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Nail launcher pins falling slopes
When a 165-foot section of Highway 20 near Lumsden, Saskatchewan, was in danger of falling into the Qu’Appelle River two years ago, the Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Transportation turned to Morsky Industrial Services, a company that had just introduced technology new to the Canadian marketplace – launched soil nailing. The technology pairs a compressed air cannon with an excavator to launch nails into a failing slope, a process it says is faster and less disruptive than conventional methods used for soil stabilization.

The compressed air technology, originally developed by the British military as a way to deploy nerve gas, was adapted to launch steel rods, or nails. Made of hollow steel, the 20-foot-long nails are placed in a stabilizer tube and loaded into a sealed firing chamber that allows pressure to build. Once sufficient pressure builds, the nail is fired. A collet, or flange, at the tip of the nail pulls the rod into the soil, controlling the nail’s path. The nail penetrates the failing soil and embeds in the stable soil beneath, securing the slope.

Lorne Schnell, chief operating officer, Morsky Industrial Services, says the Highway 20 project, the company’s first use of the technology, was a success. “There were no options available, and Saskatchwan Highways was ecstatic that we could provide a solution,” he says. “The response to this test project was overwhelming, and we decided to push ahead into this marketplace.”

A Caterpillar 315CL hydraulic excavator serves as the carrier for the launcher. To prepare the machine, Morsky removed the counterweight, extended the frame and mounted a 100-horsepower diesel engine, a three-phase compressor and four air storage cylinders. Finally, Morsky ran air and electrical lines to the launcher and a cab-controlled computer system. Once launched, the nail enters the soil at more than 215 miles per hour, binding the soil to the nail. At this speed, a crew can launch 15 nails per hour.

In the two years since the company introduced the technology in Canada, Morsky has installed approximately 3,000 nails and was awarded the Canadian Construction Association’s 2006 Excellence in Innovation Award. They are the only company in Canada to use the nail launching technology; however, their U.S. partner, Soil Nail Launcher, runs two launchers. A fourth nail launcher is in operation in New Zealand.
-Amy Materson

Companies team up at ICUEE to tackle equipment theft
In an effort to combat excessive equipment theft costs – which have reached almost $1 billion annually – LoJack and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft, have partnered to provide tips on ways to protect equipment from theft.

The companies created a brochure titled, Get in the Know: Learn to Protect Your Equipment from Theft, and they offered seminars on the subject at the International Construction Utility Equipment Exposition.

Where do thieves start? Large or isolated jobsites are common targets. “According to NICB’s database, seventy-three percent of equipment is stolen from construction jobsites,” says Michael Harrell, a law enforcement liaison for LoJack. “Typically, equipment is staged or taken to another jobsite until the search for the stolen equipment dies down.”

Other places thieves hit include storage facilities or rental yards, and some target equipment in transit.

According to LoJack and NICB, thieves target in-demand and easy to resell equipment, equipment that is easy to remove from jobsites, and smaller equipment, such as skid steers, compact excavators or compact rubber track loaders. Thieves also target generators, compressors and welders. “They call these towable pieces ‘easy pickins,'” says Rick Trapp, director of vehicle investigations, NICB.

Be aware of those who try to make a profit off of these pieces. Thieves have been known to redo the entire look of a machine and scratch off PINs. Before buying any piece of equipment, make sure your Product Identification Number is from the manufacturing facility, and check logos and decals for authenticity when you buy equipment. Also record serial numbers of each major component.

So how can you protect your equipment? “Keep accurate inventory records, including Product Identification Numbers, because these aren’t standardized,” Trapp says. “Lack of documentation makes it easier for people to steal equipment. All they have to do is re-stamp the numbers and it’s changed.”

Other ways to deter thieves: fence in or park equipment together to deter access, request frequent law enforcement patrols around your jobsite, use immobilization devices, install battery-disconnect switches, install equipment tracking devices and/or register equipment with a national database.

“If your equipment gets stolen, report the theft as quickly as possible,” Harrell says. “You’ll need to provide the police with make, model and serial numbers. Also remember to file a claim with your insurance company.”

The last thing you can do to prevent theft – spread the word. Let others in the area know about your theft experience, as it may help locate the individual or group who stole the equipment and it will also put the area on alert.

Visit for more information and tips on equipment theft protection. At NICB’s site, click on “Theft and Fraud Awareness.”
– Barbara Ibrahim expands global operations, the online heavy equipment auction marketplace with year-to-date sales of more than $153 million from more than 70 countries, is expanding its global reach in early 2008. The rapid acceptance of global online auctions for heavy construction equipment is providing IronPlanet with the momentum to expand their service operations to Australia in the first quarter of 2008. Greg Owens, IronPlanet’s new chairman and CEO, has aggressive plans to take to Asia and Europe in the next two years.

Currently, domestic and international buyers can bid on equipment located in the United States during scheduled auctions held at least twice a month. Owner auctions, using a format similar to the Ebay model, run daily. The addition of staff based in Brisbane, Queensland, will bring IronPlanet’s IronClad Assurance program to buyers and sellers in Australia.

IronPlanet’s inspection report, the foundation of their IronClad Assurance program, gives buyers a detailed assessment of an item, guaranteeing a fair representation of the equipment in its true condition – good or bad. Inspection reports include test results of key systems and components, wear-related measurement, up to 25 photographs, and, if applicable, independent laboratory analysis of oil and fluids.

If after purchasing an item a buyer finds a significant discrepancy between the condition of the equipment received and the condition described in the inspection report and files a claim, IronPlanet will work with the buyer to settle the claim to the buyer’s satisfaction.

It is not unusual for IronPlanet to have more than 10,000 registered, pre-qualified bidders during an auction. IronPlanet steps up each auction’s activity by placing outbound calls from ‘ringmen’ to previously qualified buyers, advising those buyers of online activity for specific items. While IronPlanet’s auctions do not accept ‘sniping’ bids (software that increases a buyer’s bids automatically as the price rises), buyers are not required to monitor an auction. Buyers can instruct a ringman to contact them via phone or instant message during the auction and, when the price is right, the ringman will place the buyer’s bid. After an item sells, aftersale assistance for financing, documentation, local transportation and international exports is available on the IronPlanet site.

Owens is optimistic about the global economy and expects IronPlanet’s future expansion to include domestic and international agricultural equipment distribution.

More information and practice auctions are available at
– Georgia Krause

On page 142 of the October 2007 issue of Equipment World, an incorrect horsepower rating was listed for the ProGrind Series 50 grinding head. The Series 50 has a Caterpillar C-13 rated at 440 horsepower.

Industry Briefs
Manitowoc breaks ground on factory expansion

Manitowoc’s crane division has broken ground on a new 50,000-square-foot addition and expansion project at its crawler crane assembly facility in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The new addition is part of a $25 million renovation and modernization investment that the company is making in its Wisconsin-based manufacturing facilities.

Freightliner announces company name change
Freightliner says its corporate name will change to Daimler Trucks North America on January 7, 2008.

Caterpillar to build demo center near Panama City, Panama
Caterpillar has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Panama to purchase 250 acres of land for the construction of a demonstration and learning center and other operations near Panama City. Caterpillar expects the Panama Demonstration and Learning Center to be fully operational sometime in 2009.

Thomas Equipment appoints Etholm as new president
Thomas Equipment has named Petter Etholm as its new president and chief executive officer. Etholm will also serve on the company’s the board of directors. He succeeds Michael Luther, who will remain with Thomas Equipment as chairman of the board.