I just returned from Las Vegas, and my 10th ConExpo-Con/Agg show. More than 139,000 people attended the show, the most since more than 144,600 attended the 2008 show. With a gleaming new West Hall and a vast, fully stuffed Festival Lot, I can say without hesitation it was the busiest and most spread out show I have ever attended.
If there was a recurring theme at many of the exhibits, it was alternative energy solutions, largely being driven by Big Iron. Reduction of our carbon footprint was in evidence, and with it, the new technologies that will drive the future.
- CASE unveiled Zeus, a fully electric backhoe loader.
- The Cat equipment display in the Festival Lot included more than 30 machines, including battery electric model prototypes with charging stations.
- Nine electric or hybrid electric John Deere and Wirtgen Group machines were on display.
- At the Develon booth, the former Doosan company showed autonomous vehicles and battery electric models as well.
- Hitachi debuted the ZX55U-6EB electric compact excavator that meets the growing need for emission-free, low-noise equipment.
- Hyundai exhibited two alternative-powered prototype excavators. The HW155H is a prototype wheeled excavator powered by a hydrogen-fueled engine. The two-ton prototype Hyundai R19E is an electric-powered compact excavator.
- Komatsu touted its sustainability/electrification roadmap.
- Kubota introduced a new 3.8-liter internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen. The company’s innovative solutions also include a hybrid system combining engine and electrical power; and gas-to-liquid solutions that reduce CO2 emissions up to 90% without the need for engine modifications.
- Liebherr showcased new, innovative products and technologies that emphasize digitalization, alternative drives and efficiency
- In addition to two large operating arenas in the booth for electric machines, Volvo CE showcased its electric lineup expansion with the 23-ton EC230 Electric mid-size excavator.
It is not clear whether there will be a standard for equipment in the future, and hydrogen solutions for large, quarry duty equipment is still years away, but to see the evolution of production equipment away from diesel is fascinating to observe.
In three years, at the next ConExpo-Con/Agg these technologies, further developed, will no doubt be driving production success for the nation’s aggregates producers.
Look for a full report on equipment and technology unveiled at ConExpo-Con/Agg in the May issue of Rock Products.
Mark S. Kuhar, editor