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Show Report: CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008

Show sets records for attendance and exhibit space

July 28, 2008  By  Carey Fredericks

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 and the co-located International Exposition for Power Transmission (IFPE) 2008 expositions set records for attendance, exhibit space and number of exhibiting companies, with CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 also taking the title of the largest trade show in North America of any industry in 2008. More than 144,600 industry professionals from around the world attended the shows during their five-day run March 11-15, 2008 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.


ONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 and the co-located International Exposition for Power Transmission (IFPE) 2008 expositions set records for attendance, exhibit space and number of exhibiting companies, with CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 also taking the title of the largest trade show in North America of any industry in 2008. More than 144,600 industry professionals from around the world attended the shows during their five-day run March 11-15, 2008 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Held every three years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 covered more than 211,966 net m2 taken by 2,182 exhibitors, and was 21 per cent bigger than the 2005 show. IFPE 2008 was also the largest in its history with more than 11,994 net m2 used by 469 exhibitors for a 16 per cent space increase compared to 2005.


International attendance

International attendance increased by 30 per cent compared to the previous shows, with a record 28,000 international industry professionals representing more than 19 per cent of total attendance. Attendance from Canada also saw a big jump, with 2008 attendance close to 11,100 compared to the 8,800 Canadians who attended in 2005. Attendance from the Latin America and Caribbean marketplace increased by more than 50 per cent,
and doubled from China, India and Turkey. There were also significant increases from Australia, Russia and the Middle East.

Overall, international visitors to the shows hailed from more than 130 countries, with more than 60 official international customer delegations organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as in-country trade associations and related groups.


Exhibit features

The show floor included a record fourteen international exhibit pavilions highlighting products and services developed outside the United States – CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 with 10 from Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Italy, Korea, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom, and IFPE 2008 with four, from China, Italy, Spain and Taiwan. IFPE 2008 hosted a new exhibit pavilion sponsored by the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), welcomed back a Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) pavilion, and set up a new pavilion to highlight the expanded presence of sensors at the show.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 featured a new Safety Zone of exhibits and demonstrations from industry and government groups, including the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Aerial Work Platform Training/International Powered Access Federation.


Education highlights

The CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 seminar program offered a record 130 sessions. Show education expanded in 2008 to include a special seminar on best practices for small fleet management. Also new: select education sessions were offered via LiveCasts and podcasts to extend the value of show education. Education session registrations totalled more than 22,850.

IFPE 2008 also expanded its educational offerings with an electronic controls symposium added to the show’s renowned Technical Conference. The conference offered a record 111 papers from industry experts from around the world. A new IFPE Innovation and Solutions Center, on the show floor, provided real world insights into future design applications. IFPE education session registrations totalled more than 1,700.


Industry support

The shows were the industry gathering place in 2008. Some 105 allied industry groups were "supporting organizations" of CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 and IFPE 2008, bringing their memberships to the shows. In addition to U.S.-based groups, these included international industry-related organizations from Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

A record number of 11 associations held annual conventions or board meetings at the shows, and overall a record number of more than 530 industry-related meetings were held in conjunction with CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 and IFPE 2008.


Other highlights

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 was the site of the first ever Construction Challenge competition, initiated by show organizer Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). The creative problem-solving competition was designed to interest teens in construction careers, while calling attention to industry workforce shortages and infrastructure renewal needs.

The next edition of the triennial shows will be March 22-26, 2011 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.


Equipment review

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) was amongst the largest exhibitors at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008, occupying nearly 3994 m2 of space at the world’s largest construction equipment trade show in 2008. On show was the rebranded range of road machinery, its revolutionary hybrid wheel loader, and nearly 30 other recently introduced machines from across the company’s product range.

Another highlight of Volvo’s participation at the show was the official unveiling to a global audience of the company’s new-look road machinery product range, now marketed in the Volvo corporate livery of yellow/grey and carrying the Volvo brand.

Volvo CE’s indoor exhibition space was home to 28 of Volvo CE’s latest machines including F-Series wheel loaders, C-Series excavators (including the new ECR models), Volvo PL-Series pipe layers and E-Series articulated haulers, featuring the revolutionary ‘Full-Suspension’ systems. In addition, the company’s growing compact equipment product line was exhibited in an 1020 m2 outdoor area where a further 18 compact machines were on display.

The L220F is Volvo’s prototype Hybrid Wheel Loader. The ‘mild’ diesel-electric hybrid drive system fitted The wheel loader is the first iteration of Volvo’s ongoing development process but its reduced levels of emissions and fuel consumption are impressive indicators of the potential environmental and economic benefits such hybrid systems offer.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 saw the unveiling of what manufacturer John Deere described as construction’s first new machine form in decades. According to Deere, the 764 High-Speed Dozer (HSD) has the potential to "revolutionize site preparation and road building with its speed alone", giving operators the ability to do more in less time. This innovative rubber-tracked dozer combines the speed of a grader with the flotation of a crawler dozer. As a result, operators can perform grading and moderate dozing at about double the speed of a similarly sized crawler. In addition, the 764 High-Speed Dozer (HSD) has the ability to travel at nearly 29 km/h across a job site without damaging pavement. The 764 HSD’s combination of rubber tracks and speed are said to dramatically expand travel possibilities around the jobsite, meaning less trailer hauling and no need for contractors to lay out mats just to cross pavement. At the same time, the machine’s mobility and manoeuvrability, thanks to articulated steering, are unprecedented for a dozer." The hydrostatic drive train is said to be very efficient in delivering power to the ground on the 764, while the machine’s rubber track and drive system ensures there’s much lower rolling resistance than with a conventional steel track system, enabling operators to work and travel at much higher speeds. The entire powertrain system works together to distribute power to the tracks for maximum push while avoiding spin. When the machine articulates, the inside and outside track speeds automatically change to improve turning. The hydrostatic transmission also adjusts to deliver the maximum power and speed to the tracks under varying load conditions.

Speed can be infinitely controlled from 0 to nearly 29 km/h, with four easy-to-use ranges available at the touch of a button. Finish grading can be achieved at speeds around twice that of a comparably sized dozer. According to Deere, the finish grading speed lets operators do precise work faster, meaning higher production and more profits. An articulation joint gives dozer operators the ultimate in manoeuvrability, vital when grading around pavement and helpful when navigating side slopes. While turning, the shorter tracks are swept over less ground than longer tracks, extending life and improving performance. The fore-mounted operator’s station is close to the 3.66 m, six-way dozer blade and moves with it as the unit turns. This gives the operator a full, panoramic view of the blade at all times and the ultimate in close-quarters control.

The 764 HSD is available with Deere’s "plug-and-play" Integrated Grade Control, meaning the dozer arrives from the factory pre-wired and ready to add the operator’s favourite laser/GPS system. A rear hitch and two hydraulic circuits allow the dozer to pull implements like scrapers, discs, box blades and compactors. Like all John Deere crawlers, the 764 HSD features two right-hand levers for blade functions, while the left controls perform steering and FNR/speed change duties. The powertrain, hydraulics, blade and C-frame are from John Deere crawlers, while the cab, engine, controls and articulation joint come from Deere 4WD loaders.

John Deere Power Systems used CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 to tell contractors and other equipment manufacturers what technology it would be using to meet stringent Interim Tier 4 mobile off-road emissions regulations for its engines above 173 hp. The regulations require a massive 90 per cent drop in diesel particulate and a 50 per cent drop in NOx from Tier 3 by 2011. Deere will do this using its Tier 3 PowerTech Plus engine platform as a base, add a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC)/diesel particulate filter (DPF) unit for reducing particulates, and increase the percentage of cooled gas recirculation (EGR) for NOx control. The supplier has decided not to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOx reduction, as it feels its path is more proven, simpler, and will lead to lower operating costs. This will avoid the need for liquid urea, the associated injection systems and systems to prevent winter freezing, JDPS says.

Caterpillar chose CONEXP-CON/AGG 2008 to announce the D7E – the first AC electric drive track-type tractor using modern technology. The revolutionary electric drive system developed for track-type tractors is said to give the D7E an optimum balance of power, efficiency, control and manoeuvrability. The system delivers higher productivity, reduced fuel consumption, reduced operating costs and longer drive train component life compared to other tractors in its size class.

The D7E is in the 27 000-kg weight range and is powered by a Cat C9 engine producing 235 hp. Compared to the Caterpillar D7R Series II, the D7E will deliver 25 per cent more material moved per litre of fuel, 10 per cent greater productivity and 10 per cent lower lifetime operating costs.

In the D7E power train, the diesel engine drives a generator to produce electricity that ultimately powers two AC electric drive motors, which are connected to a differential steering system. A traditional mechanical transmission is not needed, because the variable speed electric motors serve the function of a continuously variable transmission. The electric drive train has 60 per cent fewer moving parts compared to previous D7s. The electric system also provides power to auxiliary components so that no engine belts are needed. The electric drive train is also said makes operator training easier, because there are no gears to shift, while the C9 engine with ACERT® Technology meets U.S. Tier 3 emissions standards, and the tractor has been designed with Tier 4a in mind. Caterpillar plans to commercially introduce the D7E in select markets during 2009.

Cummins Inc.’s new heavy-duty 16-litre QSX diesel engine will use an array of new technology from its fully-integrated air intake and XPI high pressure common rail fuel system, to its exhaust after-treatment to meet Tier 4 regs that come into play January 2011. It will do this, the engine supplier says, while boosting power output to 650 hp from 600, and peak torque by 12 per cent. Best of all, Cummins claims a 5 per cent improvement in fuel economy. Cummins told industry journalists at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 that it expects to have 50,000 plus field test hours on this new design before its 2011 launch.

Jointly designed by Fintec and Sandvik Rock Processing, the Fintec 1107 Jaw Crusher has been utilising the very latest technology, including finite element techniques to minimise stress levels within the frame itself. Sandvik have used all their experience gained over the last 100 years in crushing, to produce their most modern and efficient crusher, which is targeted at the recycling and contractor segment of the market.

JCB has won a contract to supply the U.S. Army with 800 of its 96 km/h state-of-the-art High Mobility Engineer Excavators (HMEE). The backhoe loader, purpose-built for the U.S. Army, is destined for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it will provide battlefield commanders with a myriad of logistics capabilities in front patrols. The first 50 machines will be deployed from Kuwait early this summer. Built exclusively at JCB’s North American headquarters and manufacturing facility near Savannah, GA, the HMEE is the net result of a production contract with the U.S. Army valued at an estimated $210 million. A four-year in-service contract, now in negotiation, would add an additional $20 million to the transaction.

The JCB HMEE is the result of a four-year program of design, development and testing, and was built specifically for the U.S. military as a replacement for its small emplacement excavator. Weighing approximately 17.3 tonnes with armour and 15.5 tonnes without armour, the four-wheel drive, four-wheel-steer machine has a 200 hp diesel engine. It is capable of lifting more than 2.2 tonnes.

Leica Geosystems described CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 as the ideal forum for its launch of the most extensive new line construction solutions in the history of the company. Ten new products incorporate a series of advanced construction solutions, each developed to deliver operational flexibility, unprecedented power and speed for increased productivity and profits.

Leading the list are Leica Geosystems’ new "RedLine" family of Total Stations and GPS 3D products for both machine control and general construction applications. RedLine sensors drive the all new PowerGrade 3D machine control systems, PowerDigger 3D excavator guidance systems, and Leica Site Foreman by Carlson, a new construction application designed to simplify construction tasks from initial site preparation and layout to grading and as-built checking.

The new RedLine products are developed to meet every measurement required on the construction site ranging from layout to 3D machine control.

For those interested in powerful, yet easy to use, 1D and 2D systems, Leica Geosystems offers a range of precision solutions for construction heavy equipment machines from excavators to graders and dozers. Leica PowerDigger: The speedy, accurate PowerDigger features a large, see-at-glance color display screen giving the operator precise information on the depth and position of the excavator bucket on the machine. Operators can dig with ease and confidence even in demanding "blind cut" situations. Multiple job settings let the operator switch between different digging profiles at the touch of a button, and custom profiles can even be created on the machine to continue from existing ground profiles. PowerGrade is a new 2D system for advanced laser, sonic, and cross-slope control grading on graders, dozers, and other complex machines. PowerGrade features the unique cable-less "PowerSnap" control panel providing full 2D capability today and easy upgrade to full 3D operation tomorrow. Leica PowerBlade is an innovative, cost-effective 1D system that makes precision laser-based grading available for every machine and budget, according to the manufacturer. Designed for harsh construction use, the PowerBlade system features the easy to use MCP-700 Control Panel and MLS700 Laser Sensor with bright see-at-a-glance LED displays. An optional Electric Mast provides easy grade adjustment from the cab and advanced land-levelling features.

Look for more CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 news in upcoming issues. n












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