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Plant special: Bauma round-up

A whole raft of new construction equipment went on show at last month’s Bauma exhibition in Munich. Margo Cole picks out the best of Europe’s largest plant show

Hybrid Komatsu excavator unveiled in Europe

The European construction industry got its first chance to see Komatsu’s hybrid excavator at Bauma, almost two years after it launched in Japan. But it could be a year before the machine goes on sale in the EU, as the firm has not yet received confirmation that it complies with European regulations.

The PC200-8 excavator was the world’s first piece of genuine hybrid construction equipment to go into production and has been shown to reduce fuel consumption by between 25% and 40%, depending on the application.

It uses an energy recovery system based on the machine’s slewing action: a high-power capacitor stores the energy that is generated during slew operations and then releases that energy to power the excavator’s hydraulics and to assist the engine when it accelerates under work load conditions.

The machine is based on Komatsu’s popular PC210 multi-purpose excavator. Simon Saunders, Komatsu group manager for crawler products, says: “We introduced it on the PC210 because that’s our highest volume machine.

It’s a multipurpose vehicle and it works in a lot of applications, so we can get a lot of experience of how it’s working.”

Saunders claims there is little difference when it comes to operating the machine, although the cab is fitted with a monitor that gives the operator a graphical read out of fuel consumption on a minute-by-minute basis.

After launching in Japan in 2008, the PC200-8 is now on sale in China and the US, and Komatsu plans to bring it to Europe early next year.

Bomag reveals world’s heaviest drum roller

Bomag's 32t deep impact roller

Bomag’s 32t deep impact roller

Bomag believes it has developed a viable alternative to expensive soil stabilisation in the form of a single drum roller that compacts to a depth of 4m. The 32t deep impact roller − now badged as the BW332 − was shown as a concept model at Bauma 2007 and this year it has been launched as a production machine.

The 32t operating weight makes the BW332 the heaviest single drum roller in the world, and Bomag claims it gives 50% more compaction performance than the machine that previously held the record, its own 26t BW226.

While this will no doubt speed up, and therefore save money on general compaction, one of the biggest benefits could be on stabilising to depth.

On earthworks for roads, the existing subsoil often has to be removed, stored temporarily and then relaid and compacted in layers to ensure it can take the loads imposed on it without settlement.

Alternatively, expensive methods of stabilisation or slow surcharging techniques can be used. However, if soils can be compacted insitu to a depth of 4m using a single drum roller, these methods may not be necessary on many jobs.

Bomag has designed a polygonal drum for the BW332 because it says a conventional smooth roller drum would be overwhelmed by the immense forces being generated, the drum would sink, and vibration energy would be dissipated at the surface.

The polygonal drum, which is made up of individual, angled plates, enables compaction forces to be directed vertically into the material with no loss of vibration energy.

Bomag parent company Fayat is hailing the BW332 as an example of an “economical” solution − one of the five “Es” in its new “Think” campaign, aimed at refocusing development priorities in the light of the recession and changing markets. The other Es are: essentials, ergonomy, ecology and evolution.

Essentials reflects a back to basics approach and/or an initial focus on identifying basic principles, including safety criteria and compliance with standards, while ergonomy is the quest for greater user-friendliness and advanced health and safety standards, as demonstrated by a new bitumen sprayer that can be operated entirely from the front of the machine, so no one has to be at the back near the hot bitumen.

Ecology focuses on protecting the environment, for example using an “eco mode” engine management system that uses 20% less fuel, while evolution reflects the need to develop machines that are adapted to the needs of their era and evolve according to technical demands and available technologies.

Latest rotary rig features on Soilmec stand

Solimec's SR-100 hydraulic rotary rig

Solimec’s SR-100 hydraulic rotary rig

The Soilmec stand featured the company’s new SR-100 hydraulic rotary rig, designed for a range of different piling techniques. It is capable of drilling large bored piles up to 3.5m in diameter and 92m in depth, plus continuous flight augered and cased augered piles up to 1.4m in diameter and 29m deep.

The company also demonstrated a range of tools developed and tested since the last Bauma exhibition, including soil consolidation techniques, displacement piles and vibrodrilling.

New soil consolidation methods on display included the Turbojet − a deep mixing method that combines mechanical mixing and jet grouting techniques − and elliptical jet grouting, which enables the construction of thin diaphragm walls.

Soilmec has also adapted its vibrodrilling technology so that it can be used for geothermal drilling.

Atlas Copco shows hydraulic breaker ventilation system

Atlas Copco's new breaker ventilation system

Atlas Copco’s new breaker ventilation system

The need to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on hydraulic breakers used to excavate rock tunnels is the driver behind Atlas Copco’s latest innovation, on show at Bauma for the first time.

The firm has launched a new ventilation system that stops abrasive dust in the air from getting into the breaker.
It can be retro-fitted, and is designed to fit all Atlas Copco breakers in the 1,000kg to 4,200kg class.

Sokkia extends total station surveying equipment range

Surveying equipment on show on the Sokkia stand included the new Series 50X range of total stations launched earlier this year.

The new total series extends measurement range to 4km with a single prism, and up to 5km with three prisms. According to the manufacturer, this represents a 20% increase over previous models, allowing measurement time to be reduced by 40%.

All machines in the series feature IP66-compliant protection that keeps out powder dust, sand, mud, snow, dripping water and driving rain.

Latest tracked telehandler can work on steep slopes

Giraf Track's telehandler

Giraf Track’s telehandler

Giraf Track showed off the latest in its range of tracked telehandlers in Munich, the GT580B model, which can be operated by remote radio control.

At the show it was fitted with the new VBLADE option for slope levelling and anchoring on very steep gradients. The machine has Caterpillar excavator tracks and a 16m telescopic boom, and comes with a range of work attachments and platforms for lifting, handling and access. It has a maximum lifting capacity of 3.8t, maximum horizontal outreach of 16m, and maximum working height, with basket, of 17.8m.

Giraf Track claims the machine will drive on virtually any slope and works with unrestricted 360 degree operation on inclines of up to 7 degrees (12%) as standard, with the capability to work on even steeper gradients with the optional VBLADE slope compensation and anchoring blade.

Trimble makes the right connection with IBSS

On the Trimble stand visitors saw how the company has been adapting its positioning technology to create an entire “connected site” in which machines, surveying tools and people are all linked.

One of the latest pieces in this jigsaw is an internet based station service (IBSS) that enables a contractor to connect machines, vehicles and rovers to a base station located in the office, on the local site, or on a main site some distance away.

The new IBSS provides global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) information over the internet using cellular services instead of relying on site radio communications, which can be subject to range limitations and black spots.

Contractors can connect existing base stations to the IBSS using a wireless local area network (LAN) or cellular modem technology.

Trimble says the new service extends precise GNSS coverage to a 30km range, making it ideal for new site reconnaissance or for site clearance lines, fencing or topsoil stripping, all of which are often done before the full site set-up arrives.

Another new development is a field controller and software package that allows construction professionals to conduct accurate measurements such as site reconnaissance, progress measurements, as-built measurements and site inspection, and then immediately connect to the office for on-the-spot approvals and for communicating changes to field crews.

The system features a rugged wireless mobile computer that can be used for both voice and data communication and includes integrated GPS, a 3.1 megapixel camera with flash, a keyboard, a barcode and document scanner, a digital compass and an accelerometer to enable a wide range of information to be collected.

This can be used to synchronise data with the rest of the “connected community”, Trimble’s information management system, so anyone who needs to see the information can get access to it straight away.

Bauer makes a big impact with latest machines

Bauer showing that big plant is beautiful

Bauer showing that big plant is beautiful

Piling specialist Bauer demonstrated that big is beautiful with the two chunky bits of kit it showed off at the show: the new BG50 rotary drilling rig and the MC128 hydraulic crawler/cable crane.

The BG50 is the most powerful rig in Bauer’s BG series to date and, the company claimed, was the most powerful drilling rig at the entire show. It has an operating weight of 240t, a mast that can be extended to an overall height of up to 35m, and is designed for drilling depths of up to 100m and borehole diameters of up to 4.5m.

Meanwhile, the MC128 is by far the largest model of Bauer’s new stable of duty-cycle cranes introduced a few years ago. It has a maximum load capacity of 200t with an operating weight that can be far in excess of 200t depending on the installed equipment.

Topcon visitors see positioning technology first hand

Topcon made use of the giant Bauma showground to show off a selection of its positioning and machine control products.

A construction machine outside the exhibition hall was linked wirelessly via Topcon’s SiteLink server to software on the stand so that visitors could look at the offi ce/machine interaction both inside the machine and on the stand.

Achiel Sturm, construction business unit manager for Topcon Europe Positioning, said the presentation was intended to “highlight the effects of changes and the prompt reaction potential on the construction site enabled by the integrated solution”.

The company also showed the potential of its mapping systems by showing visitors a real-time aerial view of the Bauma site.

Volvo: Mixing a traditional stand with action shows outside

Volvo showed its plant in action in a huge outdoor arena

Volvo showed its plant in a huge outdoor arena

Volvo Construction Equipment had a massive presence at the show, combining a 2,454m² indoor display area with a 7,410m² outdoor arena, where perfectly choreographed live action shows took place several times a day.

Operators showed off the firm’s new range of wheel loaders, all fitted with Volvo’s new “OptiShift” technology, designed to deliver substantial fuel savings.

The live shows included two articulated dump trucks being tipped over in perfect synchronicity to demonstrate how, when the body turns over the cab stays exactly where it is, ensuring the driver remains safe in case of an accident.

Volvo used the show to launch four new compact excavators, including an entry level 1,540kg machine. Bauma visitors got the chance to try out the machines, with a prize for the operator who completed an accuracy task in the fastest time.

More hands-on experience was available in Volvo’s training simulator, which allowed visitors to see how they measured up when it came to fuel efficient machine operation.

The company had more than 60 machines on display, demonstrating its “total solutions” capability. Highlights included a range of large single drum soil compactors and two new compact wheel loaders.


Normet: Fingers crossed for Crossrail

The Normet Spraymec 8100 VC

The Normet Spraymec 8100 VC

Normet managing director Tom Melbye said at Bauma he is crossing his fingers and hoping the winner of UK General Election will not put the kybosh on the Crossrail project, as he unveiled the company’s latest mobile concrete sprayer for tunnel applications.

The Spraymec 8100 VC is an electro-hydraulic, self-propelled mobile sprayer designed for concrete spraying in mediumsize tunnels and in projects with variable tunnel cross sections.

It has been designed for efficient spraying from one set-up in tunnels of up to 10.3m in height and 16m wide, and has a maximum vertical spraying reach of 13m.

The company recently acquired a 40% stake in construction chemicals business TAM International, a move described by Normet chairman Aaro Cantell as “a logical step” in the firm’s “expansion from equipment manufacturer to process solutions provider”.

Admixtures such as plasticisers, stabilisers, accelerators and retarders are frequently used in sprayed concrete, so the TAM purchase will give Normet more control over the final product coming out of its machines.

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