Event: ConExpo 2020

By: Randall Johnston

ConExpo 2020 wrapped up a day earlier than scheduled due to coronavirus restrictions, but regardless, the event lived up to expectations.

The scale of the event and the sheer number of machines on display is hard to comprehend and unrivalled anywhere on Earth

International crowds rolled into ConExpo 2020 in Las Vegas last month to see the newest construction machinery available globally. With the scale of this event and the sheer number of machines on display hard to comprehend, ConExpo 2020 is unrivalled anywhere on Earth.

There weremany world premieres, with operators keen to be among the first to see what international construction R&D departments have been busy working on throughout 2019 and likely several years preceding that.

While just about all of the 2020 models unveiled during the show still use diesel engines, many boasted innovative engineering and design features and numerous prototype loaders and excavators were purely electric.

Although it’s simply not possible to report on all the new products that debuted at ConExpo, we can provide details on many (with a deliberate focus on excavators, loaders, dozers, and skid steers here). ConExpo 2020 wrapped up a day sooner than scheduled due to restrictions on large public gatherings announced by the local government in Nevada.


Komatsu stand: Komatsu unveiled a wide range of new gear at the show, including dozers, loaders, excavators, and pipe layers

Komatsu unveiled a wide range of new gear at the show. Here’s a breakdown of the major launches, courtesy of this Japanese manufacturer. The D71PXi-24 is the industry’s newest and largest intelligent hydrostatic transmission (HST) dozer with advanced intelligent machine control (iMC 2.0). Its ‘lift layer control’ automatically spreads fill from the existing terrain with the press of a button.


The D155CX-8 pipe layer was designed in conjunction with pipeline companies and received high marks from contractors during field evaluations. Easy to transport, the Tier-4 pipe layer has a 170,000-pound rated lift capacity. Its weight distribution has excellent stability for pipeline work, especially when working on adverse grades.

The PC130-11 conventional tail swing excavator is built to be easily transported from job to job, so ideal for small construction jobs. Equipped with the Komatsu closed-centre hydraulic system, the 13-tonne PC130-11 has fast loading cycles and high productivity.


The WA475-10 wheel loader is newly designed with next-generation technology. Its engine has 22 more horsepower than the WA470-8 model, but with the Komatsu hydraulic mechanical transmission (KHMT), it achieves up to a 30% increase in fuel efficiency. KHMT dynamic braking also reduces brake wear.

The WA800-8 wheel loader has completely redesigned front and rear frame and loader linkages. Designed to load 60- to 100-tonne haul trucks in quarry, aggregate, and mining applications, the WA800-8’s automatic dig, semi-automatic approach, and semi-automatic dump systems can be used together or separately.


Caterpillar debuted a bevy of new machines at the show, including a range of new excavators, new graders, backhoes and dump truck models

Caterpillar debuted a bevy of new machines at the show. Since dozers are in high demand in Australasia, let’s start with the highly anticipated 2020 D7 bulldozer. The new D7 packs more power, more weight, and is more fuel-efficient than its predecessors.

The new D7 features a ‘high-drive’ undercarriage design that Cat says provides a smoother ride, better stability—thanks to a lower centre of gravity—long track life, and easy clean-out of accumulated dirt and other material as a result of all the room between the track and the roller frame.

Cat says the ‘high drive’ undercarriage is also easier to repair and rebuild because of the modular component design. The D7 is powered by a Cat 9.3B engine, providing 12% more horsepower (265hp) and features a fully automatic four-speed transmission. Blade capacity on the D7 has increased by 10%.

Cat also unveiled a number of new excavators, including the M318 wheeled excavator, which it claims improves operator efficiency by up to 45% with Cat ‘Grade’, ‘E-Fence’, and ‘Payload’ options.

At 13.7 tonnes, the Cat 313 GC excavator offers a new, larger cab with an ergonomic layout, fuel-saving features, longer maintenance intervals, and simplified maintenance points.

The 15-tonne Cat 315 excavator, meanwhile, offers good performance in a compact design. It has a Cat Tier-4 C3.6 engine, powerful hydraulics, and increased swing torque compared to the previous model.


The 22.4-tonne Cat 325 excavator brings together good performance with simple-to-use technologies such as ‘Cat Grade’ with 2D, ‘Grade Assist’, and’ Lift Assist’. Finally, the Cat 395 excavator has 10% more swing torque and 10% more stick force than the model it replaces; operators experience faster cycle times and benefit from bigger buckets.

In addition to excavators, Cat also took the wraps off new graders, backhoes, and dump truck models. The 200hp 150 (140M3) motor grader has all-wheel drive (AWD), which assists with traction and manoeuvring the machine on slopes, so you can work in any environment.

Cat claims it also reduces fatigue from arm movement with joystick controls. The 93hp 420 XE backhoe loader delivers performance, increased fuel efficiency, superior hydraulic system, versatility, and an updated operator station and the backhoe can dig to a depth of 14 feet.


The Cat 725 articulated truck features a reimagined cab design that was re-engineered based on global operator feedback to improve ease of operation. Enhancements include new controls, hoist-assist system, advanced automatic traction control system, automatic retarder control, stability-assist machine rollover warning system, and a fuel-saving ECO mode.


This French manufacturer rarely fails to impress in terms of innovative design and engineering nous. The brand-new nine-tonne Mecalac 9MWR wheeled excavator has outstanding stability and is 20% lower to the ground than most wheel loaders on the market.

The design also improves accessibility for the operator, with direct access to the cab and to the fuel tank from the ground. Its compactness enhances in-turn mobility in narrow spaces. Despite its size, the 75hp machine can lift as much as three tonnes up to three meters.


Deere had a wide range of machines on show, including the 950K dozer featuring the ‘SmartGrade’ fully integrated grade-control technology

Deere had a wide range of machines on show, but the star and new release was the 333G compact skid steer. For the first time, the 333G features ‘SmartGrade’, a fully integrated grade-control technology.


Deere says it allows operators to take on new tasks and larger jobs that require better accuracy, thanks to grade-control functionality, by automatically complete grading tasks faster with fewer passes and less rework.

The 333G also has ‘DozerMode’, a control solution that enables the EH joystick control system to function like a crawler dozer with the push of a button. The mode is beneficial when operating the six-way dozer blade attachment that can cut, grade, and spread materials.


The new Doosan DX800LC-7 crawler excavator was shown for the first time ever at the show. Paired with a 4.66-cubic-metre bucket, it’s now the biggest model in the Doosan excavator line-up.

The Tier-4 DX800LC-7 is scheduled to be available in North America in late 2020, with no word yet on an Australian release. It’s primarily intended to serve customers in mining applications.


The global launch of the new Allu crusher series saw three crusher models be introduced for excavators in the 10- to 33-tonne range. Features included are reversible crushing, which reduces the potential for jamming, blockages, or obstruction with rebar; feed plate design built into the jaw to ensure that the feeding function delivers high rates of production with minimal risk of bridging; simple mechanical pin adjustment for output size regulation that makes the crushing process easy and safe with quick adjustment for various output specs; and the crusher ‘opens like a clam’ for easy and quick replacement of parts.

Electric dreams


The Case Zeus 580 E electric backhoe loader is powered by a 480-volt, 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack

Case unveiled its electric backhoe loader, ‘Project Zeus’, which was a major drawcard at the show. You could hear a pin drop as the machine was turned on and the operator was able to verbally communicate with a spotter a good 10 metres away during a demonstration of the backhoe digger function itself.


The backhoe is powered by a 480-volt, 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This battery pack separately powers the tires and hydraulics at the front and rear. The machine takes about eight hours to charge, which gives you about the same duration of operation.



Hyundai R35E bladed electric excavator

Hyundai had its new R35E bladed electric excavator on display. Designed to run for around eight hours where noise needs to be kept to a minimum, the new excavator is powered by eight BM4.4E flexible batteries generating 35 kWh.


The Deutz JLG G5-18A electric telehandler replaces the normal 2.2-litre diesel engine with battery cells that deliver comparable lifting power

The Deutz JLG G5-18A electric telehandler was unveiled at the show. In this machine, what would normally be a 2.2-litre diesel engine has been replaced by battery cells delivering comparable lifting power.

The company says the technology has reached a point where diesel engines are no longer required in many instances and types of use depending on the lift required and application.

Canadian captures Cat challenge


Jaus Neigum from Canada emerged victorious after a tough test of skill and determination

The Caterpillar operator challenge pitted nine of the world’s best operators against each other in a series of obstacles. Jaus Neigum from Canada emerged victorious after a tough test of skill and determination.

Cat operator challenge pitted nine of the world’s best operators against each other in a series of obstacles

Putting his remarkable loading and trenching talents to work, he won both the load and carry challenge and the trenching challenge. He completed all challenges with an amazingly fast combined time of only 16 minutes and 28 seconds. Second place winner was Thomas Murphy from Ireland and Sebastian Behr from Germany came third.

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