Construction Tools & Equipment

The Construction Tools & Equipment Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about Trucks, Cranes & Earth Moving Equipment; Construction Tools; Safety, Maintainence & Repair; and Smart Machines & Management Software. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Ease Your Muscle Strain When Hammering

Posted March 20, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

A shock-absorbing hammer may reduce arm muscle strain and consequently reduce the risk of tennis elbow for users. This conclusion was reached by an engineering team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after ergonomic testing requested by the hammer's manufacturer, Fiskars.

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9 comments; last comment on 03/21/2017
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Building a Bridge Over the Bering Sea

Posted January 18, 2017 1:36 PM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: alaska Bering bridge Russia tunnel

The most widely-accepted explanation for the settlement of the Americas by indigenous peoples is that, between 16,500 and 11,000 years ago, several thousand ‘paleoamericans’ crossed a grassland steppe that today is Far East Russia, the floor of the Bering Sea, and Alaska. During the Late Glacial period, this area wasn’t frozen over and sea levels were low enough that not only were people able to cross between Asia and North America, but civilizations thrived here. Even though it is a hypothesis, it is the most widely-regarded explanation of how native populations dispersed into the Americas.

In a twist of irony, the area of Earth that made humans a multi-hemisphere species is now the boundary between bitter rivals: the United States and Russian Federation. At just 55 miles apart, Uelen village of the Autonomous Okrug territory and Tin City Air Force Base in Alaska could be connected by a modern bridge or tunnel. The result would be being able to drive from New York City to London, a trip of 13,000 miles, in about 10 days or so.

It seems like a given that any transportation link between the two countries would cross the Diomede Islands, two islands lying in the middle of the Bearing Strait, with the U.S. claiming the smaller, eastern one, and Russia claiming the western, larger island. With shallow seas and moderate tides and currents, a bridge is technically feasible. (You can illegally walk between the islands in winter.)

Yet the climate is the largest challenge. Construction would occur less than six months at a time, and exposed steelwork would have to be minimized to reduce maintenance work. A plan submitted by noted civil engineer T.Y. Lin in the 1980s for the International Peace Bridge called for almost all steel bridge components, including cables, to be encased in concrete. If the bridge were to be built, it would need a lot of extra lighting, as it would be completely in the dark for parts of the year. Bridge maintenance, especially snow and ice removal, would be considerably expensive.

While a tunnel would be more expensive to build initially, it might be cheaper in the long run due to lesser maintenance expenses. Again the tunnel would follow the path of the Diomede Islands, with the islands serving as ventilation shafts and tunnel support centers (and possibly a hotel, per Interbering). Even though such an excavation would rival the largest infrastructure projects in history, there is no standing evidence that such a tunnel is impossible. Additionally, a tunnel could have more space for pipelines and railways, adding to the project’s profitability.

Of course, the main barrier for such a bridge or tunnel isn’t engineering or even financial, despite a reputed $66 to $100 billion to provide such a link (plus the road and rail connections on both sides). Instead, there is little political willpower in the United States for a project that won’t reward politicians or the populace, but rather rich companies. These are the exact motivations for more recent bids by Russian and Chinese companies to provide pipeline and rail links for the energy industries. Adrian Shirk, writing for The Atlantic, believes perhaps the U.S. should try to build the bridge for the sake of ambition, similar to how the moon landing offered no payoff other than the feeling of accomplishment.

My guess is that we’ll only provide a physical link between the United States and Russia once the figurative boundaries erode. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime.

16 comments; last comment on 01/24/2017
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Zero Emission Excavator Brings Demolition Indoors

Posted September 15, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Contractors who require the power and efficiency of a tracked excavator to demolish interiors can now rely on an emission-free auxiliary drive system so easy to handle, one operator can manage the entire operation. Thanks to a dual power concept, this excavator can employ a diesel drive system outdoors, or an emission-free electro-hydraulic drive for indoor use. The machine's "Plug & Play" generator is connected to the undercarriage so operators enjoy 360-degree freedom of movement.

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5 comments; last comment on 09/16/2016
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Crane Sets Bridge Precisely in Place

Posted August 12, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

When an old bridge was recently determined unsafe in Kirkel, Germany, contractors were called in to replace it with a brand new bridge. The new 49 ft long, 73 ton steel bridge that would replace it had to span the active Paris-Mannheim ICE train route. Also, it would have to be constructed in the middle of a dense residential neighborhood. To meet these challenges, engineers utilized a heavy-duty lattice boom crane that was able to set the new bridge in place with "laser-like precision" in two separate lifts.

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3 comments; last comment on 08/15/2016
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Excavators Offer Intelligent Machine Control

Posted July 23, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The first machines in their size and class to utilize Intelligent Machine Control (IMC), Komatsu's new 36-ton tracked excavators eliminate the trial-and-error process of reaching desired grade level. Equipped with an exclusive sensor package that includes stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders, the IMC feeds real-time machine and bucket position data relative to the desired target grade. Only when the bucket reaches its specified grade level does it dig. The IMC also features auto stop control which shuts the excavating process down as soon as the specified surface level is reached. Catch a video demo here.

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1 comments; last comment on 08/21/2016
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