ConExpo & IFPE 2020: Go Big or Go Home

New construction equipment and advanced technologies in propulsion, operator assistance, motion control and more, are set to debut at North America’s largest construction tradeshow.

Komatsu is featuring its D51i-24 and D61i-24 dozers configured with “industry-first” proactive dozing control. (Komatsu)

My inbox has been inundated with notifications of press conferences and exciting new construction equipment, power systems, and other advanced technologies to be revealed at the rapidly approaching ConExpo/Con-Agg and IFPE shows. For example, as I began writing this in January, Kubota (booth N12501) teased that it is entering a new product segment and will unveil new equipment in Las Vegas. And the onslaught only intensified from there.

Not that I’m complaining. North America’s largest construction tradeshow comes around just every three years, so the excitement surrounding it is warranted and the number of new-product launches justified—it’s a big event.

Covering about 2.5 million ft2 (232,000 m2) and including roughly 2,800 exhibitors, the triennial event boasts an even-larger footprint for 2020 with the addition of the Festival Grounds, an outdoor exhibition area where several major OEMs will display their wares, including Volvo Construction Equipment (F3432), Caterpillar (F4455) and Liebherr (F5258).

Caterpillar’s 60,000-ft2 (5,574-m2) exhibit will include Operator’s Stadium, where the finals of the Global Operator Challenge and equipment demonstrations will take place. The company plans to make nine new-product introductions from the dozer, excavator, articulated truck and backhoe loader families. Five of these new models are hydraulic excavators, including the 325 medium excavator featuring advanced engine technology and control system to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25%.

Excavators are also a major focus of Volvo CE’s ConExpo presence. So much so that attendees to the company’s exhibit will be greeted by “excavator alley”—a literal tunnel created by several excavators’ booms, arms and buckets. This leads to the biggest iron in the booth: the heavy-duty EC950F crawler excavator, Volvo CE’s largest excavator which is now available globally, and the R100E rigid hauler for quarrying, mining and mass excavation.

Aimed to support the construction, waste, forestry, energy and aggregates industries, Komatsu (N10825) is set to unveil patent-pending technology and equipment at two events planned during the show, including a session on “Smart Construction’s future vision.” Among the machines featured on the floor will be Komatsu D51i-24 and D61i-24 dozers configured with “industry-first” proactive dozing control. As the machine moves, terrain data is recorded. Using real-time conditions and that data, the system makes calculated decisions about whether to cut and carry material, spread or fill the material, or to perform finish grading.

Operator assistance and autonomous technologies undoubtedly will be key focus areas for many exhibitors. For example, experts from CrossControl and Stoneridge-Orlaco (booths S84043 and S65319, respectively) will share how complex imaging systems integrated with onboard computing can revolutionize the approach to everyday and complex tasks in the next generation of machines.

Komatsu experts will host an educational training seminar on “Autonomous Haulage” to share lessons learned in large surface mining operations and to present current best practices for successful implementation of autonomous technologies in varied environments. And Doosan Infracore (N10001) plans to showcase Concept-X, an autonomous worksite in development at its Boryeong Proving Grounds in South Korea. The manufacturer claims a world first for the comprehensive nature of its automation-technology deployment, which includes 5G remote control, 3D drone surveys, and failure prediction among other technologies.

There’ll be plenty to see and do both inside and out of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The editors of Truck & Off-Highway Engineering will do our best to bring you the highlights. In a first for our publication, we’ll be serving up Show Daily e-newsletters, four in total, filled with the latest news and photos from the show floor and festival grounds. And SAE International will be on-site (South Hall 3 - booth SL80001) to discuss its numerous products and services benefiting the off-highway and fluid-power industries. After all, this is the event to go big.