UCon @ ICUEE: Day 3

The third day of ICUEE was slower than the two preceding it, and a lot of booths were quiet inside in the morning as people focused on last-minute demos and deals or took the closing hours to go see what they’d missed. The heavy gray sky made clear that any outdoor activity was a limited-time opportunity, so Underground Construction headed for the last chance at exhibits we’d been hearing about.

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First up was ALLU Group, where two large excavators showed off the D-series fine screening attachments. The big machines, nicknamed the Dancing Allosauruses for their coordinated grace, screened the rich red-brown Kentucky soil to a dramatic waterfall of 5/8ths of an inch grain, and then dumped the leftover rocks in a pile nearby.
ALLU's Dancing Allosaurs sifting dirt.
On-site sifting removes the need to bring in outside earth or remove the soil a project digs up, significantly lowering costs for projects that require fine soil. This was the first time the technology has been shown in the United States, and the application is aimed at water, sewer, gas, oil and wind projects. Watch for video of the Dancing Allosaurs coming soon.

Next up was a long-awaited trip to the John Deere booth, where the new D-series generation of skid steer loaders that were available for test runs.
Deere also showed off "training software" that inspired a certain amount of competitive spirit.
After a lap around the track in the 323D skid-steer loader, I can confirm that it’s comfortable, easy to drive and pretty fun. Even I didn’t kill a single cone. New features include a side-open door in place of an overhead-opening one, improved visibility to the rear and the bottom of the loader and the attachment and “quick idle” capability: if you take your hands off the controls, after five seconds the machine goes to a lower RPM level to cut emissions and noise level, then zooms back up to the last RPM setting when you’re ready to move again. There are five skid steer models and two truck loaders in the D-series, and the models will be at dealerships in December.
The 323D. They let anybody drive this thing.

At the ISCO tent, we saw the Fast Fusion Mobile Fusion Trac12 pipe fusion truck, released in April 2009. ISCO’s pipe fusion machine seals individual sections of polyethylene (HDPE) pipe together until the joint itself is the strongest part of the pipe, but the Trac12 allows an operator to sit in a climate-controlled cab, accept pipe lengths through one end, fuse them and send them out the back already cool enough to use directly—no additional cooling time needed. ISCO says the system makes the pipe fusing process up to 70 percent faster.

ISCO's Conley Harrington explains the Mobile Fusion Trac12.

The rains were coming, though, and as the morning turned to afternoon the outside lots were clearing out. Once it began to rain again in earnest, the action moved indoors for those of us lucky enough not to get stuck taking down demos or moving out equipment.

Once inside, we spoke to RIDGID, which showcased the new locator series and the SeeSnake camera devices. Brian Zeilman gave a demo of a soil pipe cutter that attracted a good bit of attention. Watch for a video coming soon. At the co-located H2O Expo (the National Rural Water Association) attendees were listening to see if they’d won a series of interesting prizes, including a Nintendo Wii, a Dodge pickup truck, 12 Maine lobsters, a rifle and my personal favorite, two Labrador puppies.

This little guy had a hard conference.

The co-location didn’t please everyone, though—at Underground Solutions, although he reported their show experience as pretty successful, Pete Trautman was of the opinion that so many exhibits to check out diluted the effectiveness of the conference for water-focused companies. That might have been one reason why so many exhibitors began striking their displays early. Even though the show was scheduled to run to three o’clock, by one-thirty it was getting sparse and the party was over by two.

Early ending or not, though, most people said the show had been good for them. A few were so busy that we couldn’t get an official evaluation of how the show was going, but being surrounded by an interested crowd is usually a good sign, a problem Melfred Borzall and Digital Control looked to have late Thursday. How was your experience? Let us know at Twitter @UConOnline, or send an email to webmaster@oildom.com if you’d like to comment. Watch for more post-show recaps and video from Vermeer, Vacuworx, Allu, RIDGID and more in this space. Farewell, ICUEE, and we’ll see you again in 2011!

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