By Shawn Hutchings
I hope you all had the opportunity to attend the ConExpo-ConAgg this year, it was an awesome conference, and the energy was through the roof! ConExpo 2023 broke records with over 139,000 attendees and more than 2,400 exhibitors!
ConExpo-ConAgg is a great way for the construction industry to show off the latest technology and advancements in the construction equipment world. With the ever-changing technology comes the education of these changes and this expo doesn’t disappoint in this arena either. ConExpo-ConAgg had 190 expert led educational session that ranged from jobsite safety to equipment technology, to sustainable work site practices, and many more. Attending these sessions not only help the contractor grow their business and keep them informed of upcoming changes in the industry but it also helps the manufacture understand the contractors struggles with these changes. With this understanding of changes in the industry equipment manufactures can engineer equipment to meet the upcoming need of the contractor.
Some of the latest technology advancements that stood out at this year’s show was really focused on sustainability. Sustainability is a buzz word in today’s world. Every one of us should be focusing on sustainability, but I also like to look at the changes in our industry that focus beyond sustainable. I think we should focus on thrive-ability and replace the sustainability buzz word, the new buzz word on the street should be thrive-ability!
When most of us think of sustainable construction equipment, we think 100% electric equipment. Electric equipment really made a splash at ConExpo-ConAgg this year and equipment manufacturers have made huge changes to not only their own products coming out the door but they’re also looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturing facility itself.
At the show many manufacturers showed off new electric units. I saw 100% electric excavators, rollers, sweeper trucks, oil distributor trucks, and even an asphalt paver. These units might not fit everyone’s business model but it does fit contractors looking to lower their carbon foot print and the municipal market without doubt can add these units to any of their fleets. There are a ton of programs to help offset the initial cost of these units as they typically carry a higher initial cost, but do keep in mind the cost of operation is lower once you get past the initial cost hurdle. There are studies out there that these electric units will have a longer life span than its diesel or gasoline counterpart due to less vibrations from the absence of the combustible engine. Most electric units are simply displacing the original diesel engine with a battery and electric motor to run the already proven existing hydraulic system.
Now some of the population hasn’t jumped on board with 100% electric equipment and some of their reasoning for being against it is valid. From equipment run time not being able to complete a project, to charge station locations, to the grid infostructure being overloaded, to 100% electric not being really 100% sustainable. But there are some great benefits to these electric pieces of equipment to the non- electric fans out there.
With the equipment manufacturer engineers hard at work trying to get these electric machines running for long periods of time they’ve made drastic changes in the efficiency of the hydraulic systems, both propel and function circuits. These changes help reduce power needed to do the same amount of work and less power means more battery run time.
Now how does that help the contractor still not on board with this 100% electric kick and still running diesel?
Well, this increased engineered efficiency change of the hydraulic system is usually implemented across the board even to the diesel or gasoline version of the same style equipment that has been in production for years. With all this added efficiency implemented to an already very capable, proven, and efficient piece of equipment you’ll lower your total cost of operation even further. Not only in fuel savings cost but also initial purchase cost because you’ll need less horsepower to do the same workload and there is no need to purchase larger horsepower engines. In some cases when less horsepower engine is needed it allows you to drop to a low enough horsepower to avoid DEF fluid; think about the savings on that! All these cost of operation savings help keep more money in the owner’s pocket …and guess what less horsepower also has a smaller carbon footprint!
That right there is thrive-ability!
Shawn Hutchings is a Territory Sales Manager with LeeBoy. He can be reached at Shawn.Hutchings@leeboy.com