Tag Archive for 'excavators'

Hyundai to Develop Hydrogen-fueled Excavators, Forklifts

Expects to Introduce Machines to the Market as soon as 2023

 Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas today announced that its parent company, Hyundai Construction Equipment, recently entered into an agreement with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis to develop hydrogen-fueled excavators and forklifts, with development starting this year and plans to roll out the technology as soon as 2023.

The three companies will collaborate on the technology at Hyundai’s Mabuk Research Center in Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by all parties, Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, while Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of the excavators and forklifts incorporating the technology.

Unlike conventional diesel-engine-based equipment, hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source, which means there are no toxic emissions polluting the air. In addition, compared with lithium-battery-powered electric machines, hydrogen fuel cells are especially compatible with the power demands associated with large construction equipment because it is easier to expand the capacity of hydrogen fuel cells.

Agreement lays foundation for commercialization of hydrogen-powered equipment

Hwang Jong-hyun, head of the R&D Division for Hyundai Construction Equipment and Hyundai Material Handling, said, “With this latest agreement, we’ve prepared a foundation upon which we can secure core technology in hydrogen-powered construction equipment ahead of our competitors. Hyundai Construction Equipment will do its very best to meet the challenges that lie ahead as countries around the world attempt to establish global standard for certifying the performance of equipment and legislating relevant laws for the commercialization of hydrogen-powered construction equipment, and play a leading role in the market moving forward.”

Stan Park, vice president, Distribution and Marketing, Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, said, “Being part of the Hyundai team that will lead the future of hydrogen-powered equipment globally is a great honor. We look forward to introducing this important forward-looking technology to customers across North America who are interested in clean, alternative fuel sources.”

About Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc., Norcross, Ga., offers a full line of crawler excavators, ranging from compact models to mass excavators, as well as wheeled excavators, wheel loaders, compaction equipment, hydraulic breakers and forklifts. Visitwww.hceamericas.com for more information or to locate a Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas dealer.  

 today announced that its parent company, Hyundai Construction Equipment, recently entered into an agreement with Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis to develop hydrogen-fueled excavators and forklifts, with development starting this year and plans to roll out the technology as soon as 2023.

The three companies will collaborate on the technology at Hyundai’s Mabuk Research Center in Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by all parties, Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Mobis will design and manufacture hydrogen fuel cell systems, including power packs, while Hyundai Construction Equipment will design, manufacture and evaluate the performance of the excavators and forklifts incorporating the technology.

Unlike conventional diesel-engine-based equipment, hydrogen-based electric construction equipment uses electricity produced through the chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen as its power source, which means there are no toxic emissions polluting the air. In addition, compared with lithium-battery-powered electric machines, hydrogen fuel cells are especially compatible with the power demands associated with large construction equipment because it is easier to expand the capacity of hydrogen fuel cells.

Agreement lays foundation for commercialization of hydrogen-powered equipment

Hwang Jong-hyun, head of the R&D Division for Hyundai Construction Equipment and Hyundai Material Handling, said, “With this latest agreement, we’ve prepared a foundation upon which we can secure core technology in hydrogen-powered construction equipment ahead of our competitors. Hyundai Construction Equipment will do its very best to meet the challenges that lie ahead as countries around the world attempt to establish global standard for certifying the performance of equipment and legislating relevant laws for the commercialization of hydrogen-powered construction equipment, and play a leading role in the market moving forward.”

Stan Park, vice president, Distribution and Marketing, Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, said, “Being part of the Hyundai team that will lead the future of hydrogen-powered equipment globally is a great honor. We look forward to introducing this important forward-looking technology to customers across North America who are interested in clean, alternative fuel sources.”

About Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc., Norcross, Ga., offers a full line of crawler excavators, ranging from compact models to mass excavators, as well as wheeled excavators, wheel loaders, compaction equipment, hydraulic breakers and forklifts. Visit www.hceamericas.com for more information or to locate a Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas dealer.  

For additional articles on hydrogen fueled/powered, etc. type Hydrogen in the search box at the top of the page.

Rethinking Old Methodology

WC Contracting Solves Excavation Challenges with New Technology

By Richard Rybka

Daniel Childs is one of those fiercely independent men who choose not to “color inside the lines”. His definition of success is more philosophical than economical. Childs’ path revolves around using his talents and passions to operate a contracting business that he can enjoy, day in and day out. 

Dan Childs with his Volvo Excvator

At the same time, his operations need to generate sufficient revenue to sustain his equipment and provide income for his family. Childs walks a fine line, maintaining a balance between his personal vision and harsh financial reality. He is constantly seeking a way forward.

Challenges of Launching WC Contracting

Childs made a vital business decision 15 years ago. He decided to start WC Contracting Inc., a multi-service grading and excavating company out of Cape May Court House, New Jersey. To have full control over his company’s operations and destiny, Childs runs his enterprise as the sole employee and machine operator. But there is one major hurdle to this business model that he had to overcome.

This is a pile cap dug with a standard Steelwrist
16” trenching bucket. What you see was dug
entirely with the machine from pretty much one
position. iDig was used for depth but
unfortunately not in the picture. This job would
be formed so it is over dug and standard bucket
could be used

As an operator digs, he needs to know how much material to remove. Typically, a worker enters the excavation with a grade rod. Another person takes a reading through a construction level. Calculations are made to determine if the bottom is “on grade” or if more material must be excavated. Manual grade checking presents a major complication to a one-person operation. It also presents a potential safety risk.

Depending on the configuration, special OSHA requirements must be met before a person can safely enter an excavation. These additional measures can be time-consuming and add extra cost to a project. Eliminating the need for a grade checker would allow Childs to work solo and eliminate the cost of an additional employee. He needed to find another way to make sure he was digging accurately.

Searching for a Solution

For the past 15 years, Childs has experimented with a variety of tools, techniques, and technologies that would enable him to work solo and simultaneously check grade. He looked at every available option as grade checking devices came on the market. 

Never satisfied with the results these provided, his desire to take full advantage of current technology was always at the forefront of his efforts. This pursuit finally led him to the iDig system. He resolved to further explore this option.

Custom made broom bucket excavating grade beam with normal pile spacing

Deciding to purchase a new piece of equipment based on advanced technology is not always easy. Will it perform as advertised? Will the improvement in my day-to-day operations be worth the cost of investment? These are common questions contractors ask themselves. Are there any ways to gain reassurance before taking the plunge?

Purchasing from a reputable dealer is one way to ease purchase anxiety. Requesting an on-the-ground demo is another. Jim Hardman, President of Eastern Laser and Positioning, and Drew Williams, Inteq Territory Manager, set up a trial system on WC Contracting’s machine. This extra level of pre-sales support facilitated Child’s decision.

“Jim is clearly interested in not only selling the product, but in my success with the product,” Childs explained. “They were both willing to take whatever time I needed to be comfortable with the system. I know that I will be well supported with any needs that arise.” 

Features and Benefits

iDig is an accurate grade checking system. A touch screen display, mounted right in the cab, enables an operator to see the bucket of his machine in relation to surrounding surfaces. A light bar with red, orange, and green LED’s shows the operator when the bucket teeth are “on grade”. 

Custom long narrow bucket for grade beams with tight pile spacing
 

The light bar is positioned in the operator’s working field of view. He can easily watch the movements of the bucket and simultaneously obtain visual grade information. The need for a grade checker is eliminated. 

The display and light bar are only part of the unique iDig system.

Three external sensors are mounted to the bucket, boom, and dipper. A fourth sensor is located inside the cab to account for chassis pitch and roll. Solar-charged batteries power the sensors, eliminating the need to plug into a 120 VAC outlet for charging. The system operates wirelessly by radio, so there are no cables to connect. Wireless operation provides several benefits.

“No running of wires from the cab out the arm, or worse removing them once they’re all greasy. No wires for a branch to snag on,” Childs explained. Communication cables can easily be damaged in the type of work he does, and connectors can become clogged with dust and dirt. Eliminating them altogether adds to the reliability of the system.

The iDig system is designed for portability and ease-of-use. Quick-connect cradles for components reduce the amount of setup time. Once the system is installed and calibrated on a particular model machine, the configuration is saved for future use. One iDig system can be deployed on any number of excavators. Swaps can be made quickly and do not require technical personnel.

Success is Measured by Workflow Improvements 

Childs used a tripod-mounted laser transmitter with a machine receiver mounted on the excavator arm before purchasing the iDig system. Keeping a clear line of sight while moving around a foundation dig was always a problem.

Custom long narrow bucket for grade beams with tight pile spacing

Childs commented on the improved workflow he now experiences. “I used to have to get the laser tripod at just the right spot and dig in the right order so that the machine was never between the receiver and transmitter,” he explained. “As jobs get more complex, this gets harder to do and causes you sometimes to have to dig yourself into a corner or do multiple setups.”

Because the iDig system does not rely continuously on a laser reference while digging, this problem is totally eliminated. Childs continued his explanation: “If the excavator will be relocated during digging operations, the receiver on the arm only needs to be rotated into the laser beam once. The system will then be on grade for any digging that can be reached from the new location.”

Job Setup is Easier

Setting up for a new job site is one of the most challenging tasks for an excavating contractor. An error in grade calculation can easily result in over-excavation or costly rework of finished grade to meet plan requirements.

Here being used with floor pan in place to grade for new sidewalk

“The setup on the iDig is quicker,” Childs said. He continued: “I can build the grade for the job right on my hand grade rod from the benchmark given and the requirements of the prints. Once I have that set, I just take the total distance from the bottom of the rod to the center mark on the hand receiver and enter that into the iDig system.”

Old habits die hard. Childs finds himself double-checking the iDig readings using his grade rod. The system has proven itself trustworthy. “I have also enjoyed a new experience for me, using the system to check grade without having to set up the laser when there are physical benchmarks within reach,” he said.

Specialized Foundations Present Tough Challenges

WC Contracting serves an area along the Atlantic coast and includes barrier island towns from Cape May to Atlantic City. Because of direct access to the ocean, this area is popular for high-end shore homes. 

Shore homes are built on sandy soil, subject to high winds, and prone to flooding. Conventional dug foundation walls are not feasible for these conditions. Typically a wood pole piling and grade beam design is used. It is an excellent structural system for the local conditions, but a nightmare for an excavation contractor.

Excavating for grade level wood deck around
swimming pool. Pilings will be cut down and a
wood beam installed to carry the deck joists.

Pole spacing is typically 5- to 6-foot on center but sometimes can be as close as 3 feet. This grid creates a maze of obstacles around which as much as 36 inches of material needs to be removed. Excavation under these conditions requires focus and trust in the machine’s capabilities.

When machine trenching around the pilings is completed, the result resembles a series of interconnected rectangles. According to Childs, getting to this point usually takes one and a half days, and the excavation work is close to 95 percent complete. A few laborers can clean up material around the poles in less than an hour.

The iDig system shines under these types of conditions. Checking grade with a rod in so many different locations would be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Once the system is set up for the job, no further checks are needed.

This feature appeared in the January 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

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.

Embracing Efficiency

AEM Partners with SkillsUSA To Tackle Manufacturing’s Skills Gap

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has teamed up with SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives to help provide America with a skilled and developed workforce.

The partnership began with AEM and SkillUSA’s mutual respect for each organization’s commitment to be a solution to the skills gap, grow interest in skilled and technical trades, dispel stereotypes, as well as ensure all students are both college and career ready. From there, the collaboration seemed obvious.

“AEM is thrilled to be able to partner with SkillsUSA as part of our ongoing effort to open doors for the association’s members and allow them to gain access to uniquely valuable opportunities to enhance their workforce and help secure a bright future for our industry,” said Julie Davis, AEM director of workforce development.

SkillsUSA provides educational programs, events, and competitions that support career and technical in classrooms across the nation. More than 345,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA each year, and there are more than 19,000 local chapters across the nation introducing their members to skills that induce career readiness, responsibility, and effectiveness.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers:

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., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019. Learn more about AEM at www.aem.org