Jim McShane, owner of McShane Welding and Metal Products, recently attended CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s theme: “If It’s New, It’s Here.” Here’s Jim’s account of the show’s highlights:
From the unveiling of the world’s first 3D-printed excavator, to the largest show floor in history, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 highlighted the newest product innovations for the construction and construction materials industries.
It happens only once every three years. And I was excited to be a part of it!
Miles of Exhibits
This year’s expo spanned more than 2.8 million square feet of exhibits. And it showcased more than 2,800 exhibitors from the leading U.S. and global manufacturers. There were literally miles of exhibits.
The technological changes revolutionizing construction and manufacturing were a central feature throughout the show. As you can imagine, the Tech Experience pavilion, featuring the first-ever 3D-printed excavator, was a huge draw:
And then there was the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge Finale, where finalists competed for a total of $100,000 in prize money. The winners were a pair of University of California-Berkeley students who proposed leveraging autonomous vehicle technology to develop a surge-priced “Hyperlane” to ease congestion and improve mobility.
And speaking of infrastructure…
A Hyperloop exhibit was also on display, representing the next level of passenger and freight transportation. By shuttling its cargo through a vacuum-tube network, the Hyperloop can reach speeds in excess of 600 mph.
Concert for Veterans
One of the highlights of the show was an after-hours concert by the rock band Foreigner. The concert was part of a benefit program for the Call of Duty™ Endowment, which helps military veterans secure high-quality jobs.
It was a great opportunity to not only network with industry professionals and have fun, but also to rally together as a community in support of military veterans. I understand more than $57,000 was raised that evening.
The scope of the exhibits was mind-boggling: The most current innovations in all forms of equipment (crushers, screeners, washers, conveyors), using robotics, hybrids, Android-based technology and even high-definition holograms.
I was pleased to see a couple of local businesses participating. Lake Erie Portable Screeners demonstrated the latest in its Pitbull™ line of portable screeners. And Erie Strayer Company, one of the leading suppliers of concrete batching equipment, was also there.
There was a Demolition & Recycling pavilion and a Lift Safety Zone. The international pavilions–representing China, Germany, Korea, and the United Kingdom–reinforced the global scope of the industry. I understand that show attendees represented more than 150 countries.
This year’s expo also offered more than 140 educational seminars. Sessions tailored for aggregate businesses alone covered a myriad of interesting topics, including:
- Aggregates, Drones and Deep Learning
- Lean and Mean: From Aggregates Production to Sales
- Crushing 101
- The Good, The Bad & The Puzzling: Mine Safety Law Year-in-Review
- How to Control Dust
Optimism on Display
A sense of widespread economic optimism was evident throughout the show. It was said that exhibitors were racking up sales, and attendees clearly came to the show intending to buy.
A primary topic of conversation was the effect of the Trump administration on the construction and aggregates industry. With regard to infrastructure, folks are expecting a boon for construction engineers.
Tax reform, on the other hand, could have either positive or negative implications. And proposed changes to trade arrangements could hurt manufacturers who rely on exports.
The Original “Road Show”
Did you know that the CONEXPO (previously known as the “Road Show”) has been going on since 1909?
Here’s brief tribute to the CONEXPO’s of years gone by created by the folks at Caterpillar:
Did you happen to notice the bride and groom in that video clip? They may have been the first couple to tie the knot at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, but they weren’t the last. The couple below decided to “hitch their trailers” at this year’s show: