Transport operations aren’t for sissies, especially in the construction industry where tougher conditions are added to the mix … This sector needs special types of vehicles and unique communication solutions
Sitsabo Dlamini, from the School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading, says it best in his paper entitled: Relationship of the construction sector to economic growth. *
“Construction is a major industry throughout the world, accounting for a sizeable proportion of most countries’ gross domestic product and gross national product. The importance of the construction sector is not only related to its size, but also to its role in economic growth. An industry this big could not but have an impact on the economy.”
It’s no wonder that this sector has some impressive vehicles doing its lifting …
Caterpillar is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company is enabling this sector to keep on moving with its new C Series of articulated trucks.
The range consists of the Cat 735C, 740C EJ, and 745C, which sport an array of new features. These include: engines that meet Euro-4 emission standards; new transmissions with expanded electronic control; automatic traction control; automatic retarder control; hill assist and waiting brake systems.
Rated payload capacities for the new models are 32,7, 38, and 41 t, respectively, with all models replacing their B Series predecessors.
The company states that the new 740C EJ ejector model, which combines the 745C’s tractor with an horizontal-discharge body, provides added versatility and safety in certain operations. “The 740C EJ can unload material to uniform depths while travelling at speed, potentially reducing the need for on-site spreading equipment. It can also discharge the load with added stability in soft underfoot conditions, on side slopes and grades and in environments where overhead obstructions are present.”
The 735C’s Cat C15 ACERT engine is rated at 337 kW, with the C18 ACERT engine in the 740C EJ and 745C rated at 381 kW. The company states that these powertrains are available in versions meeting applicable emission standards for lesser- and non-regulated areas.
“The new Cat CX38 high-density, power-shift transmission used in the C-Series trucks, has nine forward speeds, two reverse speeds and a number of electronic features that enhance overall performance and productivity,” notes the company.
These include electronic clutch pressure control, which adapts transmission-clutch engagement for smooth shifting and extended component life, and the advanced-productivity electronic control strategy feature – aimed at optimising gear selection in all operating situations for efficient performance and fuel economy.
When the new C-Series trucks, with permanent six-wheel drive, encounter changing terrain and underfoot conditions, the automatic traction-control feature adjusts the level of engagement for the clutch locks. The manufacturer notes that the system makes these adjustments while the machine is moving and does not require operator intervention.
Retarding control for the C-Series models can now be set to fully automatic, in addition to manual control. In automatic mode, the machine manages retarding through a combination of engine brake, gear selection, and service-brake application without operator intervention.
Caterpillar notes that the automatic system is available for both forward and reverse operations, and the manual system provides two levels of engagement for more experienced operators.
“Other features that contribute to the overall efficiency and ease of operation include: the hill-assist system, which facilitates stopping and starting on grades; and the waiting brake system, which temporarily applies the service brakes during pauses in the work cycle, whether waiting at the loading or dumping site or while experiencing delays from congestion.”
“Everyday” original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can do it too
The construction sector isn’t only getting help from construction equipment manufacturers; other OEMs, that usually focus more on the transport industry, are also doing their part.
One such OEM is Scania, which offers trucks, buses (for staff transport) and generators for the construction industry. “Our truck range has been updated this year and now covers a wide array of specifications, from a nine-litre city tipper to the powerful 16-litre V8 for heavy haulage,” explains Theuns Naudé, key account manager for construction at Scania South Africa.
“With many years of experience from markets all over the world, Scania’s modular range of truck chassis offers an almost unlimited scope for any construction application,” Naude continues. “Our vehicles come with high frames and generous ground clearance. All vulnerable components are out of harm’s way.”
He adds that the new range of Scania off-road/construction vehicles has just been launched. “Backed up by a range of flexible services, we believe that we have a solution for each transport demand.”
Their own eye in the sky
Construction work is often undertaken where no other infrastructure exists. This can present many challenges …
CNH Industrial designs, manufactures and sells agricultural and construction equipment, as well as commercial and speciality vehicles, through its various businesses. The company has embarked on a new venture to more effectively connect the people and machines working in the construction sector, no matter their location.
This development involves an agreement with Iridium Communications, a global satellite communications provider for the real-time exchange of mobile voice and data. CNH Industrial will integrate Iridium’s satellite network into the telematics offering of its construction equipment brands; Case and New Holland Construction.
When using the brands’ telematics solutions – Case’s SiteWatch and New Holland Construction’s Fleet Force – users are able to function outside the boundaries of cellular coverage. Operators will be able to communicate effectively with their construction equipment regardless of the physical distance separating them.
Both SiteWatch and FleetForce also enable construction users to: monitor the location and performance of their assets; enhance security by creating geofences (virtual perimeters that act as locators) and alerts; reduce maintenance costs by monitoring fleet health; and optimise operating costs by monitoring and analysing fuel consumption.
Dlamini notes: “There is evidence of the existence of a very strong relationship between construction activity and economic growth. As an investment sector, construction has the potential to impact positively on short-run growth. Construction can thus be regarded as a major component of investment programmes, particularly for developing economies like South Africa.”
It is wonderful that there are so many vehicles and communication channels to help this sector.
*You can read his full report on Academia.edu – a platform for academics to share research papers.