CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 Continues Tradition of Breaking Records

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 looked a little different this year than it has in it’s past 30-plus years due to coronavirus concerns. There were a couple of exhibitor cancellations that left some booths unattended by product staff but still available for a walk-through. According to show management, “Registrations for the show totaled over 130,000. At the conclusion of the show, cancellations from international attendees totaled less than 1 percent.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 used 2.7 million square feet of exhibit space

Despite coronavirus concerns, exhibitors across the show – from the Festival Grounds to North Hall to Bronze Lot to South Hall – expressed enthusiasm for the tremendous engagement they received from contractors and producers looking to purchase equipment. 

According to IFPE Show Chairperson David Price, Global Marketing Manager of HydraForce Inc., “The crowd was much better than expected under the circumstances and most importantly, the right buyers were on the show floor. We were very pleased with the strong showing from the 300-plus exhibitors at IFPE 2020, and we are looking forward to the 2023 show.”

With growing concerns about coronavirus, show management worked closely with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Southern Nevada Health District to make sure exhibitors, vendors, and attendees were provided with heightened cleaning services and hand sanitizers to help reduce the spread of germs and enable show participation to stay healthy. 

More than 2,300 exhibitors

Show attendees were respectful of other attendees and mindful of social distancing and not shaking hands. Buttons and stickers encouraged attendees to refrain from practicing this age-old traditional greeting. 

The technological change revolutionizing the construction industry was pervasive across the shows’ record 2.7 million-plus net square feet of exhibits featuring 2,300-plus exhibitors from the leading U.S. and global manufacturers, from multinational giants to small firms with specialized products.

Highlights included:

  • Partnership with women in construction groups to highlight the growing role women play in the industry, including the unveiling of the world’s largest 3-D printed statute of a human to honor the growing role women play in the construction industry. 
  • Workforce solutions area in the Festival Lot that showcased industry recruitment best practices. 
  • The Tech Experience returned for a second year and focused on modern mobility, sustainability, and smart cities. 
  • The first-ever Fluid Power Hour for the co-located IFPE show, which featured an opportunity for engineers to network with their peers on the show floor.


Global Operator Titans Challenge

Caterpillar introduced new equipment, products, technology and hosted the Global Operator Titans Challenge, when nine regional champions from around the world competed to be named the best of the best and awarded Global Operator Challenge Champion.

Caterpillar launched the Global Operator Challenge to celebrate the operators who build our world, advocate and drive awareness for the trades, and elevate solutions that address jobsite challenges. Seventy Cat dealers from 30 countries, representing 22 different languages, kicked off the program by holding local operator challenges from March through September 2019. More than 10,000 operators participated in these local events. 

Participants’ operating skills were put to the test through a range of machines and tasks.  Operators were scored on speed, accuracy and operating best practice with penalties imposed for errors. The operator with the lowest overall time for all tasks was acknowledged as the local champion and moved onto the regional championships. 

The regional competition challenges, designed to test skill and precision under pressure, tested not only operators’ abilities on machines they use every day but also had them adapt their skills to equipment for which they may not be as familiar. The operator had to exhibit a broad range of talents on multiple machines, including displaying their skills with advanced machine technologies.  

The best local operators competed at one of three Caterpillar sites for the regional championships. North and South America regional finals were held in Clayton, North Carolina; European finals in Málaga, Spain; and Asia Pacific finals in Chichibu, Japan.

On March 10, the nine final equipment operators gathered in Las Vegas for the Global Operator Challenge Finals.

In the end, it was Jaus Neigum from Canada who emerged victorious after a tough test of skill and determination. Putting his remarkable loading and trenching talents to work, he won both the Load and Carry Challenge and the Trenching Challenge. He completed all challenges with an amazingly low combined time of only 16 minutes and 28 seconds.

Following closely behind Neigum were second-place finisher Thomas Murphy from Ireland and third-place finisher Sebastian Behr from Germany. Both displayed impressive speed, accuracy and overall operating best practices over the course of this hard-fought competition – as did all the finalists.

725 Articulated Truck

The new Caterpillar 725 Articulated Truck delivers improved performance with up to 50 percent less operator input. The 725 offers improved lighting for easier night work with optional high-level LED, high-intensity lights, LED machine width position marking lights and access lights on both machine sides. The 20 percent larger cab features infrared blocking glass to reduce solar heating inside, while sliding windows increase ventilation and enable communication with the loading tool and workers on the ground. More vents positioned toward the operator with the new automatic climate control (HVAC) system deliver improved heating or cooling efficiency inside the cab.

CAT 725 Articulated Hauler

910, 914, 920 Compact Wheel Loaders

The new 910, 914, and 920 Compact Wheel Loaders deliver added performance, new features, and new options. Among the design changes is a new engine for all three models; the Caterpillar C3.6 replaces the C4.4, and with the new engine, all models get a horsepower boost. Also new for the 910 and 914 is an available rotary-sensor-kickout system with both fork and bucket settings. The new dual-setting feature is now included in the 920’s standard kickout system. Additional rear guarding is now available for the 914 and 920, and new auxiliary hydraulic lines are available when the three- or four-valve option is selected. Other new options include a reversing fan, LED working and under-hood lights, Fusion coupler for the 914, and USB ports in the cab.

Caterpillar 920 Compact Wheel Loader

Backhoe Loaders

The new Caterpillar backhoe loaders deliver improved performance and better fuel efficiency. The five new backhoe loader models operate in the 14-foot and 15-foot size classes. Building on the success of the Caterpillar F2 Series backhoe loaders, the new line consists of the Caterpillar 415, 416, 420, 420 XE and 430 models, replacing the 415F2, 416F2, 420F2, 420F2 IT and 430F2 machines respectively. The new backhoe loaders offer similar model platforms throughout the line to deliver component commonality and operating similarities throughout range. These machines display the new Caterpillar Trade dress and nomenclature, which removes model suffixes. 

CAT 420 XE Backhoe Loader

Next Generation Small Dozers

The Caterpillar D1, D2 and D3 Next Generation Small Dozers improve visibility, grade control, and fuel economy. The next generation models replace the former D3K2, D4K2 and D5K2 models for small dozers. Building on the same base machine platform as their successful predecessors, the new D1, D2 and D3 Next Generation small dozers feature styling changes, technology enhancements and a new low-emission fuel-efficient engine that provides significant value for the customer. These next generation small dozers are designed to optimize speed, transportability, maneuverability, versatility, and finish grade accuracy. A new lower sloping hood line improves visibility over the top of the hood to the peripheral view and blade’s cutting edge to increase finish grade efficiency. 

Caterpillar D3 Dozer

High Drive D7 Dozer

The New High Drive Caterpillar D7 Dozer delivers more performance and unmatched productivity-boosting technology. The D7 dozer offers high drive undercarriage design, increased performance and the broadest choice of easy-to-use technology features to help get the most from the bulldozer. A fully automatic 4-speed transmission offers optimal fuel and dozing efficiency, plus ease of operation.  At 265 hp and an operating weight of 65,644 pounds, the new D7 dozer replaces the D7E.  

Caterpillar D7 High Driver Dozer

313, 313 GC, 315, 325, 395 Next Generation Excavators

Caterpillar introduced the 313, 313 GC, 315, 325 and 395 Next Generation excavators. The new 313 excavator boasts increased power and a range of standard Caterpillar technologies designed to boost operator efficiencies by up to 45 percent. The new 313 GC model lowers maintenance costs by up to 25 percent.

The new 315 Next Generation excavator features a new powertrain, technology and simplified maintenance to boost performance, efficiency and productivity.

The new 325 hydraulic excavator features a compact radius design, making it ideal for working in tight spaces. It delivers premium performance with integrated simple-to-use technologies to reduce operator fatigue and boost efficiencies up to 45 percent compared to previous models.

The Next Generation 395 excavator offers contractors up to 10 percent more production, two times more structural durability, and up to 20 percent less maintenance costs than the industry leader it replaces, the 390F.

CAT 395 Hydraulic Excavator

M314 and M318 Next Generation Wheeled Excavators

The new M314 and M318 Next Generation Wheeled Excavators offer increased efficiency, improved comfort, and lower operating and maintenance costs. The two new Caterpillar Next Generation wheeled excavators – the M314 and M318 – feature multiple design updates that boost machine efficiency and lower long-term operating costs. Advanced hydraulics more efficiently power attachments, including Caterpillar tiltrotators to increase machine flexibility at the jobsite. 

Both Next Generation wheeled excavators are powered by the fuel-efficient Caterpillar C4.4 engine, which now meets stringent EU Stage V, U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final, and Korea Tier 4 Final emission standards. The two models deliver high power, while offering up to 5 percent improved fuel economy. Larger fuel tank on the M314 provides extended work time between fuel refills.  

Caterpillar M318 Wheeled Excavator

140 GC Motor Grader

The Caterpillar 140 GC Motor Grader produces high performance at low cost per hour. The 140 GC motor grader is designed to combine high performance with low owning and operating costs. The 140 GC’s powerful Cat C7.1 engine, 6F/3R automatic power-shift transmission, which eliminates the inching pedal, and precisely designed hydraulic system ensure balanced performance in all operating situations. An ECO operating mode and demand-fan reduce fuel consumption, and extended maintenance intervals further reduce operating costs. Operators of all skill levels quickly achieve high production with the 140 GC, and options that include adjustable seats and efficient heating/cooling systems guarantee comfort.

Caterpillar 140 GC Motor Grader

Mastless Caterpillar GRADE with 3D for Motor Graders

Caterpillar also launched the new mastless Caterpillar GRADE with 3D for motor graders. The new Caterpillar GRADE with 3D for motor graders allows contractors to realize the improved grading efficiency, accuracy and productivity of automated grading systems without the limitations associated with GPS masts. The new integrated mastless grade system can be installed and calibrated at the factory on new machine orders or as a field retrofit for existing models in customers’ fleets. Retrofit kits are available for pre- and post-2019 M Series models equipped with or without the Attachment Ready Option (ARO). 

This feature appeared in the May 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

Additional coverage of CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 will follow focusing on additional manufacturers.