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UCon @ ICUEE: Day 2
Astec, TT Technologies, Vacuworx, CETCO and more (whew)
Once the weather had warmed up sufficiently to allow self-respecting Texans like the Underground Construction crew outdoors, it was off to an event at Astec. Astec has more new products in bigger sizes than you can shake a stick at. The RT1200 Ride-on Trencher is designed for ergonomics and operator comfort, while meeting Tier 3 emissions standards to be suitable for the European market. The trencher has crab-wheel steering to increase maneuverability and defy gravity when necessary. It boasts 115 horsepower, switches between rubber tire and tracks and the first models are hot off the line. The RT 800, the updated version of the RT 662, is the model’s younger sibling, although available only with rubber tires for the time being.
The EarthPro 4550X, meanwhile, is built to serve a market Astec sees on a fast upward curve: U.S. geothermal. As Astec’s Dan Sharpe explained, in southern Europe 75 percent of new construction taps into geothermal energy. In northern Europe, it’s 90 percent. In the United States, the market is one half of one percent, and with the pressure on to find new, clean sources of renewable energy, geothermal is a sector to watch. The 4550X addresses many of the common complaints from contractors in the U.S.: it’s a one-man operation, with automated pipe loading, a rack and pinion system design for dependability and all service points located at one site on the side of the machine, as near to ground level as this skyscraper can manage. The unit offers the choice between air compressor technology or standard drilling fluids and runs on a Caterpillar Tier 3 engine. The prototype model has already been sold to a company in Ohio that helped with development.
American Augers has a new generation of their biggest auger boring machine, the 84/96-1800. This unit can install 96-inch pipe with near 300,000 foot-pounds of torque, and uses a rack and pinion system for increased safety. The DD-440T horizontal directional drill and MCR-10000 Drilling Fluid Cleaning System are on site too, large and in charge.