Electric excavators win big at Intermat Innovation Awards 2018

The 2018 Intermat Innovation Awards held in January recognised innovation in the field of equipment, machinery and processes used in construction and materials production. The seventh edition of the international competition highlighted market trends such as digitalisation of tools (development of applications, BIM and robotics), proliferation of environmental solutions and growing consideration for safety and risk prevention in processes.

Eight winners were awarded for their innovation in four categories: earthmoving and demolition; roads, minerals and foundation; lifting, handling and transportation; and buildings and concrete sector. Additionally, five special awards were given in categories named digital transition, energy transition, start-up, world of concrete Europe, and safety.

Volvo Construction Equipment won the equipment and machinery award in the earthmoving and demolition category for its fully-electric compact excavator prototype, the EX2. According to Volvo, the EX2 delivers zero emissions and offers 10 times higher efficiency and ten times lower noise levels than a conventional version.

To make the EX2 prototype fully electric, the combustion engine has been replaced with two lithium ion batteries, totaling 38KWh, which store enough electric energy to operate the machine for eight hours in an intense application such as digging compact ground. The hydraulic architecture has also been replaced with electric architecture which incorporates electromechanical linear actuators that help to optimise the transmission chain. Volvo achieved lower noise levels by removing the hydraulic system and the combustion engine.

Ahcène Nedjimi, electromobility specialist and EX2 project leader, Volvo Construction Equipment, said: “The electrification of construction equipment will produce cleaner, quieter and more efficient machines, and this represents the future of our industry. The EX2 could easily be used in densely populated areas, even at night, without disturbing people.”

The EX2 stemmed from the company’s earlier ELEXC research project, which was partly financed by the French government as well as various funding bodies in France. Volvo CE worked with a team of six partner companies which all contributed towards the project. The ELEXC work started in 2012 and concluded in 2015, Volvo CE has since been working on other research projects connected to the EX2, such as durability tests. At this stage, the EX2 is still part of a research project and it is not commercially available.

Volvo CE will showcase its EX2 excavator as well as other research projects related to electromobility, connectivity and total site solutions at Intermat.

Mecalac won the energy transition award for its compact, all-electric wheel excavator, the E12. The electric version of Mecalac’s 12MTX wheel excavator loader houses lithium iron phosphate battery technology for three times as many charge cycles.

Patrick Brehmer, head of design and product management, said: “Any electric engine must rise to three major challenges: range, performance and compactness. The Mecalac e12 is the first 100%-electric excavator that does not compromise on any of those three criteria. The key to our machine’s range and performance is in its architecture. The power source, which is separate from the upper structure, enables a record capacity of 146kWh, which results in an unrivalled range of 8h.”

Marini-Ermont, a subsidiary of Fayat group, won the equipment and machinery award in the roads, minerals and foundation category for its mobile continuous asphalt plant, the TRX 100%, which is used to recycle 0 to 100% of asphalt aggregates, over extensive production and temperature ranges.

According to Fayat, the TRX 100% can be implemented rapidly, very close to road-building sites. The bulk of the supply, that is, asphalt aggregates, can be sourced from milling materials produced by the site, partly or fully protecting natural resources and reducing transport logistics to a minimum, together with the site’s carbon footprint. The patented TRX 100% technology, based on the drying of asphalt aggregates at low temperature, reuses and preserves the binder of asphalt aggregates.

Hinowa won the equipment and machinery award in the lifting, handling and transportation category for its new tracked aerial platform, the Lightlift 33.17 Performance IIIS.

The tallest model the series, the Lightlift 33.17 has a load capacity of 230kg and reaches a maximum working height of 32.5m and a maximum lateral outreach of 16.5m. An additional feature of the product is its negative reach, allowing it to reach spaces lower than the level of the equipment’s tracks. The ‘go home’ function allows the boom to automatically return to a stowed position at the push of a button.