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Iron Takes the Field in the Astrodome - ConExpo 1981

The second part of our look back at ConExpo '81

Wed September 25, 2013 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

This ConExpo article was published in Construction Equipment Guide (CEG) right after ConExpo 1981 concluded in January. This and other ConExpo articles to follow will be part of a continuing series that take a look back at ConExpos past through the reporting of CEG. We hope you enjoy these retros as much as we did searching for them deep in our archives.

Houston Texas — The J.I. Case Company highlighted its enormous ConExpo ’81 display with the first public showing of its new line of loader-backhoes. In a display that covered 105,500 square feet inside and outside the Astrodomain, Case showed off more than 90 pieces of equipment including the loader-backhoes, excavators, compactors and trenching equipment. Case also featured a theater-in-the-round and live equipment demonstrations in which visitors could operate working pieces of equipment.

The new line of backhoes includes the 480D, 580D, 680H and 780B. In addition, Case has introduced several adaptations of these basic models. All the models feature Case’s over the center backhoe. With the backhoe in the transport position weight is shifted toward the front axle for a smoother ride and greater fuel economy. By shifting the weight forward, the new backhoe eliminates the need for front end counter weights which eat up fuel when the vehicle is moving.

In smaller equipment Case had two new additions to its line at ConExpo. A new hydrostatic compaction roller and a new trencher attachment were dwarfed by some of the larger pieces of equipment.

The W50 compactor has a drive system, which permits infinitely variable acceleration and deceleration. It has a 17-gallon sprinkler system with specially coated tanks to resist corrosion.

The new trencher, called the Maxi-trencher, is a front-end attachment to the case Maxi-Sneaker cable plow. The most important feature of the new trencher is that it prevents undue cable damage. Contractors will be able to trench a pilot hole and then begin plowing in cable without stretching, pinching or binding the cable. The trencher can plow a trench 4-6 inches wide and up to 36 inches deep.

Loaders were a big item at ConExpo with several manufacturers using the show to introduce new models. Clark Equipment Company was no exception. Clark introduced a new 12 cubic yard rubber-tired front end loader. The new loader, the 475C, features either a Cummins or GM diesel engine, transmission modulation and a long or short boom. The capacity rating is the same with either boom.

With either engine the 475C’s fuel consumption is estimated at less than 20 gallons per hour during average usage.

The 475C drivertrain consist of a Clark 8000 series powershift transmission with modulated directional clutches designed to provide smooth shifting through four forward and reverse gear ranges.

A greatly expanded loader line was brought to ConExpo by Terex. Not only do they feature some of the giant machines in the construction field, Terex now offers front-end loaders with buckets sizes as small as a half cubic yard. Five of six new front-end loaders were introduced by Terex at ConExpo. The loaders, the 11C, 22C, 33C, 44C, and 55C feature buckets that range from .65 cubic yards to 4.75 cubic yards.

Another loader, the 66C is also available but was not on display at ConExpo.

The smallest of the loaders, the 11C comes with a 40 flywheel horsepower diesel engine, while the largest loader, the 66C comes with a 210 flywheel horsepower.

Fiat-Allis brought four loaders to ConExpo; the FL7 crawler loader, the FR10 wheel loader, the FR15 wheel loader and the new FR20 wheel loader.

The loaders have bucket capacities of 1.3 cubic yards to 4.5 cubic yards. Engine horsepower runs from 78 hp for the FL7 crawler loader to 215 hp for the FR20.

In addition to the new machines Fiat-Allis has stressed its improvements in design, product development and services.

A major portion of Fiat-Allis’s exhibit was devoted to the operating efficiency and economy of Fiat diesel engines. Fiat-Allis also used ConExpo to introduce its new 5000 hour-two year power train warranty. The new warranty is two to four times longer than other product warranties in the construction machinery industry. It is available on all Fiat-Allis machines, which are equipped with Fiat diesel engines.

Three new loaders from International made their debut at ConExpo. The three new loaders, the 520B, the 550 and the 570 were all added to the International’s PAY loader line.

The smallest of the loaders the 520B comes with a 2¼ cubic yard bucket and a turbocharged 120 flywheel horsepower diesel engine. The engine has 20 percent more power than the loader the 520B replaces.

Next of kin to the loader includes machinery like John Deere’s new 646C Compactor. Introduced at ConExpo, Deere’s 646C is designed for landfill work.

The machine can exert a maximum compaction pressure of 3830 psi. The combination of narrow ground contact area and cleat configuration produces 340 lb. of compacting force per 1 lineal inch of wheel width.

The 152 horsepower John Deere diesel engine and the operating weight of 33,734 lbs. give the compactor an excellent power to weight ratio. The cleats are welded to off center to Caron steel wheels.

For specialized digging needs a variety of hydraulic shovels were introduced at ConExpo. Gradall used ConExpo to show off its new GR3. The GR3 features a four-wheel undercarriage for mobility between jobs and maneuverability.

The new machine has surface reach of 27 feet 4 inches, a loading height of 17 feet 5 inches and can dig to a depth of 19 feet 9 inches. The boom pivots 180 degrees and the bucket pivots 170 degrees.

The Harnischfeger Corporation introduced the Omega T-650 at ConExpo. The truck crane has a 66 ton capacity and 10 foot radius. It can reach speeds of 50 mph on the highway.

Harnischfeger also exhibited the Omega S-15 all terrain crane. The dual cab S-15 is rated at 15 tons and provides two or four wheel drive.

FMC Link-Belt not only brought its cranes to Conexpo but it gave visitors a lift 100 feet into the air with its tower gantry crane. Eight cranes were brought to ConExpo including the LS-918 crawler lift crane. This 400 ton crane was unveiled for the first time.

Also shown at ConExpo were the LS-128DLC cable crawler excavator/lift crane, the HTC 1040 hydraulic truck crane, HSP-8022 and HSP 8040 rough-terrain cranes, the HC-218A wire rope truck crane, the LS-6400 hydraulic crawler excavator and the 220 high speed rough terrain steel truck vehicle rounded out the FMC display.

Perhaps the largest cranes available come from Mannesmann Demag Corporation. Their display featured the Demag TC 4000, an 880 ton truck crane that reaches 600 feet into the air. The most unusual feature of this crane is that it steers with seven of its eight axles.

For other down to earth jobs, visitors to ConExpo could see some of the machines made by LeTourneau. The L-600 Letro-Loader could scoop up 80,000 pounds of dirt or coal or rock. The L-600 is available with buckets between 6.3 and 20 cubic yards. The L-600 has DC-4 electric drive and a choice of Cummins or GM diesel engines. Both available engines are rated at 525 horsepower.

LeTourneau also has a monster dozer, the D-800. Available with a GM or Cummins 860 horsepower engine, this engine is designed for heavy work in mines and similar applications. Its features include fail safe parking brakes, electric drive, a fully enclosed cab and full instrumentation.

For simpler applications, there is a workhorse of the construction industry, the loader backhoe. JCB, the British manufacturer, showed off its new series 1000 machines. Based on their old standard, the 3C, JCB’s new machines were specifically designed for the American market. At the bottom of the new machines is a one-piece chassis system integral with the backhoe mainframe. The chassis cushions the power train assembly thereby protecting against the stresses and vibrations of digging. The machines also feature componentized drivetrain and a one-piece operators cabin.

The new backhoe bucket has greater ground clearance than previous models which allows easier trailer loading and unloading. The greater ground clearance also eliminates some time around the job site because the loader is more maneuverable.

Dynapac, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of compaction equipment, introduced five new pieces of equipment at ConExpo in January. The new equipment included a cold surface pavement profiler, a three-in-one soil compactor with pad drum and strike-off blade, a vibratory roller with rubber-coated drum for compacting surface treatments and two heavy vibratory double-drum rollers.

The new P1-2000 profiler combines safety with cost effectiveness. It combines solid mass and heft required for deep cuts at optimum speed with the weight per foot of the cutting drum to greatly reduce the vibration that can shake similar machines apart. Its exclusive features are: front end discharge allowing it to work with the traffic flow; rapid conversion from wheels to track; bolt-on fighting; the right and left side cutter drum depths can be dialed-in from the operator’s station to save time and labor; a priority sensing system which eliminates bumps; and an internal/external drum cooling system.

The Dynapac CA-12PD vibratory roller, with pad drum and strike-off blade, backfills, levels and spreads while compacting, and needs fewer passes to compact to specifications. Features for extra safety, comfort and easy maintenance include good visibility, fully articulated power steering, short turning radius and convenient service check points.

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