Topic: News

6 Advantages of Using a Rented Compact Excavator

Compact excavators produce results that are anything but small. Also known as mini-excavators, these machines may not have the digging depth of their full-sized counterparts, but they bring superior capabilities to smaller digging operations in close quarters.



New research from the American Rental Association (ARA) identified digging equipment, including compact excavators, as one of the most popular rental items among construction contractors. For companies that have not fully weighed the benefits of mini-excavators, following are six advantages of renting a compact excavator instead of larger excavating equipment:

  1. More versatility. You can rent attachments for a rented compact excavator to accomplish a variety of tasks using one machine. For example, you could drill a hole with an auger, demolish concrete with a breaker or move concrete debris using a thumb.
  2. Better maneuverability. Features such as 360-degree turning, offset digging and reduced tail swing allow rented compact excavators to work productively in spaces where a full-sized excavator could not move.
  3. Lower fuel expenses. A rented compact excavator uses less fuel than larger excavating equipment does. You also can tow a compact excavator using smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
  4. Lighter footprint. A rented, rubber-tracked compact excavator can move over pavement without harming it. A compact excavator’s low ground pressure also minimizes damage to turf.
  5. Less noise. Compact excavators generate less noise than larger excavators, especially when moving across pavement or other hard surfaces.
  6. Easier operation. Most operators can learn how to use a rented compact excavator’s controls very quickly.

Renting a compact excavator rather than purchasing one enables you to get exactly what you need while eliminating time and costs associated with buying, maintaining and storing equipment.


Source: American Rental Association | December 9, 2016

73% of Construction Firms Plan to Expand Headcount in 2017 as Contractors Expect Strong Demand From Public and Private Sectors

Firms in Massachusetts Lead Other States in Hiring Optimism; Contractors’ Optimism Appears Partly Based on Expectations New Trump Administration Will Invest in Infrastructure and Cut Regulatory Burdens

Seventy-three percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2017 as contractors expect private and public sector demand to grow in all market segments, according to survey results released today by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Despite the general optimism outlined in Expecting a Post-Election Bump: The 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, many firms report they remain worried about the availability of qualified workers and rising health and regulatory costs.

training2“Contractors have relatively high expectations for 2017 as they predict the economy and demands for all types of construction will grow,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “As a result of this optimism, many firms expect to expand their headcount next year.”

All but a handful of contractors expect the overall construction market to expand or remain roughly the same in 2017 compared to 2016. A total of 46 percent of respondents said they expect a higher dollar volume of projects in 2017 than in 2016, versus just 9 percent who expect a lower volume, for a net positive reading (based on unrounded numbers) of 36 percent. The remaining 45 percent expect volumes to remain more or less constant.

Contractors had a positive outlook, on net, for all 13 market segments included in the survey. Respondents are most optimistic about the outlook for both the hospital and retail, warehouse and lodging markets (23 percent net positive for both).  Respondents were also positive about the outlook for private office (20 percent net positive), manufacturing (18 percent), highway (15 percent) and public building construction (15 percent) construction. And they are optimistic about the prospects for higher education construction (14 percent), K-12 school construction (14 percent) construction and water and sewer construction (14 percent).

The only market segment where contractors are less optimistic this year than they were last year is the multifamily residential sector, where there is an 11 percent net positive for the year vs. a 14 percent net positive last year. It is important to note, however, that most respondents completed this survey in the days and weeks following the elections and may have based some of their optimism on the recent growth in stock market values and the fact the president-elect has repeatedly promised to make new investments in infrastructure, association officials noted.

Association officials noted that 73 percent of firms say they will increase their headcount in 2017. That hiring will only lead to modest increases in the overall size of firms, however. Sixty-six percent of firms report their planned hiring will increase total headcount between 1 and 25 percent while only 6 percent report they will expand their headcount by more than 25 percent this year.

Among the 28 states with large enough survey sample sizes, 94 percent of firms in Massachusetts plan to expand their payrolls in 2017, more than in any other state. Meanwhile, 45 percent of firms in Illinois report they plan to reduce headcount this year, more than in any other state. (Click here for state-by-state survey results.)

One reason many firms expect to make only slight increases to their headcounts is that they appreciate how difficult it will be to find enough qualified workers to hire. Indeed, 73 percent of firms report they are having a hard time finding qualified workers. And 76 percent of respondents predict that labor conditions will remain tight, or get worse, during the next 12 months.

Most firms report they are increasing pay and/or benefits to retain or recruit qualified staff to deal with worker shortages. Fifty-two percent report they have increased base pay rates, 35 percent report they are providing incentives and/or bonuses and 28 percent report they have increased contributions to employee benefits. Even as firms increase compensation, 52 percent report they plan to increase their investments in training and development in 2017 compared to 2016.

“Contractors remain quite concerned about labor shortages, tight margins and growing costs,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In particular, as additional older workers reach retirement age, firms will struggle to find qualified workers to replace them.”

In addition to coping with worker shortages, contractors are also worried about the continued increase in health care and regulatory compliance costs. Eighty-four percent of firms report the cost of providing healthcare for their employees increased in 2016 while 82 percent expect their healthcare costs will increase in 2017.  And 41 percent of firms report they are worried about the growth in federal regulations.

Even as firms spend more on healthcare and regulatory compliance, they are prepared to increase investments in information technology (IT).  According to the Outlook, 35 percent of firms report they invested at least 1 percent of their revenue in IT last year.  In addition, 40 percent say that their IT investments will increase in 2017.  Contractors are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to better protect their data.  Seventy-seven percent of respondents report they currently have an overall IT plan in place to prevent against hacking.

“With competition heating up for both projects and qualified staff, construction companies are relooking at how technology can help them meet these challenges head on,” said Jon Witty, vice president and general manager for Sage Construction and Real Estate, North America.  “Contractors are not only increasing their investment in IT, they are becoming more strategic about securely applying information technology to all aspects of their business.”

Association officials noted that overall economic conditions indicate 2017 should continue to be positive for the construction industry. But they added that it appears the Outlook responses are based as much in high expectations for the incoming administration and the President-elect’s commitment to investing in infrastructure, improving federal health care laws and reducing regulatory burdens.

“While the new administration and its stated policy objectives offer many reasons for optimism, there is a significant risk to the industry if the new Congress and administration under-deliver,” Sandherr said referring to policy proposals the association is making. “If plans to invest in infrastructure, reform healthcare laws and roll back regulations are delayed, many contractors will likely scale back their plans to expand headcounts.”

Sandherr added that the association has crafted two plans to help guide the administration and Congress and ensure they act quickly to deliver on their election pledges. The first plan is the association’s Agenda to Rebuild Infrastructure and the Construction Workforce, which outlines a series of steps federal officials should take to finance and fund new infrastructure investments and accelerate federal reviews. The second plan identifies regulations and executive orders that new administration should cancel, improve or reconsider.

“Together these two plans offer a clear roadmap for the administration and new Congress to help deliver on the promise of this year’s relatively positive construction outlook,” Sandherr said. “As long as the new administration follows through on its commitments, construction firms will see more demand for their services and, potentially, slightly better profit margins.”

The Outlook was based on survey results from nearly 1,300 construction firms from 49 states and the District of Columbia. Varying numbers responded to each question. Contractors of every size answered over 30 questions about their hiring, workforce, business and information technology plans. Click here for Expecting a Post-Election Bump: The 2017 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook report. Click here for the survey results.


Corning’s Gorilla Glass for Automotive team is working closely with many of the world’s top automakers to change and improve the driving experience.

CORNING, N.Y. | Corning Incorporated | January 05, 2017
Innovations in advanced glass technology enable cleaner, safer, more enhanced automotive solutions

Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) today unveiled its glass-enabled concept vehicle in its booth (#14146, Central Hall) at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, showcasing the breadth of Corning® Gorilla® Glass for Automotive applications.

As the automotive industry rapidly changes, driven by new trends in connectivity, fuel efficiency, and social behavior, Corning sees exciting new opportunities for the role of advanced glass technologies, both inside and outside vehicles.

“By bringing Corning Gorilla Glass to the automotive industry, Corning is delivering lighter, tougher, and more optically advantaged solutions, enabling improved fuel efficiency, and a safer, more enhanced user experience for both drivers and passengers,” said Marty Curran, executive vice president and innovation officer. “Corning’s leading position in mobile device cover glass has provided an excellent launch pad for glass solutions enabling smart-phone like connectivity in cars. We are excited to be demonstrating all of these new technologies and opportunities in a custom-built connected car, shown for the first time at CES.”

Corning’s Connected Car, premiering at CES features:

  • A lightweight Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield with augmented reality capabilities, providing real-time updates on traffic and landmarks, and enabling a lighter, more fuel-efficient ride.
  • A seamless, flowing Gorilla Glass dashboard and elegantly floating center console, providing users with fully integrated connectivity that keeps drivers and passengers informed and entertained.
  • Gorilla Glass hybrid sunroof and backlites, with additional lightweighting benefits, contributing to improved fuel efficiency.

Cleaner Cars — When used as part of an automobile’s windows, Gorilla Glass enables more than one-third weight reduction compared with conventional car windows. This weight reduction can contribute to better fuel efficiency and significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions. That’s no small matter in the face of government regulations and worldwide demand for more environmentally friendly automobiles.

Safer Cars — By design, lightweight Gorilla Glass contributes to lighter vehicle weights, which can improve a car’s acceleration, handling and braking performance. Two times tougher than conventional soda lime glass, Gorilla Glass for Automotive translates into 50% fewer windshield cracks and replacements. And finally, Gorilla Glass for Automotive features three times improved optical clarity, delivering clearer and brighter windows that are also equipped to enable a three times larger viewing area for next-generation Head-Up Displays, with dramatically brighter and sharper images.

Connected Cars — Without question, the same connectivity consumers enjoy with their smartphones, tablets and wearables is now being integrated into the driving experience. With its industry-leading damage-resistance, optical clarity and touch sensitivity, Gorilla Glass enables an excellent multi-touch response, better viewing and an enhanced communication experience for a more connected car. And unlike existing glass technologies for interiors, Gorilla Glass can be easily and more cost efficiently formed into three-dimensional shapes, curving precisely around consoles and dashboards for enhanced ergonomics and design appeal.
Throughout its history, Corning has built a reputation as a world leader in precision glass, working directly with customers and ecosystem partners to develop glass solutions engineered for their specific needs and designs. The company is now leveraging its precision glass capabilities, fusion manufacturing expertise, and auto industry experience to extend Gorilla Glass into the automotive glass market.


About Corning Incorporated

Corning ( is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. They include damage-resistant cover glass for smartphones and tablets; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks; trusted products that accelerate drug discovery and manufacturing; and emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles.

Source: CORNING, N.Y. | Corning Incorporated | January 05, 2017

US Construction Spending Hits Highest Level in 10 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders boosted spending on construction projects for a second straight month in November, pushing activity to the highest level in more than a decade.

Construction spending rose 0.9 percent in November after a 0.6 percent increase in October, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The increase reflected solid gains in home construction, nonresidential building and government construction activity.

The gains in all three categories pushed total construction to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.18 trillion, the highest point since April 2006 when a housing boom fueled building.

Economists believe construction will continue to show gains in 2017, reflecting a strong job market with unemployment at the lowest point in nine years.

Financial markets sent stock prices to record highs following the election of Donald Trump, reflecting in part enthusiasm over his vows to increase spending on projects to repair and replace the country’s aging infrastructure.

For November, the 1 percent rise in residential construction reflected a 1.8 percent rise in single-family construction which offset a 2.7 percent drop in the smaller and more volatile apartment construction sector.

The 1 percent rise in nonresidential construction followed a 1.6 percent decline in October. The gains in November were led by 7 percent jump in hotel and motel construction.

The 0.8 percent advance in government projects reflected a 3.1 percent rise in spending at the federal level and a 0.6 percent increase in construction by state and local governments.

President Barack Obama sought for a number of years to get Congress to approve higher infrastructure spending, but he was blocked by opposition from Republicans who complained that the projects would increase budget deficits. Democrats in Congress have already expressed support for Trump’s proposals to boost construction spending. His ideas, however, may still face opposition from Republicans worried about high deficits.


How the New 2017 OSHA Fall Protection Code Could Impact Equipment Purchases

According to various reports, the global fall protection equipment market will reach $3.5 billion by 2020. Considering this statistic and the ongoing requirement to repurchase soft goods, it’s likely that your organization will be buying fall protection equipment in the coming year.

The new Fall Protection Code is the most current and robust resource to ensure you are getting the right equipment to meet today

When it’s time to buy new equipment, the recently released ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2016 standard—now officially named the Fall Protection Code—is the most current and robust resource for information to ensure you are getting the right equipment to meet today’s standards. The Z359.1 standard takes effect on Aug. 14, 2017, and this breakthrough revision will most directly impact equipment manufacturers. But it’s critical for all buyers of fall protection equipment to learn about the new standards now to understand and prepare for the changes that come with the updated requirements. When you are properly educated, you can be a better consumer for your organization.

As stated in the standard document, the following is the purpose of the new Z359.1 standard:

This standard specifies minimum requirements for the processes, systems, sub-systems and components used in a managed fall protection program that meets all of the requirements of the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code.

How Did We Get Here?
First, it’s important to note that a voluntary consensus standard like ANSI is not the law, but it complements OSHA and other governmental regulations. Even with a new OSHA rule on walking-working surfaces and fall protection systems becoming effective this month, the general nature of OSHA regulations does not provide specific guidance about the fall protection equipment being used in the market today.

The first edition of Z359.1, which was published in 1992, was the first American National Standard for personal fall arrest systems in non-construction occupations. It established requirements for performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use, maintenance, and removal from service of full body harnesses, connectors, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines, and self-retracting lanyards. This standard was reaffirmed in 1999 and revised in 2007.

For nearly a decade since, the ANSI Z359 committee has been working on new standards to address specific equipment components, such as harnesses, connectors, lanyards, self-retracting devices, and anchorage connectors. With the publication of these new component standards between 2009 and 2016, the requirements of the original Z359.1 standard have been superseded. Still, many organizations simply refer to the Z359.1 standard as a catch-all to cover anything related to fall protection equipment. In producing the new Z359.1 standard, ASSE was able to honor that brand recognition.

Starting in 2014, the committee undertook a landmark revision to the Z359.1 standard that requires manufacturers to meet all provisions of the Fall Protection Code in order to claim compliance with ANSI.

The specific language used in the standard is:

Before any product shall bear an ANSI/ASSE Z359 marking or be represented in any way as being in compliance with any ANSI/ASSE Z359 standard, the requirements of the associated product standard shall be met.

Said another way, equipment can only be considered compliant with ANSI if it is compliant with all applicable standards within the entire Fall Protection Code. As such, the requirements are now more stringent and protective than the previous Z359.1 standard.

One Code—One Point of Reference
While a majority of the criteria within the Fall Protection Code is prepared to create consistency and minimum requirements for products offered by manufacturers and distributors, there is also a significant amount of information that is relevant for the user’s organization.

The primary intent of this standard is to provide a key to understanding and applying all the various standards that make up the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code. While the equipment component standards still provide the detailed content related to their respective subjects, the new Code provides a single point of reference to define and validate compliance with the Code.

All component-oriented product standards are numbered with a scheme that includes two digits, starting at the body support device and ending at the anchorage. Therefore, ANSI/ASSE Z359.11 is the first component-oriented product standard and therefore, it addresses the requirements for a full body harness. Also, ANSI/ASSE Z359.18 addresses anchorage connectors which are commonly the terminus of component-oriented products.

Applying the Fall Protection Code
The interdependence of the ANSI/ASSE Z359 standards is key to their application. In addition, it is becoming more common—and in some instances a requirement—that a qualified person (who is commonly an engineer) design the overall system. This act of design includes selecting the system, ensuring strength of the anchorage(s), specifying equipment components, preparing use and rescue procedures, and verifying the implementation of general and system-specific training. Requirements for engineered systems are found in the Z359.6 standard.

It’s also important to note the following points to maintain ongoing compliance with the Fall Protection Code:

  • All products must meet the current version of the applicable standard when purchased.
  • Products in use when new standards or revisions to existing standards become effective can continue to be used until they are removed from service.
  • The ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 standard will be kept up to date as new standards and revisions are developed and published, so organizations must follow these ongoing updates to maintain compliance.

There’s More to Fall Protection than Equipment
Although the equipment aspect of fall protection is likely the most visible element, all of the standards must be implemented to create a safe and truly compliant fall protection system and program. For example, training, fall hazard surveys, and procedures are critical to safely identifying, evaluating, and controlling fall hazards. The ANSI/ASSE Z359.2 standard is the only place to find vetted guidance on a managed fall protection program and should be integral to your overall program.

Also, relevant information can be found within the product standards that provides guidance on the use and limitations associated with the specific product category. Manufacturers and distributors are also required to provide this information in the instruction material provided with the product.

Where Do You Go from Here?

  • Continue to reference ANSI Z359.1 in your organization’s program—it is the easiest way to cast a net around all the different standards.
  • Download and read the standard, especially the foreword, to better understand how the ANSI Z359 standards are constructed.

Consider attending the virtual symposium sponsored by ASSE on Feb. 20 and 21 to get more information and questions of those involved on the Z359 Accredited Standards Committee. See for more information.


This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Thomas Kramer, PE, CSP, is a principal with LJB Inc. and currently serves as the president of the International Society for Fall Protection, as well as subcommittee chairman for two ANSI Z359 committees on active fall protection. He can be reached at

NAPA Know How: Should you use synthetic oil in your car?

Shell Pearl Oil GTL refinery


Choose a synthetic oil and your engine will enjoy multiple benefits, including improved viscosity performance under extreme temperatures, resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown, as well as avoiding some oil sludge issues. That said, how is synthetic oil made? Let’s examine the process and help you determine the right oil for your car.

Motor Oil Background

Some of the first API rated synthetic motor oils for internal combustion engines were introduced in 1970s. Since then, most major oil manufacturers have jumped in with their own synthetics. Today, consumers have their choice of conventional,  synthetic-blend, and synthetic motor oils, although not all oils are the same. oil dipstick

How Synthetic Oil Is Made

Synthetic oil is made in the lab, thus each manufacturer takes different approaches. No manufacturer is about to share proprietary information about the process, but we can deduce certain facts about development without sounding like a chemistry professor in the process.

Full synthetic, or 100 percent synthetic oils, are usually extracted from crude oil or a byproduct of the same. In the case of Pennzoil, they have figured out how extract synthetic oil from natural gas.


Just like conventional oil, synthetics are refined. From there, the differences become apparent as synthetic motor oil is distilled and purified, before it is reduced to its basic molecules. The process extracts more impurities than what is found in conventional oils while enabling individual molecules to be customized to work with today’s sophisticated machinery. Synthetic oil has gone through additional chemically engineered processes, so the molecules are more uniform in shape with fewer impurities. One could make the analogy that conventional oil is like rocks (varying molecules with many impurities) and synthetic oil is like marbles (uniform molecules with few impurities). In general, synthetic oil has better high and low temperature performance, and synthetic motor oils are usually formulated with higher performing additives. There is still a performance difference amongst different synthetics. For example, synthetic oil that is made from natural gas, via a gas-to-liquids (GTL) process, has even better high temperature oxidation stability and lower volatility, which is critical for both low viscosity and high performance motor oils.

Motor Oil for Your Car

What’s the best motor oil for your car? That answer is straightforward. Choose a full synthetic motor oil that meets the viscosity grade and engine oil specification listed in your vehicle owner’s manual. Synthetics provide better protection, and 7 in 10 new cars are factory filled with synthetic motor oil, as of 2016.

Although your manufacturer may not specifically recommend synthetic oil, keep in mind that synthetic motor oil provides the best performance at both cold and hot temperatures. This is especially important for modern fuel economic engines as well as high performance engines with turbochargers and/or direct injection.  For example, because Pennzoil Synthetics are made from natural gas instead of crude oil, they have better high temperature performance and provide complete engine protection for both modern fuel economic engines and high performance engines.

Making the Switch

Ultimately, synthetic motor oil may help extend the life of your car by keeping your engine working. That’s one important reason owners make the switch to synthetic motor oil.

For more information on synthetic oil chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Shell Oil Company.

Komatsu America Corp. introduces the new PC650LC-11 hydraulic excavator

Production machine built for big dirt, rock and quarry applications; ideal for loading 30-40 ton articulated and rigid dump trucks


Rolling Meadows, Ill., December 15, 2016 – Komatsu America Corp., a leading global heavy equipment manufacturer, today introduced the new PC650LC-11 hydraulic excavator. With an operating weight between 140,456 lbs (63710 kg) and 145,284 lbs (65900 kg), the PC650LC-11 maintains the powerful productivity and transportability of the previous model, while improving fuel efficiency, cab design, and serviceability.

Additionally, the PC650LC-11 is equipped with the latest KOMTRAX® technology. Data such as fuel levels, Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) levels, operating hours, location, cautions and maintenance alerts are relayed to the web application for analysis. A new Operator Identification System provides up to 100 ID codes which can be used to track and report on key machine operating information for various applications, operators or jobs. A new Auto Idle Shutdown function helps reduce idle time as well as operating costs.

“The PC650LC-11 is matched perfectly for high-production loading of 30-40 ton trucks, and well suited for deep sewer and water trenching applications,” said Justin Lantin, product marketing manager, Komatsu America. “It is also designed to accommodate flexible job operations that require frequent transportation with reduced time required for disassembly,” Lantin said.

Standard features of the new PC650LC-11 include:

Tier 4 Final Certified Engine Technology:

  • A 436 net horsepower hp. (325 kW), Komatsu SAA6D140E-7, EPA Tier 4 Final emissions certified engine.
  • Integrated, Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) system that uses Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to meet EPA Tier 4 Final emission regulations for NOx emissions.
  • Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) and an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve for more precise temperature and air management control, as well as longer component life.

Highly Efficient Hydraulic System

  • All major components, including the engine, hydraulic pumps, motors, and valves exclusively designed and produced by Komatsu.
  • Integrated design, using a Komatsu open center load sensing hydraulic system, features three working modes to match performance in a wide variety of applications.
  • Additional hydraulic system enhancements reduce hydraulic loss, improving efficiency.
  • Hydraulically driven, reversible cooling fan varies fan speed in response to coolant, hydraulic oil, and ambient air temperatures, creating better efficiency and a quiet work environment for the operator.

Operator Environment

  • Comfortable, quiet work environment to help operators maximize productivity.
  • ISO certified cab, specifically designed for hydraulic excavators, strengthened by a reinforced box structure framework.
  • Cab mounted on viscous isolation dampers for low vibration levels.
  • Standard, heated air suspension high back seat, with new, fully adjustable armrests for improved comfort.
  • Standard AM/FM stereo radio, plus auxiliary input, for connecting external devices to play music through the cab speakers.
  • 12-volt power ports incorporated into the cab.
  • Enhanced, high-resolution, seven inch LCD color monitor displays information in 33 languages, for global support.
  • Operator can select up to three working modes to match machine performance to the application.
  • Monitor panel displays DEF fluid level, ecology guidance, operational records, fuel consumption history, and utilization information.
  • New display combines vehicle information with wide, landscape view from standard rearview camera, allowing operator to easily view working area directly behind the machine.

Convenient Maintenance and Serviceability

  • Handrails on both sides of the upper structure for easier access.
  • Large, easy-to-reach, 16.4 gallon (62.2 liter) refill capacity DEF tank, in a lockable compartment, provides 2:1 diesel-to-DEF refill ratio.
  • Hydraulically-driven fan can be manually reversed to simplify cleaning the cooling assembly.
  • Radiator and hydraulic oil coolers mounted side by side, for easy maintenance and service.
  • Standard, 24 volt lubrication pump with hose reel to ease grease-fitting maintenance.
  • Exclusive Komatsu EMMS (Equipment Management Monitoring System) continuously monitors all critical systems, enables preventative maintenance, and provides trouble-shooting assistance to minimize diagnosis and repair time.

The PC650LC-11, whether rented, leased or purchased, is covered by the Komatsu CARE® program for the first three years or 2000 hours, whichever comes first. Komatsu CARE includes scheduled factory maintenance, a 50-point inspection at each service and up to two complimentary Komatsu DPF exchanges and up to two DEF tank flushes in the first five years.

Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment. Komatsu America also serves forklift and forestry markets. Through its distributor network, Komatsu offers a state-of-the-art parts and service program to support its equipment. Komatsu has proudly provided high-quality reliable products for nearly a century. Visit the website at for more information.

Note: All comparisons and claims of improved performance made herein are made with respect to the prior Komatsu model unless otherwise specifically stated. Materials and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Komatsu America Corp. is an authorized licensee of Komatsu Ltd.  KOMATSU®, and Komatsu CARE® are registered trademarks of Komatsu Ltd.  All other trademarks and service marks used herein are the property of Komatsu Ltd., Komatsu America Corp., or their respective owners or licensees.  

Tesla’s Gigafactory – The Largest Physical Footprint in the World

It’s no secret that the linchpin in Tesla’s ambitious plan to manufacture more than 500,000 cars per year by 2018 is the company’s Gigafactory, an absolutely enormous factory that’s still under construction in Sparks, Nev. The primary task of the Gigafactory will be to churn out batteries at an impressive clip, and while construction will not be 100% complete for a few more years, the Gigafactory is already partially operational.

Measuring in at 5.5 million square feet, the Gigafactory is an absolutely colossal structure. In fact, the building has the largest physical footprint in the world. Naturally, constructing the Gigafactory itself is a huge undertaking that will likely cost Tesla a whopping $5 billion when the dust settles.

If all goes according to plan, Tesla boasts that “by 2018, the Gigafactory will reach full capacity and produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.” Speaking to this point in characteristically colorful language, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the following during an earnings conference call last year: “Cells will be going through [the Gigafactory] like bullets from a machine gun. In fact, the exit rate of cells will be faster than bullets from a machine gun.”

Over the past few months, Tesla has dutifully been building the Gigafactory out, and new 4K drone footage from Matthew Roberts reveals just how much progress the company has made over the past few months. What’s more, the footage gives viewers a very real sense of just how big the Gigafactory is.

Now given that Tesla has a history of missing deadlines — both the Model S and the Model X shipped later than expected — it will be interesting to see if Tesla will be able to get the Gigafactory where it needs to be in order to meet strong demand for the Model 3.

Source: Yahoo


How contractors are using hot tech to beat cold weather

Think you’ve got it cold? The Alaska Department of Transportation’s Northern Region is located almost entirely above the Arctic Circle and features the widest range of temperature extremes. It is also the most diverse region geologically, making the business of building roads and infrastructure — and keeping them open and running — a constant challenge.

To keep projects on schedule and on budget, contractors begin by using some analog tech. “Our major technology is just the calendar,” said ADOT Northern Region construction manager Michael Lund. “For the most part we have a six-month season and do the work when it is light out and equipment and materials and roadways have thawed and you can meet project specs without dealing with snow and ice. There’s less specialized equipment needs, less maintenance and less safety risks for people and personnel.”

When crews are forced to work projects during the winter months, safety becomes imperative. Last year, flooding on the Dalton highway — the 500-mile stretch from Livengood to Deadhorse made infamous by the Ice Road Truckers TV show — saw DOT crews performing winter construction to protect the roadway and its insulated substrate. “In those kind of conditions, you cannot get out of your vehicle,” Lund said. “Within 10 minutes you’re already at risk of frostbite.”

For working job sites north of the Arctic Circle (and even cold weather projects in the rest of the U.S. and Canada), polar contractors rely on ingenuity, high-performance protective gear and a range of technologies to provide worker comfort, address the challenges of building and working on ice and permafrost and avoid wind and snow hazards that can imperil contractor safety and balloon project costs.

Freeze frame

Building at the polar extremes often means incorporating construction technology not to warm things up, but to keep them cold. To keep the Dalton Highway infrastructure from warming in the sunlight and sinking into the permafrost, 2-inch thick, 4-inch by 8-inch sheets of insulation board are buried 4 inches below the substrate.

“For the most part we have a six-month season and do the work when it is light out and equipment and materials and roadways have thawed and you can meet project specs without dealing with snow and ice.”

 Michael Lund

ADOT Northern Region construction manager

To complete the last 50 miles of the highway, 400,000 board sheets were installed last year to keep the roadway embankments frozen solid. ADOT also uses thermosiphons to cool highway embankments, a technology that can keep the ground surrounding the thermosiphon frozen even during the summer months.

Dealing with freeze-thaw cycles can also impact cold-weather contractors in the lower 48 states. Marc Finch is the director of operations at DominionAG, which uses glycol heaters to thaw and excavate frozen ground at sites in Illinois and upstate New York. Those thaws can produce mud up to 3 feet deep, necessitating de-watering with swales and temporary trenching to keep the work area safe and clear.

“We use drones to map projects and also install webcams from TrueLook to provide job site monitoring and project time-lapse photos for identifying drainage issues in cold-weather environments as well as getting real-time weather information correlated with job site imagery,” Finch said. “And then in any cold work environment you need to focus on hydration, provide frequent breaks and work in teams and never alone.”

Suiting up

For workers pressed into cold-weather service, high-performance clothing including heated jackets, boots and gloves can keep core body temperatures up and the elements at bay. Bosch entered the apparel market this year with its the Bosch Max Heated Jacket. Powered by the same 12-volt max lithium-ion battery used for the company’s power tools, the jacket features three heat zones — two on the chest and one on the back that start warming in minutes and provide up to six hours of heated runtime on low heat level.

Bryce Fisher is a co-founder of Ravean, which pulled in $265,000 via Kickstarter this fall to support the company’s new Ultra-Light heated jacket. Designed as a mid-layer protective garment, the jacket has been adapted to use Quick Charge 2.0 batteries to heat several independent heat zones. Fisher said the batteries will automatically sense the power needs of the jacket wearer and adjust voltage output accordingly.

“There are days when the frigid temperatures become brutal and a sense of warmth can help the body adjust to become more productive on the job.”

 Jim Bohn

Bosch director of strategic development

Originally designed to supply what Fisher said is a largely underserved market for women’s heated jackets, the Ultra-Light has enjoyed high adoption among oil-field workers in Utah and beyond. “Guys are out working in negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a lot of other specialized equipment, so a lightweight heated down mid-layer helps them to take any jacket to the next level,” Fisher said.

The Bosch and Ravean jackets both feature a battery USB port to charge smartphones and other personal electronics, and the batteries could be used in the future as a power source for a wide range of networked wearables.

“For job sites, there is definitely an interest in comfortable cold weather construction apparel,” said Bosch director of strategic development Jim Bohn. “There are days when the frigid temperatures become brutal and a sense of warmth can help the body adjust to become more productive on the job.”

With cold weather contractors in mind, Vibram this year launched Arctic Grip boot soles that provide enhanced grip on wet and slick surfaces, including ice. The soles feature microgrooves imbedded with glass fibers for enhanced grip and are currently available in boots including the Wolverine Crossbuck FX Ice+ and CAT Footwear Stiction HI WP Ice+. Wolverine also offers an Arctic Grip soled boot that features thermos-chromatic lugs that change color when the temperature drops below freezing to alert wearers of environmental conditions or temperature drop hazards.

Sole technology could use some improvement when it comes to cold-weather work boots. A study of 98 different boots conducted by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s winter lab found that only 8% could pass a slip test on a 6-inch-by-6-inch sheet of ice angled at just a 7 degree incline (Vibram’s Arctic Grip was one of the few soles that passed).

Clear the roads

Back in Alaska, the DOT’s construction teams ramp up maintenance and operations units across the winter months to respond to blizzard conditions and keep the roads and bridges clear. In Valdez, Thompson Pass features 750 inches of snow every year, and the department has adopted augmented reality heads-up display that allow plow drivers to reach speeds of 45 mph in zero visibility conditions. “It’s a great technology that keeps them right in their lines and has been very effective,” Lund said.

Developed by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute at the University of Minnesota in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Vehicle initiative, the smart plows use a combination of radar and light image and detection (LIDAR) technologies with a GPS integrated heads-up-display similar to those used in fighter jets to provide AR data and road visuals to drivers.

And if construction needs do come up, the DOT will typically RFP jobs along the Dalton Highway to external contractors, and when it can, time the bids to postpone work as deep into summer as possible. “We’re going to make sure the infrastructure is accessible and functioning,” Lund said, adding that building anything in Alaska requires a wide degree of flexibility as weather conditions, remote locations and logistics constantly stress project timelines.

“Because cost is such a huge driver to public infrastructure, especially in Alaska, we’ll often specify what we want the completed product to look,” Lund said. “And the end, how you get there is up to you.”

Top image credit: Ian Mackenzie

New Tappan Zee Bridge Hits Construction Milestone


Construction crews have topped off the eight main bridge towers and will pour the final concrete this week.


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Work on the new $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River north of New York City has hit a major milestone.

State officials say construction crews have topped off the eight main bridge towers and will pour the final concrete this week.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo celebrated the accomplishment with a visit Tuesday to the bridge’s Westchester side. He said the new span is expected to open on schedule in 2018.

In addition to the eight bridge towers, 90 percent of the bridge’s support structures have been completed. More than 220 million pounds of steel and 300,000 cubic yards of concrete will go into the bridge.

State officials say that’s enough concrete to build a sidewalk from the project site to Key West, Florida.

The existing bridge serves an average of 140,000 vehicles each day.

Source: The Washington Times