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CONEXPO PREVIEW: It’s in Vegas baby!

March 5, 2017
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The rotating big three international construction show programme spins and stops roulette-style in Las Vegas this year. While Conexpo (or to give it its full title Conexpo-Con/Agg) may not have courted the Middle East construction industry like Intermat in France or be the biggest like Bauma in Germany, it is the only place to see some of biggest and best-known brands in their native habitat.

And while it is primarily a North American showcase, it earns its reputation for being an international gathering place for the construction industry by being a great opportunity to see light and heavy equipment as well as technology that has a shared heritage with the behemoth that is the US’ IT and software industry. There is also the less-known co-located IFPE exhibition which focuses on the latest tech and expertise from the fluid power, power transmission and motion control industries.

Spread across the vast Las Vegas Convention Center, the show can be daunting, especially to first time visitors. This year’s show features more new product categories and more new exhibitors than ever before with 230,000-plus net sqm of exhibits and 2,500-plus exhibitors (if you are planning on a visit, CBNME suggests you use the online searchable show planner to see who’s exhibiting, check out the new products and create a personalised agenda of exhibits, education and networking meetings).

Conexpo is also offering a record 143 education sessions across 10 tracks, including a new Technology track, 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, and we encourage attendees to take advantage of the convenience of so many learning opportunities available; they’ll be able to work smarter because of the knowledge they gain here,” says Rich Goldsbury, Conexpo 2017 chair and president of Bobcat Company and Doosan.

The new Conexpo Technology track focuses on industry innovations and future growth opportunities in the technology field, including drones, autonomous machines, 3-D imaging, smart apps, gamification, big data and IoT.

The education tracks will also offer the latest trends and best practices focused on: aggregates; asphalt; concrete; cranes, rigging and aerial lifts; earthmoving and site development; equipment management and maintenance; management: business best practices; management: workforce development skills; and safety and regulations.

The emphasis this year on technology that increase productivity, reduce downtime, and enhance safety and sustainability should be of relevance to an increasingly cost-conscious Middle East. There is a certainly plenty to interest construction professionals in the new 23,000-plus sqm Tech Experience which offers an interactive look at the trends and solutions developing now and emerging in the next several years in three key areas: the jobsite, workforce and infrastructure.

Highlights include the unveiling of the world’s first fully functional 3D steel printed excavator, the Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), a Drone Zone and 3D Printworks. There is also the Tech Talks forum which the organisers promise provide “short yet content-rich presentations to inspire and inform”.

Speakers will focus primarily on the growing opportunity for applied and blue-sky innovation to benefit infrastructure projects and construction jobsites. The 40-session line-up includes such luminaries as former NASA astronauts Captains Mark and Scott Kelly as well as D’Arcy Salzmann, senior director, strategy, Microsoft HoloLens and studio manager, Future Bureau, Microsoft. It also features some speakers that will be of high interest to the region including, James Benham who’s BIM and smart technology company JB Knowledge is active in the Middle East, Scott Brusaw, co-founder, Solar Roadways who will look at using panels on highways and Wayne Rapp, director of manufacturing at Hyperloop One which is working in the UAE to develop its futuristic transport system.

The show makes great use of its location too, with a series of networking events available, including NASCAR Experiences and related raceway offers, Young Attendee get-togethers to foster professional growth (and have some fun!) and more.

“Don’t miss this ultimate one-stop destination to find the newest product innovations and best practices, meet with the industry experts, network and have some fun,” urges Sara Truesdale Mooney, show director and vice president exhibitions and business development, Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

The world’s first working 3D printed excavator

For the past two years a conglomerate of trade associations, industry, government and academia have been collaborating on the world’s first operational 3D printed excavator. That project made a giant leap forward with the recent printing of a prototype that leveraged large-scale additive manufacturing technologies and further explores the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.

Known affectionately as Project AME (Additive Manufactured Excavator), the excavator is being 3D printed using various machines at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) to create and assemble three components: the cab, the boom, and a heat exchanger. The excavator’s boom will be fabricated using newly developed free-form additive manufacturing technique to print large-scale metal components.

3D printing an excavator for the first time has been a learning experience for both seasoned researchers and the next generation of engineers

A student engineering team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won a design competition and was on-hand at the MDF to watch their cab design take shape on the big area additive manufacturing machine – using carbon fiber-reinforced acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, plastic. Their reaction could only be described as pure joy.

“The reaction of the UIUC team was like watching kids on Christmas morning,” said John Rozum, IFPE show director. “They worked hundreds of hours on this project and it was incredible to see them finally get to watch the printing process and see their design in full size.”

Project AME will be on display at IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 as part of the new Tech Experience.

About the show

ConExpo-Con/AGG 2017 (use Logo)

Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

7-11, March, 2017

Show hours

Tuesday, March 7 – Friday, March 10

Exhibits 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 11

Exhibits 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

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