Topic: News

Drones are the Key to Speedier and Safer Construction Site Inspections

What does this mean for construction? 3D Robotics (3DR) and Autodesk have announced that 3DR’s drones will be working with Autodesk’s Forge platform and the ReCap application for a new type of site inspection. The system, which will be directed toward construction, telecom companies, survey, mapping, energy and infrastructure industries promises to carry point cloud data directly to the cloud for speedier inspection.

Here’s a look at how it works:

“Capturing site data today is costly, time-consuming and often dangerous. Drones can easily go where it’s inefficient or unsafe for field personnel, making it easier to accurately measure our world so we can better manage it,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR.

The Forge platform consists of a variety of content for Autodesk, including cloud services, application program interfaces (APIs), and software development kits that will allow developers to create highly personalized experiences. As you’d expect, 3D Robotics is an early adopter of the platform and has leveraged Autodesk’s ReCap Photo Web API to put together a software application that can be used with their drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The underlying goal is to improve the processes that are used when building things; through modern technology such as big data, cloud storage systems and, of course, drones.

What Can 3DR’s Drones and Software Do?

Nicolas Bonnafoux of 3DR showing his company’s latest offering at REAL 2016.

At REAL 2016, Nicolas Bonnafoux of 3DR, who happens to be licensed pilot, was showing the latest collection of 3DR drones, one with a GoPro, and two others with still cameras. One doesn’t need to be a licensed pilot to fly the 3DR UAVs, however, because The Solo is a smart drone that can control both copter and camera positioning while in flight. A user can simply point out the center of the scene they want to capture on a tablet and the UAV will automatically generate its flight path.

New laws in the U.S. do require that anyone flying a UAV for commercial purposes be certified, however. This seems to be a small price to pay for having a complete, color 3D model of a build site be generated for you.

The 3DR drone and software application are meant to work in tandem to carry out inspections, surveys and scans of a worksite.

Since drones can be maneuvered remotely—and they are equipped with hardware such as cameras, sensors and more—this eliminates the need for personnel to physically scour a site. This also lowers the risk of injury to personnel, and allows them to capture and assess parts of the site that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. For example, a drone can hover around the outside of a support beam and capture photos from several different angles. Or, in the case of telecom tower inspections, a drone can be used to assess the entire structure from top to bottom, safely.

The drone can take multiple photographs and then transfer them to a web application that runs in the cloud. This can then generate a 3D point cloud, 2D orthographic views and 3D mesh models. The web application processes the collected information. That information can be fed into other Autodesk applications, such as Revit or Civil 3D, furthering analysis and planning.

The implications for a tool such as this are tremendous. A project manager or inspector could check out an entire worksite without ever stepping foot on the property. Not to mention the collected data that can be utilized to support use cases such as site monitoring, stockpile measurements, assessing the as-built context of a site and even mapping or surveys.

This comes at just the right time too, as Autodesk’s cloud-based subscription products are beginning to roll out. BIM 360 Docs, for instance, is designed to be an online repository of important documents related to a project. Through the platform, team members will always have access to up-to-date and bleeding-edge versions of documents. Imagine if those documents were expanded to include detailed models and 3D point cloud mock-ups?

Alternate Reality Capture Tools

Of course, 3DR isn’t the only company offering a reality capture and 3D mapping tool. Bentley Systems recently announced a partnership with Leica Geosystems that will see drones outfitted with Leica’s RCD30 Oblique camera.

The drones will also make use of Acute3D’s ContextCapture software to conduct 3D urban mapping projects. They will be capable of producing high-definition 3D models, out of nothing more than photographs that were taken during a scan. Furthermore, they will be able to do all of this without human intervention; they will be automated.

Just to reiterate, these drones will be able to scan an environment or site and build a full 3D model using captured photographs, and this will all be done through an automated system without human input. While The Solo will cost you $5,000 (including a Sony tablet), the same UAV with a GoPro camera and no tablet will cost about $3,200. When budgeting for 3D mapping technology, the small initial investment will save you in the long run with reduced labor costs and improved mapping.


Megan Wild posted on March 23, 2016 Forging the Way for Drones in Construction

Komatsu America Becomes Exclusive Equipment Sponsor to Heavy Equipment Adventure Company Extreme Sandbox

Extreme Sandbox 

Rolling Meadows, Ill., March 30, 2016 – Komatsu America Corp., a leading global heavy equipment manufacturer, and Extreme Sandbox, LLC, a top-rated, heavy-equipment-adventure company, today announced an exclusive equipment sponsorship agreement that enables both companies to expose more Americans to the exhilarating experience of operating heavy machinery.

Extreme Sandbox provides guests with a truly unique opportunity to fulfill their childhood dreams of operating real construction machines. The adventure takes place in a 10-acre “sandbox,” with training supervision from highly trained expert instructors who help guests learn and operate the machines, provide a proper operating environment and provide a fun and memorable experience. With manufacturing and foundry facilities in several U.S. states, Komatsu America is a leading manufacturer of earthmoving equipment primarily for the construction, mining and forestry industries.

Together, the two companies plan to expand the public’s exposure to heavy machinery. By combining Extreme Sandbox’s national expansion plans and proven track record creating memorable experiences, with Komatsu America’s world-class machines, national reach and global resources, the alliance will introduce a new generation to heavy machinery and an under-explored area for rewarding careers.

“This alliance is an opportunity to transform these impressive marvels of engineering technology from a roadside and work-zone curiosity into an informative, exciting, hands-on experience,” said Rich Smith, VP, Product and Services Division for Komatsu America Corp. “Long term, we hope climbing inside and feeling the comfort, speed and power of these machines inspires a new generation of men and women who are good with their hands to consider careers in the construction industry. The Construction Industry provides great employment opportunities for future operators, technicians and engineers. The degree to which cutting-edge technology will shape the jobsites and careers in the construction industry of the future is a well-kept secret – we want to change that,” Smith said.

“We are thrilled to showcase the Komatsu brand of equipment at our Extreme Sandbox locations nationwide,” said Randy Stenger, Founder & CEO of Extreme Sandbox. “Our business has grown quickly and with that we desired to work with an equipment manufacturer that both has a top reputation and can help support our national growth. Komatsu is a leader in the industry and we have been truly impressed with their state of the art equipment. We have built an experiential brand that knows how to have fun, that’s what we do, so it’s great to be able to expand in to other areas to leverage our very unique skillset. We see tremendous value in using ‘fun’ to get students excited about the heavy equipment trades as well as letting the general public experience what it is like to operate these types of equipment. It really does leave people with a new appreciation for what our construction workers do on a daily basis and we are proud to be able to represent the Komatsu brand,” Stenger said.

In addition to the Trip Advisor, #1-rated-attraction site in suburban Minneapolis, and the second site opening April 15, 2016, an hour north of Dallas, TX, site openings are planned for several US cities in the next few years. Permanent sites will also offer the opportunity to schedule machine and safety training at the high school and community-college level, as well as demonstration and customer appreciation events for local distributors. At the same time, through collaborations with local distributors, Extreme Sandbox will embark on periodic road tours that spread the message of a thrilling experience and a rewarding career to local communities across the country, via tailgating events, state fairs, festivals, parades, etc.

About Extreme Sandbox

Founded in 2012, Extreme Sandbox launched in Hastings, Minn. (about 30 miles southeast of the Twin Cities) as a weekend-only operation with two part-time employees, a construction trailer, and three pieces of equipment. That venue now has three full-time and four part-time employees, a 6,000 sq. ft. office/meeting and event center, and seven pieces of equipment, including a fire truck. For more information, visit

About Komatsu America Corp.

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 the 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.

Komatsu®, KOMTRAX®, and Komatsu CARE® are registered trademarks of Komatsu, Ltd. Komatsu America Corp. is an authorized licensee 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.

High school students enroll in the Student Built Home Program to learn construction skills

Members of the Flathead Building Association (FBA) have discovered one possible solution to the widespread labor shortage: Restock the low inventory of laborers with a new group of fresh (young) faces.

The home building industry in this Northwest Montana market is rejuvenated to the point where many of the builders are booking projects more than two years out. This strong demand for labor is a big reason why the FBA is sponsoring the Student Built Home (SBH) program in an effort to clear a career path for local high schoolers who have an interest in construction.

Flathead High School students are building this 1,800-square-foot home in Kalispell, Mont. All of the work is done by the students, who plan to finish the home in May.

Flathead High School students are building this 1,800-square-foot home in Kalispell, Mont. All the work is done by the students, who plan to finish the home by May.

The 38 high school juniors and seniors enrolled in the program at Flathead High School in Kalispell are building a full-sized, two-story, four-bedroom house all on their own (with the oversight of FBA members and skilled subcontractors).

Very few of the students had any building experience prior to joining the program; most simply had an interest in working with their hands in a construction-related field, and didn’t necessarily want to pursue a college education.

“Our primary goal with the program is to facilitate additional education for these kids and get them engaged in a vocation that can carry them throughout their lives,” said FBA Executive Director Renee Ewing. “We see this as one of the keys to help fill the skilled labor gap in our area where builders are continually challenged to find capable laborers.”

The project began last September, with initial support primarily coming from a non-member builder. However, the FBA has been involved from the very beginning, covering the cost of the students’ safety equipment, as well as sponsoring their FBA membership to establish a student chapter.

Just last month – when the home was nearly halfway complete – the FBA learned that the initial builder could no longer provide resources to the project. FBA builders immediately expressed their interest in helping the students finish the job.

This is the FBA’s first time serving as the primary sponsor of a high school mentoring program of this type, but its members and leaders have already seen the benefits of similar initiatives in the past.

Between 2006 and 2009, the FBA supported a program for students in the construction trades curriculum at the local community college. It helped the students build a total of five homes during that time, and in the process, introduced countless young people to a career in home building.

“Those whom I’ve interacted with in this region who are starting a career in home building – electricians, framers, roofers, masons – many have said to me, ‘this isn’t exactly what I had always planned on doing, but it’s working.’” Ewing said. “They say it’s something they enjoy and it enables them to support a family; especially now that the home building market has recovered.”

In addition to sponsoring the SBH program, the FBA also provides scholarships to high school seniors looking for continuing education opportunities in the construction trades.

More information about the project can be found at  Additional resources about NAHB Student Chapters are available at

Article provided by NAHB


Komatsu America Corp. introduces the new WA600-8 wheel loader

Up to 13 percent less fuel consumed, a bigger, better bucket and a smooth, quiet ride


Rolling Meadows, Ill., February 1, 2016 – Komatsu America Corp., a leading global heavy equipment manufacturer, today introduced the new WA600-8 Wheel Loader. Equipped with an EPA Tier 4 Final certified engine, this latest addition to the wheel loader family combines an enhanced lockup torque converter function and SmartLoader logic to achieve low fuel consumption and high travel speeds.

By optimizing control of engine power, and improving power train and hydraulic efficiency, the WA600-8 consumes up to 13 percent less fuel than its Tier 3 predecessor. Also, the standard bucket capacity increased to 9.2 cubic yards and the bucket now fills easier, retains material better and provides better visibility, contributing to machine efficiency and productivity.

“With significant enhancements in production capacity and fuel economy, the WA600-8 is designed to maximize production efficiency in loading off-highway trucks or load-and carry applications,” said Rob McMahon, product manager for Komatsu America. “Full rear fenders with steps and handrails at both sides of the machine add convenience for daily inspections. And operators will appreciate enhancements in cab comfort and machine stability,” McMahon said.

Standard features of the new WA600-8 include:

Under The Hood/Performance Enhancements

  • A powerful 23.15 liter, 529 HP, EPA Tier 4 Final certified, SAA6D170E-7 engine uses up to 13 percent less fuel than its Tier 3 predecessor.
  • Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (KDPF) and other after treatment components are designed in conjunction with the engine for efficiency and long life.
  • More than 98 percent of KDPF regeneration is performed passively, with no action required of the operator and no interference with machine operation.
  • Komatsu’s SmartLoader Logic, combined with the enhanced lockup torque converter that activates in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear, provides optimal engine torque for improved acceleration, hill-climbing ability, a higher top speed and fuel savings.

In-Cab Enhancements/Features

  • A new, air-suspension, high-back, heated seat softens machine vibrations for operator comfort and cast frame members increase strength.
  • Seat-mounted electronic pilot control levers with F-N-R switch add operator ergonomic comfort and convenience.
  • Pioneering KOMTRAX Plus telematics system and monitor provides key machine metrics, including KDPF status and DEF-level data, fuel consumption, plus performance information collected and sorted by operator ID.
  • Komatsu Auto Idle Shutdown reduces idle time and saves fuel.
  • Seven-inch, full color, high resolution monitor delivers a sharp picture and vivid colors, even in harsh light.
  • Separate, full-color, rear-view monitor comes standard and improves line-of-sight.

Additional Features/Benefits

  • Variable Traction Control system and Modulated Clutch system provide optimal tractive effort for various ground conditions.
  • Full rear fenders with stairs and handrails are now standard for both sides of the machine.
  • Swing-out cooling fan with wider fin spacing and reversing fan eases cleaning.
  • Sight gauge at DEF fill cap minimizes overfilling.
  • Additional hinged panels at each side of machine eases access to regeneration components.
  • New enhanced auto-dig function reduces operator effort required to fill the bucket.
  • Komatsu integrated load meter data is available on the machine monitor and remotely via the web.

The WA600-8 and every other Komatsu Tier 4 Final construction-sized machine, 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 limited scheduled factory maintenance, a 50-point inspection at each service, and one complimentary Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter exchange in the first five years. With select labor, fluids and filters covered by Komatsu over this period, Komatsu CARE lowers ownership costs, raises resale value and improves equipment uptime and availability. For full program details, refer to the Komatsu CARE reimbursement letter.

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 Corp. also serves the 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.  KOMTRAX® 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.


How would you do operating a virtual excavator?


WATERLOO — Stevie Medina might have felt as if she were building a new world.

She may yet.

The seat she occupied rumbled and jerked, as she worked the controls of a virtual excavator.

“It does shake,” she said, half-smiling as she maneuvered levers on either side of her chair. Focusing on a video screen as one might while playing a video game, Medina clawed into a mound of dirt on a high-definition construction site. A flick of the “joy stick” on her left, and she lifted the dirt from the pile. She nudged the stick leftward, and the excavator’s “arm” moved toward a waiting dump truck. The scoopful of dirt now over the truck, Medina pushed forward on the right-hand lever, flicked the stick in her left hand and the dirt fell precisely into the truck bed.

The monitor kept score — of how much earth Medina moved from one place to another, and how much damage she might have inflicted on any equipment in a real situation. There also was a matter of efficiency — Medina had three minutes to move as much dirt as she could.

Instant scoring

At the end of the session, a dollar figure appeared to show how much money she would earn for her virtual employer on the job. The total $611 popped up on the screen.

“I did make $750 once before, but this is one of the best,” she said of her experience on the machine.

On the other side of the ledger, she left about $49 in damage.

“I bumped into the truck one time,” she said.

Lesson learned.

More than 30 women showed up at the IowaWORKS office in Waterloo during the week of Jan. 11-15 to try their hands on virtual excavators, road graders, bulldozers and welding equipment — all set up in a simulator trailer set up adjacent to the building. The trailer housed six video screens for the heavy equipment, with a “protective” headgear allowing users to try out welding.

It was part of a joint effort between Iowa Workforce Development, IowaWORKS and Hawkeye Community College, which secured a Walmart Foundation Grant of $75,000 to expose low-income Iowa women, as well as minorities, to jobs in construction.

The grant covers the costs of bringing a specialized Hawkeye Community College construction equipment simulator/trailer along with a general instructor and assistant to each of Iowa’s 15 IowaWORKS offices in 2016.

“It’s supposed to replicate real-life environment but in a safe and not-intimidating environment,” Srdjan Golub, associate director HCC business and community education, said of the simulators. “The controls are similar to what you’d find in different pieces of equipment. They will tell you how well you’re doing, so next time around you can improve. They can upload a scenario that reflects a real project and have different scenarios and tells you how well you’re doing.”

The simulator is part of “Six Step Workshops” to allow women in the PROMISE JOBS program the opportunity to learn about non-traditional construction jobs and experience hands-on construction equipment operation simulation, although the trailer was open to the general public.

Filling a big need

“We’re trying to get people into fields in construction, welding and truck driving,” said Kenny Rotz, an instructor with Hawkeye Community College who was on hand to guide users through their experiences.

They’re all high-paying fields that are starting to feel serious hunger for new help, he said.

“You have a lot of people hitting retirement now,” Rotz said. “And there are opportunities for people who can come right in and make some good money.”

A general operator can start at $20 an hour, he said.

Some who took turns on the computerized equipment probably uncovered talents they didn’t know they possessed, Rotz said.

“Once you get a feel for the controls, they’re often great at it,” he said. “We had a guy who was on the bulldozer who never ran one, but he ran it perfect. Another guy got on the excavator and had a little harder time with that.”

Tiffany Batchelor tried out a back hoe.

Her first session didn’t go too well — she “lost” $25,160.

“I think over time I’ll get better,” she said. “It takes some getting used to the controls; I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Batchelor said the experience got her thinking about a possible career in construction.

“I’ve always found the machines and everything kind of fascinating and wondered how they all worked and everything,” she said. “It’s neat to be able to do something like this.”

It was a learning experience, Batchelor said.

The key lesson: “It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Batchelor said. “But it’s fun.”

Further training available

If a participant’s interest was strong enough to take another step, there was a 10-day training program available, which would provide some basic certification, said Ronee Slagle, IWD district manager.

“You can try the simulator and see if you like it and then try the 10-day training,” she said.

Further training also is available — with a potential for full-tuition coverage for eligible applicants — that could lead to internships and full-time employment, she said.

“Construction has changed so much,” Slagle said. “Many people think of it as digging a hole. This is operating backhoes, and we’re even including fork truck drivers. One of our larger employers wanted to see if they’d like to experience that.”

The next 10-day course is available starting March 28, with other 10-day sessions set for May and June, Golub said.

“I do know we had individuals graduate from there become employed,” he said.

All participants in the 10-day training get certified with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and many graduates have landed jobs as flaggers. Some went on to drive trucks, Golub said.

“There’s another option we do , put in for CDL training, which makes them a lot more marketable, and a few of them become equipment operators,” he said.

It starts in the simulator trailer, Slagle said.

In fact, the trailer got a trial run for that week in Waterloo, It will make stops across the state, Slagle said.

More information is available from IowaWORKS Cedar Valley-Region 7, at 3420 University Ave., Waterloo or by calling 291-2546


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Kubota’s New L47 and M62 TLBs Offer Increased Comfort, Higher Productivity, Move Kubota in a New Digging Depth Category for its TLB Line


Kubota introduces the new L47 and M62 tractor-loader-backhoes (TLBs) with features designed to meet the needs of the construction, landscaping and rental sectors. Both TLBs are more powerful than their predecessors, and comply with Tier 4 Final emissions regulations. An optional hydraulic coupler, available on both models, enables easy attachment and detachment of auxiliary implements. The M62 has a 14-foot maximum digging depth, a 17-percent improvement over the previous model. In addition, the backhoe features a quick coupler system for a fast exchange of buckets, and a four-point rear mounting system allows the backhoe to be easily removed and reattached.

 “Kubota is taking its tractor-loader-backhoe line to new levels of performance and refinement,” said Tim Boulds, Kubota construction equipment product operations manager. “Our newest generation of TLBs is more powerful, more efficient, and offers more features for comfort and convenience. The two new models feature optional single-lever hydraulic hookup for coupling and uncoupling of front implements, making Kubota’s TLBs an attractive three-in-one option to buyers in the rental, construction and landscaping sectors.”


Telematics 101: what you need to know to get started with this fleet tracking tech

Telematics Lead What is telematics?

DS: Think of it as a conduit that takes information from your vehicle or equipment and sends it to a website where you can view it. The word “telematics” is a combination of telecommunications and informatics. It is any integrated use of telecommunications with machine information technology.

Some people confuse telematics with GPS, but they are not the same. Telematics systems use GPS signals to locate and track your assets, but provide much more information on top of that. A telematics system takes the GPS coordinates from your truck, or machine plus information from that asset’s computer systems, and sends this data via a cell phone signal or satellite to a website where it can be read by the OEM and/or end user.


EW: What are the differences between telematics systems for vehicles (pickup trucks), heavy-duty trucks and off-road equipment?

DS: There are two options to look at: third-party/aftermarket systems and factory-installed OEM systems.

The third party systems for vehicles and pickup trucks are simple. You can buy a telematics dongle* for as little as $100. Plug it into the vehicle’s OBDII (on-board diagnostics) port, typically below the dash on the driver’s side, sign up for a subscription to the provider’s website and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes. This will give you basic information such as location, engine on, speed and sometimes more in-depth information like engine temps and fuel economy depending on the provider. Some vehicle telematics have built-in antennas; others may have an antennae that you attach to the dash or window with an adhesive mount.

For heavy trucks and off-road equipment telematics, the principles are the same but the installation of third party telematics boxes can be more involved, usually with a wired connection to a J1939 bus on heavy trucks or the ECM/ECU on heavy equipment. These are the computers, the brains if you will, that run your equipment. ECM is the electronic control module, sometimes also referred to as the electronic control unit.

If you are using a third-party or aftermarket telematics system, expect to pay $100 to $500 per box depending on the amount of data and service. Off-road telematics boxes tend to be ruggedized to withstand dust, water and vibration and thus are more expensive. The web access fee will run from $15 to $50 a month per machine depending on whether the unit uses cell or satellite communications, the data plan, refresh rate and other variables.

While there are a number of third party telematics providers today, most new heavy duty trucks and off-road equipment can be purchased with factory-installed telematics. And almost all the OEMs that provide telematics will give you free access to the information via their web portals for the first few years of the unit’s life. Additionally, Ford has partnered with Telogis to provide factory-installed telematics systems on its commercial trucks and GM offers the OnStar system as well.


EW: How do I install a third-party telematics box on a heavy duty truck or piece of equipment? 

DS: This is something any competent mechanic can do. Locate a power source to tie into for both full-time and key-on power. Then tie into the machine ECU/ECM circuit, usually with one wire and a splice. If an external antenna is used, the box can be mounted anywhere convenient, usually somewhere inside or outside the cab. These typically require a clear “view” of the sky to send data but some can transmit through metal, glass or plastic. Manufacturers recommend you keep the location of the antennae discrete to prevent damage and to keep thieves from breaking the antennae and possibly compromising the unit’s anti-theft capabilities.

If you want to expand on the provider’s functionality beyond the basic information feeds, you can also connect the telematics box to sensors, starter relays, etc., located throughout the equipment. These additions can count or monitor activity beyond the typical measurements taken from the engine and transmission, such as the number of times the dump body is raised on a truck, PTO time, starter disconnect, etc. Most equipment and trucks built within the last 20 years will have a J1939 bus or ECU/ECM that you can tap into. If you’re unsure consult with your telematics provider.

Note that bad connections are the most problematic issue in an install. To make sure your install lasts, use solder connections, star washers and shrink tubing where possible. Bad grounds will drive you crazy looking for erratic voltage issues.


EW: How do I get the information after I’ve installed the telematics box?

DS: Each telematics provider (OEM and third party) will have a website specific to their product. Access to the provider-specific website comes with a monthly subscription, usually waived for a certain time after a new machine purchase. Many providers will also send information and alerts to a smart phone or tablet.

The real value in a provider comes in their ability to import data from other providers’ boxes into their website, and the ability to export their data into another’s website. That way you don’t have to go to a different website for every brand of machine you have wired. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals have been working on a standard programming language for telematics feeds that does just this. If your provider’s telematics system supports the AEM/AEMP telematics standard, you’ll be able to see all your trucks and machines, run reports, and manage all your data on one website. The standard will become an ISO designation (ISO15143-3) in March 2016.


EW: What kind of data can I get from a telematics feed?

DS: The original AEMP Telematics Standard 1.0, introduced in 2010, supported four data points: asset identification, location, operating hours or miles, and fuel burn.  Most OEMs and third- party providers have evolved to give you more than that on a proprietary basis, and the new AEM/AEMP Telematics Standard 2.0 will support 19 specific data points and numerous fault codes, things like engine temperatures, fuel level, idle time, average power percentage, etc.

Customization is also possible. With telematics, you are only limited by your imagination and what your provider can offer. If you can wire a sensor or switch to a component, you can probably integrate it into a telematics feed.

You need to know what your goals are when you decide on a telematics box. If you go with an economy box, for example, you may only be able to get basic information, and not something like a load count or an added sensor feed. But keep in mind you can start with a low-cost, basic box and if you want to upgrade, reassign that box to a less critical asset.


EW: If I’m just getting started, how many telematics units should I get? 

DS: Pick a segment of your fleet and identify an issue you would like to solve. Do you have certain vehicles that are hard to locate because they keep moving from job to job? Do you lack information on remote equipment because it’s hard to get technicians to check it?  But get your feet wet. The end game will have you continuing to “light up” your fleet as you see the benefits fit your operation.

Article by Tom Jackson, January 22, 2016

Equipment World, ::




Are you prepared for the new OSHA 300 Log Recordkeeping regulations?

oshaUnder the OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.

February 1 is the deadline for posting your company’s OSHA 300 Log Summary.

Records of work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths in 2015 must be posted in an area where employee notices are usually placed and remain posted through April 30, 2016.

The OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook

With recent changes to OSHA’s injury and illness recording and reporting regulation, the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook is no longer current. The Handbook is replaced with Detailed Guidance for OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule. This page follows the same format as the Handbook and provides a compendium of existing agency approved policy, including the regulatory text and relevant decision discussion from the Preamble to the rule, Frequently Asked Questions and the Letters of Interpretation.

OSHA offers a tutorial on how to complete your 300 forms. The a slide presentation with voiceover  runs about 15 minutes and can be found at

OSHA’s free and confidential number is 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)

A Brief Tutorial on Completing the Recordkeeping Forms

This presentation reviews OSHA recordkeeping requirements at a high level, with an emphasis on how to fill out the forms provided in OSHA’s Recordkeeping Forms package. The tutorial covers what types of operations come under the recordkeeping rule, what types of injury and illness incidents must be recorded, and what information is to be included in each of the OSHA forms.



Contractors are spending more this year to invest in smartphones and tablets to manage jobsites.

Contractor worker with Getable on iPad1

Though the adoption of technology among U.S. construction firms has been somewhat disappointing in the past, there does appear to be an uptick occurring as mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets become more commonplace–and more necessary—on jobsites.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2016 Construction Industry Outlook, 42 percent of the more than 1,500 firms responding to the survey said they plan on spending at least 1 percent of their gross annual revenue on information technology (IT).

That tally is up from 32 percent in surveys conducted by Sage over the last two years, but still lags behind the 58 percent of respondents that say they will spend less than 1 percent in the coming year.

In fact, 42 percent say they have no in-house IT staff at all.

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In addition, 41 percent tell the AGC they will increase their IT investment in 2016 while 42 percent say they have formal IT plans in place. An additional 11 percent say they plan on implementing such plans in 2016.

The most widespread technology in use on U.S. jobsites are smartphones and tablets. Eighty-three percent of respondents told the AGC that mobile devices were their technology of choice for managing projects outside their traditional market area.

Meanwhile, 56 percent said they plan on using mobile software in 2016.

Of those, 76 percent said they plan to use their smartphones and tablets for daily field reports. Sixty-eight percent say they plan on using them to access customer and job information in the field while 67 percent will use the devices to share drawings, photos and documents. Here’s the full breakdown:

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It comes as no surprise, but the AGC identifies collaboration as the primary application for all technology in construction with 71 percent using file sharing sites to share information with owners, subcontractors and other project partners. Another 40 percent say they are using online project collaboration software such as Procore or FieldLens.

In terms of software the firms said they plan to invest in during 2016, accounting software took the top spot at 25 percent, followed by estimating software at 22 percent and project management software at 21 percent.

Fleet management software remains far down the list, with only 12 percent saying they plan on investing in telematics.

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Reflecting what we’ve seen from the contractors we talk to, estimating/bidding software is by far the most popular technology contractors tell the AGC they’re using to obtain work, gathering 69 percent of the respondents. Interestingly, social media finished second at an impressive 32 percent.

by Wayne Grayson

|  January 14, 2016 |

Simple equipment modifications can reduce slips, trips and falls

grader stepsFalls from equipment are the number-one source of injuries in the heavy construction arena. Traylor Bros. wanted to do something about it. Despite good access systems on most OEM equipment, Traylor Bros., fleet managers thought they could do better.

The company researched the relevant regs in the OSHA 1926 standard, says Adam Ralph, fleet maintenance engineer.

Starting with its cranes, Traylor applied the most rigorous interpretation of the recommendations in OSHA 1926. They beefed up the handrail systems, put fiberglass grip strips on platforms and painted all the leading edges of platforms yellow.

“We drew attention to the hazards if we couldn’t get rid of them,” says Ralph.

The total cost per machine was $3,320 and about six hours of labor, says Ralph. Since implementation the incident rate has gone down and the program has improved morale among the operators, he says, because they know now their incident reporting isn’t falling on deaf ears.

The company will continue to study the feasibility of access point upgrades for other models of equipment.

|  December 31, 2015 |

Equipment World