Equipment Roundup: These wheels transform into tracks; The forgotten inventors of the backhoe; What’s inside an electric Peterbilt truck; Tobroco-Giant expands U.S. dealers, intros new loaders; Pete bringing new features to Models 567, 579

Updated Jul 12, 2018

Peterbilt bringing new features to Model 567, 579 trucks; forecasts strong outlook for rest of 2018

During an economic outlook and press conference at the Paccar Innovation Center this week, Peterbilt announced several new features for its Class 8 lineup. The Model 579 now is standard with the Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance technology, including automatic emergency braking and speed limit sign recognition.

Peterbilt also worked with the Women in Trucking Association to add two new safety and convenience options for the Model 567 and Model 579 sleeper tractors. The storage cabinet under the passenger seat is available with a pass-through option to allow drivers to easily load groceries, luggage and other heavy items from outside the cab without having to climb to load things over the seat.

A new alert switch located in the sleeper control panel can be used to fend away intruders or in other emergencies. When activated, the switch flashes exterior lights and sounds the horn to provide an additional layer of personal security for the truck occupant.


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Tobroco-Giant expands U.S. dealer presence, debuts compact wheel, utility loaders

Since opening the doors to its U. S. headquarters in Des Moines in 2017, Netherlands-based compact equipment maker Tobroco-Giant has added 17 North American dealers, says Toine Brock, company owner and director. “In our first year, we sold 150 machines, and were profitable,” he says. “Our plan is to start manufacturing in the United States once we start selling more than 500 units a year.”

The company has added five dealers in the past two months, and is actively soliciting dealers who are in the tree care, landscaping and road construction markets, Brock told Equipment World during an interview at Intermat in April.


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Here’s what’s under the hood of an electric Peterbilt Model 579 (VIDEO)

During a press event at the Paccar Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, Peterbilt provided an opportunity to ride along in the fully electric Model 579 demonstration tractor, one of two electric prototypes Peterbilt first introduced at the ACT Expo and Waste Expo shows earlier this year. The electric 579 was designed for use in drayage applications, while the electric 520 is outfitted for municipal waste hauling.

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Peterbilt co-developed its electric Model 579 with TransPower, a San Diego-based company that specializes in battery-vehicle integration for the medium- and heavy-duty markets.

The electric Model 579 is fitted with eight 44-kW battery packs that can be removed or added to the tractor to increase vehicle range. As spec’d, this demonstration unit can travel 250 miles fully loaded, depending on terrain and driving habits.


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These are the forgotten inventors of the backhoe, new book claims

Though many associate the first backhoes with Case Construction Equipment and JCB, a new book gives the credit to two men in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, with developing the world’s first backhoe.

The authors of “Wain-Roy and the Invention of the Backhoe” attribute the revolutionary construction equipment’s creation to Vaino (pronounced Waino) J. Holopainen and Roy E. Handy Jr. Their 1947 invention “could dig and load by swinging side to side” and was “the world’s first all hydraulically actuated and controlled machine for digging,” according to a news release from authors Lee Horton and Dave Willens. Horton and Willens say they are two engineers from central Massachusetts who “wanted to capture this fascinating history before it was lost to time.”

“The amazing story of Wain-Roy and the invention of the backhoe is one of inspiration, struggle, genius, success, theft and failure,” the release says. “Credit for the backhoe is often given to other larger outfits who no doubt fueled the rise of its widespread use. Few people alive still remember the greatest triumphs and failures of the true inventors and innovators of first backhoe and the first all-hydraulic digger.”


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Reconfigurable Wheels quickly transform into tracks, could blur lines between major equipment types (VIDEO)

Wheeled excavators and crawler excavators. Tracked dozers and wheel dozers. Compact track loaders and skid steers. These machine pairings all share common types, cabs and implements, but the applications they are used in, influenced heavily by the terrain which they’ll be operating in, can be very different.

Whether it is equipped with wheels or tracks can drastically change a piece of heavy equipment. But an innovative new technology born out of the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), might one day not just blur the lines between wheeled and tracked machine types, but eliminate the choice between one or the other altogether.

As detailed in a DARPA video posted to YouTube, the Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) was developed by researchers at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University as part of DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technology program. These wheels are capable of transforming from wheel to triangular tracks and back again within 2 seconds—all while the vehicle is in motion.


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