AC883 was back in Las Vegas with one of our clients for CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017, one of the world’s largest trade show focused on the construction and aggregate industries. The 5-day event, which is held every three years, drew nearly 130,000 attendees from all over the world who came to take a look at some of the latest equipment and services for construction.
But there were more than just enormous machines to oggle – this year, the show decided to take a closer look at the technology that’s driving the industry forward. A 75,000-square foot area known as ‘The Tech Experience’ was dedicated to showcasing the way forward for the construction industry. In a sign that construction is being targeted by less than traditional heavy industry companies, companies like software giant Microsoft and Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One presented new ideas and innovations like wearable technology, 3D printing and drones.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of these technologies and their applications to construction:
- Drones. Caterpillar, John Deere and Komatsu each had demonstration labs at the Tech Experience to show off their drones. The demonstrations were primarily focused on site reality capture via photogrammetry to calculate the volume of aggregate materials in movement.
- Additive manufacturing, colloquially known as 3D printing. Project AME (a partnership between the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and academia) had a big draw when they unveiled their 3D-printed excavator. Although the model was fully operational, it was a proof of concept that engineers hope will lead to larger, faster and scalable 3D printed equipment in the future.
- IoT-enabled machines. The introduction of the IoT (Internet of Things) has begun to stir a slow change in the heavy equipment industry. IoT is allowing users to boost operational efficiency, increase utilization and reduce maintenance costs, just for a start. One example is John Deere, which recently partnered with a company called HCSS to offer a cloud-based, web interface for tracking telematics data from Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo while also offering after-market GPS devices for tracking older equipment.
While the Tech Experience was a microcosm of the solutions on offer to the industry, it was especially interesting to see the confluence of technology and construction on display. Here at AC883 we’re excited about what’s to come in construction and looking forward to connecting our clients with the perfect opportunities emerging in North America.