Leading the Charge
The rise of battery-powered construction equipment has been a slow-but-steady trend over the last few years as manufacturers look to hit carbon-reduction and net-zero targets in the coming decades.
Fossil fuel-free equipment is going to be a major trend to watch for at the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show, to be held in Las Vegas, Mar. 14-18. Some of the construction equipment industry’s biggest players will be rolling out their battery-powered machines for the U.S. market. From ambitious prototypes to commercially available machines, this CONEXPO is going to be electric.
Bobcat will exhibit its all-electric T7X compact track loader and also show its battery-electric excavators, including the E10e, E19e and E32e. This is the first North American equipment show where these machines will be exhibited following the T7X’s introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2022. Designed in cooperation with Moog Construction, the T7X features battery power and electronic actuators, which replace the CTL’s conventional hydraulic systems for finer control and greater efficiency.
BOMAG will be showing new models of its road-preparation and surfacing machines that match their conventional, gas-powered counterparts for performance but are 100% battery-powered, including the electric BOMAG BT 60 e tamper. BOMAG will also be demonstrating its Asphalt Manager, BOMAP Connect and Asphalt PRO software tools that help contractors deliver a final product in fewer passes, saving fuel.
In another electric first at the show, Takeuchi US will be introducing its TB20e at CONEXPO. The manufacturer’s first battery-powered compact excavator is now available for sale and rental at their locations throughout North America. In February last year, Takeuchi partnered with United Rentals to introduce the first 100 units as a pilot program.
Following the trend of bringing in battery-powered machines from overseas, Manitou is launching a line of electrified telehandlers new to the North American market at the show—two rotating telehandlers and a compact telehandler. Both are part of the manufacturer’s Oxygen line of low-emissions equipment, which were on display in October at the triennial Bauma equipment show in Munich, Germany.
The electrified lineup includes the MRT 2260e and MRT 2660e VISION+ rotating telehandlers, and the MT 625e compact electric fixed telehandler.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas will be showing its ZX55U-6EB electric compact excavator, new to the North American market. This will also be HCMA’s first time exhibiting at CONEXPO, as the company had previously manufactured and sold its equipment in the U.S. through John Deere in a multi-decade joint venture that ended in 2021.
Next-Gen Layout and Telematics
Trimble is set to showcase its ever-expanding connected construction technology suite at CONEXPO. A new, purpose-built machine-guidance solution designed to give small site and utility contractors an entry-point into more advanced construction technology will be unveiled in Las Vegas. There will be a chance to see how Trimble’s X7 laser scanner integrates with Boston Dynamics’ Spot robotic dog for site scans and other reality capture tasks. Trimble will also reveal details of a new technology integration with Spot to provide autonomous laser scanning of worksites for construction progress tracking.
John Deere plans to feature its vision and object-detection systems as well as its SmartWeigh and EZ Grade management technology at the show. The equipment giant also plans to launch its new Operations Center platform with the data derived from the existing JD Link telematics system, in order to help contractors optimize their earthmoving on road projects and other related work.
Deere’s Object Detection, paired with a high-resolution camera and a dedicated display, helps operators increase situational awareness using proprietary vehicle trajectory logic technology that overlays a projected reversal path to illustrate where the vehicle will move next.
SmartWeigh, now available on Deere’s lineup of P- and X-Tier utility wheel loaders, is a visual loading and weighing software that aims to improve cycle times when loading trucks or processing plants. As part of the SmartWeigh system, a Deere machine’s dynamic bucket weighing technology can set weight, capture heights and speeds to repeat. SmartWeigh does not require calibration with a known weight, so users can calibrate the system themselves. Auto-leveling eliminates frequent bucket and fork adjustments and lets operators handle the material with no tipping as the boom is raised up and down within plus or minus 2° of the target.
Now standard on all John Deere small bulldozers with EH controls, EZ Grade technology aids operators in grading smooth finish passes by making small blade corrections automatically. EZ Grade technology is also available on the SmartGrade 333 P-Tier compact track loader, which will be on display at the show.
The telematics system, formerly known as JD Link, has been integrated into a new product John Deere is launching at CONEXPO, its enterprise-wide Operations Center tool. This tool monitors machine data but also makes recommendations for a customer’s jobsite with items such as fuel efficiency in a dashboard view. Operations Center will also bring in data from WITOS FleetView receivers or from the Wirtgen Performance Tracker telematics system. Wirtgen Group is a unit of John Deere.