New products, processes and solutions are at the heart of every trade fair. Needless to say, this is especially true of bauma, the largest trade fair in the world. The coming edition of the world’s leading trade fair for construction machinery, building material machines, mining machines, construction vehicles and construction equipment—the 31st — will take place from April 11 to 17, 2016 in Munich. Below we present an initial selection of the new products on show and outline emerging trends in terms of advancements and innovations in construction machinery.
One of the current market requirements for the most diverse types of construction machinery is efficiency — even in small spaces. “Compact” is an oft-used keyword here. Among its cold milling machines, therefore, German manufacturer Wirtgen is also offering a “Compact Class”. Its existing range of machinery has now been supplemented by the W 150 CFi front loader. The company claims that the new product combines the advantages of small milling machines—maneuverability, one-man operation and flexibility — with the front loader principle and the productivity of Wirtgen’s large milling machines. According to the company the W 150 CFi, with a working width of 1.5 m and a milling depth of up to 330 mm, is particularly suitable for larger construction sites where space is limited, such as in city centers. When maneuvering under these conditions, the machine’s sophisticated visibility concept in combination with its camera system is said to be helpful.
The two new EZ80 and EZ53 excavator models from manufacturer Wacker Neuson are also designed for work in confined spaces. As so-called ‘zero tail’ excavators, they have no rear overhang. According to information provided by the company, they can achieve high levels of excavation performance even in hard to reach places. Finally, the smaller EZ53 model, with an operating weight of around 5.3 tonnes, is claimed to be one of the most powerful excavators in its class. According to Wacker Neuson, the larger EZ80 model, with an operating weight of around eight tonnes, impresses with low fuel consumption.
It’s not only in city centers but also during handling operations that space can be restricted. With the new edition of its Pick & Carry 730 rehandling excavator, Lower Bavarian manufacturer Sennebogen is launching a machine aimed specifically at timber handling. With a tail swing radius of 2.76 m and a width of 3.30 m it is designed to be very compact and, at the same time, highly stable. With a working radius of 10.5 m, the excavator achieves a working load of up to 4.2 tonnes. And, thanks to the 360-degree infinitely rotatable upper carriage, it can always be driven forward out of sorting lanes, thus eliminating the need for complex maneuvering.
There is a continuing expectation for modern construction machinery to help speed up production processes on construction sites. This is where automatic controls integrated at the factory, which are finding their way into increasing numbers of construction machines, come into play. Thus Caterpillar and Zeppelin, for example, are showing a new assistance function with semi-automatic shovel control for chain excavators at bauma. Using the “CAT Grade with Assist” system, the driver references his shovel cutting edge to a known height spot, enters a height offset and can begin to prepare the fine level automatically with centimeter-perfect accuracy. Throughout the process the shovel is carried along at a constant cutting angle. As the driver cannot press the shovel cutting edge under the set level in automatic operation, he avoids digging too deep. This saves unnecessary additional excavation of material and follow-up work. According to the manufacturer, Assist displays its strengths specifically in situations where it is difficult for the driver to estimate the height, for example in canal construction or building pit excavation.
Komatsu Europe is also assisting drivers with automatic solutions: in Munich it is introducing the new D85EXi/PXi-18 dozer with intelligent machine control. Using this equipment, both the rough cut and the fine leveling can be carried out in automatic operating mode. The system senses and controls the load adjacent to the blade and automatically optimizes the penetration depth of the blade. In contrast to the retrofit solutions available on the market, this technology too is integrated into the machine back at the factory. According to Komatsu, dozers equipped with intelligent machine control can achieve substantially improved operating efficiency — especially if an accurate final fine level has to be guaranteed.
For drivers, automatic controls also mean increased comfort. In general, working comfort in the cab and the process awareness resulting from it are increasingly becoming the focus of attention for construction machinery manufacturers. In the experience of British manufacturer JCB, the CommandPlus cab in its wheeled loader flagship 457, which has been optimized in terms of comfort and visibility, has proved ideal in practical conditions. This is why the company has now also equipped its medium-range machine segment with it: at bauma, four more wheeled loader models featuring the cab, in which the B-pillars are placed at the same width as the rear, will be on show. This results in a large interior with very good visibility thanks to a panoramic front windscreen. “Command Driving Position” is the name given by JCB to the driver position with its re-engineered pedals, an adjustable steering column and seat-mounted hydraulic levers. Full-color LCDs show the operator screens of the loader and act as a monitor for a rear-view camera.
In order to intelligently combine new developments in a visionary cab, last year independent OEM suppliers and scientists banded together to form the “CAB concept cluster.” Together they designed the “genius cab”. The model cab is claimed to set standards in terms of safety, intuitive handling, driver comfort, maintenance and design. Not only will it be on show for the first time at the Munich trade fair, it has also been nominated for the bauma Innovation Award in the “Design” category. The Award recognizes research and development teams of companies and universities who make practical, cutting-edge technology for the construction, building materials and mining industries ready for the market while keeping the environment, resources and human beings very much in mind.
In the “Components” category of the bauma Innovation Award a new high-strength fiber rope for lifting applications is nominated that Liebherr has developed together with Austrian rope manufacturer Teufelberger. It is up to 80 per cent lighter than steel ropes and, in addition, has a longer service life. Due to the reduced weight of the rope, working loads can be increased with no change in the gross vehicle weight. Fitting and removal is also simplified, as the fiber ropes can often be fitted by hand and without auxiliary reeving winches on the crane. Furthermore, lubrication of the ropes is no longer required. At bauma 2016, Liebherr is presenting the rope, which is about to be launched onto the market, in a technology pavilion on its exhibition stand in the open-air exhibition ground.
In general, cranes continue to be a rich field for new developments and refinements. Accordingly, among other products the American company Terex, which specializes in lifting and materials handling solutions, is showing its new “Boom Booster kit” for the Superlift 3800 crawler crane at bauma. The welded steel structure consists of up to seven sections, each twelve meters long, for direct mounting onto the crane. The Superlift 3800 crane can thus achieve a maximum hook height of 174 m and, in this configuration, lift loads of up to 80 tonnes. In the opinion of the manufacturer, the upgraded multifunctional crane is especially well-suited for the construction of large wind turbines where lifting heights of more than 140 m are required.
Last year, German manufacturer Wolffkran opened a new branch in the USA. To coincide with their expansion the Heilbronn company developed US versions of its two luffing cranes, the Wolff 355 B and 700 B. At bauma, Wolffkran is showing the smaller 355 B US model. To adapt to American specifications its boom can be provided with an optional auxiliary hoist. The electrical system and method of construction have also been modified to conform with the regulations of the new target market.
In the first quarter of 2016 Manitowoc Cranes will break away from The Manitowoc Company. bauma will be the first large specialist trade fair attended by Manitowoc Cranes as an independent company. Among the innovations it has announced is the MDT 389 tower crane. The new development is the largest of a new range of topless cranes from Potain which are all equipped with the Manitowoc crane control system (CCS). The CCS is a new operating system that is set to be available in all new Potain tower cranes in the foreseeable future. According to the company, CCS offers its users a high degree of comfort and flexibility, especially ergonomic operation and improved lifting capacity.