Reporter: RitchieWiki takes on the world of equipment

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has unveiled, an “everything about equipment” Wikipedia. As with Wikipedia, users can use the site to research, read, add to and edit.

A wiki-type website provided the best way to collect the knowledge and expertise of the company and customers into one repository, says Clay Tippett, vice president of internet business for Ritchie. On RitchieWiki, information can be constantly added, elaborated and updated demographically by thousands of individual contributors with different information to share.

“Our goal is for manufacturers, associations, trade schools, equipment enthusiasts, industry journalists, and our customers and employees to embrace this new equipment wiki and give it momentum,” Tippett says. “We’re encouraging anyone with knowledge to edit the existing content and add new information and photos.”

Another impetus behind the website: the aging of a generation that has first-hand knowledge of the post-WWII equipment boom. “We want to capture their knowledge about equipment before it goes away,” says Ken Duncan, also with Ritchie. “We also want contractors to tell their stories.”

The free multi-lingual site is moderated by the company, which says it will not allow promotional, libelous or self-serving articles.
– Marcia Gruver

AASHTO calls for $545 billion transportation program
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has requested Congress consider increased federal funding – or an overall investment of $545 billion for use beginning in 2010 – to bolster the nation’s highway, transit, freight movement and railway programs. The current SAFETEA-LU program ends on September 30, 2009.

AASHTO’s proposal calls for $375 billion for highways, $93 billion for transit, $42 billion for freight improvements and $35 billion dedicated to funding intercity passenger rail.

According to Allen Biehler, AASHTO president and secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, this initiative will not be “business as usual.”

“The American public has every right to see what they will get for an increased transportation investment,” Biehler says. “We have to be accountable.”

If funding is met, the organization says it will set forth national performance standards to clearly show which of its goals (see box) are being met, and states could create their own objectives.

The organization also outlined several recommendations for the new agenda, including concentrating 90 percent of funding on core programs and capping earmarks at no more than five percent of the federal program.
– Barbara Cox

Ambitious goals
AASHTO’s call for a substantial increase in highway funding includes these goals:

  • Increased funding for congestion relief projects
  • Improving highways and transit access in rural areas
  • Doubling transit riders to 20 billion by 2030 and 50 billion by 2050
  • Trimming project delivery times by at least six months
  • Reducing highway traffic fatalities in half by 2020
  • Moving from current funding methods to a distance-based user fee.

Navistar reorganizes its truck segment
Navistar International has announced a reorganization of its truck segment into four divisions: North American Truck Operations, Global Truck Operations, Global Bus Operations and Navistar Defense.

There will be some new appointments as well as job reductions as Navistar streamlines and consolidates its divisions in the coming months.
– Barbara Cox

JLG rebrands Gradall telehandlers
Although Gradall telehandlers will keep their blue color, by the end of 2008 they’ll have the JLG name as part of an expanded JLG-branded line. Ground Support, JLG’s aftermarket service and parts service, will remain available for existing Gradall-branded telehandlers. The same number of models will be available, says Kirsten Skyba, vice president of global marketing for JLG.

The move is the completion of a plan initiated in 2006, when JLG sold the Gradall excavator line.
– Amy Materson

OSHA seeks national crane safety initiative
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling for a national crane safety initiative to help standardize the safe operation and maintenance of cranes and derricks. The safety initiative, 29 CFR Part 1926, coincided with the proposed rule on Cranes and Derricks in Construction published in the Federal Register in October. The crane safety initiative builds on OSHA’s local emphasis campaigns launched earlier this year – programs that increase high-rise crane inspections and offered additional crane safety training.

The administration has three goals with the national crane safety initiative, says Edwin Foulke Jr., assistant secretary for OSHA – to make available more safety-related information to the construction industry, to give additional resources to OHSA crane safety inspectors and to implement a national emphasis program on crane safety that will increase inspections of jobsites to ensure compliance.

To read or download comments or other material in the docket, visit or contact the OSHA Docket Office.
– Adam Giannini

AEM inducts five into Hall of Fame
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers inducted five new members to its Hall of Fame at its annual conference held in November. Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman, JCB; Jerome Increase Case, founder, J.I. Case Machinery, now Case Construction Equipment, part of CNH Global; Ronald M. DeFeo, chairman and CEO, Terex; Donald V. Fites, former chairman and CEO, Caterpillar; and LeRoy G. Hagenbuch, co-founder and president, Phillippi-Hagenbuch, were chosen for their contributions to the industry.

An independent panel selected the inductees based on the following criteria: innovation, industry contributions, leadership, corporate citizenship/social responsibility and sustainability. Formed in 1993, the Hall of Fame has more than 30 inductees.
– Amy Materson

NIOSH develops blind area website
As part of a project to understand blind areas around construction equipment, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have developed a website that has diagrams of 38 common equipment models, including backhoe loaders, dozers, graders and excavators. Three blind area diagrams at different elevations are available for each piece of equipment – ground level, 3 feet (900 mm) and 4 feet 11 inches (1500 mm).

NIOSH provided the information on the website for three reasons – to raise awareness of the hazards created by blind areas, to provide construction companies and trainers with material for safety training courses and to provide a simple technique for companies to develop rough blind area diagrams for their own pieces of equipment, says David E. Fosbroke, a statistician with the NIOSH Division of Safety Research. The website includes a test procedure link that safety personnel or instructors can use to develop additional blind area diagrams for their own use.

For more information or to download the diagrams, visit the construction equipment visibility page at Blind area diagrams for five models of mining equipment are also available by clicking on the Resources link.
– Amy Materson

Industry Briefs
Volvo offers retrofit system that exceeds emissions requirements

Volvo engines will exceed California’s ARB requirements, thanks to a new retrofit system capable of collecting up to 99 percent of diesel particulate emissions. Level 3 ARB regulations require a minimum 85 percent particulate collection rate. The systems are a result of a strategic partnership with Huss, a specialist in diesel particulate filtration and exhaust aftertreatment systems. The engine retrofit program will begin immediately, and will be available for Volvo construction equipment and Volvo and Mack trucks.

Deere acquires full ownership of ReGen
Deere has acquired full ownership of ReGen Technologies, a remanufacturing company located in Springfield, Missouri. Deere had already owned 50 percent of the business prior to the acquisition. The operations will be fully integrated with remanufacturing operations in Edmonton, Canada, and the overall name of the business will be John Deere Reman. The organization will be focused on growing Deere’s remanufacturing business globally.

Doosan Infracore America promotes new president and CEO
Doosan Infracore America has promoted Michael Stanley to president and chief operating officer of Doosan Infracore America’s Construction Equipment Division. Stanley is responsible for the Construction Equipment Division including parts support, and will report to H.S. Lee, president of Doosan Infracore America.