CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 got underway on Tuesday with a glimpse at some of the cutting-edge technologies sure to shape the industry for years to come. Keeping with the show’s 2017 theme (“Imagine What’s Next”), attendees gathered for a demonstration of the world’s first 3D-printed excavator, known as Project AME (Additive Manufactured Excavator).
Project AME anchors a comprehensive Tech Experience at the heart of CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017. The 75,000-square foot, interactive experience showcases future innovations that shape manufacturing, including forward-looking jobsites, infrastructure development, and workforce development.
“Over the next several days, you will see that CONEXPO-CON/AGG will provide attendees access to the newest products from every major category, including asphalt, aggregates, concrete, earthmoving, lifting, mining and utilities,” said Rich Goldsbury, the 2017 show chairman and the President of Bobcat/Doosan North America and Oceana. “And there is no better example of putting our imaginations to work and seeing what is on the horizon for the construction industry than what you will see and more importantly, what you will experience right here, right now.”
Project AME was developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Knoxville, Tennessee to create and assemble three components: the cab where the operator sits, the boom (a large hydraulically articulated arm) and a heat exchanger. A consortium of research teams that are part of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) contributed additional design and engineering work for the project.
The idea for the excavator came about when CCEFP members toured the Oak Ridge Laboratories in 2014, and was a 3D-printed car on display that had been produced for another industry trade show. CCEFP members brainstormed how they could make a similar splash for the fluid power and mobile equipment industry, which led to the excavator.
“Trade associations like the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the National Fluid Power Association help to foster collaboration and innovation between people and companies inside our respective industries,” said Lonnie Love, a group leader at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories who oversaw the project. “Project AME should be held up as an example of what can be accomplished when we are able to bring together competitors to innovate ideas for the betterment of the industry as a whole.”
“Our ability to work with competitors to organize this event provides an added benefit and contributes to the show, exhibitor and attendees success. As we have said before, this is a show put on by the industry – for the industry,” said Mike Haberman, president of Gradall Industries and Association of Equipment Manufacturers Chair for 2017. “Here we can share ideas and knowledge that will help all of our organizations continue to grow and prosper.”
Project AME will be on display at IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 as part of the new Tech Experience, March 7-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. But more importantly, the excavator vividly illustrates for attendees how quickly the manufacturing and construction industries are changing.