to match the machine to the application. Available rear-mounted equipment includes a new high-lift, multi-shank ripper. For more information about the D6T Dozer, contact the local Cat dealer or go to: www.cat.com.

D6T SPECIFICATIONS
Engine model                            Cat C9.3 ACERT
Emissions                                  U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final
Engine Power – 2,200 rpm
(ISO 9249/SAE J1349)            215 hp
Engine Power – 1,200 rpm
(SAE J1995) – Gross                  253 hp
Operating weight range            47,846 – 54,526 lb.
Blade capacity                             4.96 – 7.38 yd3

 

Complete In-Motion Dozer Control — An integrated 3D dozer system defines cutting edge

Complete In-Motion Dozer Control

An integrated 3D dozer system defines cutting edge

A development in the ongoing evolution of machine control technology, is Topcon Positioning Systems’ introduction of its 3D-MCMAX integrated 3D dozer system. Most notably, the new system has eliminated the GPS/GNSS receiver masts and associated cables which are anchored to the machine’s grading blade.

Instead the Topcon system uses two inertial measurement units (IMUs). The IMUs are low-profile boxes about a foot square and two inches thick. One mounts on the backside of the blade, the other on the undercarriage frame. The antennae for the GNSS signal is built into another low-profile box that is mounted on top of the machine cab.

In comparison, a GPS machine control system with just one position sensor on the dozer blade processes location information about 10 times a second. With Topcon’s dual IMU arrangement, the two combined sensors are designed to process information up to 100 times a second. The faster processing speed is designed to give the Topcon 3D-MCMAX system the ability to react to and compensate for small inconsistencies between the blade’s position and the position of the rest of the dozer.

As the company describes it, “3D-MCMAX provides high-accuracy elevation, slope, and blade rotation resulting in maximum speed, maximum control and maximum grading performance.  With its dual IMUs and mast-less blade, the 3D-MCMAX increases on-grade performance, maximizing both speed and grade performance.”

“We like the 3D-MCMAX system’s incredible speed, especially when we’re working on a pond project with an intricate model,” stated Ian McDonald, assistant general manager-equipment, ConDrain Company Ltd., Concord, Ont., Canada. “We have a 300-plus equipment fleet so it is good to learn, as we did, that the system works like magic on older machines, thus saving us from needing to invest in new machines in order to benefit from this advanced technology.”

In essence, the system is designed to correct errors in blade position that occur during rough or fine grading.

“In practical terms what that means is that the small errors in blade position that happen when the dozer lurches or the tracks hit low or high spots are corrected almost instantaneously,” said Murray Lodge, senior vice president and general manager of the Topcon Positioning Group and Construction Business Unit. “The end result is that in many cases the dozer can do the fine grading, eliminating the need for a motor grader, and the dozer can maintain higher speeds without needing to slow down to maintain accuracy. Additionally, the dual IMU’s know the blade’s position at all times without cylinder sensors or GNSS.”

With the elimination of the mast and connecting cables on the top of the blade, there is time savings since the operator doesn’t need to install and remove masts and cable assemblies before andafter a production shift. Plus, it can be unsafe when operators are climbing around on the dozer blade for set up and removal. If a company decides to leave masts attached to the dozer overnight, there is a theft risk, since receiver masts are high-dollar items that can attract thieves.

In addition to eliminating additional tasks that can cut into productivity, the cab-mounted receiver with the 3D-MCMAX system gives the dozer operator an unobstructed view of what’s ahead.

“We’ve been using 3D-MCMAX on our dozers for more than a year and have found it to be very user friendly—simple to install and operate,” states John Loudermilk, owner / president, Loudermilk Contracting, Vincennes, IN. “The system is very fast, which helps us complete work sooner.”

The cab-mounted GX-55 control box features integrated LED light bars, a graphical interface and data processor, which are designed to guide the machine operator to maintain grade. The control-box software captures as-built data for volume and productivity reporting.

As part of the Topcon 3D-MCMAX system, the MC-R3 is an interchangeable receiver with integrated boards for GNSS, radio, and controller to receive RTK corrections, as well as drive valves of the machine.

Mounted on the cab of the machine, is the Topcon-patented Fence-technology MC-G3 receiver/antenna. By arranging the receiver pins in an array or “fence” along patch edges, it increases the effective frequency bandwidth of the antenna. The MC-G3 antenna captures all available GNSS satellite signals, while identifying and rejecting signal noise thus, maximizing grading control.

In conclusion, the dual IMU sensors and new, unique algorithms deliver an integrated solution that locates the sensitive GNSS technology safely inside the cab instead of out on the harsh environment of the blade mounted on a receiver mast.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* On again… off again…

* On again… off again… DOT/FHWA’s reporting requirements for the federal highway system, announced as final in the FR last January, were stayed last week by DOT “in accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.’’’ The stay is effective until March 21. The new leadership team wants more time for review. One big issue here, of course, is new reporting for greenhouse gas emissions.

* Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality co-hosts an event this week in Detroit called “Nurturing Sustainable Communities from the Ground Up.” It’s a one day session including businesses, governing agencies, community groups and citizens looking to find and implement sustainable solutions for the region. The Agenda focuses on the intersection between the physicality of public space, commerce, and developing diverse and inclusive communities. What does it take to achieve sustainable, healthy communities “so that the environment, business and culture combine to support human flourishing?” The event is at the Roberts Riverwalk Hotel situated along the Detroit River and the restored RiverWalk greenway.

* The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment holds its next meeting Tuesday, March 7 and Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Bethesda, MD. The meeting will include updates on:(1) The Fourth National Climate Assessment process; (2) data and tools developed to support sustained assessment; (3) approaches to sustained partnerships developed in regional science organizations and other groups; (4) state-level assessment activities; and (5) the Advisory Committee’s work plan. It’s an open meeting but you do need to register by Feb. 28.

 

Tom Ewing

 

DEWALT® Charlotte Manufacturing Plant Celebrates Production Of Its 10-Millionth Tool

DEWALT® Charlotte, NC manufacturing plant celebrated a significant milestone this past week, as the professional tool brand’s 10-millionth tool rolled off the production line. Company executives were on hand to build the 10-millionth tool – a 20V MAX* XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill (DCD996P2).

Across its seven U.S. manufacturing plants, the brand produced more than 90 million individual products Made in the USA with global materials in 2016, an almost 50 percent increase from the 62 million individual products in 2015, just one year earlier. This is a meaningful accomplishment towards the brand’s effort to expand its domestic manufacturing using global materials, an effort that began in 2013. In addition to Charlotte, DEWALT operates manufacturing facilities in New Britain, CT; Greenfield, IN; Hampstead, MD; Shelbyville, KY; Cheraw, SC; and Jackson, TN.

Senior Vice President & Group Executive of Global Tools & Storage, Jeffrey D. Ansell, helps to build 10-millionth tool in Charlotte, NC.

Frank Mannarino, President of DEWALT Professional Products Group said, “Year after year, DEWALT has significantly increased its production of tools made in the US with global materials. We have worked hard to drive greater productivity and efficiency at our manufacturing facilities, delivering products with the same Guaranteed Tough quality customers have come to know and expect from the brand. We are a global brand proud to have been founded in the United States and proud to continue to manufacture in the United States.”

DEWALT understands that buying American products and building the American economy are important to its customers. Connie Grant, an employee at the Charlotte plant said, “It makes me proud to work for a company that still values the American workforce.” DEWALT is committed to crafting tools as strong as its American pride. Visit the website to learn more about DEWALT products Made in the USA with global materials.

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

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About DEWALT

DEWALT is a leading manufacturer of industrial corded and cordless power tools, power tool accessories, and hand tools in categories that include Woodworking, Drilling & Fastening, Concrete & Metal Power Tools, as well as Cutting, Abrasive, and IMPACT READY® Impact Driver Power Tool Accessories. Hand Tool categories include Measuring & Layout, Knives & Blades, Mechanics Tools, and Storage Solutions.

With seven manufacturing locations in the USA, DEWALT remains committed to domestic manufacturing and produced over 90 million individual units of Power Tools, Hand Tools, and Accessories in the United States with global materials in 2016 alone. Visit the website to learn more about DEWALT products Made in the USA with global materials.

DEWALT tools can be found nationally and internationally, wherever tools are sold. With more than 1,000 factory-owned and authorized locations, DEWALT has one of the most extensive service and repair networks in North America. For more information, visit www.dewalt.com or follow DEWALT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.