Study – recycling concrete poses no lead-based paint risk
Recycling concrete containing lead-based paint presents no health risks to workers and no risk to the environment, according to a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study, funded by the Construction Materials Recycling Association and the National Demolition Association, was conducted during the demolition of family housing at the Ford Ord, California, army base.

Aspects of the demolition process assessed during the study include worker observation, monitoring of the demolition contractor’s dust control procedures and evaluation of samples collected during the demolition and recycling process. In the study, Stephen Cosper, principal investigator, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, attempted to correlate the concentration of lead on painted surfaces in the buildings to the concentration of lead in the aggregate when the buildings were demolished. According to the report, the recycled aggregate from Fort Ord had a low final concentration of environmental lead.

Since an estimated 100 million tons of concrete are recycled in the United States each year, the study’s findings are significant. “Concrete recycling has become the norm for our industry,” says Michael R. Taylor, executive director, National Demolition Association. “By being able to crush the concrete and either use it again for new construction uses or ship it efficiently off site, we are able to save on transportation cost and the related impact on emissions into the atmosphere.”

The report also pointed out the importance of dust control, noting the demolition contractor had procedures in place that limited personnel exposure to airborne dust. As a result, no worker exposure to lead was detected. Surfaces at the site that tested for high levels of lead prior to demolition resulted in low levels in the processed concrete as the lead became diluted at the crushing plant while mixed in with the bulk of the concrete.

Free copies of the report “LBP Concerns in Producing Recycled Concrete Aggregate from Former Fort Ord Family Housing” may be obtained by contacting the National Demolition Association at (800) 541-2412 or by visiting the association’s website,
– Amy Materson

Cat makes tracking and management systems standard
Caterpillar’s EquipmentManager and Product Link remote asset management systems, offered as an option since 1998, will now be standard on core machines. Starting with wheeled hydraulic excavators and articulated trucks, Cat will phase in machines throughout 2008.

EquipmentManager, a web-based application, uses equipment data such as hours, location and diagnostic codes to identify and report on issues requiring attention. Product Link uses satellite technology to deliver information from the machine to the EquipmentManager application. Brett Tilly with Product Link says Cat made the decision to include the systems as standard based on customer expectation. “Our decision to equip products with this technology as standard is a direct response to the needs of the marketplace,” he says. “Our customers are looking for ways to improve their efficiency – whether it’s lowering their owning and operating costs, operating their jobsites more safely, meeting environmental standards or retaining qualified employees. Product Link hardware and EquipmentManager software delivers a solution that addresses these needs.”

The systems allow customers to track their equipment regardless of brand or type, and offer a variety of indicators including time and geofencing, authorized usage and machine health notification. Even smaller contractors can benefit from Product Link if they know how to properly use the information obtained from the system, says Brian Foster, Solutions Marketing Manager. “Have a clear way to implement the data as it comes in,” he recommends.
-Amy Materson

Top construction stories for 2007
The Construction Writers Association, a professional organization for construction industry journalists, has released its annual survey on the year’s top construction stories:

  1. The collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis.
  2. The sharp decline of the nation’s housing market and its ripple effect on the U.S. economy.
  3. Emphasis on green and sustainable design by public and private sector project owners.
  4. Increasing costs of fuel and construction materials.
  5. The federal government’s failure to resolve the immigration issue.

Gentlemen, it’s time to clean up your engines
California contractors who are anxious about the availability of state-approved diesel retrofit devices may see an expansion in the number of emission control technologies thanks to the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee Showcase. The showcase – created in response to the California Air Resources Board’s off-road diesel emissions standards for vehicles of 25 horsepower or greater – aims to expand the state’s approved emission control devices from three to 33 by evaluating these devices over a six-month period, from June to November.

“With the limited number of retrofit devices currently available, fleet owners expressed concern that they would be unable to find emission control technology soon enough to meet the standards, or that it wouldn’t be safe or reliable,” says Gwenn Norton-Perry, MSRC chair. “With this program, we intend to address those concerns.”

To be eligible for the showcase, manufacturers had to submit emission control devices able to reduce particulate matter by at least 85 percent and nitrogen oxide by 25 percent. As one of 16 companies worldwide selected to participate, Emissions Technology submitted its Combustion Catalyst System in combination with Environmental Solutions Worldwide’s Particulate ReactorT. According to ETI, the CCS makes engine combustion cleaner and more efficient by injecting a platinum-based catalyst into the combustion chamber. Since the CCS uses pre-combustion technology, it not only helps reduce emissions, but also decreases fuel consumption, according to the company.

RECAT, a California-based retrofit company for Caterpillar and distributor of ETI and ESW products, will install and monitor six ETI CCS units and six ESW Particulate ReactorTs on various pieces of heavy equipment during the showcase.

After the six-month test period, MSRC plans to measure each company’s submitted device for durability and particulate matter and NOx reductions.

So far, MSRC says it has awarded over $3.6 million in clean transportation funding to showcase cleaner construction equipment technology and help fleet owners comply with California ARB’s emissions regulations. Working in conjunction with the committee, the South Coast Air Quality Management District plans to provide an additional $1.2 million to fully fund the showcase.
– Barbara Ibrahim Cox

Industry Briefs
Doosan renames truck equipment line

Doosan Infracore Portable Power has renamed its line of truck-related power products from Onboard Power Solutions to Truck-Mounted Equipment. The Truck-Mounted Equipment portfolio includes a full line of Ingersoll Rand products engineered for integration into work truck applications such as PTO or hydraulic-drive air compressors, generators, welders and vehicle jumpstarters.

IronPlanet increases sales 42 percent in 2007
IronPlanet, an online auction company for used construction equipment, experienced gross auction sales of $231 million in 2007, an increase of more than 42 percent over 2006. Fourth quarter gross auction sales totaled $84 million, up 75 percent over the third quarter and up 65 percent over the same period last year.

Caterpillar completes Shandong acquisition
Caterpillar has completed the purchase of the remaining shares of Shandong SEM Machinery (SEM), a wheel-loader manufacturer in China. Caterpillar purchased a minority stake in SEM in 2005. In addition to SEM wheel loaders, Caterpillar machines manufactured in China include hydraulic excavators, track-type tractors, motor graders, paving products, large diesel engines used primarily for marine and power generation applications and generator sets for use in China and the Asia Pacific region. Caterpillar also manufactures components at several facilities in China.