Rock to Road

Tech Experience to highlight CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 offers new technology showcase

December 19, 2016  By  Andrew Snook

HBC-radiomatic, Inc. will be showcasing the live functionality of its radio control systems at the Tech Experience. Photo: HBC-radiomatic, Inc.

December 19, 2016 – Step inside what’s next for the future of the industry.

That is the theme for CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s all-new Tech Experience, which will make its debut at the 2017 edition of the show, taking place from March 7 to 11 in Las Vegas, Nev.

This new component to the massive construction show will offer attendees a look at some of the latest and upcoming technologies for the industry, including the first-ever 3D printed excavator, electrified quarries, remote-controlled heavy equipment, drones, robotics, solar-powered roadways, data visualization and more. It will take place across 75,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and is included as part of attendees’ badge packages.

“The Tech Experience will add another dimension beyond a typical trade show and offer visitors the opportunity to identify where the industry and its technologies are heading,” explains Jeff Allan, CEO of HBC-radiomatic, Inc. “We identified the Tech Experience as a platform to showcase our latest product innovations and state-of the-art technology in a hands-on environment.” 


Allan says the Tech Experience will provide HBC with the opportunity to “clearly demonstrate the live functionality of the radio control systems,” as well as discuss its potential applications; while allowing the company to educate visitors about safe operation and special safety features. The main technology that HBC will be showcasing is its radiomatic photon. 

“radiomatic photon is an innovative assistant for the control of machinery within complex working environments,” Allan explains. “A video camera is installed on the machine and provides live video to the colour display of the radio control. With this technology, the operator is able to see into areas that are hard to access, including blind spots. Therefore, a clear overview of the machine status and operation is possible without the need to be at the machine for control purposes.”

HBC will also be showcasing its merlin TUC (Transmitter User Card).

“This card serves as the key to activate the control and protects it from unauthorized use,” Allan adds. “In addition, each card is individually configurable. This can control access to preset functions such as operation in restricted areas, which can be locked or unlocked for individual operators without any effort. The systems will also demonstrate the HBC safety feature, radiomatic shock-off/zero-g/inclination switch, for enhanced protection of the operator in specific emergencies. The addition of these innovations to HBC-radiomatic’s comprehensive array of radio remote control solutions provides the industry with greater possibilities for increased efficiencies and enhanced safety.”

Volvo CEs concept HX1 autonomous battery electric load carrier in action copy 2
Image: Volvo CE

Electrifying quarries
For Uwe Mueller, one of Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) chief project managers, the new show component offers his company a better chance to showcase their latest research.

“We want to be a leader in innovation and sustainability in the industry,” he says. “I think it’s quite exciting for us to share what we’re doing in our research; and our vision of the future.”

The Tech Experience is also a good opportunity for competing companies to see each other’s latest research, which can help fuel future innovations that drive companies towards more sustainable technologies for the industry, Mueller adds.

As part of its exhibit, Volvo CE will be showcasing some of its latest research, a $30-million electric site research project the company is working on in partnership with its customer Skanska Sweden, the Swedish Energy Agency and two Swedish universities. The goal of the project is to electrify certain transport stages in quarry operations from excavation to primary crushing and transport to secondary crushing. Volvo CE predicts that this project has the potential to reduce carbon emissions in these transport stages by upwards of 95 per cent, and could offer upwards of a 25 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership.

“We really want to give them some first-hand information about the changes, but also the challenges we see in the future,” Mueller says. “We want to show where we think the industry should move, to have it better for everyone in the future. I think there’s something in it for everyone – for the customers, for the manufacturers but also for society.”

Operator education
John Anderson, president of JCA Electronics – a Winnipeg-based company that specializes in the design and manufacture of electronic control systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – says the Tech Experience is an important new addition to the massive trade show for equipment operators to come out and experience.

“It’s about awareness of the technologies that’s coming into the jobsites,” he says. “It’s coming, it’s happening, this is about educating yourself.”

For their exhibit, JCA Electronics will be offering attendees a chance to test out controlling an automated bulldozer as a way to draw people to their booth and discuss how equipment like this can be set up to be fully autonomous.

“You’ll be able to do everything you could do with a regular piece of equipment,” he says. “Come and have fun, it doesn’t have to be so serious.”

Attendees will also have the opportunity to try out some hands-on training using virtual reality, gamified learning, and test out smart, connected jobsite wearables.

Tech Talk
There will also be Tech Talk sessions held in the auditorium featuring a lineup of topics including: 
The Connected Jobsite
How Drones Are Changing Construction
The Future of Transportation
Self-Healing Materials
The Maker Movement
Telematics and Gamification
Wearables and Personal Protective Equipment
SMART Highway and Sustainable Roads

The speaker lineup will feature D’Arcy Salzmann of Microsoft; NASA astronauts Captain Mark Kelly and Captain Scott Kelly; Matt Wheelis of Autodesk, Inc.; and Bruce Upbin from Hyperloop One.

For information on CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 and the Tech Experience, visit

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