Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

AEM Hall of Fame Inducts Mary Andringa of Vermeer Corp.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) announces the newest inductee to the AEM Hall of Fame: Mary Andringa of Vermeer Corp.

The AEM Hall of Fame recognizes individuals whose innovations, ideas and leadership have advanced the off-road equipment manufacturing industry and contributed to its success in the past and into tomorrow.

Mary Andringa

“We are very pleased to announce and congratulate Mary Andringa as the latest inductee into the AEM Hall of Fame,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “She joins an elite group of respected industry leaders whose work and accomplishments inspire the next generation to continue our industry’s legacy of progress enhancing productivity, sustainability, and economic and social prosperity.”

Nominations for the AEM Hall of Fame are open year-round. An independent panel of industry experts evaluates potential inductees, and honorees are publicly announced and celebrated during special ceremonies at AEM’s annual conference of member companies.

More than 60 industry leaders have been inducted into the AEM Hall of Fame since its inception in 1993. Learn more and read their stories at www.aem.org/HallofFame.

About Mary Andringa, the 2019 AEM Hall of Fame Inductee

Mary Andringa’s commitment and relentless leadership positioned Vermeer Corporation as a strong voice in the industry – for lean manufacturing, for the education of our future workforce, for the legislation of policies having a positive impact on manufacturing, for family-owned and -operated companies and for taking care of the people of Vermeer.

Mary’s own investment into lean manufacturing led to organization-wide change for continuous improvement and growth. An example of success: Vermeer’s 12-inch in-feed brush chipper went from raw steel to finished product in two days, rather than 52.

Starting her career teaching elementary students, Mary has a passion for education and continuous learning that’s continued throughout her time at Vermeer. This passion prompted Vermeer to expand its education initiatives at all levels – early childhood education with an onsite early learning center, college-age students with an international leadership program and onsite facility at Iowa State University, as well as adults with preparation for retirement.

Mary actively communicates and collaborates with legislators on issues that matter to advanced manufacturing, exporters and small- to medium- sized businesses. She served on the President’s Export Council and Ex-Im Bank Advisory Committee, chaired the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and was co-chair of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Continuing the legacy her father left, Mary helped define and promote the Vermeer 4P Philosophy (principles, people, product and profit), with people being our most important asset. Vermeer initiatives include an onsite primary care clinic and pharmacy for employees and their families.

Mary is now Chair of the Board at Vermeer after filling roles as CEO, co-CEO, president and COO. Her level of passion and commitment have made her a voice of change and innovation not only at Vermeer, but in the industry and community. 

About the AEM Hall of Fame – www.aem.org/HallofFame

The AEM Hall of Fame traces its roots to 1993 and the not-for profit industry-wide Construction Equipment Hall of Fame initiated by Construction Equipment magazine. AEM served on the Hall of Fame Board of Directors; it took over ownership and operation in 2008, creating the AEM Hall of Fame for the off-road equipment manufacturing industry.

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) – www.aem.org
AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related sectors worldwide. 

AEM Applauds House Vote to Reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement in support of the bipartisan passage of H.R. 4863, which reauthorizes the U.S. Export-Import Bank: 

Dennis Slater, AEM President


“Exports are imperative to equipment manufacturers and to a robust U.S. economy,” said Dennis Slater, President of AEM. “With about 30 percent of equipment made in the U.S. destined for export, it’s important to our industry to help facilitate trade and ensure a level playing field in the global marketplace. The Ex-Im Bank helps do that by securing credit and export assistance for equipment manufacturers so that they can export more of their products globally. We now urge the U.S. Senate keep the momentum going by swiftly voting in favor of the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. By doing so, they will help keep our industry vibrant and the support our industry’s 1.3 million men and women.”  
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 235-184 in favor of the bill. The Export-Import Bank is especially important to small and medium-sized businesses, which account for nearly 90 percent of the Bank’s transactions. The bill also renames the bank to the “Export Finance Agency.”  

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $159 billion to the U.S. economy. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.
Visit www.aem.org/advocacy for more information.   

The Case for Training

Achieving improved productivity and worker accountability 

By Jeff Winke

Building landfills have become more complex and technologically sophisticated. Gone are the days when a smart owner could manage a site by pushing dirt over collected refuse. Back then, measurements were close approximations and quality was achieved through the skills and experience of the heavy-equipment operator.

Today, contractors and project owners expect more. Speed, exacting accuracy, productivity, and quality long-life results are the expectation. Construction machines are more technologically advanced and sophisticated software creates project plans, manages the work, and documents the results. 

“Amidst the expensive, often difficult to learn, advanced technology is a simple, effective tool for building and maintaining landfills,” said John Miller, owner of JCM Excavating, Allendale, Michigan, and inventor of the JohnnyBall® 3D level and slope measuring system. “The JohnnyBall is mounted inside the operator’s compartment and is designed to allow operators to quickly check if their machine is at true level to then ascertain slope and grade. The mechanical device requires no electronics, batteries, or satellites. It uses a compass-like design where the inner ball has industry-standard level and slope indications printed on it and the outer ball carries a stationary dot to indicate the true attitude of the machine, providing a 3D level and slope perspective at a glance.”

Miller believes the JohnnyBall provides the accountability that can help both the experienced operator perform better and the new machine operator get over the initial “new-kid learning hump” to gain comfortable proficiency and high production. 

“Training is crucial for our success as a landfill, since many of our employees come from varying types of backgrounds,” stated Jason Turville, operations supervisor at Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill, South Jordan, Utah. “Our construction process is very specific and so most of our new-hires have to be taught from scratch.” 

Most Trans-Jordan machine operators are hired from outside the industry and have had no landfill experience. Generally, the new employee is mature, between 30- to 50-years old and will have real-world equipment experience from various construction-type companies. Experience can vary from well-seasoned to some with experience on only one machine type. 

            Training is a constant at Trans-Jordan, since there are many aspects to learn about processing municipal solid waste (MSW). Because some challenges do not happen that often, the company management uses the atypical as a chance to show the less experienced how to handle it. 

            For basic training, Trans-Jordan uses some instructional materials produced by the equipment manufacturers, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), as well as the Utah Safety Counsel. They conduct classroom training and a lot of hands-on training. Each division of job type has a trainer associated with that skill, which are typically the supervisors who themselves are experienced experts in all aspects of the landfill. 

            When asked why training is important, Turville responded: “Training is needed to ensure all our employees are on the same page and doing things consistently the same way. Processing 1,500 tons a day of MSW takes teamwork and coordination. In order to keep it safe and productive, training is the key ingredient. Training is also needed to ensure that new employees are doing the job as we expect of them rather than some other way they did somewhere else. For example, we compact the trash in a very specific way in order to get the best possible compaction. This process has taken much refinement through the years and is crucial to our success.”

            Key to Trans-Jordan’s technical skills field training is the JohnnyBall 3D level and slope measuring system. Why is JohnnyBall so important?

            “We purchased our first JohnnyBall merely to help aid the operators achieve true machine level, but then we quickly realized how it can help new operators who don’t quite understand or know what different slope angles look and feel like,” Turville said. “On a daily basis, we expect our working face to be a 4:1, with side slopes of 3:1. The JohnnyBall has been instrumental in teaching this technical requirement that we expect of all our operators. A 4:1 working face is ideal for the best compaction, based on how we run our operation and the JohnnyBall holds them accountable by showing consistent, accurate feedback.”

            Turville cited one employee who especially benefited from JohnnyBall training: “We had one guy who was maintaining the tipping face of the active landfill too steep and it was making the job really hard on him. Once we got him comfortable with the JohnnyBall and he realized the correct slope, he was able to use it to learn the correct steepness for the best compaction. He was clearly happier, and more productive using JohnnyBall in his daily production!”

            Before Trans-Jordan had begun using JohnnyBall for training and its daily heavy production, employee field training was “painful,” according to Turville. It was not only very time consuming, but required a second individual watching the employee while they were learning, to give constant feedback on the operator’s performance.

            “We expect our operators to be comfortable and proficient with all of our equipment,” Turville said. “With a new operator, we start them with running the compactor because that is a core machine to our business. Compactors are ‘the money maker,’ and must be the piece of heavy equipment that can be operated by everyone.” 

            After compactor training, Trans-Jordan will slowly integrate the newbies into the other machines, which are also equipped with JohnnyBall 3D level and slope measuring systems. Their philosophy is that everyone should have good skills on all equipment, so they can be rotated through that equipment, keeping them interested and fresh, plus ensuring that they always have skilled operators available to get any job done correctly.

            In the end, the question becomes does proper training result in improved company productivity and the other question, how does training affect the worker who is trained? “For our operation, the best MSW compaction is achieved with 4:1 working face and a 3:1 side slope, using our two Cat 836K Landfill Compactors working together,” stated Turville. “We achieve maximum productivity by using our prescribed working order and method ensures that we do get the best compaction. And the JohnnyBall provides the accountability.

Johnny Ball

JohnnyBall® is a 3D level and slope measuring system that is designed to do just that. The device is designed to offer a distinct advantage over non-3D slope meters, which require more than one meter to cover all slope variations and grades.

“When your machine is level, your work is more accurate and efficient,” said John Miller, owner of JCM Excavating, Allendale, Michigan, a 30-plus-years experienced heavy-equipment operator and inventor of the JohnnyBall system. “There is a true sense of what the machine is doing. This direct relationship between operator and machine is what I created the JohnnyBall to provide at a glance.”

The JohnnyBall is mounted inside the operator’s compartment and is designed to allow operators to quickly check whether their machine is level. The mechanical device requires no electronics, batteries, or satellites. It uses a compass-like design where the inner ball has industry-standard level and slope indications printed on it and the outer ball carries a stationary dot to indicate the true attitude of the machine, providing a 3D level and slope perspective at a glance.

“I can’t believe how accurate JohnnyBall is and that I don’t need to continually jump out of the cab to pound stakes,” said independent machine operator Chuck Cornell who is based in Lowell, Mich. “I recently used it on a Cat D6N-LGP crawler dozer on the build of retention ponds in a new subdivision and it saved me time and was spot-on accurate!”

Even for those using GPS machine control, Miller believes the JohnnyBall can provide a compelling, low-cost complement—especially when working near tree lines or buildings that can interfere with satellite signal reception. He also said, “if you think about it, heavy-equipment production is not always GPS connected, so there likely are times when having slope and level confirmation can come in handy.”

Miller believes the JohnnyBall can help both the experienced operator perform better and the new machine operator get over the initial “new-kid learning hump” to gain comfortable proficiency.

According to the manufacturer, a benefit of JohnnyBall is its portability. It features a base cup which is mounted in the machine cab. Thus, operators can take JohnnyBall from one job site to the next, or from machine to machine. It is designed to work in dozers, graders, excavators, skid steer loaders, and other heavy equipment— any brand, model, or size machine. 

“Because JohnnyBall can handle extreme conditions, and doesn’t rely on GPS or electricity, it’s never down,” said Miller. “To ensure the highest quality, we went through three phases of prototyping and rigorous lab testing for durability and testing temperature extremes. In 2014, extensive field-testing was conducted at multiple job sites with machine operators from Team Elmer’s, Traverse City, Mich., a successful 60-year-old excavating firm. We want to use and sell only the best product possible.

“The results were clear: JohnnyBall saved time, reduced the need for manpower, and increased efficiency. On multiple job sites, including highway ditch and slope work, Team Elmer’s operators reported saving up to 2-5 hours a day, eliminated grade rod staff on the projects, and needed to set fewer stakes.”

JohnnyBall is manufactured and assembled in the U.S. and is available through U.S. and international distributors. Made and assembled in the U.S., the system comes in a protective transport case with two base cups. Additional cups are available for purchase.

Technology Training On Workflow

Doosan Bobcat celebrates opening of The Studio, a digital innovation center

State-of-the-art facility in downtown Fargo is designed to accelerate digital and technology advances and host collaborative community innovation events

From left to right: Mike Ballweber, president, Doosan Bobcat North America; Dr. Tim Mahoney, Mayor of Fargo; Scott Park, CEO of Doosan Bobcat; and Joel Honeyman, Vice President of Global Innovation, Doosan Bobcat, commemorate the opening of The Studio with a unique ribbon-cutting ceremony performed with the use of a collaborative robot (cobot). 

Doosan Bobcat (Bobcat), a global leader in the compact equipment industry, today announced the opening of The Studio, a data innovation center located in Fargo, North Dakota. The Studio will advance development through digitalization and new technologies by bringing members of the company’s research and development teams together with academic centers, entrepreneurs and emerging companies to advance community innovation and foster hands-on collaboration in a high-tech environment.

In addition, Bobcat is partnering with Emerging Prairie, a local nonprofit organization focused on accelerating entrepreneurship in North Dakota, to bring area business leaders and innovators together to exchange ideas and share best practices through future technology events and programming held at the Bobcat Studio.

“We are the industry leader and want to continue building on this proud legacy, so we are committed to digital innovation and accelerating Bobcat’s spirit of collaboration,” said Doosan Bobcat CEO Scott Park. “As we work to deliver new insights and solutions to the marketplace, there is no limit to the technological advances expected to occur at The Studio.”

The 11,000-square-foot Studio is located on two, adjoining floors of the historic and iconic Black Building, at 118 Broadway in downtown Fargo. The facility features an open concept design with high-tech project team rooms, lounge areas, meeting rooms, standing desks and a pitch room with sliding, curved walls and a high-resolution large screen for presentations and video to collaborate with outside partners. The ceilings are open with exposed vintage brick walls, giving the space a modern industrial feel. The project’s design and construction team include Shultz + Associates Architects and the Kilbourne Group.

“Innovation is at the core of what Bobcat has stood for in its 60-year history,” said Doosan Bobcat North America President Mike Ballweber. “Our customers count on us to enhance their productivity. From this space, our work, along with collaboration with industry and higher education partners and researchers, will help us deliver next-generation products, services and solutions.”

The Studio will initially house members of Bobcat’s Fargo-based engineering, innovation, marketing, IT, telematics, and digital experience project teams. The number of team members working in the facility will fluctuate throughout the year depending on the projects being pursued and explored.

In partnership with Emerging Prairie, Bobcat will soon announce and host a series of peer group sessions with key area business leaders who have an interest in integrating and advancing technology and data into their businesses. In addition, Bobcat and Emerging Prairie will team up to launch an innovation-themed challenge event, which will pair businesses with students and community members. These teams will then present their technology-driven, business advancement ideas in a startup-style, pitch competition.

“The Studio presents a unique opportunity where innovation thrives,” said Doosan Bobcat Vice President of Innovation Joel Honeyman. “We are excited to bring individuals and students from our community into an environment that fosters creative thinking and encourages collaboration between businesses and industries for a brighter tomorrow.”

At the official grand opening event held today, CEO Scott Park, President Mike Ballweber, Vice President of Global Innovation Joel Honeyman and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney provided remarks. They were joined by college and university leaders, Bobcat employees and area business and community members who are leading innovation efforts in the Fargo-West Fargo-Moorhead community to commemorate the opening of the Studio with a unique ribbon-cutting ceremony performed with the use of collaborative robots (cobots). 

“This new facility symbolizes Bobcat’s dedication to advancing innovation in our business and industry,” Honeyman added. “Today, we take this step with our community’s entrepreneurs and technology leaders as partners.”