Tech is ‘What’s Next’ at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017

By |  February 9, 2017

ConExpo-Con/Agg is making once unimaginable possibilities – consider a 3-D printed excavator – the centerpiece of the 2017 trade show, housed at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 7-11.

Held every three years for the construction and construction materials industry, ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017 is co-located with the International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE) exhibition for fluid power, power transmission and motion control and produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). The 2017 show, under the theme “Imagine What’s Next,” reflects the vision for the show, as it fully embraces applied technologies that help the construction industries reduce downtime, maximize efficiency at jobsites and minimize waste while increasing bottom-line profits and enhancing safety.

conexpo-conagg2017-logoConExpo-Con/Agg will continue to provide attendees access to the newest products from most all major construction-related industry, including aggregate, asphalt, concrete, earthmoving, lifting, mining and utilities. New to this mix, however, will be a 75,000-sq.-ft. Tech Experience Pavilion and a record 143 education sessions across 10 tracks, including a new technology track.

“Technology is critical to the future of the construction industry and ConExpo-Con/Agg has always been a show that helps industry executives keep pace with the latest in new equipment and product innovations,” says Rich Goldsbury, ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017 show chairman and president of Bobcat Co. and Doosan. “But, as industry is being transformed by technology, our attendees understand the importance it has on their bottom line. It is our responsibility and privilege to connect them with the most cutting-edge innovations in safety, equipment and operations that are reshaping the future.”

For perspective, a recent survey from AEM found nearly half of previous ConExpo-Con/Agg attendees responding were enthusiastic and optimistic about the new possibilities when asked what the construction industry will look like in 2025, and nearly one-third were interested in what will come but apprehensive about how to successfully get there.

Hence the theme, “Imagine What’s Next.”

Tech Experience

The new Tech Experience Pavilion, in a sense, allows attendees to step into the future and experience what’s new and next in the construction industry.

Located in Silver Lot 3 outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 75,000-sq.-ft. space is dedicated entirely to presenting new construction innovations and emerging technologies that will drive change and process improvement across the industry. It serves as one of several new adjustments to the ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017 show layout, which also comprises expansions to the Gold Hall and a new Bronze Lot, located south of the South Hall.

“With the new tech experience, ConExpo-Con/Agg is advancing to a new level of thought leadership in our industry. We’re calling on AEM members to submit a proposal to be a part of it,” says Sara Truesdale Mooney, show director and vice president of exhibitions and business development for AEM. “We’re looking for our members’ bravest and most innovative ideas.”

Proposals will be evaluated against a simple set of criteria by an outside panel of experts.

“The tech experience will not only present a vision for the future of our industry, but it will also raise awareness of technologies that enhance safety, productivity and profitability,” Truesdale Mooney adds. “We feel a tremendous amount of pride as we take the exhibition to the next level of technological breakthroughs as we delve into the future of the construction industry.”

In addition, Truesdale Mooney points to ConExpo-Con/Agg and AEM’s recently launched radio show, “ConExpo-Con/Agg Radio – If It’s New It’s Here,” as another outlet for attendees to become clued into the ways in which technology is changing the landscape of the construction industry.

“ConExpo-Con/Agg helps industry executives keep pace with the latest in new equipment and product innovations,” Goldsbury emphasizes. “Technology is critical to the future of the construction industry and ‘ConExpo-Con/Agg Radio’ will help us to continuously connect our audience with the most cutting-edge innovations in the industry on an ongoing basis.”

New education track prepares for hi-tech future

Complementing the Tech Experience Pavilion are the 10 education tracks meant to provide attendees with the latest industry knowledge and best practices to improve their professional skills and company productivity.

“Education is a critical component of ConExpo-Con/Agg, and we encourage attendees to take advantage of the convenience of so many learning opportunities available,” Goldsbury says. “They’ll be able to work smarter because of the knowledge they gain here.”
Offered March 7-10, ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017 education tracks include:

  • Aggregate
  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Cranes, rigging and aerial lifts
  • Earthmoving and site development
  • Equipment management and maintenance
  • Management: business best practices
  • Management: workforce development skills
  • Safety and regulations

The new technology track focuses on industry innovations and future growth opportunities in the technology field, including drones, autonomous machines, smart apps, gamification, big data, Internet of Things and 3-D imaging – a technology of which attendees will also be able to view a demo as part of the aforementioned 3-D printed excavator display.

Future generations

To be unveiled as the world’s first fully functional 3-D printed construction excavator and the first large-scale use of steel in 3-D printing, known as additive manufacturing, the machine is meant to serve a tangible testament to the ConExpo-Con/Agg theme and bring to life how technology is transforming the construction industry.

It is made possible in joint collaboration with AEM, National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The groups are working with research teams from Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota to convert the current excavator design to one that is conducive to and takes full advantage of 3-D manufacturing.

Graduate students in engineering at Georgia Tech will be creating a boom and bucket featuring integrated hydraulics, with the goal of decreasing the weight, materials cost and maintenance, while students at the University of Minnesota are designing a hydraulic oil reservoir/heat exchanger and cooling system that reduces the size and weight and increase the efficiency of the machine.

“Technology and innovation will drive change for the future of the construction industry, and we’re excited that students are playing a vital role in bringing the newly designed machine to life,” says Eric Lanke, CEO of NFPA.

In addition to the partnerships with Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota, AEM, NFPA, CCEFP, ORNL and NSF are inviting undergraduate students in engineering from across the country to participate in a nationwide contest to design and print a futuristic cab and a human-machine interface for the excavator that is both aesthetically pleasing and functionally designed.

Students can submit their designs for the cab of the excavator at Per judging by a panel of industry experts, the winning team will receive a $2,000 cash prize and the opportunity to visit ORNL in Tennessee to observe the printing of the selected design.

“We know our members look forward to seeing the industry’s most innovative technologies at ConExpo-Con/Agg and IFPE each show year and 2017 will not disappoint,” said John Rozum, IFPE show director. “We’re thrilled to bring such a significant technological and first-of-its-kind achievement like the 3-D printed excavator to the show. It will be a platform to demonstrate how the latest innovations and applied technologies are changing the future of the construction industry.”

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