Worldwide, the market for construction equipment continues to grow: high consumer demand for warehouse space and the continued push for urban renovation and construction have driven the market to almost $150 billion yearly. In America, the market for construction equipment sales posted more than $25 billion in profits each year for the past five years, and studies indicate that heavy equipment rentals are predicted to expand by more than 30% in the next decade.
Recent advances in automotive technology could improve vehicular fuel economy by as much as 15%, and large automakers are betting that consumers will be enthusiastic. Historically, selective cylinder firing was achieved through a series of electrical controls, but new DSF technology allows for more selective and precise cylinder deactivation. Dynamic Skip Fire may be a new technology, but there have already been some tests on its potential for vehicles that run on diesel fuel.
Tests done on commercial engine cylinders showed that, in particular, selective cylinder deactivation does have a positive impact on fuel consumption. Although the temperature of the exhaust did increase, having the engine do less work overall reduced both heat transfer and engine “heat rejection.” When the commercial engine cylinders fired, they did so at a higher temperature, and reduced rates of air flow were also noted. In general, preliminary studies showed that cylinder deactivation in diesel vehicles could have as much benefit as in passenger vehicles.
So what is the future of heavy equipment in America? Could there be a “clean energy” movement in heavy equipment parts in the next decade? To a certain degree, the answer is yes. The recent introduction of diesel-electric hybrid dozers to the marketplace could change the way construction equipment is designed in the next decade. Reports from the field indicate higher torque and good performance from smaller engines that can recover energy during their “swing braking” process. Better fuel efficiency for commercial engine cylinders and being able to skip time-consuming refueling routines could also help new technology integrate itself permanently into construction markets worldwide.
The cutting edge of development in the field of heavy equipment components should allow for quieter construction sites, enhanced customer demand for faster, more dynamic equipment, and although some experts say that we may be on the leading edge of a low cycle, profits and progress continue to indicate otherwise. If green buildings are the future, then the future of the machines that build them may be rosy as well.