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Heavy equipment technologySuccessful equipment owners understand the importance of innovative technology. Those who work better and faster are able to take on more projects and ultimately increase their bottom line.

As the economy shows signs of health once again and construction needs increase, OEMs and others in heavy equipment-related industries are showcasing new innovations in quick succession.

Here are a handful of interesting developments in heavy equipment technology that are now available to increase the efficiency of construction and farm equipment:

Michelin Air-Less Tires Can’t Go Flat

Just this month, Michelin introduced a new technology that’s been in development since 1995. The Michelin X-Tweel SSL for skid-steer loaders is an air-less tire that can’t burst or go flat.

As reported by Equipment World, head of Tweel Technologies Tim Fulton says, “No-flat capability is the ultimate objective of tire manufacturing,” he says. “Many applications are very destructive to the tire—you have to fix the tire and you lose an hour or two fixing the tire. The operating costs add up.”

Michelin put its new Tweel tire to the test and captured it on video:

Bobcat Compact Loader 20% More Efficient Than Predecessor

The new Bobcat M-Series models were released at the beginning of this year, following engagement with focus groups that inspired important design and operational changes.

Construction Equipment travelled to Wells Fargo, ND to put the new T590 to the test next to its predecessor, the T190.

With no increase in horsepower, the T590 averaged 20% more efficiency during tests of drilling capability and speed, hydraulic power and efficiency, and more.

Though big gains were made in efficiency, smaller design details help T590 operators to be more comfortable and do their jobs better. For example, the cab is repositioned 2 inches farther forward for increased visibility.

High-Tech Tractors Use GPS Technology

Tractor owners used to work their fields manually, spreading implements by hand and plowing and harvesting by eyesight alone. Today, farmers who are embracing technology are saving time and increasing their efficiency and output.

In Nampa, ID, the Idaho Press-Tribune reports that farmer Steve Woodard is experiencing the benefits of GPS technology. A touchscreen in his tractor allows him to input specialized tasks that are then guided by a GPS receiver on the roof. The technology can drive his tractor in a perfectly straight line or precise circle, hands-free.

Writes Brad Carlson for the Press-Tribune:

“New-generation, tech-heavy tractors “prevent overlap and doing stuff twice” in the field, Woodard said, reducing unnecessary passes so inputs like fuel, seed and fertilizer can be saved. These tractors also cause less fatigue, which helps workers stay efficient. Software and a special steering valve increase efficiency and ease of use.”

John Deere StarFire GPS

Caterpillar Remanufacturing Offers Fuel Savings and Decreased Emissions

The Caterpillar Remanufacturing division has made great strides in decreasing the need for steel production. Caterpillar states, “Our remanufacturing business allows us to keep thousands of tons of material from landfills, while offering our customers the needed upgrades to minimize their total cost of ownership.”

With a kit, heavy equipment owners can upgrade their D11R engine systems to perform better and decrease emissions. Caterpillar claims that the upgrade kit can reduce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and PM emissions by 40 total tons per year. Fuel savings reportedly average around 10%.

Another Caterpillar retrofit kit allows diesel engines to run on a blend of natural gas and diesel. “The gas-blending kit automatically optimizes the amount of diesel being substituted with natural gas by up to 70 percent, while maintaining diesel performance, existing service intervals and component life.

Caterpillar D9L Bulldozer

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Next Year in Las Vegas

Every three years, the CONEXPO-CON/AGG exposition displays the latest in heavy equipment technology. Mark your calendar for March 4-8, 2014 and start planning your trip to Las Vegas.

With the motto, “If it’s new, it’s here,” CONEXPO is the best place for you stay updated on how to increase your efficiency and keep your business relevant in this age of technological advances.


Photos via Flickr CC, courtesy of US Army Africa, Gary Huston and Zachi Evenor.