Tag Archive for 'construction industry'

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Re-thinking the Jobsite

Re-thinking the Jobsite

By Greg Sitek

One of many problems facing the construction industries currently is the shortage of personnel and is a greater problem in some areas than others. The situation isn’t going to change or improve unless the industry starts to change the way it looks at the whole job site environment. There are the obvious areas of concern that the industry constantly tries to improve – safety, tools and equipment, access, condition being on that list. It’s time to look at whom we, as an industry try to recruit and the incentives we use to make construction jobs appealing and interesting.

A recent article from AEM’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 initiative probes this topic:

Make Room for Millennials at the Jobsite

Construction has often been considered one of the last industries to embrace technology. That is starting to change, however, as construction companies look for new ways to change the mindset of those working at the job site.

Enter the younger generation, otherwise known as millennials. They have grown up with apps and solutions to solve just about any system problem that arises.

As the industry evolves, it will have to embrace more innovation in order to entice and appeal to millennials—and those even younger.

Some of the emerging technology that millennials appear to be comfortable with that they might leverage on the job site include:

  • Drones
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
  • Smartphone Apps
  • Tablets
  • Wearables

Fresh Thinking at the Jobsite

Engineers on building site checking plans

“Millennials have grown up attached to technology. Job sites today are so far removed from what millennials have come to expect in their daily lives. They expect new solutions to do their job better, to get rid of manual processes,” says Chad Hollingsworth, co-founder and president, Triax Technologies.

They aren’t afraid of innovations, and they are willing to try things out and if it doesn’t work, they find a newer, better solution that will.

One of the challenges is closing the gap between the more seasoned construction professional that might be more hesitant to leverage new systems and the younger, more tech-savvy generation that might not have as much experience with traditional construction methods.

“Older generations look to millennials for how to incorporate the tech into the job site,” says Paul Gomori, application engineering manager, JCA Electronics.

Moving Construction into the Future

There are advantages to having more software and devices on the job site besides attracting a younger workforce.

It boils down to improvements in efficiency and productivity compared to older manual processes, says Barry Peyton, product manager, Intelliwave Technologies. These types of enhancements can be measured and traced back to bottom-line improvements across the construction site.

“The right construction technology can centralize information and communication, improve safety, and reduce the amount of time spent on non-value-added tasks,” says Hollingsworth. “It is something that (workers) can use to develop their skills, streamline daily tasks, and ultimately become better at their jobs.”

Construction workers and architect looking at blueprints on construction site.

The attitude and outlook that millennials have towards their life and job can help entice them to work in the construction field. Hollingsworth says, “Millennials want to add value, make an impact, and find meaning in what they’re doing. This carries over to their professional lives.”

What can be more rewarding than turning piles of dirt into buildings, roads, bridges and other construction?  

Of all industries, construction is probably the one that is most critical to the continued growth and development of civilization. It is the construction industries that conceive, design, plan, develop the tools — roads, rails, terminals, buildings, bridges, etc. – that move progressive civilization from dreams to realities.

For more industry trends, check out AEM’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 initiative at http://www.conexpoconagg.com/subscribe/.


Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the organizers for the 4th International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans, which will take place in Washington, DC, June 4-8.  The Symposium is an intense mix of science and the policies likely to become increasingly dependent on the knowledge developed and presented.  From energy to sustainable fishing to warm water “blobs” to polar transit and national security these issues impact everyone and everything.  If you need a correspondent or someone to work with your team please let me know; more about the agenda for further Updates.
*  The Coast Guard announced last week its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze impacts of six new polar icebreakers, part of the CG’s Polar Icebreaker Program.  This starts the public “scoping process,” the effort to determine the full range of issues to include in the EIS.  Potential environmental stressors include acoustic (underwater acoustic transmissions, vessel noise, icebreaking noise, aircraft noise, and gunnery noise), and physical (vessel movement, aircraft or in-air device movement, in-water device movement, icebreaking, and marine expended materials).  Polar regions are becoming increasingly important to U.S. national interests. Changing polar environments could lead to increased commercial ship, cruise ship, and naval surface ship operations, as well as increased exploration for oil and other resources, particularly in the Arctic.  Homeport will likely be Seattle.  Public meetings will be held in May in Alaska.  Written comments are due by June 25.
*  The Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board meets for two days in mid-May in Baltimore.  The Board provides independent advice to the government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international satellite navigation services.  Currently, there are 25 members representing U.S. industry, academia, and international organizations.  The meeting agenda includes an update on U.S. Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Policy and Global Positioning System (GPS) modernization; current and planned GPS capabilities and services while assessing future PNT architecture alternatives with a focus on affordability; and emerging trends and requirements for PNT services, including backup services for terrestrial, maritime, aviation, and space users.
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DEWALT® Expands Battery and Charger Offerings

DEWALT® announces the continued expansion of the FLEXVOLT® System with the dual-voltage 20V/60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 12.0Ah Battery (DCB612). In addition, DEWALT announces the new 4-Port Fast Charger (DCB104) which simultaneously charges four FLEXVOLT® 12.0Ah Batteries (sold separately) in 120 minutes. By combining long runtime with fast charge time, DEWALT reduces downtime on the job site.

The 20V/60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 12.0Ah Battery (DCB612) is optimized for use in new and existing DEWALT tools designed for high-power applications. These tools include the new 2,100 Max Watts Out (MWO) 9 in. 60V MAX* Cut-Off Saw (DCS690) as well as the existing 2,400 MWO 60V MAX* 7-1/4 in. Worm Drive Style Saw (DCS577), the 1,700 MWO 60V MAX* 4.5 in. to 6 in. Grinder (DCG414), and the 2,100 MWO 120V MAX* 12 in. Double Bevel Compound Sliding Miter Saw (DHS790). DEWALT FLEXVOLT® batteries are also backward compatible with most DEWALT 20V MAX* tools.

The 4-Port Fast Charger (DCB104) not only charges the new 20V/60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 12.0Ah Battery (DCB612), but it also offers multi-platform versatility for use with 12V MAX* and 20V MAX* DEWALT batteries. The Fast Charger is compatible with the ToughSystem® storage system allowing for convenient transport and storage. Including through-hole wall mounts, a cord wrap, and transport handles, the Fast Charger can be conveniently carried from truck to tool crib. In addition, the 4-Port Fast Charger is Tool Connect™ Tag Ready™, providing a flat surface where the Tag (sold separately) can be attached. Tool Connect™ is a 3-part inventory management solution that encompasses the Tool Connect™ Inventory Manager web portal, the Tool Connect™ mobile app, and connected products.

From 1.5Ah to 3.0Ah compact batteries, 4.0Ah to 6.0Ah XR® batteries, and 6.0Ah to 12.0Ah FLEXVOLT® batteries, DEWALT offers the right combination of ergonomics and runtime for just about any application, while innovative charging solutions keep batteries ready for use. Coming in summer 2018, the 20V/60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 12.0Ah Battery (DCB612) will be available where DEWALT products are sold and will come standard with a three-year limited warranty, three-year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee. The 4-Port Fast Charger (DCB104) will be available where DEWALT products are sold  and will come standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.

With respect to 12V MAX* – Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 12 volts. Nominal voltage is 10.6.

With respect to 20V MAX* – Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

With respect to 60V MAX* – Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 60 volts. Nominal voltage is 54.

With respect to 120V MAX* – Based on using 2 DEWALT 60V MAX* li-ion batteries, combined having a maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) of 120 volts and a nominal voltage of 108.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  NY’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) requires the State’s utilities to undertake demonstration projects to help advance the many ideas on which REV is based.  Project reports are filed quarterly; they are all in a public docket.  Many of the demo projects conclude this year, after starting in 2015.  The update reports are sobering, not at all indicative of broad successes, on any level, except, perhaps: don’t do this again.  Expensive lessons,  although that’s really hard to tell because the budget portions of the quarterly reports are often blacked out as if money isn’t important.  For REV, these demonstration projects are supposed to provide the instruction and experience for bigger scale-up application throughout a utility’s service area.  The update reports, though – and their key-learnings – haven’t drawn much attention, almost as if people, deliberately, prefer a distorted energy vision.

*  The President’s “Memorandum for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” (April 12) is an important document.  Its focus is “Promoting Domestic Manufacturing and Job Creation—Policies and Procedures Relating to Implementation of Air Quality Standards.”  This Memo gives the Administrator direct orders addressing 10 critical functions within the Clean Air Act and its labyrinthine and endless permitting and modeling requirements.  Imagine, asking EPA to “endeavor” to take final action on applications for preconstruction permits, “as appropriate and consistent with law, within 1 year of the date of receiving a complete application.”  (Receiving a complete application can be difficult enough.)  This is important.  Investments in manufacturing make the pie bigger, for everyone.

 *  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is starting an environmental assessment (EA) regarding the impacts of the Empire North Project – a big pipeline project proposed for upstate New York and extending into Pennsylvania.  FERC will use the EA in its “decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.”  This project would include an upgrade in the maximum allowable operating pressure of the Empire Connector Pipeline (ECP) from 1,290 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 1,440 psig. The ECP is an existing 76.6- mile-long, 24-inch-diameter pipeline that runs from Victor, NY to Corning, NY.  Comments are due by May 10.
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program is a voluntary EPA program, started in 2016, through which oil and natural gas companies commit to reducing methane emissions.  (While this methane focus is new, the overall energy STAR program started in 1993.)  Just about every major natural gas company signed up to participate, representing about 66 percent of US natural gas customers, according to the American Gas Association.  But there’s a problem: apparently, the paperwork isn’t finished. In December 2016, EPA sought industry comments on the draft reporting documents that would establish a company’s control efforts.  Response: big fat zero.   Now, after one full calendar year (2017), participants are supposed to submit their data regarding last year’s reduction activities.  Last week, EPA started a new 30-day information request, again seeking industry comments on the draft reporting forms and what kind of changes might add value to this process and data set. Important work.  Methane is the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas.  Comments are due by May 14.

*  In January, the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee recommended to DOE about the need for consensus on a proposed rule for test procedures and energy efficiency standards for certain air conditioners and heat pumps.  Last week, DOE announced its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking working group to, indeed, focus on such a proposed rule; a process DOE presents “as authorized by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended.”  DOE is recruiting working group volunteers. Applications/nominations are due by April 26.

*  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for the sale of commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Massachusetts.  The offer is for two leases that were unsold during the Atlantic Wind Lease Sale-4 (ATLW–4) on January 29, 2015.  The new PSN contains information including areas available, proposed lease provisions and conditions and auction details.  BOEM set a 60-day public comment period, ending June 11.  Importantly, “the issuance of the proposed leases resulting from this sale would not constitute approval of project-specific plans to develop offshore wind energy.” Those plans would be subject to subsequent environmental and technical reviews prior to a decision by BOEM to approve the development.

Tom Ewing

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