Tracking Innovation

Dec. 1, 2010
The RER Innovative Product Award was established in 2003 to honor excellence in new product development in the equipment rental industry. This year the

RER selects the most innovative new products of 2010, engineered to offer the rental industry more efficient, productive and convenient jobsite solutions.

The RER Innovative Product Award was established in 2003 to honor excellence in new product development in the equipment rental industry. This year the awards showcase the most innovative products introduced between Aug. 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010.

RER editors narrowed the pool of entries to one winner in each of the eleven categories. Then, its editors selected the product they felt displayed the most innovation in respect to the rental business from the 11 products selected as category winners. One product was named the Gold Award winner. Silver and Bronze Awards were also awarded.

Thanks to all of the companies that entered products in this year's RER Innovative Product Awards competition. Following are the Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winners, followed by the products that won their respective categories. Honorable mentions will be featured in the January and February 2011 issues of RER.

Gold Award

Category winner: Earthmoving Equipment

PT-100G and PT-100G Forestry Compact Track Loader

Terex Construction Americas, Southaven, Miss.

Introduced: June 2010

Key Innovation: The automatically adjusting cooling fan blades provide optimum airflow while minimizing engine horsepower consumption.

When Terex Construction Americas set out to introduce new compact track loader models to its line-up, the company looked beyond trying to engineer a product that would just best its competitors, it wanted to outdo itself. The result are the PT-100G and PT-100G Forestry CTL models, which offer class-leading specifications in several areas, according to the company, but also offer improvements in countless areas over its own predecessor models, resulting in machines that are bursting with innovation.

The PT-100G and PT-100G Forestry offer a class-leading 99.9-hp engine and 310 foot-pounds of torque, the most in the CTL industry, according to Terex. New to the PT-100G models, the cooling fan blades will automatically adjust to provide optimum airflow while minimizing engine horsepower consumption. These loaders have an operating weight of 11,400 pounds, a tipping load of 8,000 pounds — with a 4,000-pound operating capacity at 50 percent tipping load capacity — and a lift height of 125 inches.

The new PT-100G models were not just engineered to offer improved innovation over competitive models, but rather were built to display enhanced innovations over the previous Terex compact track loader models.

“Our engineers used the previous PT-100 model as a competitive unit when designing the new PT-100G,” says Jamie Wright, product specialist, Terex Construction Americas. “The philosophy behind this was to take a great machine and make it even better. The PT-100G was designed to take on the toughest ground-engaging products, with unmatched control and push power, and to be the unit to beat for utilizing high-flow attachments.”

Many updates to the PT-100G models improved productivity and efficiency of the machines while also offering improvements to operator comfort and ease of maintenance.

“The new PT-100G has an internal rail suspension, unlike the PT-100 that had an external rail system,” Wright says. “This new system removes unnecessary weight from the unit while enhancing structural integrity, keeping the components of the undercarriage cleaner, and allowing for easier maintenance of these components.”

With a narrow 6-foot profile and a low 14¾-inch ground clearance, the loaders are designed to work in limited access areas. And with a low 4.0-psi ground pressure, these machines can easily work on soft or sensitive surfaces with minimal damage or impact. The PT-100G models include the Terex patented Posi-Track undercarriage technology and suspension for the smoothest ride available — an improvement that operators can appreciate. With 48 contact points on the ground, the PT-100G machines offer increased traction and higher flotation in all ground conditions, which provides for better weight distribution, extending track life and increasing performance — a big benefit to the equipment owner and the rental customer. Previous models had only 42 points of contact. The loaders come standard with general purpose rubber tracks; the Terex Turf Tracks are options for both units.

These loaders set a new industry benchmark, the company says, with a load-sensing, high-flow auxiliary hydraulic capability of 43 gpm at 3,800 psi (incrementally adjustable in 1-gallon steps from 30 to 43 gpm). Other standard features include load-sensing infinitely variable low-flow auxiliary hydraulics from 0 to 20 gpm, two-speed transmission up to 10 mph, auto-idle, creep mode, selectable pattern changer from ISO to “H” pattern and adjustable loader/bucket sensitivity. On models equipped with heat or AC, a pressurized and sealed enclosed cab comes standard.

“Through internal and drive motor improvements, we are now able to smoothly shift our unit when shuttling between low and high gear, greatly improving load management and operator comfort, while improving component life,” Wright says. “For cold planning, trenching, mulching, dozing and other speed-sensitive applications, we now offer as standard creep mode capabilities, which slow the drive mode to a crawl for better control in these applications.”

The PT-100G Forestry loader comes outfitted with an auto-reversing fan to allow the operator to trigger it at set intervals in 5-minute increments to keep the machine's cooling system running at peak performance.

“Cooling is all about efficiency,” Wright explains. “With our new bell mouth fan shroud, our cooling capabilities have followed suit with the units' performance. The bell mouth fan shroud allows the unit to perform at the highest level of performance while keeping our components and fluids at optimum temperatures.”

This efficiency improvement, combined with the many enhancements and innovations over its previous PT-100 compact track loader models, make the new PT-100G and PT-100G Forestry RER's most innovative new product for 2010.

Silver Award

Category winner: Engines/Power Sourcing

Vanguard single-cylinder engines

Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power, Milwaukee

Introduced: February 2010

Key Innovation: TransportGuard system ensures that fuel stays where it belongs and helps eliminate fouled plugs, hydraulic lock, cylinder wash down and crankcase oil dilution caused by transportation.

Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power began the initial stages of the development process for its new Vanguard single-cylinder engines by pounding the pavement to get important customer input. Parrish Sandefur, director of business development, and Dan Roche, marketing manager, traveled to rental companies in St. Louis and Chicago to meet with rental store owners and learn about their businesses, how they use their fleet of equipment and what features were important to them in an engine. Using a cardboard graphic of its previous single-cylinder engine, designed Advent calendar-style with pictures of potential features for the Vanguard models hidden behind doors that could be opened to reveal themselves to the rental owners, the customers could see the overall image of a Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine surrounded by all the potential features the company's engineers wanted to consider. Through this process, Sandefur and Roche learned a lot.

Asked to leave open the doors for the features they thought would be meaningful additions to its engines, Briggs & Stratton found that the door for the TransportGuard feature was left open every time. Rental owners loved the idea of being able to prevent the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber causing hydraulic lock, or fuel flowing back into the engine and diluting the oil during transportation, or flooding the engine and preventing it from starting on the first pull.

“There were probably 15 different features that were behind these doors,” says Roche. “We were videotaping the rental guys going through that process of opening and closing doors on this Advent-type graphic and having a response to the concept that was behind the doors. Just having something physical in front of them was important.”

Fuel in the oil drastically reduces viscosity, resulting in more friction, increased wear and shorter engine life. Vanguard engineers researched and created an integrated switch that simultaneously shuts off the ignition and the fuel. This patent-pending innovation, dubbed the TransportGuard system, ensures that fuel stays where it belongs and helps eliminate fouled plugs, hydraulic lock, cylinder wash down and crankcase oil dilution caused by transportation. Ultimately, this saves equipment owners and rental businesses money by decreasing downtime and repair costs. TransportGuard could help ensure that rental customers would be able to start the equipment easily once they unloaded it at the jobsite — no more service calls caused by an engine flooded during transport.

After a long and thorough development process, Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power launched four Vanguard single-cylinder engines with gross horsepower ratings ranging from 5.5 to 10.0 hp in February 2010. The new engines represent many new features specifically designed to address the top worksite challenges cited by end-user customers and OEMs: heavy dust, lack of regular maintenance, filtration issues and oil dilution during transportation.

“The TransportGuard feature really shines when you have a gravity-fed fuel tank,” Roche explains. “It's one of those things where if I have a fuel tank that's separated from the engine, and if the engine is fed by a fuel line that has other circuitry involved in it, TransportGuard may or may not be required for something like that. But anytime that we're putting an engine in harm's way in terms of transportation, we're exploring further opportunities there because it's been such a widely accepted feature. That said, it's like a lot of other things, it's got its place and in a lot of other areas, it's not as valued.”

In addition to solving oil dilution issues, engineers designed each component and integrated technology of the Vanguard engines to efficiently work together to raise durability and reliability standards. An oil sensor automatically shuts down the engine in low-oil situations, a safeguard that greatly extends engine life. An innovative combustion chamber improves air and fuel flow, resulting in a cleaner burn, reduced emissions and increased horsepower. The air filter is water-repellant and protected by a full metal cage, and features an innovative triple-seal design to dramatically decrease dirt, dust and debris intake.

“The air filtration on the Vanguard models is 22-percent more filter area than the competition,” says Sandefur. “What that means in terms of rental is lower cost, less frequent filter changes, and it's less likely for the unit to need servicing while it's out on the jobsite.”

Bronze Award

Category: Compressors/Air Tools

Dual-Pressure P260WYM/HP220WYM Air Compressor

Doosan Portable Power, Statesville, N.C.

Introduced: February 2010

Key Innovation: This two-in-one, dual-pressure unit operates at either 260 cfm at 100 psi or 220 cfm at 150 psi for flexibility in meeting needs on the job. A simple control panel switch allows the operator to easily change the pressure setting on the fly.

The new P260WYM/HP220WYM dual-pressure, dual-flow air compressor from Doosan Portable Power is engineered to withstand the most rugged environments and provide unparalleled flexibility. The air compressor is designed for use in general construction, abrasive blasting and pneumatic tool applications, as well as rental fleets. This two-in-one, dual-pressure unit operates at either 260 cfm at 100 psi or 220 cfm at 150 psi. A simple control panel switch allows the operator to easily change the pressure setting on the fly.

“The roomy tool box of the dual-pressure unit has increased space by 33 percent allowing for generous tool storage extending the full length of the frame,” says Russell Warner, manager, Global Air Products for Doosan Portable Power.

The P260WYM/HP220WYM is powered by a Yanmar Tier-3-compliant engine. Potential service points are easily accessible without removing the canopy, along with simplified wiring and piping that also enhance service accessibility. Also under the canopy, the engine coolant recovery bottle and air-end oil filter are conveniently relocated for easy access and service.

A spin-on separator element assures ease of maintenance along with component locations that have been designed for service access and electronic engine diagnostics capability. The remote separator element has a simple, spin-on design eliminating the need to enter the separator tank and preventing spillage during oil changes.

Adding to the serviceability of the P260WYM/HP220WYM is the addition of an electronic diagnostic module. This module allows for quick troubleshooting with a single-digit diagnostic code display upon unexpected unit shutdown. It also incorporates a low-speed shutdown protection system, significantly simplifies wiring and electrical components on the unit and promotes similarity between units for quicker, more simplified service and repair.

Compaction equipment

Phoenix Air Tamper

Higher Innovative Solutions, Phoenix

Introduced: April 2010

Key Innovation: The Phoenix Air Tamper converts jumping jack tampers with worn-out engines to an air motor, giving them new life.

Higher Innovative Solutions introduces its engine replacement kit designed for users who are tired of the costly repairs and downtime associated with gasoline-powered tampers. The Phoenix Air Tamper is an engine replacement kit that replaces the current Tier-2 gasoline engine with an air-powered motor on walk-behind trench tampers. When powered by a Tier-3-compliant compressor, the tamper is immediately a greener product. With the new air motor there is no more gasoline, oil, or exhaust fumes to harm the environment. Eliminating these fluids also cuts maintenance costs because there is no longer gasoline or oil to contend with or dispose of, and no more engine-related problems. Additionally, the adapted tamper is safer because there are no more fumes to harm the operator and no heat sources around flammable lines or other materials.

With the Phoenix adapter kit, the tamper is lighter than a gasoline-powered unit, which can cut down on costly workers' compensation claims. The adapter kit is designed to make a safer, greener, and more cost effective tamper than gasoline-powered models. After a certified compaction test, the company reports that the Phoenix tamped significantly better than its gasoline-powered competition. In addition, the kit starts every time, which can be an issue with gasoline-powered engines. The Phoenix Adapter Kit is easy to install and use. The kit hooks to a compressor with a standard twist lock fitting that is common on most air compressors. Then just open the valve and go. There are only three moving parts in the whole kit: the valve, the motor, and the centrifugal clutch.

Computer software

Point-of-Rental System's Wireless Alerts

Point-of-Rental Systems, Grand Prairie, Texas

Introduced: January 2010

Key Innovation: Point-of-Rental Systems' new Wireless Alerts automatically notify the user via text message or email whenever certain pre-selected events occur.

Point-of-Rental Systems' new Wireless Alerts feature automatically notifies the rental professional of crucial information via SMS text or e-mail so there is no more wondering when his or her order is on the way to the jobsite. Delivered instantly to an iPhone, Blackberry, or other mobile device, rental professionals can be up-to-date with the status of their business even when they aren't in the office.

Event triggers may be set in Point-of-Rental Systems' Enterprise software to automatically alert select personnel of any changes to a contract or customer. For example, sales representatives can be instantly alerted when a contract has been called off rent so they can follow up or contact another client about item availability. In addition to calling a contract off rent, parameters may also be set to include notification when opening or modifying a quote, reservation, work order, or open contract; marking a contract as loaded; sending out a delivery or reservation contract; or changing the operation on an existing contract. Notifications sent via e-mail also include a copy of the contract that can be viewed directly on the iPhone or any other Smartphone. In addition, parameters can be set to alert certain personnel of a customer's status change. For example, if a customer is put on credit hold or their credit limit has changed, the salesperson will instantly know that information in order to quickly communicate with the customer before the issue can escalate and result in further losses.

Concrete-working equipment

Portamix Hippo PMH 70 Mixing Station

CS Unitec, Norwalk, Conn.

Introduced: September 2009

Key Innovation: The PMH 70 features a balanced easy-tilt cradle, which allows one person to mix, accurately place and spread up to 20 gallons of material, saving time and preventing worker injury.

CS Unitec's new Portamix Hippo PMH 70 mixing station is designed for quick mixing and accurate placement of construction compounds, boosting productivity, lowering labor costs and reducing physical effort. Cement screeds, grout, mortar, texture coatings, sealants, adhesives and other self-leveling compounds and construction materials can be easily mixed in a short time. The easy-tilt cradle allows the user to pour, accurately place and spread up to 20 gallons (4- or 5-bag batches, 290 pounds) of material at the same time.

The specially shaped mixing bowl eliminates pockets of unmixed product, producing excellent mix consistency and also makes cleaning out easy. The bowl's spout lets the user pour into small containers without mess or waste. The tilting cradle is balanced for easy operation. Additionally, the mixing motor can be reverse-mounted for alongside mixing in smaller containers.

Equipped with heavy-duty casters, the PMH 70 moves freely on level floors. Wheel covers ensure that the casters remain free of screed splatter. Optional pneumatic tires can replace the casters for sites with rough, uneven terrain.

The HIPPO is supplied with two large 8-inch mixing paddles designed with a special helix ribbon and side bars. They lift and shear the product quickly and efficiently to produce an excellent mix consistency and thorough mixing of colors and additives. The paddles' configuration and large size eliminates the need for high-rpm mixing and helps to prevent any flash curing. The PMH 70 has a 16-amp/1,800-watt, two-speed motor and operates at a load speed of 140 rpm and 470 rpm. A pneumatic-powered mixing motor that uses 67 cfm air volume at 90 psi is also available for the HIPPO.


Flextec 450

Lincoln Electric Co., Cleveland

Introduced: May 2010

Key Innovation: Using the very latest power electronics technology, the Flextec 450 multi-process welding power source is designed to deliver the advantages of digital inverter-driven power sources, including energy savings, a more responsive arc, lower weight and a smaller footprint at a price point reserved up to this point for conventional transformer-rectifier welders. With Lincoln's Flexible Technology, the unit provides users with tested weather-resistance and up to 500 amps of welding power.

The new Flextec 450 multi-process welding power source is designed specifically for fabrication, construction, automotive, production and educational applications around the globe.

The machine's multi-process capability includes stick, Touch Start DC TIG, MIG and flux-cored welding, as well as arc gouging with up to a 3/8-inch (9.5-mm) carbon.

The latest inverter technology — commonly available at a much higher price point — provides measurable advantages over conventional welders. This includes faster arc response for smoother arc action, more consistent bead appearance and low power consumption for reduced daily operational costs. In addition, the unit's enhanced portability translates into 30-percent less weight, size and footprint.

The Flextec 450 includes a compact, durable case that is IP23 rated for operation and storage in extreme field environments. It is also Desert Duty Rated, allowing welding outputs in extreme temperature operation up to 131 F (55 C).

The machine's user interface is designed with the operator in mind, allowing even the most novice welder to effectively weld. The Flextec's bright, digital amp and volt meters are easy to monitor — even in sunlight — and can be preset for precise procedure control. It also includes a selectable hot start, allowing the operator to turn it off for thin materials or flip it on for the extra starting amperage required for thick, rusty or dirty material.

The Flextec 450 includes variable arc force, allowing an operator to dial in the “soft” or “crisp” arc characteristics required for a specific application. For example, a crisper arc is used to increase penetration or reduce electrode sticking on some applications. This machine also features remote control capability.

Lawn & garden equipment

ZTrak PRO 900 Series

John Deere, Moline, Ill.

Introduced: October 2009

Key Innovation: The ZTrak PRO 900 Series features a 7-iron deck for reduced material build-up and excellent airflow so material can be processed quickly and efficiently. It is also the only zero-turn mower that features mulch-on-demand, allowing the operator to switch between mulching and side-discharging without leaving the seat. It is also engineered for optimized hillside performance.

The new ZTrak PRO 900 Series is engineered for professional landscapers to be the most productive, smoothest operating, easiest-to-use mowers ever built by John Deere. The ZTrak PRO 900 Series offers a commercial, two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty with unlimited hours.

Designed and developed in response to customer input, the seven models in the Z900 lineup feature the durable 7-Iron Pro deck with stamped, seven-gauge steel, full-wrap reinforcement and mulch-on-demand capabilities. With top mowing speeds of 10.5 or 12 mph, each model has the power and performance operators demand.

For superior controllability, the Z900 Series includes a new, ground-drive transmission featuring a piston motor, internal wet disc brakes and a gear-reduction final drive providing more torque to the drive tires. Users will also appreciate the Comfort & Convenience package with ergonomic control levers including built-in PTO shutoff and electronic deck raise and lower. For effortless operation, the series offers dial-in height-of-cut adjustment on the control panel, on-board self-diagnostics, run-flat tires and John Deere's exclusive Brake & Go system.


Genie Dual-capacity booms

Genie, Redmond, Wash.

Introduced: February 2010

Key Innovation: The Genie dual-capacity booms provide capacities up to 1,250 pounds, the highest in the industry, within a restricted outreach, the company says. These are the only booms in the industry that allow the operator the ability to select the desired maximum load capacity that automatically restricts the operating envelope.

In an effort to increase operator productivity, four new Genie telescopic boom models provide greater platform capacity within a restricted outreach as a standard feature. The four models: the Genie S-60X, the S-60XC, the S-60 Trax, and the S-80X feature restricted platform capacities up to 1,250 pounds, the highest in the industry. The unrestricted operating envelope features the same 500-pound capacity and outreach as the existing machine. By increasing the work platform capacity, the maximum number of occupants has increased to three, thereby increasing job productivity. Outreach is automatically restricted by the operator by selecting the appropriate platform capacity. An operator-friendly common control panel assists with machine operation.

The dual capacity of the work platform now allows the operator the choice of setting the appropriate capacity for the necessary operation. Although there are other dual-capacity products in the industry, the Genie dual-capacity booms are the only ones that allow the operator the ability to select the desired maximum load capacity that automatically restricts the operating envelope.

Other benefits include a ramped boom control system, which provides smooth boom functions due to angle sensors and limit switches, resulting in finer control. A virtual pivot primary boom aligns the machine's center of gravity, resulting in lower machine weight. Fixed-width axles provide faster set-up time, increasing jobsite productivity, while active oscillating axles provide superior traction increasing jobsite access and productivity. A simplified hydraulic system provides smooth motion for users, while a cable-sequenced boom assembly makes the booms easy to inspect. Both features help to reduce service time. A heavy-duty platform better withstands increased platform loads.


Blue Island Scraper

Daniel Manufacturing, Carlock, Ill.

Introduced: January 2010

Key Innovation: The Blue Island Scraper attachment is a new rental option for users formerly using a one-dimensional ride-on tile scraper to remove flooring materials.

The Blue Island Scraper was designed as a more economical way to remove floor tile, rubber products, ceramic and quarry tile, glued-down carpet, astro turf and numerous other products. The Blue Island Scraper gives the user the versatility to scrape product up, and also to switch to the bucket to scoop up product for faster loading and less man hours on the job. The unit weighs 520 pounds (not including heads), and comes complete with three heads — a 19-inch head, a 10-inch head and a bit holder for ceramic and quarry tile. The scraper is equipped with a built-in tool carrier to house all heads, tools and blade with a lockable hasp for overnight storage on the job. All heads swivel to follow the contours of the concrete so the user gets the maximum amount of blade on the ground at all times.

The Blue Island Scraper also features three receptacles on the unit, allowing the user to position the blade where it serves the best purpose. For products that come up easily, such as carpet, the operator can install three, 19-inch heads to take up 57 inches of material in one pass. The scraper is designed for rental companies as an alternative to the high cost of a one-dimensional ride-on tile scraper.

Power Tools

Hilti TE 1000-AVR Breaker

Hilti Inc., Tulsa, Okla.

Introduced: August 2009

Key Innovation: The brushless SR motor eliminates the need to replace carbon brushes, which results in longer intervals between service and twice the expected tool life. Utilizing Active Vibration Reduction (AVR), the TE 1000-AVR achieves the lowest vibration in its class.

The new Hilti TE 1000-AVR Breaker is designed to bring together performance and operator comfort. Featuring the lowest vibration in its class, according to the company, the TE 1000-AVR is engineered with the power for outstanding demolition productivity yet offers the flexibility to reduce impact for precision work. For everything from demolition of concrete slabs to digging in clay to heavy floor tile removal, the TE 1000-AVR is a good solution.

With 16 foot-pounds of energy, the TE 1000-AVR provides a demolition impact unparalleled in its weight class, the company says, making it a truly productive tool for a wide range of demolition applications. Even with all the power generated by the 1,600-watt motor, the TE 1000-AVR is built for long service life. An active cooling system reduces wear and tear, the three-chamber sealing helps keep dust out of the tool and the innovative brushless SR motor eliminates the need to replace carbon brushes. The result is longer intervals between service and twice the expected tool life.

Utilizing Hilti's AVR, an advanced vibration reduction system, the TE 1000-AVR achieves the lowest vibration in its class, aiding operator comfort and allowing the operator to be more productive by working longer. For precision work, the TE 1000-AVR's Power Reduction Switch cuts the impact by 30 percent to improve handling and control in sensitive applications.

The TE 1000-AVR is compatible with an array of Hilti chisels, giving it added flexibility for use in a variety of applications. Also compatible is the Hilti TE DRS-B Dust Removal System that reduces cleanup time and captures fine dust for a better working environment. The TE 1000-AVR is backed by Hilti Lifetime Service, a service agreement that includes two years of no-cost coverage.