Tag Archive for 'Utility construction'

Insights and Advice for Equipment Managers in the Pipeline Industry

Andy Baldwin has been the equipment manager for Appalachian Pipeline Contractors in Hendersonville, Tenn., since June 2011. Prior to assuming that role, Baldwin worked in the auto parts industry for nearly 20 years. “My experience in auto parts, having a basic understanding of different types of machinery and their related components, made me a good fit,” Baldwin relates.

Baldwin now manages Appalachian Pipeline’s 500-plus-piece fleet of equipment ranging from trucks, skid steers and excavators to boring machines, pipelayers, sandblasting pots and numerous attachments. Baldwin talked to ICUEE about some of his biggest lessons learned since joining the pipeline industry nearly eight years ago, along with what he thinks it will take to continue succeeding as an equipment manager.

Q: What are some of the biggest pipeline industry trends right now?

We’re seeing a lot of new pipeline construction, as well as the refurbishing of existing lines. We’ve put in a lot of bids on “take-up and relay” projects where we’re removing old 10-inch lines and putting 16-inch lines in their place, or maybe going from a 16 to a 20. In either case, the existing pipe is too small to handle the volume that needs to run through it.

Another thing I’ve seen is that more equipment is available to rent than when I first started in 2011. A great example is the trailer-style vacuum excavator. We don’t operate this type of machine on an everyday basis, so I really can’t justify purchasing one. The challenge has been: Where can I go to rent one? Meeting people from leading manufacturers have been really helpful. Now there are a few vendors out there who have added vacuum excavators to their rental fleets.

Q: What are your biggest lessons learned thus far as an equipment manager?

Technology can be really helpful, but you have to do your homework and make sure you’ll get a return on your investment. For example, we’ve tried a couple of different telematics solutions, primarily for equipment tracking. The issue we’ve always run into is that, because of the specialized work we do, our equipment sometimes sits for longer periods of time. If it’s not being started and operated every day, especially in the colder northern climate, the telematics device seems to put a bit of a draw on the battery. Since our primary focus is productivity and downtime, that’s a concern for us.

Another issue we’ve had with telematics is that a lot of our equipment is older. We aren’t able to capture as much of the machine performance data as we’d like in order to really see the benefit of telematics. That will change over time, of course, as we replace and upgrade elements of our fleet.

Q: Do you have any advice for your fellow equipment managers?

When I first came into this industry, I didn’t know all that much. Plus, I was all by myself; nearly everyone else in the company was out on job sites. I knew what a dozer was and what an excavator was, of course, but I knew I had a lot to learn. That’s why I attended my first ICUEE in 2013. Now the show has grown to include a lot more of what we utilize as a pipeline company. I’m looking forward to the show this year to see what else is new and different and would encourage others to attend as well.

I like to think outside the box. I look at equipment and technology, not just for what it is designed for, but what our company can use it for. For example, we’ve started using pole trailers for hauling pipe on the right-of-way. They are compact but can carry the weight. I think it’s important for equipment managers to really challenge themselves and think creatively.

My other piece of advice is that it’s important to build a long list of resources. That’s another reason I like ICUEE. I’ve been able to meet a lot of people from a lot of companies, some of which I was never even aware of. When I first became an equipment manager eight years ago, I only had a couple of mat companies I dealt with. Now I have six or eight. The more people you know and the more options you have, the better you can be as an equipment manager.

You can see the latest equipment and technology for the utility and construction industries at, Oct. 1-3, 2019 in Louisville, KY. Registration is now open.

About ICUEE:

The biennial ICUEE, International Construction, and Utility Equipment Exposition are known as The Demo Expo for its equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations.

It is the leading event for utilities and utility and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations, and trends focused on electric transmission and distribution, telecom, cable, natural gas, water and wastewater, and vegetation management.

ICUEE owner and producer is Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers – www,aem.org.

ICUEE 2015 a Cornucopia of New Products

Remus  and Mill my best friends, both victims of lymphoma earlier this year.

Remus and Mill my best friends, both victims of lymphoma earlier this year.

By Greg Sitek

ICUEE – International Construction Utility Equipment Exposition is an incredible show because it gives visitors an opportunity to see and “test-drive” equipment. The show started in the “corn fields” of Elburn Illinois. Grew. Moved to the DuPage County Illinois Fair Grounds. Moved to Olathe Kansas. Moved to the abandoned Kansas City Airport. Moved to Louisville Kentucky where it still operates.

It was started because utilities – the phone and electric companies – needed an opportunity to see and test the equipment that they would consider buying in the coming years.

The show grew because it served a purpose and fulfilled the needs of the industries it served. Every show has been progressively better – not the weather, the content. I haven’t missed a one.

This year’s show was doused with rain but it was loaded with new product and in spite of the rain, had a record attendance of more than 18,000+ attendees and hundreds of exhibitors.

Unfortunately I can’t list all of the exhibitors who introduced new or updated products at the show. I personally visited with the people from Caterpillar, Bobcat,

Vermeer, Ditch Witch, JCB, Thunder Creek, TerraMac,Toro, Doosan, Subsite, JCB, Toro, EyeTrax, Altec, Terex, CASE, TEAMCO, IMT, Hyundai, Volvo, Yanmar, Vacuworx, Palfinger and others. It was a great show.

It was a great show because it introduced new products, brought major segments of the industry together, shared industry-relative information and projected a bright future.

In spite of the rain everyone was cheerful and upbeat looking forward to the challenges of the future. Conversations evolved around the “Highway Bill,” other pending legislation and of course the presidential campaigns. One common thread was that virtually everyone was anxious for the race to over because they were tired of all the politics. Another often repeated comment is that the race should be limited to only three or a maximum of six months prior to the election.

Over the next couple of months we will provide you with product information from ICUEE. For now, a recap of ICUEE 2015. It has set a show record as the largest ever with more than 18,000 registered attendees, and surpassing the last show by 13 percent. ICUEE 2015 ran September 29 – October 1, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Registrants came from all 50 states, nine of the 10 Canadian provinces and more than 60 other countries worldwide.

The 2015 show set records for exhibit space and number of exhibitors. More than 950 exhibitors, including more than 250 companies new to the show, took more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space to showcase their latest equipment and product innovations, and conduct numerous live demonstrations and hands-on opportunities.

“This is our most comprehensive ICUEE ever, and there has been tremendous enthusiasm and interaction among attendees and exhibitors from Day One, when the official Kentucky Derby bugler opened the show,” said Show Director Sara Truesdale Mooney.

“Attendees are finding more companies, product innovations and product demos – plus quality networking with industry experts and peers that really increases the value of the show,” said Mooney.

ICUEE is also known as The Demo Expo and is the largest event for the utility industry, owned and produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). The show brings together industry professionals to gain comprehensive insights into the latest technologies, innovations and trends affecting their industry.

See you at the next ICUEE.

Ed Malzahn Ditch Witch founder, industry leader, innovator and inventor died December 11, at the age of 94.

 

Ditch Witch inventor and industry developer Gus Edwin “Ed” George Malzahn died Friday. He was 94.

 Ed Malzahn

Ed Malzahn

The first commercial Ditch Witch product was introduced in 1949. It was the first mechanized, compact, service-line trencher developed for laying underground water lines between the street main and the house. The Ditch Witch trencher solved an age-old problem for the utility contractors of its day.

With the growing popularity of the Malzahns’ trencher, Charlie’s Machine Shop became The Charles Machine Works, Inc., which still maintains its headquarters in Perry, Oklahoma, a town of about 5,000 residents in the north-central part of the state. In addition to trenchers, the company today designs and manufactures a wide variety of underground construction equipment bearing the Ditch Witch name.

Tiffany Sewell-Howard, Ed Malzahn

Tiffany Sewell-Howard, Ed Malzahn

Tiffany Sewell-Howard, Ed Malzahn’s granddaughter, became CEO of The Charles Machine Works, Inc., in 2005. Now in his 90s, founder Ed Malzahn still serves as company president and chairman of the board.

The Perry, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Ditch Witch organization is on an expansive campus that contains the company’s 30-acre (120,000 m2) manufacturing plant and training, testing, research and product development facilities. Ditch Witch worldwide headquarters employs more than 1300 people.

The Ditch Witch compact trencher has twice been named “one of the 100 best American-made products in the world” by Fortune magazine. In 2002, the DWP was designated a historical mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Malzahn is survived by his three children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Related:

The Oaklahoman http://newsok.com/article/5466810

Ditch Witch Memorial Guest Book

http://edmalzahn.com/guestbook

http://www.ditchwitch.com

AEM Hall of Fame 

https://www.aem.org/HallOfFame/HallOfFamers/Bio/?I=38

Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditch_Witch

How to Avoid Trenching Troubles

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3 Tips for Renting a Heavy Excavator

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