Equipment World's Top 10 Stories of 2023: Innovation Leads the Way

brothers Stuart and Michael Frost pose on back of paver
From left, Stuart and Michael Frost, owners of Mountain Construction in Wyoming and Axenox, have sold the rights to their Oxclaw screed plate and Bullox screed plate attachment system to Caterpillar.
Equipment World file photo

The past year marked innovative new equipment from major manufacturers and some start-up companies as well.

Two brothers invented a new screed plate and attachment system that caught Cat’s eye. Deere rolled out some exciting new electric and electric-hybrid models. And the world’s first excavator bucket with ground-penetrating radar was unveiled, among other top stories.

So here’s a look at the top 10 stories of 2023 that appeared on, ordered by the most number of page views from the top down, with links provided if you want to read more.

1. Caterpillar Buys Brothers’ Innovative Screed Inventions: Oxclaw and Bullox

Two inventions that some believe will be the most significant innovations for the asphalt screed in almost a century will be available through Caterpillar, thanks to two brothers who run a family-owned paving business in Wyoming.

Stuart and Michael Frost have been on asphalt paving crews since they were kids and have owned highway paving company Mountain Construction in Powell for more than 20 years. They had always dreamed of a better screed – one that would achieve higher mat density and enable easier and faster plate changes. So they built one, and the largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world came calling.

Operator Pay Report Cover2. Heavy Equipment Operator Salary & Benefits: 2023 Report

Equipment World decided to conduct its first ever survey of construction industry professionals, including heavy equipment operators and their managers, to determine the salaries and benefits being offered and the problems with finding workers.

Though the 340 respondents’ answers to the 20 questions were varied, they all overwhelmingly agreed on one thing: the younger generation doesn’t want to work. 

John Deere 145 X-Tier excavator at CES 2023Dane Cotten3. John Deere Debuts Mid-Sized Electric Excavator 145 X-Tier at CES 2023

For the first time, John Deere brought a piece of construction equipment to the CES show, most often reserved for tech companies showing off their latest gadgets.

There, the company unveiled its first ever electric excavator, the 145 X-Tier.

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Rodradar excavator bucket with ground penetrating radar digs trenchRodradar4. â€śHoly Grail for Earthmoving": Rodradar Bucket Finds Buried Utilities (Video)

Rodradar has developed the world’s first excavator bucket with ground penetrating radar for detecting buried utilities in real time.

Rodradar demonstrated the device, which it calls Live Dig Radar Excavate, at ConExpo in March. It can detect utilities of all types – gas, electric, water, sewer, fiber, including those with PVC pipe – and displays their depth and distance on a touchscreen tablet mounted in the excavator’s cab.

1905 150 Case replica steam tractorKory Anderson and the 150 Case Project5. Guinness World Record Steam Tractor: 150 Case Built from Scratch after 113 Years

This story was about an innovation of a different kind – an engineering feat that paid homage to the steam age.

In 2017, Kory Anderson and dozens of volunteers set out on a mission to build a replica from scratch of the largest steam tractor ever built – one that no longer existed. Sixteen months and 15,000 hours of work later, the dream became a reality.

And like the 150 Case it is modeled after, Anderson’s 150 is the largest steam tractor in the world – made official by Guinness World Records.

Yanmar TL100VS compact track loaderEquipment World6. Yanmar Rolls Out 4 Compact Track Loaders – And They're Not Just ASVs (Video)

Yanmar Compact Equipment launched its new line of compact track loaders at ConExpo, and it's not just a rebranded line from sister company ASV.

Ranging from 67 to 103.5 horsepower, the TL65RS, TL75VS, TL80VS and TL100VS have been designed from the ground up by Yanmar to meet a variety of construction needs. 

Develon DTL35 compact track loader side view at ConExpoEquipment World7. Develon – Formerly Doosan – Reveals Its First Ever Compact Track Loader

Doosan Infracore started out 2023 by changing its name to Develon.

It then followed up at ConExpo by revealing an all-new equipment category for the company – its first ever compact track loader.

Cat C13D diesel engineCaterpillar8. Caterpillar Unveils New C13D Engine for Off-Highway Equipment

Caterpillar unveiled a new diesel engine platform at ConExpo 2023, designed to achieve increased power density, torque and fuel efficiency for a wide range of off-highway equipment.

Cat-CVP28-excavator-attachmentCaterpillar9. Cat Reveals Range of Attachments for Mini Excavators and Backhoes

The new models span the range of demolition and sorting grapples, multipurpose grapples for Cat tiltrotators, vibratory compactor plates, and cold planers.

John Deere 850 X-Tier E-Drive dozer at ConExpo 2023Equipment World10. John Deere Reveals Hybrid-Electric Dozer, the 850 X-Tier (Video)

Touting improved torque and fuel consumption, John Deere unveiled its concept version of an 850 X-Tier E-Drive dozer at ConExpo.

“This machine is a dual-path electric-drive machine, meaning that it starts with our 9-liter diesel engine,” said Kat Roberts, product manager dozers & crawler loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry Division.

“We've got a generator and inverters that go to two electric-drive motors connected to our final drives that make the machine move.”