CONEXPO-CON/AGG offered something for everyone

ConAgg 2014 125by Jon M. Casey

With an estimated 150,000 attendees participating in the 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG, it goes without saying that the more than 2000 vendors at this year’s event would be able to offer equipment and services to meet the needs of just about any construction contractor, large or small. Most Hard Hat News readers are already familiar with the show that took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 4-8. The size of the expo and scope of equipment on display is without equal in North America. With everything from security systems to towering, mobile tracked cranes, and everything in between, shoppers were able to meet with vendors representing product brands from around the world.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, The National Ready Mix Concrete Association, the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association, and The Associated General Contractors of America co-sponsor CONEXPO-CON/AGG. This triennial event is designed to help meet the product and service needs of a number of industries including those in aggregate and concrete, recycling, and C&D waste handling, general construction and other similar heavy industries. For many attendees including me, there are not enough days available to see everything.

Many of the companies exhibiting there introduced new products or services, however in this coverage, I’ll be taking the opportunity here to highlight but a few of them. As one might imagine, if time and space allowed, we could possibly feature hundreds or perhaps thousands of these “new” items.

One of the more interesting events of note at this year’s show was the re-introduction of Kobelco Construction Machinery as the sole sales and marketing entity for Kobelco equipment in North America, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa and the CIS countries. This is in addition to Asia, the Pacific area including Australia, the region that Kobelco was selling to under a previous agreement with CNH Global N.V. It was previously announced January 1, 2013, that Kobleco would re-establish itself as the sole supplier of Kobelco equipment in North America, particularly in the US. Accordingly, the US company will be headquartered in Katy, TX. Mr. Pete Morita, President and CEO of KOBELCO Construction Machinery USA, said that their company is looking to future possibilities of establishing a manufacturing plant in the US in the coming years.

As part of KOBELCO’s promotional efforts for 2014, they built created five limited edition SK350LC crawler excavators wrapped in a patriotic/military design as part of a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). KOBELCO recently announced it will donate $100,000 to this non-profit that supports a full range of programs and services for this generation of injured veterans and their families. The proud purchasers of these machines saluting our troops are Abele Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc. (Albany, NY), Baschmann Services Inc., (Elma, NY), Mid Country Machinery (Fort Dodge, IA), Scott-Gallaher Inc. (Roanoke, VA) and Southeastern Equipment Co., Inc.  (Cambridge, OH). Southeastern sold its unit to Shelly & Sands, Inc., headquartered in Zanesville, OH, a company specializing in infrastructure and highway construction in the Midwest. [Ed. Note: purchasers in the Hard Hat News readership area are highlighted for added recognition.]

Another novel marketing idea at the show came from GEHL, who is celebrating 40 years of skid loader manufacture with a Throwback R190 Skid Loader Sweepstakes. Gehl began designing skid loaders in 1973 and to celebrate this anniversary, they will be giving away one of these special R190 units to a lucky winner sometime after June 30,2014. At their exhibit, GEHL not only had the R190 on display, but they also had an original, restored model 2500 on hand as well.

CASE Construction introduced several new pieces of equipment however the most eye-catching of the lot was their CASE 580 Super N Wide Track Ram Truck Laramie Longhorn Edition backhoe loader. This 580 is a one-of-a-kind unit, which features the iconic RAM Laramie Longhorn two-tone black and white gold paint scheme to match the truck. Together with a new Dodge RAM 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×4 truck, the combo will tour the country at RAM and CASE-sponsored events.

In addition, while we are focused on skid loaders, Wacker Neuson introduced two, new, loader models, featured in their jobsite arena in the Silver lot in front of the convention center. Demonstrating a tracked ST 35 loader and a wheeled SW 28 model, product specialists put the two new units through their paces as hundreds of attendees looked on from around the facility. Noting that the two new models are not custom manufactured by another company, but are fully engineered and built by Wacker Neuson, show hosts said that customers could rely upon the product quality that they have come to know when using Wacker Neuson equipment.

For contractors looking for horizontal drilling equipment, McCloskey International, has entered the market with their new TR-14 High Performance Drill. The new horizontal drill rig features a new paint scheme in blue and gold, unlike McCloskey’s recognizable, green and gold. Loaded with a number of exclusive features including the most torque and horsepower with the smallest footprint in its class, this new drill rig is engineered from the ground up. It is powered by a 55HP Kubota engine and innovative hydraulic system that gives added fuel economy on the job.

John Deere highlighted an updated ejector scraper line, one designed to better serve earthmoving contractors who require larger capacities, lower operating costs, faster cycle times, and who appreciate an extended warranty on their equipment. The two tire options on the 2010DE and 2412DE pull-behind models permit higher productivity and less wear in harsh conditions. Two wheels also allow quicker cycle times with less rolling resistance and drag, which can reduce costs per cubic yard, especially when compared to self-propelled scrapers.

While these are but a few of the new items on display at this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG, rest assured there were plenty more where those came from! I would tend to agree with show organizers who are already suggesting that we plan for the next CONEXPO-CON/AGG event in 2017. It’s time to start planning now. If your business timeline shows that you will need to purchase new heavy equipment in the not-too-distant future, this is the place to do your shopping.

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