Today’s technology-enhanced heavy equipment can no longer be considered as solely dirt-moving tools. Evolving technology continues to morph the iron into directional mapping guides, quality control supervisors, communications portals, collectors of big data, and even job site decision-makers.
Each new innovation has the ability to redefine past common practices. Grading & Excavation Contractor continues to keep a solid grasp on this technology landscape. For example, “Measuring Earthwork Volumes” was one of the most consistently searched online articles in the Grading & Excavation Contractor archives. The search resulted in a piece written by Daniel P. Duffy in the September/October 2004 issue. Since techniques and technology have advanced remarkably in the 13 years since the article was originally published, I asked Mr. Duffy to update the article for this year’s September issue.
This “Best of Tech 2017” issue contains our most impactful feature articles from the past year, covering various innovations that are changing the way you do your job. Along with the “Measuring Earthwork Volumes” article are features on management software, new GPS and laser tech, the latest on machine control, and the bundling of several different telematics systems.
The ever-advancing evolution of our tools has even prompted the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) to address it in its annual conference, with the theme being called, “Digital Iron: The Next Renaissance.” About which AEM senior vice president Al Cervero recently wrote, “Iron not only plays a role in the action of digging, lifting, moving, reducing and sorting, but also in digitally transferring valuable information about the action to the customer. The data is then converted to knowledge and aggregated from job to job, thereby creating a more efficient base in which to drive profit improvements. The machine also serves as part of a bigger picture in which all actions will advance data and improved knowledge, thus the first part of the theme, ‘Digital Iron.’
“The second part of the theme, ‘The Next Renaissance,’ is exactly that, a movement from one time to another. Now instead of considering a transition from the era of the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era, think about the transition from an era of welding to one of 3D printing, from a period of disparate equipment data to one of machine-to-machine communication, or from a period where vehicles are driven by people to one where autonomous cars and trucks rule the road.”
As you read the articles in this issue, explore all the new technology I’ll be bringing to your attention in the coming months in Grading & Excavation Contractor. These are going to be the advancements you’ll need to know about because they will undoubtedly have profound effects on your jobs, your livelihoods, and ultimately, your families.