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  • 10 May 2017
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Plantworx Innovation Awards: Rise of the machines

CM reports on the winners from each of the categories in this year's Plantworx Innovation Awards.

Efficiency

Winner: Marubeni-Komatsu
Runner up: Gecko

The winner in this category is Komatsu’s PC210LCi-11 intelligent machine control crawler excavator (pictured above). More than a simple upgrade of the previous award-winning model, it is a hydraulic excavator that comes out of the factory with intelligent machine control and the capability for semi-automatic operation.

The combination of the machine control system and a tilt bucket that is automatically limited from digging beyond the target surface should lead to significant efficiency savings on various levels. The bucket cannot dig beyond the target depth, so there can be no over-digging, while complex surface designs can be achieved without having to keep changing the position of the machine.

It impressed the judges, who believe the PC210LCi-is set to be a highlight of Plantworx 2017.

Security

Winner: Datatag

The judges were unanimous over the winner in this category – the MicroCESAR security marking system developed by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) and Datatag.

The 3rd biennial Plantworx Construction Machinery exhibition takes place at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire from 6-8 June 2017.

More than 350 exhibitors have signed up for the event and, of these, more than 130 will be making their show debut. Visitors can register for the show free at www.plantworx.co.uk

MicroCESAR was first announced at the Combined Industries Theft Solutions conference at the end of 2015, and has been in development ever since. It has been designed to protect small power tools from theft in the same way that the original CESAR System has proved to be a powerful theft deterrent and an invaluable aid in recovery of both compact and larger construction equipment.

It uses the same Datatag security marking technology to give each piece of equipment a unique and permanent “fingerprint” that thieves cannot remove.

The combination of a unique Datatag RFID transponder and a tamper-proof warning/registration label with an integrated QR code means the police can quickly and easily verify the ownership of equipment.

Environment

Winner: Red Rhino Crushers
Highly commended: Wacker Neuson
Highly commended: Avant Tecno (UK)

Small is also beautiful as far as the overall environment winner is concerned. Red Rhino’s RR5000 electric tracked crusher was initially developed as a bespoke machine for an underground mine in France, but has proved so popular that the company has taken it into full production.

The crusher is powered from mains electricity, and only uses 24kW of power, when a comparable sized diesel-powered machine would use more than 60l of fuel a day, with the resulting exhaust and noise emissions.

Meanwhile, Wacker Neuson’s WL20e electric drive wheel loader and Avant Tecno’s electric articulated loaders were highly commended.

Safety

Winner: Husqvarna
Highly commended: Tufftruk
Highly commended: Rhinox Buckets

The winner in this category is a product that addresses the serious health risks caused by breathing in dust from demolition and breaking activities. It is a dust reduction accessory designed by Husqvarna for all its DXR robots for use with a range of Atlas Copco breakers. The accessory supplies water to the tool that binds airborne dust, causing it to fall to the ground rather than risking an operator breathing in harmful dust particles.

It also has environmental benefits, and improves efficiency on site, as no one has to be designated specifically just to damp down dust.

The judges thought that Husqvarna had found a very efficient way of tackling an important safety issue. As the water supply is triggered by the breaker, it ensures that the dust suppression will always happen, rather than relying on human intervention.

Engineering

Winner: JCB
Runner up: Brokk

The standout engineering innovation this year is JCB’s Hydradig wheeled excavator. The company has taken what has traditionally been a problematic machine class and redesigned it from the ground up, starting with the decision to relocate all the major components to the lower chassis. The result is an excavator that has much better visibility, stability, mobility, manoeuvrability and serviceability than anything before in this class.

Since its launch last year, the Hydradig has proved extremely popular among both rental companies and owner-operators, particularly those working on urban worksites and utility contracts.

Non-operated Plant and Support Products

Winner: Securi-Cabin
Runner up: SiteStak

The winner here is a product that delighted the judges: Securi-Cabin’s Smart Pick Welfare Unit. The units are designed to be placed on site without a lorry-mounted crane. They sit flat on a trailer during transport and, once on site, are manoeuvred into position and hydraulic legs extend from the base of the unit to the ground to raise it, allowing the trailer to pull away. The Welfare Unit can then be lowered to the ground.

All of this is carried out by an operator using a wireless remote control system, so at no stage does anyone have to climb onto the unit to fix chains, or operate any kind of crane or lifting gear.

Another feature of the unit is that it can be extended once it arrives on site – again using the remote control – from 5.4m long to 7.2m.

The judges thought it was a fantastic innovation.

Commitment to Skills & Training

Winner: Hire Association Europe
Highly commended: Engcon
Highly commended: A-Plant

Hire Association Europe won this category with its innovative use of gaming technology for health and safety training, including 360 degree video, 3D animation, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

The first modules are designed for working at height and cut-off saws, with users working with VR to select the correct PPE and identify areas of risk. They will be followed by modules for dust, noise and HAVS, and other product groups such as breakers, angle grinders and diamond drilling.

The judges said the HAE’s approach is genuinely innovative, and an important step change in trying to ensure health and safety training reaches a wider audience.

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