High numbers of vsitors numbers attending Germany’s tri-annual Bauma construction equipment exhibition have helped boost confidence that demand is returning to some areas of the foundations industry. The event - which is the largest exhibition in the world, was held in Munich in April - attracted more than 530,000 visitors from over 200 countries.
Many of the major exhibitors expressed optimism that 2013 would be a good year for equipment sales, despite many seeing further declines in the market last year.
“We have seen a tremendous level of interest in our technologies at Bauma but it is hard to match this with the uncertainty we see in the market still,” says Volvo chief executive officer Pat Olney. “We saw a strong start to sales in 2012 but there was a slow-down midway through the year. However we think there are good prospects for 2013.”
JCB, Caterpillar, Case and Komatsu all echoed Olney’s expectations for this year with “modest” being widely applied to forecasts for the full year results.
The other main point of discussion at Bauma was the introduction of the next phase of the engine emissions regulations across Europe. From 1 January next year, all new construction equipment with engines in the 130kW to 560kW size bracket will have to comply with the new EU Stage IV engine emissions regulations and many manufacturers displayed their solutions at Bauma.
Many operators are concerned that the new regulations will add to the daily checks they must carry out, but it is clear that manufacturers have listened to these concerns.
JCB launched what it calls its “one can” solution which avoids the need for a particulate filter or oxidation catalyst and will even replace the exhaust system on some models. According to JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope, the design also improves fuel efficiency with savings of up to 15% compared to Stage IIIB engines.
“Avoiding post-treatment means that the engine can also be retuned for use outside of the EU when it comes to selling the machines,” he added.
Case has also taken an approach that removes the need for a particulate filter with use of common rail, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and diesel oxidation catalysts technology used.
Release of the first Stage
IV-powered machines has not stalled development of new engines for the market and Cummins used the event to unveil its new QSM12 382kW 12l engine. The company has said that the power plant offers a 30% higher power to weigh ratio than other engines in the same class. The design has focused on higher air efficiency handling and advanced combustion to enable the engine to use a simple wastegated turbocharger to achieve near-zero emissions without the need for a cooled EGR system.
Caterpillar unveiled its new 336 EH hybrid excavator, which is said to be 25% more fuel efficient than its conventionally powered counterpart and this is delivered with no loss in performance. Cat said that the development has led to an application for 300 patents.
“This is novel technology today but, in three to five years’ time, it will become standard,” said Cat product manager Ken Gray. “We chose a hydraulic solution rather than an electric one as we believe it is more affordable and the cost over a conventionally powered machine can be paid off within 12 months.”
While many manufacturers believe that the future lies in hybrid power, Volvo’s Olney confirmed that although it is working on hybrid technology, he believes there is still lots that can be done to improve diesel fuel efficiency.
Machine control is another area where further development and technological advancement is expected in the next few years and Komatsu and Topcon showed the lead they are jointly taking in the market by displaying the first fully integrated systems. Until now buyers have had to retrofit machines or request factory fitment of equipment. But under the new joint venture formed by Topcon and Komatsu, the systems can be fully integrated during the initial build.
The cooperation agreement has resulted in development of the D61PXi dozer and PC210XCi excavator but further models are expected to follow. According to Topcon, the integration of the GPS sensors within the machine electronics means greater efficiency and allows automation to be used at every stage of earthworks, not just in the final phase.
Liebherr displayed the prototype of its new LB44 piling rig on its stand at Bauma but instead of being taken back to the factory for further development, the machine was due to be taken straight to its new owner. The rig, which is capable of piling to 92m, was being taken from the show to a site in Frankfurt where Max Boegl will put it to use on a major new development.
“The LB44 is the biggest piling rig we have developed so far, but it is compact,” said Liebherr Nenzing head of marketing Wolfgang Pfister. “It weighs 160t without attachments but can deliver 51Nm of torque. The parallel kinematics allow the tools to be operated up to 1m away from the rig and this helps achieve better verticality. The rig delivers 56t of retraction force too.”
Bauer also said that most of the machines on display at its stand would go direct to customers, including machines in the Premium and Value Line BG rig range which were announced ahead of the show. Bauer, which won a Bauma innovation award for the offshore drilling solution developed for a Scottish tidal energy facility, also demonstrated a number of other developments it is working on. One technology being researched is a seabed drilling system to cope with sand and gravel conditions without the use of pile driving, which is said to be harmful to marine life.
The mixed drilled offshore steel (Midos) pile uses mixed in placed and casing techniques to overcome the ground conditions and create a high load-bearing capacity pile. Safety was the focus of the other system that Bauer is currently working on and involves fitting steel ropes to foundation rig masts so that operatives can attach themselves using harnesses to minimise the risk of falls from height.
Casagrande also had a number of innovations on display including its new top of the range B450XP piling rig. Weighing in at 140t and offering 420kNm of torque, the machine has been designed to multifunction to allow it to be used for piling, as well as diaphragm wall operations.
Also launched at Bauma were new versions of Casagrande’s C6XP smaller diameter piling rig and the C8XP crawler drill. Other additions included the new multipurpose piling rig V16/19 with a specially designed mast articulation to allow it to undertake sheet piling, hammer, CFA or CSM operations.
Casagrande’s subsidiaries Hütte Bohrtechnick and Tec System also launched new models. Hütte showed the HBR 202-E electric compact drilling rig and a new mast on the HBR 204MP for micropiling and geothermal applications, while Tec showed its Abyss 75 and Abyss 50 models for the soil investigation market.
Soilmec presented its new generation of SR hydraulic drilling rigs, which the company claims offer 20% more torque and a 38% higher effective pull up than previous models. Also on display were the upgraded SM series drilling rigs for micropiling and anchoring applications. Soilmec has said that developments are a result of its collaboration with Puntel.
As well as presenting two new crawler crane models, Soilmec displayed its new Cougar SH-30 hydromill for the first time. This is one of two models developed by the company to excavate diaphragm walls to depths of up to 250m.
New on the Junttan stand was the PM23 piling rig with a long leader reach, which the company said makes it ideal for inclined drilling on bridge, port and railway applications and driving piles up to 20m in length. Junttan said that the rig has a compact design for transport but the self-erecting leader means that it can be set up quickly.
PTC also demonstrated a new development for the pile driving market with the launch of the 20RHFV Vibrodriver. The company, which is part of the Fayat Group, said that the new Vibrodriver is fitted with variable moment technology to enable the operation to be adjusted to meet vibration limits.
PTC marketing manager Iana Torres said that the 20RHFV has a reduced centre width of 450mm, which means that it can easily fit between two sheet piles when producing a sheet pile curtain, and users can therefore drive or pull up faster without having to stop as often because of adjacent sheet piles.
IHC Hydrohammer had its Noise Reduction System (NRS) hammer shroud, which was featured in GE’s coverage of work at the port of Southampton (GE April 2013), on its stand and sales manager Tim Van Erkel said that the system had attracted a lot of attention. Other innovations launched by IHC included the Waterhammer, which uses water in place of hydraulic oil to minimise the pollution risk during pile driving, and pile inclination measuring equipment (PIME) that has been developed to meet the need of high verticality pile driving demanded by the offshore wind market.
Bauma was also a success for Netherlands-based Dieseko Group where its subsidiaries PVC and International Construction Equipment sold 21 machines to customers in the pile driving sector during the show.
Minova announced that it is expanding beyond its traditional underground construction applications with launch of its MAI self-drilling bars for the micropiling and ground stabilisation market. Minova product specialist Adam Janicek said that the technique is particularly suitable for hard-toreach sites with limited working space.
“The hollow-bar design means that a single action is needed for drilling and grouting and can withstand both tension and compression loads reliably,” he said. “We have been trialling the system for two years but it is now globally available.”
Fraste unveiled a number of new solutions for the geotechnics market but the headliner was the Multidrill XL 170 which offers more power than previous models and can be used for a variety of applications. Also new to the range is the Mito 60 micropiling rig, which features an automatic drill stem feeder, the Multidrill XL DR for geothermal applications and the Multidrill PL G for micropiling and anchoring applications.
For the ground investigation market, Fraste launched its new Ford Ranger pickup-mounted Multidrill Hyndaga that the company has said is quick to set up but can meet the needs of demanding applications. Restricted access applications were the focus of the new developments from Klemm which include the KR 702-2RW for geothermal applications and the new KR 801-3FS drilling rig.
Sandvik says it has added the new RH460 series of down the hole hammers to its product range to provide drilling customers with the enhanced levels of penetration rates, longer service life and lower operating costs. The hammers have been designed to enhance the air cycle to increase drilling penetration rates, improve service life and reduce fuel consumption. The RH460 series hammers will be available in 4”, 5” and 6” sizes, with all versions being designed to utilise bits with generic shank types.
The company has also added new bits to its product range. These focus on productivity in softer, less abrasive rock.
According to Sandvik, its product range for hard rock applications is well developed but there is also a demand to improve productivity in soft rock so it developed the Soft Rock Drill Bit to meet this need. Sandvik says that the new bits can be used in surface and underground applications.
Atlas Copco has launched the world’s first 1.2m diameter casing advancement system, which it says will help contractors expand into new areas and enable them to save time and reduce costs in large hole drilling operations. According to the company, the Symmetrix system offers benefits over conventional piling by allowing the drilling and casing to be installed in one operation to increase productivity.
In addition to developing the Symmetrix range, Atlas Copco also announced expansion of its rental service because the company says this gives contractors the opportunity to select the most efficient method of completing a contract without the capital expenditure of making a purchase.
Atlas Copco exhibited its latest Unigrout mixer for the tunnelling market, which the company said helps to improve efficiency on grouted tunnelling projects with increased accuracy and cleaner operation. The company reported that demand for tunnelling equipment is booming, and is especially strong for grouted tunnelling applications in Scandinavia where the solution is seen as the prime way of preventing issues with groundwater in the tunnel and to minimise groundwater level changes above affected wooden piled structures.
Sandvik was also promoting its tunnelling technology at Bauma with a focus on development it has added to its DTi tunnelling jumbos, including WLAN remote access, iBOLT systematic bolting and total station navigation. In addition, Sandvik has added the Access Detection System which stops a drilling operation if someone moves into the work area. The range also now comes with RD5 high frequency rock drills to improve productivity.
While there may be some uncertainty in much of Europe over infrastructure and construction demand it is clear that, when challenging projects do reach tender stage, construction equipment manufacturers have plenty of solutions to meet the ground engineering challenges.