Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

Page 2 of 459

Wells Fargo Reports: Through Hurricane Effects, CPI Inflation Looked Anemic

Consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in September as gasoline prices surged in the wake of recent hurricanes. Core inflation rose less than expected and suggests the trend in inflation remains rather tepid.

Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

As was widely expected, the Consumer Price Index posted one of its largest monthly gains of recent years in September amid a jump in energy prices. The combination of refinery outages following Hurricane Harvey and millions of Floridians hitting the road to avoid the path of Hurricane Irma sent gasoline prices up 13.1 percent in September. All told, gasoline accounted for about three-quarters of the headline’s 0.5 percent increase last month.

Beyond energy, however, the effects of Harvey and Irma appeared much more modest. Replacement demand for autos following the storms was not enough to arrest the slide in prices that has been in train since early this year. Despite a 12-year high in new vehicle sales, prices slid 0.4 percent.Used vehicle prices were also down (0.2 percent), although the drops in August and September were the smallest of this year.

Hotel prices may have gotten a lift from the large-scale evacuations, but the 1.5 percent rise in September does not look unusually large relative to the swings in recent months; the lodging away from home index has swung by a greater magnitude in four of the previous five months.

Excluding food and energy, the core index suggests the trend in inflation remains weak relative to the start of the year. Core inflation rose 0.1 percent, which was enough to bring the 3-month annualized rate up to 2.0 percent. While that is above the current year-ago rate and points to the 12-month change edging a bit higher in the coming months, it continues to run below the roughly 2.2 percent pace of late last year.

Core services rose more moderately in September (up 0.2 percent) amid more subdued gains in shelter costs, medical care, and transportation. Meanwhile, core goods prices fell for a seventh consecutive month due to the aforementioned declines in prices for autos, but also apparel, prescription drugs, and household furnishings.

Transitory or Persistent Is Still an Open Question for the Fed

At a time when the Fed is closely examining all inflation data for clues about whether the slowdown that began last spring is likely to be temporary or persistent, today’s CPI report does not provide much comfort. As indicated in the statement and minutes following the September meeting, FOMC members expected to see inflation lifted temporarily by the hurricane-related bump in gasoline and other items last month. Yet the modest increase in core inflation is likely to keep many Fed officials concerned about the near-term path of inflation and whether another rate hike will be warranted in December. Fortunately for the data-dependent Fed, there will be two more CPI and PCE inflation reports before the December decision, meaning there is still time for greater clarity to emerge.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Wells Fargo Securities

New Bobcat V723 telescopic tool carrier offers more lift capacity, longer reach

Building on the success of prior Bobcat® telescopic tool carriers, Bobcat Company has expanded its line with the new V723 VersaHANDLER® telescopic tool carrier.

The new V723 expands the Bobcat family of VersaHANDLER telescopic tool carriers, also known as telehandlers, making it ideal for operators who need extended reach and greater lift capacity. The durable V723 is in the 7,000- to 8,000-pound size class, and it can confidently handle heavy loads. Its low profile fits on more farms and construction job sites while easy maneuverability provides operators with enhanced comfort throughout the day. Plus, the new V723 features the Power Quick-Tach attachment mounting system to increase utilization.

Increased machine protection

Add strength to handle heavy loads with new V723 boom pivot and enclosed frame welds. The machine’s boom pivot has a thick steel reinforcement for enhanced durability and long life. Protection for vital parts, such as the lift cylinder, and brackets designed to support maximum loads, reduces stress on the machine’s boom, pivot point and chassis. For additional support, heavy-duty, enclosed frame welds offer extra reinforcement throughout the frame.

For greater productivity, the V723 is designed with an enclosed engine compartment that helps keep out dust and debris, ensuring long component life. A side-by-side cooling package design improves the machine’s efficiency. The radiator, oil cooler and intake air coolers are mounted side by side, carefully located to receive the same quality and temperature of air, which provides efficient, consistent cooling ability, even in the most severe, dusty and dirty conditions.

In addition, an automatic reversing fan helps keep the radiator area cleaner, longer – extending productivity and uptime while reducing the immediate need to clean debris by hand. Just press a button to reverse the cooling fan or set it to automatically reverse at 30-, 45-, 60- or 90-minute intervals to purge the system of dust and debris.

The V723 has a variety of other uptime protection features:

  • Fine mesh intake screen to help prevent large debris from entering the engine basket and plugging the radiator.
  • Diesel fuel is contained in a durable, rust-free polypropylene tank to minimize condensation and contamination of the fuel system.
  • Battery run-down protection that automatically shuts down after the predetermined time and voltage level, preventing accidental battery discharge.
  • Machine shutdown protection system to continuously monitor engine coolant, hydraulic oil, engine oil and other vital machine functions.
  • Optional window guards to protect operators and their investment from falling and flying debris.

Non-DPF Tier 4 solution

Bobcat engines have a specially designed combustion chamber that minimizes the amount of particulate matter (PM) the engine creates. The amounts are low enough that a diesel particulate filter (DPF) isn’t needed for Tier 4 compliance, which simplifies maintenance as well as operation.

A turbo-charged, 100-horsepower Bobcat diesel engine provides superior power to help operators complete just about any job. It is side mounted for better visibility and easier maintenance access. Both sides and the bottom of the engine are protected with a thick steel frame, while rubber-engine mounts reduce shock during all-terrain use.

Selectable steering and travel modes

The versatility of the V723 is endless with three steering modes to give operators application-matched maneuverability.

  • Front-wheel steer: Enables top-speed road travel, eliminating the need to haul the machine on a trailer from job site to job site.
  • All-wheel steer: For quick and tight turns.
  • Crab steer: Precise side-to-side positioning.

Select from three travel modes that provide more precise movement in numerous applications.

  • 2-Speed travel option Offers two-speed ranges, each with its own high and low setting, for improved productivity and better maneuverability.
  • Speed management Adjusts travel speed independently from engine speed. Operators can use their accelerator pedal to set the engine speed to the optimal setting for the attachment they are operating, then dial in their desired travel speed.
  • Inching control: Reduces drive speed without reducing power to the attachment, enabling slower, more precise control without sacrificing productivity.

Enhanced operator comfort

The V723 features cab efficiencies and creature comforts ensure operators are productive all day. A boom cushioning suspension system makes it easier for operators to handle the load, providing a smoother motion as the attachment angles to its minimum or maximum pitch, or when the boom reaches full retraction. Plus, a ride control cushioning suspension system allows for more comfort on rough terrain and uneven surfaces, allowing operators to work longer with less fatigue.

The patented asymmetric cab design with a wraparound rear window and a split door provide 360-degree visibility. This innovative design allows for easier communication and ensures operators have a clear view of the job site. Plus, an easy-to-read instrumentation panel gives operators an edge in equipment operation. The backlit display panel monitors major functions, features intuitive attachment controls, operation lights, warnings and an hour meter for quick service checks.

An enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning is standard for V723 telescopic tool carriers, minimizing dirt and dust inside the operating area and keeping the operator refreshed through the workday. Automotive-style vents allow operators to point the air where they need it, providing enhanced comfort. Operators can adjust the steering column with the tilt steering feature to meet their desired height. In addition, an industry-leading joystick allows operators to control several functions, including travel direction, lift and tilt functions, boom extension, and auxiliary hydraulics from the cab. A three-way cloth adjustable suspension seat is standard to increase operator comfort, especially when operating the V723 for extended periods.

Unmatched attachment versatility

With the standard Power Quick-Tach system, V723 operators push a button to retract the pins and release to quickly secure the attachment. Operators can change non-hydraulic attachments, such as buckets and pallet forks, without even leaving the V723 cab.

The V723 is approved for use with the following attachments:

  • Bale fork (accessory for rigid pallet fork frame)
  • Bucket, general purpose: 93 inches
  • Bucket, ag grapple: 96 inches
  • Bucket, light material (2.6-yard volume): 96 inches
  • Bucket, XL light material (3.2-yard volume): 96 inches
  • Pallet fork, floating: 44- and 56-inch widths
  • Pallet fork, rigid: 44-inch width
  • Pallet fork, rigid with side shift: 44-inch width

Quick Look: V723 VersaHANDLER® telescopic tool carrier

 Horsepower: 100-hp, non-DPF Bobcat diesel engine operating weight: 17,155 lb.

Operating weight: 17,155 lb.

Maximum rated lift capacity: 7,700 lb.*

Maximum lift height: 22 ft. 10 in.*

Maximum reach: 13 ft. 5 in.*

Auxiliary hydraulic flow: 26.4 gpm

Travel speed, low (Gear 1): 3.1 mph

Travel speed, high (Gear 2): 18.7 mph

Three steering modes: Front, all-wheel, and crab

*When equipped with pallet frame and forks, load center.

Caterpillar to Enter Utility Vehicle Market

Caterpillar announces plans to enter the utility vehicle market. The company has entered into a manufacturing and supply agreement with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. and will offer UTV models sold through participating Cat® dealerships starting in 2018.

“We are excited about our introduction of the first-ever Cat UTV models. We look forward to offering a vehicle specifically designed to serve the needs of our existing as well as new customers,” says Steve Schoening, product manager. “Cat utility vehicles will offer exceptional performance and stability at full load, superior reliability, and a quiet, spacious operator environment.”

The new Cat UTV models were developed in collaboration with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a division of Textron Inc. Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. (TSV) manufactures utility vehicles and equipment to serve numerous industries, marketed under a number of brands. TSV product lines include Cushman utility vehicles, Textron Off Road side-by-sides and ATVs, Arctic Cat snowmobiles, Jacobsen professional turf equipment and E-Z-GO golf cars.

Featuring a rugged steel cargo bed, the new UTVs from Caterpillar reliably handle up to 1,000 lb (450 kg) of material and tools, and they offer 2,000-lb (900-kg) towing capacity. The UTVs also provide ample headroom and legroom for tall riders.

“Cat UTVs offer easy-to-access service points for maintenance, and customers can rely on the unmatched service and support offered by participating Cat dealers to keep their UTVs working at peak performance,” adds Schoening.

… more to come.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  DOE’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a DOE’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week – the “Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule.”  Because electric energy regulators and policymakers do not use English the way most people do the narrative of energy rulings is frequently puzzling.  One core NOPR issue centers on the dependency and resiliency of old-school power generation – coal, natural gas and hydro versus how “the market” prices and compensates new-school renewable generation.  DOE’s Staff Report writes that markets need further study and reform to address grid reliability and resilience. “System operators are working toward recognizing, defining, and compensating for resource attributes that enhance reliability and resilience (on both the supply and demand side). This is on a fast track: the Secretary has directed the Commission to take final action within 60 days of publication of the proposed rule or to issue the rule as an interim final rule immediately.  Comments are due either November 24 or according to a schedule to be published by the Commission.  Clear on that?
*  Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) established a “permitting dashboard” which is supposed to track all major federal infrastructure projects, from power systems to dams to highways and pipelines.  The dashboard is also supposed to reflect the work of a new FAST-41 Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC).  Both the Council and the dashboard have been on the sidelines for the past 18 months. The setup is more like a library than a control tower.  But changes are in the works including a GSA proposal allowing the Council to collect fees from project sponsors, using the money to keep projects on track, with project performance linked to individual performance reviews.  What?!  No way.  Stay tuned.
*  Last March the Department of Commerce started work on a Presidential directive to study regulatory changes to help expand manufacturing development and investments in the US.  The report was supposed to be concluded in mid-May but DOC just released the report.  It’s worth a close look.  One important suggestion: “There is no regular process for consultations with industry to identify specific actions the federal government can take to eliminate unduly burdensome regulations and accelerate permitting decisions. Thus, the Department recommends creating an annual, open forum for regulators and industry stakeholders to evaluate progress in reducing regulatory burdens.”  [Now, if you-know-who would just stay focused…! *:D big grin ]
 
Tom Ewing
reply” or 
513-379-5526 voice/text

Vacuworx Vacuum Lifting Technology Lands on White House Steps

Vacuum Lifting Technology Lands on White House Steps

National Park Service cites safety and versatility among major considerations when deciding on concrete lifting system manufactured by Tulsa-based Vacuworx to handle recent renovation of South Portico stairways at the White House.

Vacuworx MC 5 with custom pad assembly shown in front of White House South Portico steps.

Vacuum lifting technology has made its way to the White House as part of the National Park Service’s historic renovation of the building’s South Portico steps. The $1 million project, which included dismantling Truman-era staircases and installing carefully selected cuts of Missouri limestone, was completed between August 5 and August 30, 2017.

Jessica Gordon, an exhibits specialist with NPS’ Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), said a material handling solution that incorporated a Vacuworx MC Series Vacuum Lifting System proved advantageous as crews pulled two base stones weighing approximately 2,400 lb. each, and set a total of 46 new slabs. Each new South Portico step – there are 21 located on the east and 21 on the west – are approximately 10 in. long, 7 in. deep and 20 in. wide. The four new landing stones are 11 ft. long, 7 in. thick and 6 ft. wide. Gordon worked directly with Vacuworx to rent an MC 5 lifter and three custom pad assemblies. The carrier equipment was rented from Extreme Steel & Rigging, based in Warrenton, Virginia.

The MC 5 operates using a self-contained diesel engine. When activated, the system pulls a vacuum between the pad and object to be lifted, providing a powerful positive seal. Eliminating the need for straps, Gordon noted, saved crews nearly 8 hours as she estimates that method would have required an additional 10 minutes per limestone step during the installation process. The application of vacuum lifting also mitigated the risk of chipping the top-grade material by prying on it with a bucket or fork, she said and curbed the possibility of damaging an adjacent patio on the South Lawn.

“We’re moving, fitting, lifting, spreading the mud and laying it down,” Gordon said. “All the re-handling; it adds up. With the remote operation, we can safely pick up and maneuver materials

Using vacuum lifting technology during recent White House renovations is estimated to have saved crews nearly 8 hours and mitigated the risk of damage to materials.

without compressors, hoses or other accessories presenting trip hazards. What really sold us is that everything is self-contained, in one unit.”

The timing of the South Portico project overlapped a remodel of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was facilitated by NPS and the General Services Administration. The $3.4 million project was completed in August and included the replacement a 27-year-old HVAC system along with renovations of the Navy Mess kitchen, West Wing lower lobby, and IT system. According to the White House, these renovation plans had been approved by the previous administration.

The NPS’ Frederick, Maryland-based Historic Preservation Training Center focuses on maintaining and preserving icons of historical and cultural significance throughout the United States. Gordon said that the agency handles about 35 to 40 projects a year, among its three divisions: Masonry, Woodcrafting and Carpentry. The scope of its masonry work includes 10 to 15 jobs a year, she said, with the typical project cost ranging between an estimated $50,000 and $400,000. According to Gordon, “Our work is project-based, so the rental option works well for us. Versatility is a major consideration.” Vacuworx Vacuum Lifting Systems were also used by NPS to help rehabilitate the steps that guide visitors to a memorial building at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

The upper part of the steps on the west side of the South Portico being removed by workmen—January 10, 1950.

The South Portico was originally constructed during the Monroe administration in 1824. New steps, constructed of Missouri limestone with a concrete base,

New steps of the South Portico being erected during a White House Renovation—January 4, 1952.

were erected in 1952, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Springfield-based Phenix Marble Co. quarried the newly installed limestone. “The NPS has been handling maintenance projects at the White House since 2001,” Gordon said. “It’s enjoyable to be part of making history.”

About Vacuworx

Founded in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Vacuworx engineers and manufactures innovative heavy-duty material handling equipment for the oil and gas, water and sewer, highway and heavy construction, concrete construction, landscaping, and manufacturing industries worldwide. Vacuworx Vacuum and Hydraulic Lifting Systems can be customized for many applications and lift capacities. Standard models lift a variety of materials including steel pipe (including most types of coating), plastic pipe (PVC, fiberglass, long flexible pipe), ductile iron pipe, concrete pipe, pre-cast concrete slabs, pre-cast concrete culverts, concrete road barriers, saw cut concrete (demolition or rehabilitation), landscape pavers, steel plate and piling and road plate. Lifters can be attached to hydraulic excavators and backhoes (with or without a coupler system), wheel or track type loaders, cranes, pipe layers, skid steers, forklifts and knuckle booms and can also be mounted on a variety of in-plant applications. Vacuworx maintains a global inventory available for purchase or rental. Parts, service and technical support are available 24/7/365 for installation, training, repairs, and troubleshooting.