Texas leads U.S. equipment purchases in Q3, sales down 19 percent from 2013

The number of road construction equipment buyers in Texas was by far the most in the U.S during Q3 2014.

The number of road construction equipment buyers in Texas was by far the most in the U.S during Q3 2014.

If you believe everything is bigger in Texas, than it should come as no surprise that the state also needs the most road construction equipment. At 68 buyers during the third quarter of 2014, Texas construction companies financed the most road construction equipment in the United States.

The numbers are according to an analysis of Equipment Data Associates data segmenting out companies likely to be engaged in road construction.

The top 10 states in the number of buyers for both new and used road construction equipment is as follows:

1: Texas (68 buyers)
2: Florida (58)
3: North Carolina (52)
4: California (48)
5: Georgia (35)
6: Minnesota and Pennsylvania (tied at 32)
7: South Carolina and New Jersey  (tied at 29)
8: Missouri (28)
9. New York (26)
10: Colorado (24)

Excavators led the way for highway and bridge construction companies with 347 financed purchases during Q3. That’s 21 percent of all equipment purchased. In addition, 200 wheel loaders were purchased (12 percent of the total), 125 compact track loaders (8 percent), 121 double drum vibratory rollers (7.6 percent), and 101 crawler dozers (6.9 percent).

All in all, 1,625 road construction units were financed during Q3. That’s down 10 percent from Q3 of 2013 when 1,813 units were purchased. The amount of buyers from Q3 2013 (874) decreased by 5 percent during the same quarter of 2014 (828).

Out of all purchases, 922 units were new equipment, including 197 excavators (21 percent), 136 wheel loaders (15 percent) and 97 compact track loaders (10 percent).

A total of 703 used units were purchased including 150 excavators (21 percent), 64 wheel loaders (9 percent) and 58 crawler dozers (8 percent).

When it comes to used equipment, North Carolina had 30 buyers, behind only Texas with 39.There were several more companies buying new equipment (503 buyers) during Q3 than used equipment (433 buyers).

When it came to new road construction equipment purchases in Q3, Florida at 40 buyers edged out Texas’s 39 buyers. However, Texas led all other states in the number of used equipment buyers, at 39. North Carolina came in second with 30 buyers.

*Editor’s note: The road construction segment includes companies in two SIC codes determined to have road construction capability, buying a variety of highway and bridge construction equipment, including dozers, excavators, wheel loaders, track steers, skid steers, etc. Equipment Data Associates is a division of Randall-Reilly and tracks public Uniform Commercial Code-1 filings submitted by lenders in financed equipment transactions.

Trucker cited in 2013 Skagit River bridge collapse

The collapsed section of I-5 in Washington over the Skagit River. The bridge has since been repaired. The May 2013 truck-bridge collision that caused a portion of Interstate 5 to fall into the Skagit River in Washington was in part due to a load too tall for the truck carrying it, according to a report released this week by the Washington State Patrol.

WSP says the truck was permitted to carry loads no taller than 15 feet 9 inches, but the load that struck the bridge was 15 feet 11 inches.

The bridge collapse occurred when a 2010 Kenworth towing a 1997 Aspen flatbed with casing shed struck the bridge in the southbound far right lane. The bridge collapsed after the truck crossed. No one was injured in the collapse.

Truck driver William D.W. Scott of Alberta, Canada, was cited by WSP for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree — an infraction that carries a $550 fine.

The driver of the load is legally responsible for an over-height load, WSP says in its report, not the driver of a pilot car or support vehicle. WSP makes mention of the pilot car driver because the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a July 2014-released report that the pilot car’s clearance pole hit the bridge, signaling the load was too tall to clear.

The driver, however, was on his phone and distracted. NTSB also blamed bad route planning by the carrier, an inadequate permitting process and a lack of low-clearance warning signs.

This article was written by James Jaillet, associate editor for Overdrive Online and CCJ Digital.

Obama names new highway safety chief

Mark R. Rosekind.

Mark R. Rosekind.

President Obama has chosen National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Mark Rosekind to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA).

If confirmed by the Senate, Rosekind will be the highway safety agency’s first full time chief in nearly a year. He has been a member of the NTSB since 2010.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx approved of Obama’s decision, saying it proved he’s committed to improving the highway safety agency.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially sets the automobile safety standard for the United States and has a well-earned reputation as the leading agency of its kind in the world,” Foxx said in a statement.

“Mark has shown tremendous dedication to making our roads safer throughout his career and brings direct experience from the National Transportation Safety Board,” Foxx continued. “Mark is a leader ready-made for this critical responsibility and I expect him to hold not only the auto industry accountable, but I also expect him to help us raise the bar on safety ever higher within the U.S. Department of Transportation and among all of our stakeholders.”

 

Don't drink and drive...especially your wheel loader!

Credit: Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page

Credit: Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page

 

I’m not sure what’s more disconcerting about this story, that this guy has access to a wheel loader in the first place or that he’s likely operated it more than a few times while intoxicated.

According to a report from CBS Minnesota, a man was arrested near Minneapolis after police pulled him over while driving a wheel loader down the middle of the street.

The stop occurred around 1 a.m. and when the officers with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office asked the operator just what he thought he was doing, the man replied that he thought “it was snowing out.” The deputies quickly determined the man was drunk and arrested him.

It doesn’t look like the deputies pressed him on it and the CBS report doesn’t clarify, but apparently this guy thought it was time to clear the roads of some snow. He does have access to the loader, after all. To the guy’s credit, the area did get some snow, just not until later that day. Hopefully, if this is his job, he’s been relieved of that duty entirely.

Thankfully, the guy didn’t manage to do any damage. And the deputies in Chisago County had a bit of a laugh over the situation, posting the photo you see above to their Facebook page with the caption, “I don’t always drive my front end loader to Stacy, but when I do, I am probably drunk.”

This article was written by Wayne Grayson, Online Managing Editor of Equipment World.

Rollover accident caused from surprise gravel road

Believe it or not, this is NOT supposed to be a gravel road. | Credit: LIVE!/John Basquez.

Believe it or not, this is NOT supposed to be a gravel road. | Credit: LIVE!/John Basquez.

 

Although the road in the picture looks like a gravel road, it’s definitely not supposed to be. According to reports, a belly dump truck littered a massive amount of sand and gravel on Frontage Road in San Angelo, Texas, which caused a rollover accident.

The driver of a Chevrolet sedan was driving home at night when she unexpectedly hit the patch of sand and gravel which caused her to lose control of her vehicle. Since it was dark outside, it was hard for her to see the layer of sand and gravel ahead of time.

San Angelo Police say they were not aware of the sand and gravel on Frontage Road, but after investigating the tire tracks officials are sure the littering was done by a “belly dump truck.”

Miraculously the sedan driver, who was wearing her seatbelt, didn’t suffer any serious injuries from the rollover accident. In fact, she only suffered a minor scratch on her pinkie finger. Her vehicle, however, was totaled from the wreck.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was called in to clean the sand and gravel off of the road.

Surprisingly, this is not the first time a large amount of sand and gravel was dumped on a road. In early October, over 80-pounds of sand and gravel was dumped on an interstate in New Braunfels, Texas.

Tracked electric vehicles the future of transportation?

The TEV ProjectThe TEV Project,  a system of compact, electrically powered roadways for use by electric vehicles, has released a new animation (seen below) in hopes of demonstrating the simplicity of tracked electric vehicles. The project believes it’s design for electric vehicle infrastructure could transform how people all around the world travel.

The new animation outlines the design of the TEV track and how its modular construction could revolutionize road travel.

“Our new animation clearly shows how easily TEV tracks can integrate with pre-existing roads with benefits to motorists, to the environment and to local communities,” says Caroline Jones Carrick, the UK-based Project Coordinator of the TEV Project.

“It demonstrates the simple and practical conversion of the two fast lanes of a 6-lane motorway into two lanes of TEV track. Since each of TEV’s high speeds tracks can carry the equivalent of 10 lanes of motorway traffic, the road capacity is not reduced but rather dramatically increased.”

Public service vehicles would be designed to circulate around the track, with no actual drivers.

TEV public service vehicles would be designed to circulate around the track as cabs or minibuses, with no actual drivers in the vehicles. Other vehicles, including private “dualmode” cars would have the ability to enter and leave the track from conventional roads. Vehicles, however, would be automatically checked for roadworthiness before being admitted into the TEV network.

“The future of sustainable and accessible transport lies with large infrastructure projects which can revolutionise the way we travel for the better, Carrick says. “By collaborating with private and public organisations, we believe that the TEV Project can make this happen.”

The TEV project was developed by internationally renowned battery expert and innovator Will Jones. He developed the project in hopes of creating a network of specially designed highway ‘tracks’ that provide direct electric power to EVs as they travel under automated control. That would mean that electric vehicles, robo-taxis, public transport and light freight vehicles would have the ability to travel unlimited miles while being continually powered along the track.

A sophisticated computer would take control of the vehicles as they enter the track, enabling close convoying and high speeds of travel, reducing congestion and travel times while dramatically cutting the risk of accidents.

Gas-tax increase passes Michigan Senate

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Michigan Senate passed a bill last week that could potentially generate around $1 billion a year for the state’s transportation infrastructure.

The measure, which passed in a 23-14 vote, would set the wholesale gasoline tax at 9 percent on April 1, 2015, and increase yet again on Jan. 1, 2018 to 15.5 percent. That means the tax would likely rise around 17 cents a gallon.

It is being reported, however, that if there’s a huge increase at the pump, gas tax would be capped.

The House is now considering the bill, but minor revisions are expected to be made before it’s passed back to the Senate. The current bill would also raise the gas tax on diesel to what motorists pay for regular gasoline, and it would increase fines for overweight trucks.

“These are steps to make Michigan better and stronger,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement after the Senate victory.

Snyder believes the state will need an additional $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion a year to address the state’s infrastructure. Some experts believe Snyder’s numbers are far too generous, and in fact the state will need much more than even $1.4 billion in order to save Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.

AEM Hall of Fame announces 2014 inductees

AEM Hall of Fame ceremony. | Photo by Alison Yin / AP Images for AEM.

AEM Hall of Fame ceremony. | Photo by Alison Yin / AP Images for AEM.

 

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has announced the 2014 inductees into the AEM Hall of Fame, which recognizes and celebrates outstanding individuals in the off-road equipment industry, and their legacy of innovation, service and leadership.

AEM says the vision and hard work of each inductee has been critical to advancing global economic and social prosperity.

The 2014 inductees into the AEM Hall of Fame are:

  • E.G. Melroe & the Melroe Family, Melroe Manufacturing & Bobcat Company
  • Agustin ‘Gus’ Ramirez, HUSCO International
  • Robert J. Ratliff, AGCO Corporation
  • John D. West, The Manitowoc Company
  • Rollin Henry White, Cleveland Tractor Company (Cletrac)

Learn more about each inductee below:

E.G. Melroe & the Melroe Family (Melroe Manufacturing & Bobcat Company)

E.G. Melroe

E.G. Melroe

The Melroe family story is one of innovation and industry firsts in product design, technology, and safety. Patriarch E.G. Melroe designed (and patented in 1940) a windrow pickup that lifted windrowed grain into the combine. He also invented a spring tooth harrow for seedbed preparation and weeding row crops.

This can-do spirit extended to E.G.’s family and the Melroe Manufacturing Co. and led to what is today the world’s most popular compact loader. Despite performance and durability issues, customer demand kept the Melroes from stopping production of their first skid-steer loader. They refined it, with the Bobcat brand introduced in 1962. The four-wheel-drive skid-steer concept became a model for other brands.

Introduction of a hydrostatic drive system increased skid-steer pushing power and became the industry standard in just over a decade. Introduction of a lever-actuated attachment mounting system — in place of pin-on mounting — allowed operators to easily switch attachments throughout the workday for greater efficiency and was adopted as the worldwide ISO standard. The company pioneered use of an overhead guard (ROPS), now standard equipment on all compact loaders.

Compact loaders (four-wheel-drive skid-steer and compact track) now represent the largest volume category in the mobile, off-road equipment industry.

The company that now employs 2,000 people has always called Gwinner home, exerting a huge positive economic impact on the entire state of North Dakota. In 2014 Bobcat built its one-millionth loader.

Inducted with E.G. Melroe are his sons: Les, Cliff, Roger, and Irving; nephew Sylvan; and son-in-law Eugene Dahl.

Agustin ‘Gus’ Ramirez (HUSCO International)

Agustin 'Gus' Ramirez

Agustin ‘Gus’ Ramirez

Agustin ‘Gus’ Ramirez has a deep conviction that technical innovation must enable significant value to the ultimate end-user. HUSCO has been granted 107 U.S. patents since Ramirez took the helm in 1983, with his conviction leading the company to develop advanced hydraulic systems that enable superior safety, controllability and fuel efficiency for equipment operators. Often, these technical advances were implemented without adding significant cost to the machine thanks to more cost-effective system designs.

Ramirez’s technical vision deployed at HUSCO also contributed to the wave of hydraulically enabled innovation that is sweeping the mobile equipment market. But perhaps his most lasting legacy is advancing hydraulics system research and development in the United States: he funded the HUSCO Chair of Fluid Power at Georgia State Tech, establishing hydraulics as a key research priority at one of America’s top engineering schools. The foundation provides approximately 120 university scholarships each year, many to minority students, for pursuit of engineering degrees.

Ramirez has also invested millions of dollars to reform urban K-12 education in his hometown of Milwaukee. He became so passionate about urban education that he helped found Schools That Can Milwaukee, an organization focused on transforming outcomes in urban education.

Ramirez has received many honors and awards including the Georgia Tech Distinguished Alumni award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Hispanic Business Leader of the Year, and the Friedlander/Ladky Award for Philanthropic Leadership. Ramirez serves as a director for numerous organizations, including past chair of the National Fluid Power Association.

Robert J. Ratliff (AGCO Corporation)

Robert J. Ratliff

Robert J. Ratliff

Robert J. Ratliff turned a struggling $200-million farm equipment business into a major, global manufacturer of some of the most innovative and productive agricultural equipment. With a vision to provide a world of solutions for growing needs of the farm industry worldwide, between 1990 and 2005 Ratliff brought more than 20 agricultural machinery companies under the AGCO umbrella. Today, the company, headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, sells its products in more than 140 countries.

Under Ratliff’s leadership, the company blended various business practices and cultures. He created an atmosphere that motivated employees to achieve a mutually desirable goal – the vision of multiple brands operating under the AGCO umbrella. Employees recount it was not uncommon for Bob to visit departments, chatting with employees and making it known he was interested in them and their work. His hands-on leadership style extended to company dealers. Recognizing their strategic importance, Ratliff institutionalized the practice of soliciting feedback, and that senior management was only a phone call away.

Ratliff has given back to the industry: he is a Life Honorary Director of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and he fulfilled numerous leadership roles for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), including chair of NAM’s Manufacturing Institute, which focuses on manufacturing revival and education.

To advance education, the Robert J. Ratliff Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Incentive Awards Fund was established to fund annual student scholarships through the University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program. Bob is among a select group recognized as program “visionaries.”

John D. West (The Manitowoc Company)

John D. West

John D. West

With John D. West’s leadership and push for innovation, The Manitowoc Company brought many technological advancements to market that set new lifting industry standards.

Under West, Manitowoc was the first to use T-1 high-strength steel in booms, design a controlled torque converter for various crane uses, and patent the RINGER concept which doubled crane capacity. These improvements made cranes easier to control, saved time and money for construction companies, and led to a safer job site.

West worked his way up the organization from shop floor to boardroom and was known for his common-touch management style. He foresaw market globalization and expanded the company overseas (today more than half of corporate revenue comes from non-U.S. markets), enabling Manitowoc to expand into a multi-brand operation and diversify offerings.

West was a man of particularly strong ethics who told his employees, “There is never a right way to do the wrong thing.” He implemented the company’s first profit-sharing program for employees. He was a quiet philanthropist who had a positive and lasting effect on his community, including establishment of a philanthropic organization for Manitowoc County, a botanical garden, and support for the arts. Among his honors are a Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering.

Efficiency and sustainability became key priorities for Manitowoc during West’s time at the helm. He led a push to conserve water, lessen pollution, improve air quality, and cut production overruns that led to material waste.

Rollin Henry White (Cleveland Tractor Company (Cletrac))

Rollin Henry White

Rollin Henry White

Although Rollin Henry White’s inventions in crawler tractor design date back to the beginning of the 20th century, his contributions are still widely used by manufacturers today. Of White’s 100 patents, his invention of controlled differential steering was the most significant, making tractors stronger, safer, and more maneuverable. This invention was adopted by the U.S. Army for use in all its tanks during WWII , making them more agile and easier to operate than those from other countries.

A mechanical and electrical engineering graduate of Cornell University, White established the Cleveland Tractor Company (Cletrac) in 1916, which grew to become one of the largest crawler tractor manufacturers in the 1920s and 30s. The company led the industry in number of new products and sales volume during much of this time. Cletrac and its successor the Oliver Corporation manufactured crawler tractors until 1965.

Although Cletrac and Oliver are no longer in business, concepts developed by White are still in use. In addition to controlled differential steering, these include high-speed rubber tracks, continuous undercarriage lubrication, and streamlined crawler tractor styling. Under White, Cletrac was one of the first U.S. tractor manufacturers to market overseas (in the 1920s).

White fostered a company atmosphere of mutual respect and support to help employees improve their livelihoods. For example, White would underwrite loans for those wishing to establish Cletrac dealerships. White was also a recognized civic and industry leader in Cleveland.

Highway Trust Fund: Who’s in and who’s out in next Congress

boxer-4

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Sen. Barbara Boxer will be out as chair of the Environment and Public Work, the committee responsible for drafting the Senate’s version of any highway bill. Boxer played key roll in the development and passage of MAP-21, and has been relentless in her pursuit of a replacement package. She'd like to see fuels taxed upstream rather than at the pump – only she won’t have a committee majority to back her.

 

The Republicans delivered quite a trouncing in the recent mid-term elections, and conventional wisdom says a Republican Senate, to go along with a Republican House, is probably good for trucking.

On the regulatory front, certainly. As for the chances of a new, long-term transportation authorization and sustainable fix for the Highway Trust Fund? Not so much.

And as for a comprehensive solution to come from the lame deck session that’s just underway? Forget about it. 

“With the November elections heralding a fiscally more conservative political climate and with Congress preoccupied with a whole lot of unfinished business, passing a massive multi-year multi-billion funding bill for transportation during the lame duck session will be the last thing on the lawmakers’ minds,” transportation policy consultant Ken Orski wrote last week in his analysis.

Indeed, more and more insiders seem to think we’re in for another series of highway bill extensions beginning in May.

Still, it pays to know the players. Flip through the slides above for the conventional wisdom on who’s who for the next federal transportation plan.

This article was written by Kevin Jones, Senior Editor for CCJ Digital.

Cat 825K first four-drum soil compactor with intelligent compaction system

cat-825k-soil-compactor-c10279779

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The Cat 825K soil compactor is first four-drum soil compactor with an intelligent compaction system option, says John Thomas, with Caterpillar’s construction technology and solutions group. The 825K now incorporates Caterpillar’s Machine Drive Power (MDP) system, which measures the soil’s load-bearing strength to assess the degree of compaction, sensing the rolling resistance of the material.

MDP is part of the Cat Compaction Control system, which includes mapping capability, allowing operators to easily monitor the compaction process. Cat says operators can quickly establish the MDP target value that matches the compaction specification, and then by viewing the MDP monitor in the cab, assess how compaction is progressing. Compaction data can also be downloaded or wirelessly transmitted to Cat’s VisionLink system, for analysis and reporting.

“This tells you in real time whether the soil underneath the machine is compacted,” Thomas says. Coupled with GPS, the intelligent compaction system uses a color coded map displayed on a monitor in the cab, to quickly see if you’ve reached values. And in a feature that will be introduced next year, customers with ProductLink will be able to get this information directly off the machine.

“Cat Compaction Control is free for the first 100 hours, which allows our customers to try it out,” says DeCarlos James, senior sales support specialist.

The 825K replaces the 825H, adding heft with its maximum operating weight of 78,326 pounds and 405-horsepower Cat C15 Tier 4 Final engine.

“One of the keys in high volume compaction applications is to be able to compact quickly and cover a lot of area,” says Neil LeBlanc, Cat marketing manager for soil compactors.  “For that reason, the 825K can go 10-plus mph in forward and 11 mph in reverse.”  The 3F/3R Cat power-shift transmission has Single Clutch Speed Shifting, which helps maintain torque flow during gear changes, beneficial on uphill grades.

“The dozer blade allows you to fill in some areas on the fly rather than bringing in a dozer to reposition material, which also allows for faster turnaround,” LeBlanc says.

Because Tier 4 Final components required the machine to have more height, the exhaust pipe can be unbolted and taken down, so no special permits are required to transport the unit. The GPS beacon is also removable before transport.

All new on the 825K is the cab, where the Cat STIC, or Steering and Transmission Control system puts all the machine’s controls in the operator’s left hand.  The electro-hydraulic implement-control joystick gives proportional response and has electronically controlled cylinder stops and soft detents.

The entire left control console raises up out of the way, allowing easy entrance/exit. The cab can be entered via stairways on either side of the machine. Optional rear view cameras and standard cab-mounted LED warning strobes enhance safety.

A ground-level service center gives everyone access to an electrical disconnect, emergency shutdown switch and stairway light switch.

Quick specs:
Engine: Cat C15 ACERT, 402 net horsepower
Maximum weight: 78,326 pounds
Wheel weight: 16,167 pounds
Drum diameter: 51.1 inches
Drum width: 44.3 inches
Tips per wheel: 65
Wheel diameter: 65.8 inches
Maximum forward speed: 10.7 mph

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