Construction and mining equipment convention will unveil new machines and projects

As technology continues to put people in touch with the world at large, it allows them to implement new ideas in their own backyards. That’s the driving idea behind this year’s National Construction Equipment Convention (NCEC), taking place Nov. 15-17 at Sydney Showground at Sydney Olympic Park. “Think globally, act locally” is the theme, and industry leaders will be sharing their thoughts on how to adapt worldwide trends to unique situations.

The Latest Technology

The rapid development of new technology causes change to happen faster than many businesses can keep up with. The NCEC’s “Tech Show Zone” will feature speakers and exhibits to make sure you don’t get left behind. Caterpillar will be unveiling its next generation of excavators and showing them off in the demonstration pit in addition to revealing its new 950GC wheel loader and AP300F asphalt paver.

Nick Smith, CEO of Airsight Australia, has spent nearly a decade working with drones and will demonstrate how drones can improve efficiency and present a clearer picture of concerns that could arise on a job site.

“Being able to understand what is on a site prior to, and during construction can really give management an edge in terms of a thorough understanding of what that site looks like, and what the potential risks are to the construction process,” Smith said. “It can also be highly valuable from both a quality control and accounting standpoint to be able to track progress during construction with regular aerial surveys.

“If you send a worker out, it could take them half a day or more just to cover a site and collect the required information, in addition to the physical obstacles or hazards they might have to deal with,” Smith said. “With a drone, we can be on site in the morning, capture data by mid-morning, and process and deliver it by the end of the day, if not sooner.”

Drones will be commonplace in the worksite of the future, which will be a featured exhibit at the “Tech Show Zone,” along with jobs of the future and infrastructure of the future. Other technologies streamlining construction work that will be staples of the future include ground-penetrating radar, high-pressure filtration filter press equipment for silt management, and software that can eliminate paperwork from the field. The latest developments in these areas, and others, will be key topics of the NCEC.

The Human Factor

Although technology is a vital part of construction and mining industries, people remain indispensable.

Phillip Charlton, CEO of Skills Oz, will highlight the need for more skilled and experienced workers to tackle the abundance of civil infrastructure projects being undertaken across Australia.

Safety expert Deborah Keep will share her insights on how workers can act to protect themselves on the worksite.

“Optimally effective safety practices are driven from the inside out, from beliefs held by the employees themselves, not outside-in, from management and higher-ups,” Keep said. “Typical safety processes are built around compliance and making sure boxes are being ticked. These systems may look good on paper, but the reality is that workers become reliant on supervisors for risk guidance and fail to develop individual accountability.”

Keep stresses that good habits start with workers understanding their individual roles in keeping themselves and others safe.  

“Team accountability and buy-in is imperative to break bad habits and replace them with better ones,” she said. “Knowing the why, believing in it, and then actioning it as a collective unit — that’s what’s needed, along with positive reinforcement and reward along the way.

“You’re changing culture one crew at a time. You’re working with teams, as one unit, and then because the programs are team-run and team-owned, the members design and create their own culture. That then has ripple effects into all the other crews they work with, and into the whole site itself.”

Smith, Airsight Australia’s CEO, sees technology as an effective safety tool.

“The expediency and quality of actionable data goes up, while safety risks to people on site goes down,” he said.

Creative Collaboration

The Traffic Management Association of Australia (TMAA), WorldSkills, and the Australian Pavement Recycling and Stabilisation Association (AustStab) have partnered with the NCEC. Along with the Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group, they are bringing together the key players in Australian construction and infrastructure.

“Our industry is crucial to both these industries and we welcome the opportunity to share in this showcase and experience the latest innovation and creative technologies available to all our industries,” TMAA President Brendan Woods said. “We believe the NCEC will provide the perfect opportunity to continue to build bonds and integration across the infrastructure and construction sectors.”

With more than 100 exhibitors, including Toyota Material Handling Australia, Clark Equipment (Bobcat & Doosan), Atlas Heavy Engineering and Komatsu, showcasing their latest innovations, plus industry experts and a preview of government projects yet to be announced, NCEC is sure to deliver global solutions to your local business.