Tech topics for today and beyond

By Jenny LescohierDecember 16, 2022

Technology is rapidly advancing, affecting every aspect of construction. Some of the latest advancements might take a while to make an impact on smaller companies, but there’s no question it’s coming for everyone.

Here’s a sampling of this year’s reports on various areas of technology, touching on advancements that still seem pretty futuristic, to others with immediate benefit to your company’s efficiency and productivity.

Construction pros make predictions for how tech will affect their business - As we look ahead into 2023, construction projects are still moving at a brisk pace yet higher interest rates and talk of a recession are top of mind for many in the industry.

Meanwhile, more recent findings on growth in construction spending show some early signs of slowing yet are expected to continue to grow over the next six months. As the construction industry remains at an interesting inflection point, we asked several leaders at construction and engineering firms for their predictions on what the new year will bring in terms of rapidly advancing technology and its effects on productivity and safety on the job site. 

How will 5G impact construction? - The most significant advancement in construction technology in the last two decades is now visible on the horizon and promises to provide previously unimaginable levels of connectivity and productivity.

5G, the fifth generation of wireless technology, is said by some to be the last piece of the puzzle OEMs and technology companies have wanted for years. Manufacturers are keeping quiet about their plans, but when those applications and machines emerge it will change everything.

The Hyundai HW155H is expected to be commercially available by 2025-26

Hyundai previews hydrogen-powered excavator concept - Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE) introduced a hydrogen-powered wheeled excavator concept at Bauma 2022 in Munich, Germany, shining a light on yet another viable alternative power source that can lead to a zero-carbon future.

The HW155H is expected to be commercially available by 2025-26.

Stefan Schwill, HCE product manager said the wheeled excavator had been chosen as the model to be powered by hydrogen “as it works in urban environments and low emission zones, and the 14-tonne model is a popular model.”

The machine is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell, providing the electrical power to operate it with zero tailpipe emissions. It can can be charged in just 10 minutes.

VIDEO: How might technology solve the labor shortage? - Watch this panel discussion from Trimble Dimensions in Las Vegas where industry experts from various corners of the industry examined ways in which technology might offer solutions to one of the most critical issues facing construction today.

Moderated by CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 Editor Jenny Lescohier, panelists looked at educational initiatives, untapped labor pools and innovative employment policies, all with an eye toward what technology can do to assist those efforts. 

Cooperation in standardizing charging tech is key to electric adoption - Wacker Neuson’s commitment to electrically powered equipment is unquestionable -

A key enabler of the adoption of battery-powered light equipment was the agreement between many of the suppliers to standardize on battery packs

case in point, all of its hand-operated equipment will be battery powered by 2030. Standardization of charging technology will be key to widespread industry adoption, however, and that depends on cooperation among manufacturers.

That’s according to Alexander Greschner, chief sales officer at Wacker Neuson, who noted that 20-25% of Wacker Neuson’s light equipment is already electric and progress in electrifying the complete range will be rapid, although some fuel-powered models will be required for certain markets.

Greschner said a key enabler of the adoption of battery-powered light equipment was the agreement between many of the suppliers to standardize on battery packs.

5 areas equipment manufacturers are focusing their R&D - Construction has traditionally been relatively slow to embrace technology, but the past few years have seen a shift as companies see that adoption can result in significant productivity gains and greater profitability.

Research and development (R&D) activity can generate significant added value to products. In terms of construction, governments and policy makers the world over agree that building a stronger innovation culture within the industry will result in much-needed productivity gains and we are seeing a significant increase in the number of new and innovative construction products and machines coming to market.

5 ways BIM could change the future of construction - As the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) increases, it’s critical for contractors to keep up with the latest standards and certifications when selecting and procuring software, since it can impact project risk and save time and money too.

To prepare for the future, companies must look ahead at how these standards and certifications might shape the industry. With that in mind, here are five considerations for the future of BIM in construction.

Cummins and Shell project a fuel-agnostic future for internal combustion - The Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas reduction gives public companies investor and customer motivation to aggressively pursue reduced carbon footprints, and Cummins’ “Destination Zero” sets the goal of zero emissions for all of its power and energy solutions by 2050. The company is hard at work developing technology solutions to move toward that objective.

“By 2030, we’re targeting 25% reduction in greenhouse gas of all of the newly sold products that we sell to our customers,” said Jonathon White, vice president of Engine Business Engineering, Cummins, in a keynote address at the 2022 Diesel Progress Summit. “That equates to 55 million megatons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions from those units in the field by 2030.”

Cummins is taking a “fuel-agnostic” approach from the fuel and technology perspective. “Whether it’s diesel, natural gas, hydrogen, low-carbon fuels with a compression ignition engine – that’s the focus of our fuel-agnostic platform strategy for the engine business,” White stated.

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