Tag Archive for 'construction equipment'

Think Tank

Custom Water Tank Improves Efficiency for RP Development LLC

By Josh Swank

Creative thinking and the willingness to take a new approach is often what sets innovators apart from their peers. These qualities are also the fuel that propels industry forward. Construction is one of the oldest industries, but thanks to continuous advancements in technology, techniques and materials, today’s structures have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Each innovation is the result of someone searching for a better way – faster, safer, more cost efficient. Over time, the innovation can become commonplace as it’s adopted by others, but someone had to be the first to say, “Let’s try it this way.”

RP Development was able to maximize capacity on its Caterpillar 730 Articulated Dump Truck by adding an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed Philippi-Hagenbuch water tank to its fleet, increasing productivity nearly 40 percent for this vital task.

RP Development LLC is a relatively new player in the booming construction and development market in Washington state’s Tri-Cities area. From its incorporation in 2016, the company has taken a different approach. The majority of developers in the area simply buy the land and contract out the actual development. RP Development, on the other hand, purchases and develops properties using its own in-house demolition and construction crews, making it the only full-service developer in the area. By removing the third party, RP Development is able to streamline the process, greatly increasing efficiency for itself and for customers. 

However, the process only works if RP Development is operating at maximum efficiency. Relying on in-house construction and demolition teams means the developer can work at its own pace, without the added time and expense of coordinating with third-party contractors. But that also means the company is balancing additional overhead from equipment and labor. Ensuring efficiency is the key to a successful project, and, to do that, RP Development invests in the people and machines that can deliver the necessary productivity. Management embraces innovations that allow faster, safer project completions and carefully selects partners that reflect the company’s customer-focused values. 

The Philippi-Hagenbuch tank features a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute, meaning it only takes RP Development six minutes to distribute the entire tank load – 14 minutes faster than the previous tanks.

One area RP Development saw the opportunity to revolutionize their current process was water haulage. The high sand content in Tri-Cities soil creates a dusty environment on any job site. Developers and contractors control dust and add moisture for proper compaction by trucking in thousands of gallons of water each day. Adding an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed water tank in 2019, from Philippi-Hagenbuch, to its fleet allowed RP Development to maximize capacity on its Caterpillar 730 Articulated Dump Truck, increasing productivity nearly 40 percent for this vital task.

Sandy Slope

Even as a young company, RP Development quickly built a reputation for high-quality development services in the Tri-Cities area. This is thanks in part to a management team with decades of industry experience and a willingness to innovate. In just a few short years, the company has delivered more than 440 lots – both residential and commercial – and expanded its services to include demolition and redevelopment projects as well as first-time development. 

“Our success is a direct result of the dedication of our team and the high quality standards we set for every project,” said Stephen Bauman, General Manager for RP Development. “We’ve never followed the idea ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ If there’s a better solution out there, we’re going to look into it. That’s what sets us apart and allows us to provide better results. We knew our process for hauling water wasn’t as efficient as it could be. It wasn’t broken, but we felt it could still be fixed.”

RP Development was using two Peterbilt 367 On-Highway Trucks equipped with 5,000-gallon water tanks to haul water within its jobsites. Due to high demand, the tanks were constantly in use. A 12,000-gallon water tower filled the 5,000-gallon tanks in about 90 seconds, but with half a mile or more between the fill point and the jobsite, RP Development lost productivity with each trip. On the jobsite, each tank slowly distributed its load through a dual-head spray bar equipped with six nozzles and a cannon, attached to the back of the truck. The 500-gallon-per-minute pumps took 20 minutes to dump the full load. Then the driver would return to the water tower for a refill.

On a recent project, RP Development found itself hauling up to 328,000 gallons in an 8-hour shift – a task that would have required 70 trips and 17 hours with the old process. 

“The entire process could take more than half an hour per truck,” Bauman said. “It severely limited what we were able to accomplish on the jobsite each day. We managed to make it work, with great planning and flexibility, but we knew we needed a better solution to achieve our productivity and quality goals.”

Tanking Chances

RP Development began researching larger water tanks that would fit its unique needs. They found no shortage of models available from reputable original equipment manufacturers. However, there was no way to customize the equipment to fit the developer’s application. The search continued until CONEXPO/CON-AGG when Bauman stopped by the Philippi-Hagenbuch booth. 

“From the start, PHIL was interested in providing a solution, not just a product,” Bauman said. “Where the other OEMs gave us a spec sheet with limited options, the PHIL team pulled out a notebook and started writing down what we wanted.”

Philippi-Hagenbuch’s square tank design can haul about 20 percent more water than a rounded tank with similar exterior dimension, allowing RP Development to increase capacity without increasing the overall size of the tank.

RP Development partnered with PHIL for an 8,000-gallon, custom-designed, square-sided water tank to fit the company’s 730 articulated dump truck chassis. 

“The square sides were different than anything else we were seeing on the market,” Bauman said. “But once the PHIL engineers walked us through the science behind it we realized the benefits to capacity and overall safety are remarkable.”

The PHIL team explained that a square tank can haul about 20 percent more water than a rounded tank with similar exterior dimension, allowing RP Development to increase capacity without increasing the overall size of the tank. A square design, manufactured with heavy-duty Hardox 450 steel, also offers a lower center of gravity, reduces internal water churn and due to their internal baffle doors, allows for optimal water flow while minimizing front to back surging. These features increased stability and safety during transportation, which is ideal for an application that requires a fair amount of travel between fill and dump sites. 

The new tank features a flow rate of 1,500 gallons per minute, meaning it only takes RP Development six minutes to distribute the entire tank load – 14 minutes faster than the previous tanks. The tank design also incorporates six spray heads and a water cannon capable of pumping 650 gallons of water per minute.

“Just comparing volume between one of the old tanks and the new one, we’ve got 60 percent more capacity with the PHIL tank,” Bauman said, “But that’s just the beginning. We can carry more and unload it faster. Plus, with the cannon we can reach areas we couldn’t get to before. It’s revolutionized what we can do in a day.”

Crystal-Clear Results

A recent subdivision project allowed RP Development to fully test out the efficiency of the new water tank. The side-by-side Riverhawk and Sorano subdivisions feature a combined 309 residential lots. Between the two, RP Development needed to move an estimated 200,000 yards of dirt. During development, the PHIL water tank delivered an average of 41 full loads of water daily.

Specialized design features of the Philippi-Hagenbuch tank offered a lower center of gravity, reduced internal water churn and due to their internal baffle doors, allowed for optimal water flow while minimizing front to back surging. These features increased stability and safety during transportation, which was ideal for RP Development’s application.

“For the Riverhawk and Sorano, we were hauling up to 328,000 gallons a day,” Bauman said. “With the old tanks, it would have taken almost 70 trips to deliver that much water. Assuming half an hour to deliver, dump and refill, even with two trucks hauling constantly, it would have taken us 17 hours to match the productivity of the new tank. With the PHIL tank, we can do it in an 8-hour shift.” 

RP Development isn’t the only one taking notice of the increased efficiency. Other contractors in the competitive Tri-Cities region have reached out to the developer about the new equipment.  

“With any new approach, people are curious how it will turn out; so, from day one, contractors and developers have been watching what we’re doing,” Bauman said. “With the number of questions we’ve fielded about our PHIL tank, I’d say the competition thinks we’re on the right track. But we’ve always known that relying on our in-house team was the only way to produce the high-quality, customer-focused results we’d be proud to put our name on. Combining our experience with the latest technology – from an OEM that shares our core values – wasn’t an innovation; it was a no brainer.”

While other contractors and developers in the Tri-Cities area look to adopt RP Development’s model, the company continues to strive forward – maximizing its efficiency with a second PHIL water tank in the near future.

This material appeared in the June 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Caterpillar Announces Acquisition of Robotic Expertise

Caterpillar Inc. today announced they’ve acquired select assets and hired employees from San Francisco, Cal. based robot and autonomy technology solutions company Marble Robot, Inc. 

The acquisition is part of Caterpillar’s automation and autonomy strategy and demonstrates its commitment to the next generation of jobsite solutions. Building on its leadership in autonomous mining, the company plans to leverage the deep expertise of the new team to bring scalable solutions to meet the changing needs of construction, quarry, industrial and waste industries.

The new team is comprised of leading roboticists with a deep background in the robotics industry. Caterpillar intends to leverage the team’s fully integrated on-board autonomy technology – including perception, localization and planning – to continue delivering smart, safe, more productive and cost-effective solutions to customers.

“We’re excited to join the autonomy team at Caterpillar,” said Kevin Peterson, former Marble CEO, now Caterpillar technologist. “In many ways, this completes a full circle for me. I had the privilege of working with Caterpillar early in my career at Carnegie Mellon, where they sponsored the development of the first generation of self-driving vehicle software. Now, with the acquisition of the Marble team, together we will drive the next generation of autonomy solutions for Caterpillar customers in the construction, quarry, industrial and waste industries.” 

Caterpillar is well-positioned to grow services based on its large installed base of connected equipment, outstanding field technology and decades of product, service and application expertise to turn that experience into useful insights for our customers. The company will continue to make investments in emerging technologies, like automation and autonomy, in order to bring innovative solutions to meet the industries’ challenges.

“Our customers need the best solutions for running an effective jobsite, with improved operator productivity, lower operating costs, and greater efficiency brought by autonomous solutions,” said Karl Weiss, Caterpillar Chief Technology Officer. “That’s why we’re continuing to invest in the areas of automation, remote control and autonomy.”

Doosan Bobcat partners with Ainstein to develop radar sensor technology for compact equipment

Strategic partnership will leverage state-of-the-art technology for autonomous operations

 Doosan Bobcat North America announced today it has partnered with Ainstein AI, Inc. – a radar technologies company headquartered in Lawrence, Kansas – to develop next-generation radar sensor systems for Bobcat® equipment. Through this partnership, Ainstein and Doosan Bobcat North America will collaborate to create radar-based sensing solutions to detect objects on jobsites. 

“This strategic partnership leverages the respective strengths of Bobcat and Ainstein to further advance our connected and autonomous technology,” said Joel Honeyman, vice president of global innovation at Doosan Bobcat North America. “Working together, we can evolve autonomous operations and provide our customers with optimal productivity and the ultimate operator experience through sensor technology.”

Doosan Bobcat North America and Ainstein will collaborate to create next-generation radar sensor solutions to detect objects on jobsites when using Bobcat equipment. The radar system developed by Ainstein collects object position data — like range, azimuth, elevation and doppler information — to provide real-time alerts to operators by incorporating a combination of mmWave radar, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence. This technology will enable obstacle avoidance solutions and future technologies that support autonomous operations.

“At Ainstein, we design and develop radar systems that are smarter and more affordable, and offer complete solutions for autonomous vehicles,” said Andrew Boushie, vice president of strategy and partnerships at Ainstein. “We are excited to begin our partnership and collaboration with Doosan Bobcat North America.”

The partnership is part of Doosan Bobcat North America’s initiative to identify forward-looking solutions to help equipment owners and operators maximize their productivity, efficiency and safety through innovation and technology. 

“As a global market and innovation leader, we strive to provide our customers with the latest technological advancements,” said Honeyman. “Ainstein has shown the technical capabilities and commitment to customize industry-leading solutions for Bobcat. We look forward to a strong partnership to bring the latest innovation to empower our customers to accomplish more.”

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About Doosan Bobcat North America

Doosan Bobcat North America is the U.S. and Canadian subsidiary of Doosan Bobcat Inc. As a leading global manufacturer of construction, agriculture, landscaping and grounds maintenance equipment, attachments and services, the company is committed to empowering people to accomplish more. Doosan Bobcat is home to world-renowned brands, including Bobcat® compact equipment, Doosan® portable power products, BOB-CAT® mowers, Ryan® and Steiner® grounds maintenance equipment, and Geith® attachments. 

About Ainstein

Founded in 2015, Ainstein enables safer driving, flying, working and living through radar-based technology. Leveraging our radar technology and expertise, we are continuously imagining, developing and perfecting products that haven’t been built before. We make radar more affordable and easier to deploy, offering complete customized solutions for autonomous drones, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles, and IoT Applications. We incorporate a combination of mmWave radar, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into all of our products. Headquartered in Lawrence, Kansas, Ainstein is in the business of improving safety and protecting valuable assets through innovation.

Improve the Bottom-line with GPS Tracking of Construction Vehicle Fleets

By Del Williams, a technical writer based in Torrance, California

Real-time, 24/7 tracking enables optimal resource allocation across jobsites

Construction companies and contractors rely heavily on how efficiently they are able to allocate their vehicles, equipment, and labor for each job. Jobsites can be separated sometimes by hundreds or thousands of miles so effective construction management requires virtually continuous fleet tracking to ensure that nothing sits idle for long in order to improve profitability.

On top of this, with the construction company or contractor name/logo emblazoned on vehicles for the public to see, it is vital to prevent any unprofessional actions, such as speeding or reckless driving, that could hurt their brand, compromise contracts, or even invite liability in the case of serious accidents.

As a proactive response, a growing number of construction managers are turning to GPS tracking of their fleet vehicles to ensure better construction management logistics and clear driver accountability.  This is resulting in a more optimal, profitable use of construction vehicles, equipment, and labor for each job, as well as safer driving.

“We use GPS tracking to know where our equipment is so we can quickly get it to the next jobsite,” says Robert Hanneman, Business Development/Fleet Manager at Chelsea, Oklahoma based K&D Construction Services, a specialty foundation contractor serving the utilities market in a six-state area with a full suite of construction foundation services.  “We use it when we schedule which jobs need which pieces of equipment to ensure that everybody gets what they need and nothing extra.  It also helps us keep our drivers safe and accountable for their driving.”

However, not all GPS tracking systems are designed to withstand rough use at construction worksites.

“We work for utility companies and spend a lot of time out on dirt roads so the equipment gets bounced around,” says Hanneman.  “We had too much trouble with previous GPS tracking devices that were not reliable in the field.”

When Hanneman researched the market for a replacement, he turned to a rugged system called Shadow Tracker Vision III from Advanced Tracking Technologies (ATTI), a Houston, Texas-based designer and manufacturer of GPS tracking products.  The system is designed for construction use, and costs about half of what he was paying previously.

“The more reliable the GPS tracking system – even in rougher terrain – the better it is for construction, and theirs has been pretty darn reliable,” says Hanneman, who uses the devices on about 45 vehicles including semi-trucks, 1-ton and ¾-ton trucks, as well as skid steers, mini excavators, etc.

As far as pricing, Hanneman notes that he pays under $20 a month per vehicle for the GPS tracking.

He appreciates that he can use the one system to track all of his construction fleet vehicles.  “I did not want to look at multiple systems to see different things, with one set of trackers for the trucks and another for the skid steers and mini excavators.”

According to Hanneman, via a PC or smartphone app approved by ATTI he can display the real-time location of his entire fleet on a map, and zoom in on any specific vehicle.  At a glance, he can see if a vehicle is moving (displays green) or stopped (displays red).  If he touches a vehicle icon, the app will display where the vehicle has been, where it stopped, and how long it has idled.  

“By zooming in or out on the map, we can see everything,” says Hanneman.  “We can look where the different crews are and see what equipment they have with them in case we need to reallocate equipment to other places, depending on the job tasks.”

Hanneman notes that job tasks are not always the same from one jobsite to the next.  “Maybe one crew has four skid steers, another has one, and I need to move skid steers around between the different crews,” he says.  

Compared with typical GPS tracking devices that may only update every few minutes, the system provides real-time location updates every 10-seconds, as well as location, speed and idle time alerts if something is amiss.  This data is transmitted via satellite and cellular networks to a smartphone or PC on a 24/7 basis.  The system has access to nationwide speed limits in its database. 

“We have multiple crews working in multiple states, so being able to track where our vehicle fleet is in real-time 24/7 is a real advantage,” says Hanneman.  “It also helps if we need to respond quickly to a need for emergency construction, such as for repair after a storm.”

While K&D Construction Services has a great work crew, according to Hanneman, the GPS tracking system has helped his drivers to drive more safely and take greater responsibility for their own conduct without the need to micro manage.

“A few years ago, speeding was a concern so I set up the GPS tracking system so it emails basically everybody in the company anytime a truck is speeding,” says Hanneman, who notes that he gave drivers enough time to pass a vehicle on the highway.  “I found that was actually a lot more useful than me trying to reprimand them.  Now, they essentially police themselves.”

According to Hanneman, the better driving is helping to improve K&D Construction Services’ bottom line too. 

“Our drivers are hardly ever pulled over by law enforcement now because they do not speed, which is a red flag to be stopped,” says Hanneman.  “This has made a big difference on our Compliance Safety Accountability scores, and we expect better insurance rates going forward too.”

For a free demo, visit https://www.advantrack.com/free-demo/. For more information contact Advanced Tracking Technologies, 6001 Savoy Drive, Suite 301, Houston, TX 77036; visit www.advantrack.com; call 800-279-0035; email sales@advantrack.com. 

Liebherr at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020

Crawler Concrete Pump 110 D-K

The new Liebherr crawler concrete pump is particularly suited for applications in which pumping of the concrete is constantly being relocated around the building site. Maneuvering and operation of the crawler track-mounted concrete pump is affected via remote control. 

Liebherr Crawler Concrete Pump 110 D-K

A typical application for crawler concrete pumps is the supply of concrete to drilling equipment for bored piling foundations. Deep holes are drilled into the ground and then filled with concrete following extraction of the drill. Crawler concrete pumps are employed alongside the drilling equipment at the various operation points, whereby the concrete hose remains permanently connected to the drilling equipment.

LB 45 Drilling Rig

The name of the brand new LB 45 derives from the torque of 331,903-pound force per foot. That is an increase of approximately 10 percent in comparison to the already high performance of the LB 36. Both the counterweight and the leader are modularly constructed. This enables quick and easy assembly and flexible application. 

Liebherr LB 45 Drilling Rig

The leader top is designed for different drilling axes and is suitable for all applications. Through the enhancement of the drilling axes by 19.7 inch, the LB 45 can be applied for drilling diameters up to a maximum of 10.9 feet. At the same time, the maximum drilling depth for Kelly drilling with 5-fold Kelly bar has been increased to 328 feet and so significantly improved. The strong winches with a maximum pull force of 92,594 pounds enable highest performance even under the most difficult conditions. Furthermore, the noise emission is considerably reduced thanks to their elastic mounting.

LRB 355.1 Drilling Rig

The overall design of the LRB 355.1 puts special attention on the handling of the machine – both on and off the jobsite. For transportation, the crawlers can now be removed from both types of undercarriage. This reduces the maximum transport weight by about 30,865 pounds. To minimize the transport length, the leader can be folded. For the longer leader version with 88.6 feet, this saves 23 feet. A further advantage is that the machine can be transported with a mounted leader, sledge and ropes. Thus, the piling and drilling rig can be mobilized even more quickly on the jobsite. 

Liebherr LRB 355.1 Drilliing Rig

The core of the piling and drilling rig is a new 1,005 hp Liebherr diesel engine that complies with the NRMM exhaust certification Tier 4, Stage V. The new BAT 450.1 with a torque of 331,903-pound force per foot serves as rotary drive and has automatic torque regulation, continuous speed optimization and four electronically adjustable speed ranges.

Generation 8 Series Excavators

The Generation 8 series, now in production at Liebherr-France SAS in Colmar, is made up of seven models ranging from 24 to 50 tons: R 922, R 924, R 926, R 930, R 934, R 938 and R 945. The generation 8 is characterized by a new design which was first presented at Bauma in 2019. The team of developers from Colmar completely revised the basic excavator concept to further increase comfort, safety and performance, and to achieve even better operational ergonomics. 

The R 926 was on display at CONEXPO, along with the R 930, is based on a specific platform developed by Liebherr. The R 926 and the R 930 have an operating weight between 28 to 34 tons and achieve a power of 204 hp and 245 hp respectively. The backhoe bucket capacities vary from 1.15 m3 to 1.75 m3 on the R 926 and between 1.25 m3 and 2,15 m3 on the R 930. The R 926 and R 930 models are available in stage V and Tier 4f.

Liebherr R 938 Crawler Excavator

The R 938 together with the R 934 is based on a specific platform developed by Liebherr-France SAS. The R 934 and the R 938 have an operating weight of 35 and 38 tons, and achieve a power of 272 hp and 299 hp. The backhoe bucket capacities vary from 1 m3 to 2.5 m3 on the R 934 and between 1 m3 and 3 m3 on the R 938. The R 934 and R 938 models are available with the relevant engines in countries where emission standards regulation is extremely stringent or less stringent, or in countries where such regulation does not exist at all. 

In combination with the engine that meets Tier 4f emission standards, the R 934 is positioned between the R 936 (launched in 2015) and the new R 938. The R 938 in turn, replaces the R 946. With regard to the engines that meet Stage IIIA emission standards and the engines for unregulated markets, the new position of the R 934 is now between the R 934 C and the R 938. The R 938 succeeds the R 944 C.

Generation 8 Crawler Dozers

The new PR 736 G8 is powered by a newly developed Liebherr diesel engine belonging to the EVO series (217 bhp). It meets emission level 4f, its exhaust gases being cleaned by a combination between a DOC (diesel oxidation catalyst) and a SCR filter (selective catalytic reduction and particle filter). Alternatively, customers in lower regulated markets have additional engine versions and equipment levels to choose from. The machines’ operating weight is up to 56,218 pounds. Various blade versions (straight, semi-U and 6 way) are available to cover a large application range. Blade) capacities range from 5.36 to 7.27 cubic yards. Many rear equipment options are also offered.

Liebherr PR 736 G8 Crawler Dozer

The new assistance systems on the generation 8 crawler dozers offer three assistance levels: “Free Grade” or active blade stabilization during fine grading, “Definition Grade” for automatic blade positioning when creating 2D grades and “3D Grade” as an optional GPS machine control system to model complex terrain shapes – among others, with the standard roof-mounted GPS/GNSS antennas. Liebherr Active Sensor Control to stabilize all blade axis is on board as standard. Two independents, permanently mounted integrated sensor circuits (gyroscopic and inertia sensors) allow for particularly high grading speeds and perfectly fine grading at all times.

Wheel Loaders

The largest Liebherr wheel loader, the L 586 XPower, which weighs 71,870 pounds, can also be seen at the exhibition stand. Liebherr installs a power-split travel drive as standard in all large XPower wheel loaders. It combines the hydrostatic drive, which is ideal for short loading cycles with the mechanical drive, the benefits of which come into effect over long distances and up hills. Thus, the power-split XPower drive ensures massive fuel savings and high performance, regardless of the use profile. 

The L 538 represents the Liebherr medium-size wheel loader range at the exhibition stand. It is equipped with parallel kinematics for high holding forces in the upper lift arms area. This industrial design is suitable for working with heavy attachments, such as with high dump buckets when recycling. For customers from countries in Central and South America, Liebherr is showing the L 550 wheel loader. It is representative of the separate wheel loader series for less emission-regulated markets.

Liebherr L 586 Wheel Loader

The new joystick steering for the L 526 to L 586 XPower wheel loaders is an innovative steering system which is an option available to customers. It allows the machine operator to steer comfortably with one hand.

For more information visit www.liebherr.com

This material appeared in the May 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder