Chevy’s First Silverado ZR2 Catches Air – and Attention – in Video

So it doesn’t have enough dinosaur DNA to dominate the Ram TRX or Ford Raptor. Nonetheless, Chevy’s first ever Silverado ZR2 is taking flight with more power and suspension at the wheels.

In a video on Chevy’s website, the 2022 Silverado ZR2 is shown going airborne on an off-road course. While it’s hard to say exactly how much air the front tires get — it may around a foot or so — it’s still air, and as far as we know, it marks the first time Chevy has shown one of its half-tons taking on a jump. (To watch the video, scroll to the end of this story.)

While videos in the past have highlighted towing and payload capacities and bed strength, a new focus on truck jumping has emerged as yet another and more dramatic way to show off a truck’s power and muscle. And let’s face it…it just looks like fun.

And all that fun requires some power. The Silverado ZR’s 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 delivers 460 pound-feet of torque through a 10-speed transmission. While that’s Chevy’s most powerful Silverado yet, it’s still below the 2021 Raptor, which delivers 450-horsepower and 510 pound-feet torque through a 3.5.-liter V6 mated to a 10-speed transmission. And it’s far below the 2021 Ram TRX, with its soul-stirring 702 horsepower supercharged V8 that churns out 650 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed ZF automatic.

But I’m not so sure Chevy’s all that bothered about being in third place. While we’ll have to wait until the price is revealed, I’m betting that Chevy will be offering a more affordable, high-performance half-ton that could draw some folks away from the Raptor and TRX. And once it’s in the aftermarket, someone’s going to bolt on a supercharger to help even the score. Look for the 2022 Silverado ZR2 at dealers this spring. 

The 6.2-liter V8 delivers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.Chevy

2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 highlights 

·     Standard 6.2L V-8 engine, delivering 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

·      Silverado-first application of Multimatic 40mm DSSV spool-valve dampers, which feature three separate spool valves to control damping and three connected chambers for fluid flow.

·      Uniquely tuned springs that, with the Multimatic dampers, increase maximum front and rear suspension travel, compared to the Silverado Trail Boss.

·      Front and rear e-lockers.

·      Specific off-road chassis and suspension calibrations, including Terrain Mode, which allows one-pedal rock crawling.

·      18-inch wheels with LT275/70R18 Goodyear Wrangler Territory M/T tires.

·      Unique skid plate package.

·      New high-approach steel front bumper designed for off-road strength, durability and clearance that enables an improved 31.8-degree approach angle compared to other Silverado off-road models.

·      Max payload of 1,440 pounds.

·      Max towing 8,900 pounds.

ir-catching video and more photos

Check out this video below of the 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 catching air:

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West Side Tractor Sales Named Big Iron Dealer of the Year

West Side Tractor Sales, headquartered in Lisle, Illinois, has been named the 2021 Equipment World Big Iron Dealer of the Year. 

“The fact that West Side was nominated by a customer is no surprise when you examine their absolute commitment to customer service,” says Jordanne Waldschmidt, Equipment World chief editor. “Our editorial team was impressed with how West Side’s family leadership  stays ahead of changing customer needs and yet remains focused on developing deep relationships.”

Established in 1962 by Rich and Mary Benck, West Side now serves as the John Deere dealer in more than 80 counties with 11 locations in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Six second- and third-generation owners – all deeply ingrained in the company’s day-to-day operations – now carry on the legacy: children Steve, Diane and Tom Benck and grandchildren Brian Benck, Jen Snow and Lauren Coffaro. 

Equipment World will profile West Side in a coming article, detailing how its customer service focus has translated into its new headquarters and shop design, how it has developed technology solutions and positioned itself against supply chain disruptions.

Now in its fourth year, the Big Iron Dealer of the Year award recognizes dealers for excellence in meeting customer needs, employing technology and addressing parts and service requirements. 

West Side is one of four dealers named finalists in the 2021 Big Iron Dealer of the Year Award. The following three finalists will also be featured in profiles throughout the coming weeks:

In 1926, 4Rivers Equipment began as Romer Mercantile, a small John Deere agriculture equipment dealer in Holly, Colorado. Through partnership and acquisition, the company has expanded to 18 locations covering Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming. The company, still owned by the Romer family, now features agriculture and construction locations and has more than 400 employees. Key brands include John Deere, Wirtgen and Topcon. 

Founded in 1983 with 28 employees, RECO Equipment now covers Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida. Brands include Bobcat (including Bobcat of Pittsburgh), Allied, Hyundai, Hitachi Loaders America, LBX Excavators, LaBounty, Liebherr and Terex. The company now has more than 200 employees. The company is owned by partners Paul DiTullio, president, and Josh Gasber, vice president.

Butler Machinery started in 1955 when founder Francis J. Butler, a contractor, was selected to be a Caterpillar dealer. The company has since expanded to 18 locations across North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska with 850 associates. Twylah (Butler) Blotsky serves as the company’s president, the second person from the third generation of the Butler family to lead the company.

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Demolish 8-Story Buildings with New Cat 340 UHD Excavator

Cat has unveiled a new demolition excavator, the Cat 340 UHD – as in, Ultra High Demolition.

The new tall boy boasts a pin height 13 percent higher than the 340F UHD, giving it the ability to perform demolition on buildings as high  as eight stories. Another plus: the 340 UHD has a coupling system that enables you to switch between two UHD fronts and the shorter retrofit booms and sticks with no special tools in as little as 15 minutes.

“This is a purpose-built, dedicated demolition machine,” says James Cole, product application specialist. “We are not just throwing a long front on a standard excavator. It has a reinforced frame, a heavier counterweight and the best working weight in the industry in its size class.”

Cat also spent time engineering the new demolition excavator to be easier to transport. A hydraulically actuated variable gauge undercarriage extends from 9 feet 10 inches in the transport mode to 13 feet 4 inches for stability in the working configuration. And an optional one-piece cradle for the boom can be used to reduce the UHD boom transport height to less than 9 feet 10 inches.

Multiple Boom, Stick options

The new 340 UHD allows for the sticks to be configured with Cat couplers to optimize machine versatility and productivity. There are two front options available:

The 72-foot 2-inch front offers a maximum 8,160-pound capacity (3.7 tons) at stick pin and maximum horizontal reach of 44 feet 5 inches  at stick nose over the front and side of the machine. Working with a 7,280-pound maximum weight at stick pin, the 82-foot front offers a 43-foot 9-inch maximum reach at stick nose over the front and side of the machine. It matches the Cat MP332 and MP324 multi-processors.

Three stick options are available in lengths of 9 feet 2 inches, 10 feet 6 inches, and 12 feet 10 inches. The maximum digging depth for the machine is 24 feet 3 inches.

Hydraulic Quick Connect

The UHD’s hydraulic boom lines are quickly connected and disconnected by hand and without special tools. Contractors can choose between one- or two-piece boom options for high-productivity truck loading or low-level demolition work.

Standard Cat Payload provides on-the-go weighing and real-time estimates of the payload, so operators can achieve precise load targets when working with the one-piece retrofit boom.

The power for this demolition excavator comes from a Cat C9.3 engine rated at 311 horsepower that can run on diesel or B20 biodiesel. Three power modes — power, smart and eco — match the engine and hydraulic output to job needs to lower fuel consumption. A new high-efficiency hydraulic reversing fan cools the engine on demand to also help with fuel efficiency.

Safety alerts warn the operator when the machine is getting close to its operating limits.CaterpillarSafety alerts

The new 10-inch touchscreen monitor in the 340 UHD displays Cat’s active stability monitoring system. This continuously informs operators if the work tool is positioned within the safe working range and provides audible and visual warning alerts when approaching the stability limit.

Cat increased the seat size by 5 percent and included a left-hand tilt-up console for easier entry and exit. Customized, programmable settings and joystick button controls can be stored on the monitor based on operator ID.

No neck strain

A 30-degree tilt-up cab gives you a comfortable sight line without neck strain when working on tall structures and buildings. And to better help you see that work tool eight stories up in the air, the UHD front is work-tool camera ready.

Cat E-fence and Cat Grade with 2D automatically guide depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade through the monitor. And the machine automatically compensates for excavator pitch and roll caused by sloping ground conditions through use of GPS and GLONASS systems. 

Quick Specs

Engine: Cat C9.3BNet power – ISO 14396: 311 hpOperating weight: 122,400 lbs. (2); 130,600 lbs. (1)Max. weight at stick nose: 7,289 lbs. (2); 8,160 lbs. (1)Max. pin height at stick nose: 82′ (2);  72’ 2” (1)Max. digging depth (3): 24’ 3” 

*Net power advertised is the power available at the flywheel when the engine is equipped with fan at minimum speed, air intake system, exhaust system, and alternator, and tested per the specified standard in effect at the time of manufacture.

22-m UHD front25-m UHD front1-piece Retrofit boom bent and R 12’10” (3.9 m) stick
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Ram’s TRX RexRunner Concept Pickup Truck Boasts 702 Horsepower

The world’s quickest, fastest and most powerful factory production truck has gotten even more interesting.

Mopar transformed the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX into the Ram 1500 TRX RexRunner which carries a truckload of Mopar accessories and custom parts, elevating this apex predator to even greater levels of high-speed capability and durability.

Powered by the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine, rated at an eye-popping 702 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. torque, the TRX RexRunner concept rides on 37-inch Goodyear tires mounted to custom-designed 18-by-9-inch Black Rhino Chamber wheels for a race-inspired appearance at all four corners.

Debuting at SEMA, the TRX RexRunner concept wears Ash Gray paint and several Mopar Blue accents, including a center stripe that extends over the hood and roof, TRX bedside graphics, Ram grille and dual tow hooks up front. A RamBar accessory bar features a pair of concept 14-inch TYRI rectangular LED lights, generating 4,300 lumens of exceptionally bright light. Just below the RamBar, a fully integrated, bed-mounted spare-tire carrier from Mopar keeps a 37-inch spare tire/wheel at the ready.

RamA Mopar bed extender flips inward for more secure transportation of tools and equipment. For bed protection, the TRX RexRunner concept features a black, Mopar spray-in textured bedliner.  Custom metal skid plates feature laser-etched Mopar lettering and protect the front and rear underside areas of the truck. Use of the front skid plate helps to increase the approach angle by 2.3 degrees up to 32.5 degrees.

Mopar rock rails also help protect the side sills from any damage, while a custom, black, flip-top, fuel-filler door adds to the rugged exterior. Just below the rear bumper, look for a pair of 5-inch black Mopar exhaust tips. A Mopar bed step features an articulating arm that lowers for easy access to the truck bed and, with a slight push, retracts to a stored, out-of-the way position.

The race-inspired interior of the TRX RexRunner concept draws on a combination of features from production versions of the Ram 1500 TRX and the workhorse Ram 1500 Tradesman.  From the award-winning TRX production model are the center stack, instrument cluster, flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, center-console-mounted floor shifter and aggressive bolster sport seats.

In addition, Mopar stainless-steel pedal covers feature black rubber pads, providing additional traction to the accelerator and brake pedals. Additionally, molded one-piece door panels and a vinyl floor from the Tradesman model allows for quick and easy cleaning. 

2021 Ram TRX SEMA RexRunner bed shot

2021 Ram TRX SEMA RexRunner front underbelly

2021 Ram TRX SEMA RexRunner interior

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Finding the Right Finance Partner for Your Construction Business

Financing companies talk about partnering with clients. They all say it matters. They all say they’re really good at forming solid relationships. But does finding and selecting the right financing partner really matter to construction businesses?

The short answer is a resounding “yes.” Selecting the right financing partner can make or break a business.

The right financing partner will have the resources and expertise in construction equipment the business needs. That partner will integrate into and be committed to the success of their client. This isn’t just for altruistic reasons; when both the client and partner realize success, they both achieve more and grow more.

5 points to consider when choosing a financing partner

Choosing the right financing partner can make a measurable difference in the life of your company. Every business and every financing company is different, but the points below are good indications that you are on the right track in choosing an effective partner.

It’s not all about pricing. A true partner is in it for the long term – literally, in good times and in bad – and is looking for a long-run relationship rather than a one-time transaction. Moreover, you typically will be working with a finance company for a long time – hopefully, for the life of your business. For that reason, you need a relationship that’s more than transactional.It is about information. Good partners will have in-depth questions about your business, your equipment, your goals and your process. They will want to meet in person, in a Zoom meeting and/or over the phone – on an ongoing basis. Keeping up-to-date with you and your business should be a commitment you hear early on from any financing company you meet with.They will push to talk with the right people. A partner that wants to understand your business will work to make sure they meet with the people within your organization who know your processes and who make decisions. They will spend time learning your business, while valuing your time and their own.The average tenure of a business relationship with clients is measured in years. A partner that approaches business from a long-term perspective, versus one that is based on volume and quotas, often works in the best interest of not only itself, but its clients. Ask about the financing partner’s average tenure with clients. Good ones may be three times the industry mean.They won’t be afraid to call out problems or concerns, and challenge decisions. Remember that a real partner is as committed to your success as you are. It’s not about being a “yes man.” They want to learn about your business challenges and then identify financing solutions that can help solve said challenges. Financing is not a one-size-fits-all product; make sure any financing company is tailoring its offerings to meet your needs.

The consultative approach

Companies may hear about financing companies taking a “consultative approach.”  But what does that really mean? And is it the best approach?

The consultative approach to business engagement refers to the commitment to learning about clients’ businesses and business models before ever suggesting a financing method or program. Instead of a commodity solution, a consultative approach will result in recommendations that help you achieve your short-term as well as long-term goals.

The approach also works from a position of expertise. A consultant, by nature, is someone with expertise and experience in their field. Working with a financing partner who has experience working in the construction industry, and/or running, a business means they can think like you do. It also means they can think ahead and know the likely challenges you will face. That external perspective – a hallmark of the consultative approach – contributes important knowledge that can help a business stay on track or pivot when needed.

As the financing partner becomes more and more knowledgeable about your company, they can become an extension of your business. In return, you will gain more and more confidence that they’ll deliver what and when they say.

Partner resources

Most of the time, a financing partner will be able to provide financing solutions for your business. However, there are times when a company needs other resources. A good financing partner can be invaluable in these situations, which could include:

 Personnel, experts: Perhaps what a business really needs is an interim CFO, a CPA with international experience or a strategic advisory board. A good partner with deep connections in the industry will be able to help with strong referrals and connections.Customized financing programs: Many financing companies will work with generic rates for different industries. While that can be a good place to start, a partner will determine what’s really right for your business and suggested a specific, often-customized, program.Business financing: As economies work to recover from the pandemic, many businesses are finding they need different and additional help to fund the growth they’re experiencing from pent-up demand. A strong financing partner could analyze and provide alternatives, whether it’s a line of credit supported by account receivables, equipment refinance or funding the ramp-up of inventory.

Often, the partner will be able to identify a company’s real needs, looking at a situation through the lens of experience and expertise. Other times, the business will know its needs, but not realize that a financing partner – versus a commodity lender or bank – can help. In times like those, working with a knowledgeable partner makes running and growing the business much easier.

Ivan Franklin, vice president – construction, vendor services, Mitsubishi HC Capital AmericaMitsubishi HC Capital AmericaShared vision, shared success

Solid financing partners are committed to a shared vision and shared success, and to building trust. Any of us who can surround ourselves with people as committed to our success should count ourselves as fortunate. In choosing the right financing partner, a construction business will find additional expertise, resources and flexibility to grow their business efficiently and effectively. 

Ivan Franklin is Vice President – Construction, Vendor Services, at Mitsubishi HC Capital America, a provider of financing solutions that are tailor-made for the construction industry. 

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Cat Debuts its Lightest Motor Grader, the Economical 120 GC

Caterpillar has added another GC-designated machine to its equipment lineup, the Cat 120 GC motor grader. The machine is engineered for a range of applications that include government and municipal work, county road maintenance and finish grading.

The GC tag represents a value-oriented design for small to medium-size contractors that don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles of a high-spec production machine. It’s a simpler machine for a variety of tasks. The owning and operating costs for the new 120 GC can be 20 percent lower than a standard Cat 120 motor grader, thanks to better fuel economy and a lower price, says Eric Kohout, product application specialist.

“The Cat C4.4 twin-turbo engine pairs nicely with the torque-converter drive transmission,” says Kohout. The transmission with torque converter eliminates the need for an inching pedal, so only throttle and brake pedals are required, which simplifies operation. “If you’re on and off of that inching pedal all day and wearing your leg out, this is an alternative where you can control the machine with just the throttle and brake,” says Kohout.

The 171-horsepower engine is matched to the standard rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, and the eco mode operation increases fuel economy up to 5 percent. The hydraulic cooling fan, with an optional reversing fan for high-debris applications, only runs when necessary to further reduce fuel consumption. The 120 GC is also Cat’s lowest-weight motor grader, some 2,000 pounds lighter than the standard 120, says Kohout.

The steering wheel steering and lever controls are familiar to many and simplify operation.CaterpillarSimplified Operation

A no-spin differential on the 120 GC gives operators simplified operation. “A lot of times operators will forget to activate and deactivate the differential, and this can cause the machine to buck,” says Kohout. “The no-spin differential means if it’s going forward, it is locked up and pulling all the wheels for maximum tractive effort. When you go into a turn, it unlocks automatically. It’s one less thing for the operator to think about.” 

The parking brake automatically engages when the machine is in neutral and the service brake is disengaged. If underfoot conditions require it, there is a simple on-off system for the optional all-wheel drive.

Maintenance and replacement parts play a role in owning and operating costs as well. Cat built the 120 GC motor grader with long-life machine structures for reliable operation, including the standard drawbar circle moldboard that increases durability with hardened circle teeth and replaceable wear inserts that protect the main component structures. This design stays factory tight to enable precision grading long term.

Damage Prevention

The circle drive slip clutch option on the Cat 120 GC protects the drawbar, circle and moldboard from damage if the machine strikes an immovable object. The circle saver option also reduces daily greasing requirements and repairs to the circle and pinion. Additionally, the grader’s new front axle design maximizes bearing life to minimize maintenance. 

A newly designed mid-mount scarifier improves visibility to the attachment while decreasing overall machine length. “The advantage is that it allows the operator more movement of the drum or circle moldboard within the mid-mount scarifier, so you’re not hitting the sides of the scarifier as often,” says Kohout.  “And it installs easily. It just wraps around and bolts to the front of the machine without any welding or brackets needed. It also allows a plate in front of it, so you can attach a push block or a front lift group,” he says.

To improve machine performance, the 120 GC also features a common front bolster for a choice of front lift group, counterweight, or front blade option, which aids in spreading more material faster. The rear of the machine accommodates a ripper or tow-hitch option. Moldboard options include lengths of 10, 12 and 14 feet.

Wheel steering

Cat kept the familiar steering wheel and lever layout for the 120 GC the same as the 120, 140 and 160K models. For operating comfort, the cab offers a choice of mechanical or air suspension seat.

And the control console and steering wheel easily adjust to the operator’s preference. A narrow machine width of 7.9 feet, plus a choice of cabs (standard or low profile), can reduce overall transport height to 10.25 feet to enhance transportability.

Quick Specs

Engine: Cat C4.4Net power, Tier 4 Final/Stage V: 171 hpNet power, Tier 3 equivalent: 171 hpWeight Tier 4 Final/Stage V: 35,494 lbs.Weight Tier 3/Stage IIIA equivalent: 31,424 lbs.Moldboard width: 12 ft.
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Alicia Jimerson Didn’t Want to Run Her Dad’s Construction Firm – So She Started Her Own

For being the fourth-largest city in the country, when it comes to construction, Houston, Texas, often operates like a small town. Everybody knows everybody, and that suits Alicia Jimerson just fine.

Growing up the daughter of a well-known and respected Houston contractor, Jimerson had no intention of going into construction. But as fate would have it, she started helping out in the office of her dad’s company, and after she graduated from college, she decided to try her hand at the business.

Rather than run her dad’s company, Jimerson hung out her own shingle in 1989 to take advantage of minority-owned business provisions. Soon after, she hired two skilled veterans, Tony Bonner as general superintendent and Tom Nugent as project manager. Today, she has 45 employees, runs a $7 million to $10 million business in Stafford, Texas, and is one of Equipment World’s 2021 Contractor of the Year finalists.

But her first venture into the world of bid letting didn’t go exactly as she had hoped. At a meeting with Houston’s biggest general contractor, “I got my ass chewed out,” she says. “He told me my numbers were good, but next time I came in with a bid, I had better bring some men with me, that if I didn’t, somebody was going to take advantage of me on pricing.”

Jimerson didn’t win the bid that day, but undeterred, she kept her head down and worked hard. “It was difficult to get doors to open up. And I don’t think I could have done it without the support of Tom and Tony,” she says.

ssociations are gold

From the start, Jimerson knew something many contractors learn the hard way, if at all. She understood the key to getting business as a small start-up was to build relationships, to meet your peers, shake a lot of hands and pass out business cards.

Thirty years ago, Houston construction may have been a club of good ol’ boys, but that world was changing, due in no small part to the persistence of women like Jimerson. She joined the Houston Contractors Association and was elected to the board in 2008, then chosen as president in 2011. She was also a founding member of the Houston Women Contractors Association.

Just as the relationships developed in construction associations have been important to the success of Jimerson Underground, so has Houston’s Livestock Show and Rodeo. With more than 100 committees and 37,000 volunteers, it is the largest livestock and rodeo show in the world. It unites everyone from the city’s billionaire oil barons to multinational corporations, civic groups and local businesspeople in a common purpose – generating more than $500 million in scholarships for young people since 1932.

Jimerson joined one of the committees in 1989 and has steadily worked her way up to vice president. “You would be surprised at how many contractors are involved in the rodeo,” she says. 

Smooth operations

To keep up with the demand for its services, Jimerson hired Dennis Wolford in 2006 to add some bandwidth on the management side. He’s now the vice president and keeps all the different departments working together smoothly.

In addition to maintaining relationships outside the company, Jimerson Underground has done well by keeping its relationships with its employees strong. “Nurturing the relationships you have with the people who work for you is important,” Wolford says. “It’s not a one-way street. They work for us, but we work for them as well. The people who have been here 20 and 30 years know that.”

David Medrano, project manager, (left) and Dennis Wolford look over estimates.Equipment World“Your employees are not just employees, they’re family,” says Jimerson. “Yes, you’re here to make money, but you’re also here to make sure their families are taken care of. That’s what families do, and the long-term employees know this is home.”

That focus on relationships and the skill and knowledge of 30-year veterans like Nugent and Bonner have impressed Nelson Blackwell of Vaughn Construction, an earthmoving general contractor that does business with Jimerson Underground. “They’re dependable,” says Blackwell. “They’re going to be there for you year-in and year-out. To them, it’s more than just the price on the bid. They’re the people you want on your team.”


The recession of 2008-2011 was a stark reminder of just how important this philosophy was to the company. Employees went without bonuses, and executives went without pay for a period, but the company got through it without resorting to layoffs.

One thing it did change during the recession was its philosophy about equipment management. Before the recession the company would run equipment “until the paint fell off,” says Jimerson. But the slowdown in work and the lack of cash flow made it essential to sell most of the assets that weren’t vital to the work at hand. Today, equipment acquisition and disposal decisions are much more strategic, says Wolford.

Jimerson Underground has also been rigorous about sticking to what it does best. On occasion it’ll do a bit of site work for a friend or longtime customer, but the core business is underground utilities – basic water and sewer installations.

“Our guys know water and sewer,” says Wolford. “From the office to the estimator to the permits to the field, everybody knows exactly what to do.”

Proof that this philosophy works comes from customer Falin Ishee at Turner Construction. “From the start it has been a positive impression,” Ishee says. “They are great to work with, from the office staff to the field. Utilities are always a pain to deal with, but they make it easy. They are one of the contractors who stand out.”

jimerson underground contractor texas
Tony Bonner, general superintendent, (left) was the company’s first employee. Dennis Wolford, vice president, (right) joined in 2006 to help it grow.Equipment World

Volunteer to win

Having broken through the glass ceiling in one of the most male-dominated businesses in the country, Jimerson’s advice to those who want to succeed is essentially the same for men or women – build relationships.

It is essential to not just join your local construction and civic organizations, but to volunteer and get on committees in those organizations, Jimerson says.

“That’s how you meet suppliers and other contractors that you may work for someday,” she says. “Even if it’s just a 5-second introduction and handshake, they will at least know who you are. Once you get involved, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it.”

Cat Expands it Remote-Control Command D5, D6, D7 Dozers

Cat D5, D6 and D7 dozers have now joined wheel loaders and excavators as Cat Command machines. Command for Dozing removes operators from the cab and gives them the ability to operate the machine using either a line-of-sight, over-the-shoulder remote console or a non-line-of-sight station.

“We now have the broadest range of remote-control offerings in the industry between our product line and our two scalable offerings of the Cat Command station and console,” says Mike Lenzie, product marketing consultant.

By getting operators out of hazardous environments, Cat says its Command system promotes safety, increases production and helps attract and retain skilled operators. “We can always replace the machine, but we cannot replace the person,” Lenzie says.

Applications where Command could offer safety advantages include steep slopes, underfoot conditions that are so soft the machine could potentially sink into the ground, demolition — especially when there’s the chance of falling debris  and working around hazardous materials. 

Using the Cat Command station, operators can switch between three different types of Command-enabled machines.CaterpillarBecause operators can easily switch between Command-enabled machines in the Cat Command station, users can see increased productivity. “They can be operating one machine and then with a touch of a button operate another piece of equipment,” Lenzie says.

Cat’s next-generation D5, D6 and D7 come remote ready from the factory; dealers can quickly install remaining components in the field. The Command components are fully integrated with the machine’s electronic and hydraulic system.

As previously mentioned, Command for Dozing comes in two versions:

The console provides access to all dozer functions and supports assist technologies such as traction control, AutoCarry and stable blade. Operators can switch between Command-enabled machines by changing out an RFID chip. Using the console, operators can control a Command dozer up to 437 yards away. The machine shuts down if the remote shutdown switch is pressed, wireless communication is lost or the console is tilted more than 45 degrees.The non-line-of-sight station, where the operator can be in a climate-controlled environment and control the dozer from close by or several miles away. Station controls operate all three types of Command machines – dozer, excavator and wheel loader – and feature pedals, joysticks and an adjustable seat. Multiple screen displays offer visuals from the left and right dozer cutting edges, blade top-center and rearview/ripper. In addition to the assist technologies offered on the console, the station is compatible with blade load monitor, slope assist and Grade with 3D. 

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Western Star Debuts a “Construction Powerhouse” of a Vocational Truck

Western Star’s overhaul of its vocational line continues with the debut of the all-new 47X. 

With a standard 111.6-inch bumper-to-back-of cab (BBC), the 47X will usher out the Western Star 4700, and will do so by adding significant flexibility. The 4700 is exclusively available in 110-inch BBC, but for the 47X, an optional 110.8-inch BBC will also be made available for fleets that need to meet federal or local bridge laws, such as mixers or dumps.

Daimler Trucks North America Vice President of Vocational Market Development Sam Parlier called the new model a “construction powerhouse,” noting that with its shorter hood and up to 50-degree wheel cut, the 47X optimizes maneuverability for work on jobsites and congested urban environments.

The 47X is the younger, smaller and lighter sibling in Western Star’s X-Series and joins the 49X as the third and fourth trucks in the lineup (both models are available with set-forward and set-back front axles). The X-Series is Western Star’s new-generation lineup – a product suite born following a seven-year development cycle alongside customers, and the 47X was developed in unison with the 49X, which debuted about a year ago. 

Approximately 200 pounds lighter than the 49X in like-for-like spec and 10 inches shorter, the 47X is suited for weight-sensitive applications like mixers and bulk haul.

Light-weighting was a focus of the 47X engineering team. Parlier said the group “built a truck from the ground up, and they weighed every single part to determine where we were putting hidden weight.”

All X-Series trucks have a tougher but lighter single-channel frame rail option versus legacy products. The platform offers frame rails with best-in-class RBM (resisting bending moment) of up to 3.8 million inch-pounds, which increases lifecycle and offers greater payload. A new 9.5-millimeter single-channel rail option is available and features comparable strength as today’s 11-millimeter rail. Standard high-strength aluminum forward, rear and end-of-frame crossmembers further reduce mass, as does a new two-battery option.

Lighter, larger cab

The X-Series steel-reinforced aluminum cab further reduces mass by up to 8% while offering 13% more room than competitive models. An optional two-person bench seat is available, and a new space-optimized, in-cab battery box adds legroom. Feedback from early adopters of the 49X drove engineers to develop the new battery box seat, which will become the new standard across the X-Series line next year and add up to 3 inches of legroom. 

An optional roof-mounted condenser offers maximum airflow through the radiator for stationary applications like construction and mining while keeping operators comfortable.

All X-Series models come standard with a wrap-around dash that provides easy access to the driver command center and B-panel. On the B-panel, a flex panel can be prepped for a tablet or configured for an additional 12 switches or 10 gauges. The truck’s interior also includes premium appointments like metal accents, and all-metal exterior brightwork is distinctive as well as durable.

The 47X’s unique hood provides a forward visibility of 24.8 feet – an 11-inch improvement over the 49X – while its composite construction and ISO Tech suspension system resists bending and cracking by absorbing and dissipating vibrations from road inputs.

The 47X is the younger, smaller and lighter sibling in Western Star’s X-Series, and joins the 49X as the third and fourth trucks in the lineup.Western Star

Power hungry

The 47X comes standard with Detroit’s DD13 Gen 5 engine, which features higher compression ratios and a new swirl piston design to improve combustion and efficiency, matched to an Allison transmission. ThermoCoasting in the DD13 Gen 5 prevents aftertreatment cool-down during a driving regen to keep the system at its optimum temperature and reduce the need for parked regens.

Cummins L9 and X12 engines are available for weight-sensitive applications.

Optional front-engine power take-off (FEPTO) is offered on all three engine options.

Rectangular fuel tanks and a raised aftertreatment-system mounting are offered with Cummins engines for better clearance for belly plows.

The 47X is also offered with the all-new DT12-V transmission, which is built on DT12 and has more than 35 million miles of vocational-specific testing. The DT12 includes three work-ready mode applications: Rock-free mode, Off-road mode, and Paver mode for the challenges of specific vocational applications. Users also have the choice of Eaton Fuller or Eaton UltraShift transmissions. 

Any 47X equipped with the DD13 Gen 5 gets the Detroit Assurance suite of active safety systems standard, bringing active safety solutions to the vocational segment. The product suite includes active brake assist, side guard assist and adaptive cruise control.

Ease of upfit

Western star 47X dash panel controls
A Flex Panel located in the dash B-panel of the 47X gives TEMs the ability to mount body controllers, freeing up the space between the seats that’s almost always been used for this function.Western StarWestern Star partnered with truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) to ensure the X-Series facilitates easy upfits.

The 47X’s mid-chassis packaging has a number of clear back-of-cab configurations while unobstructed frame rails provide more efficient body integration. The QuickFit Interface System offers ready access to electrical architecture and was designed for quick TEM interface, programming and access to power. The CHEC Tool from DTNA enables TEMs and dealers to view and modify electrical configurations, giving them the power to customize inputs and outputs and change parameters within minutes.

A Flex Panel located in the dash B-panel of the truck gives TEMs the ability to mount body controllers, freeing up the space between the seats that’s almost always been used for this function. Parlier said safety was the primary driver of this change, noting that it’s easier to look up at the dash than it is to search for body controls in the floor. 

The Flex Panel can also accommodate additional gauges, switches or a RAM Mount prep.

The all-new 47X is available for order now, and delivery to customers begins in early 2022. Even though the industry is facing a generational shortage in parts that has hindered truck production for much of this year, Parlier said, component commonalities between the 47X and 49X help with parts procurement.

Sany Enters U.S. Backhoe Market with “Fully Loaded” SLB95

“Fully loaded.” 

That’s what Sany America wants you to remember about its newest U.S. entrant, the SLB 925 backhoe. 

The machine with a 14-foot 3-inch dig depth offers these features as standard:

4WD power-shift transmission with limited slip differential.Load-sensing hydraulics with pilot controls and ISO/SAE pattern changeBoom float, return-to-dig and breaker lineFlip-over pads, outrigger cylinder guards and front bumpersEight LED working lights, rotating beacon, traffic lights and air suspension seat

“The features we are offering as standard can cost more than $7,000 on competitive machines,” says Juliano Silva, Sany America product manager. A heavy-duty bucket with side cutters also is standard. Four-in-one bucket and extend-a-hoe options are currently being tested. 

The backhoe made its debut at the American Rental Association show and is slated to be available in spring. The specs fit the rental market, says Silva, “but it’s going to deliver a lot more breakout force. We went with a 95-horsepower engine instead of a 74-horsepower engine to have a single product to fit most of our customers, including city, state and federal governments, as well as general contractors. These guys don’t look for a 74-horsepower machine.”

Sany is also considering adding electro-hydraulic controls, but first, “we want to make sure they are something operators actually use,” Silva says. 

Why a backhoe?

Why enter the mature backhoe market, one that’s gotten its share of dings as the combination of compact excavators and skid steers/compact track loaders has gained favor?

“We know it’s a stable market,” says Gabe Weiss, Sany America marketing director. “It also gives Sany an opportunity to have more of a full brand offering. It’s another tool in our quiver. We’re looking at it from a growth in brand recognition.” 

And as with other Chinese OEMs, Sany points out that its products are global machines with components sourced from around the world. “It’s really about the support and the commonality of what’s under the hood,” says Weiss. These include Deutz engines which Sany also uses in its telehandlers and wheel loaders  ZF transmissions and axles, Kawasaki pumps and Carlisle braking systems.

Sany is targeting both North and South American markets with the backhoe and put more than 1,000 hours on four prototype machines. “What is needed in both markets is very close,” Silva says. “We put a lot of effort into keeping the machine simple.”  Field testers specifically asked for spacious cabs; rental customers focused on machine serviceability and reliability. And Sany knows owner/operators another backhoe market staple are focused on digging power, Silva says. 

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