March 24, 2005

Internet Resources

By Korky Koroluk

Press release promotions

Some time I’m going to gather my creaky old bones together and head for ConExpo, the immense construction and materials show held every three years in Las Vegas.

The 2005 version was held in mid-March, and the flood of press releases generated by the 2,100-odd exhibitors was almost as impressive as the show itself must have been.

Shuffling through them, my eye was caught by what looks like space-age asphalt rollers from Hamm AG, of Germany. These three machines in the company’s DV series seem to have just about everything, including climate-controlled cabs for the operator.

Operation is through a single joystick at the operator’s right. On his left is a computer screen that feeds him information.

The shock-absorbing chair is comfortable, and swivels through 360 degrees. The whole operator station turns automatically as the machine moves from forward to reverse. It also slides side to side so the operator can get a better view of his work.

The cab has glass all around, including in the floor, so the driver can see the rollers.

The DV series was introduced in Europe last year and has proven popular. The company says it will be available in North America in about a year’s time. No North American prices have yet been set.

The company’s Web site is at www.hammag.com

German firms are pursuing international markets aggressively, and another, the giant Liebherr, had 50,000 square feet of exhibiton space of its own — its largest presence yet at ConExpo.

The company used it to introduce a new series of dozers, a new wheel loader and a compact mobile crane designed especially for use in close quarters.

Liebherr’s Web site is multilingual. Look for a drop-down menu at the top right side of the home page in order to choose the language of your choice.

Point your browser at www.liebherr.com

Trimble, the American firm perhaps best known for its application of the Global Positioning System (GPS), had a new Construction Asset Management System on show. It’s a package that combines the company’s Construction Manager software and either its TrimTrac or CrossCheck GPS system.

The system connects the office to the jobsite, the company says, and brings together all information about equipment location to provide a quick overview of the construction company’s assets. That makes it useful for managing several projects simultaneously, or for managing assets spread over several sites.

The TrimTrac module is aimed mostly at keeping track of assets that are usually stationary, although it has a nifty anti-theft feature that enables it to check its own location automatically and send a message back to the office to report its position.

CrossCheck is designed for trucks. It not only tracks them but is able to report hour and odometer information back to the office.

The Construction Asset Management System is expected to be available by mid-year.

Trimble is at www.trimble.com

Project management software continues to proliferate, especially Web-based systems.

An outfit called Proexecute showed ConExpo spectators their idea of what such software should be. It looks like a fairly simple package that might appeal to firms that have been reluctant to part with their old Excel spreadsheets.

The folk who designed the software are construction people themselves, which might count for something.

Proexecute not only developed the software, but is an application service provider.

That means they sell access to the system on a monthly basis. It runs on their servers, so there is nothing for the user to buy.

For more, point your browser at www.proexecute.com

You’re always welcome to comment on anything you see in this column, or suggest topics for discussion. You can reach me at korkykoroluk@rogers.com.

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