ConExpo-Con/Agg isn't just a trade show — it's an experience. The megaconvention, which occurs every three years, drew more than 120,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. Exhibitors lined the aisles within the venue and spilled into the surrounding parking lots, filling up 2.5 million square feet of space.
We couldn't stop by every booth and exhibit (because that would have taken years), but we scanned the show for the top displays. Here are five of the coolest construction exhibits from the event. Did we miss something? Let us know here.
A steady hand
Volvo offered an interactive experience for show attendees with the challenge to use its ECR40D short swing radius compact excavator to gently pick up softballs perched atop cones and drop them into a bucket. Whoever completed the task the fastest could take home a $500 prize. Midway through the week, the time to beat was 34 seconds.
More than a game
Training simulators were some of the most popular exhibits at the show. This technology might look like a video game, but it's all about training equipment operators to be as efficient and as safe as possible. The Vortex Advantage, from CM Labs, offers training for equipment including mobile cranes, backhoe loaders, tower cranes and excavators.
Related story: The top 5 tech trends at ConExpo 2017
Out of thin air
The show's big unveiling came on March 7, when researchers unveiled Project AME — the world's first fully functional 3-D printed excavator. The project was the result of a collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Fluid Power Association and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. The project marks the first large-scale use of steel in 3-D printing. While the entire machine wasn't 3-D printed, its printed components included the cab, the hydraulic oil reservoir, the steel boom, the heat exchanger and the cooling system.
We're gonna need a bigger hauler
It was hard to miss this display. Volvo showed off its 60-ton-capacity A60H, the company's largest articulated hauler and what it calls the world's largest artic. The machine can be used for heavy hauling in off-road jobs such as mines, quarries and earth-moving operations. We can attest to the fact that the hauler was every bit as big as it looks in the photo.
ConExpo partnered with NASCAR to offer show-goers the opportunity to visit the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ride in a car with an instructor. NASCAR also came to the show floor, where motion and control technology company Parker Hannifin displayed its stock car. The company has a multiyear partnership deal with driver Kyle Larson. The car may not have been construction-related, but it succeeded in drawing attendees to the company's booth.