Mar 01, 2021
Our Industry Innovates
BY Sandy Lender
In this column last month, we took an indulgent look at the environmentally responsible ideas transportation officials and contractors come up with to protect wildlife, whether that wildlife is endangered or not. Some might consider such ideas innovative.
It’s a trend in society that innovations and technology breakthroughs increase as we humans move toward a big event, such as the turn of the century or a World’s Fair or, as long-time subscribers may be more in-tune with, a CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Even in years without a huge tradeshow such as CONEXPO-CON/AGG, international expos “going virtual” bring out the creativity in original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who want to stay ahead of their competition and reduce pain points for contractors.
For example, you’ll see the equivalent of “table-top exhibitors” at the online People, Plants & Paving Digital Conference March 9-11, 2021. Check out the worldofasphalt.com site to get information on the agenda and the $299 registration. Even the concept of taking training online has been an innovation that companies such as AsphaltPro have embraced over the years. Online courses like our Asphalt Paving 101 are designed to make your job of getting crewmembers up to speed easier and less pricy.
During 2020, more than training venues changed. Our industry found the Novel Coronavirus forcing new and creative methods of building and repairing roads while avoiding illness. Luckily, working outside in the sunshine is something the asphalt industry is familiar with, so half that battle is won.
State departments of transportation (DOTs), oftentimes slow to adopt new technologies, recognized the logic in using paperless tickets on jobsites to reduce the spread of germs. Many of those DOTs’ personnel fast-tracked implementation of trucking and ticketing apps that we’ve been reporting on for years (see the article on page 44 about former Ajax President Mark Minich’s innovation in this arena).
Other innovations in our industry pop up to solve problems on the daily, and we welcome entrepreneurs to reach out to share their new ideas with us, thus with the AsphaltPro audience. Whether those new ideas incorporate a smartphone, an additive to allow increased amounts of recycled asphalt materials (RAM) or a fancy pattern at the back of the paver, we’re the venue to dissect the information for the industry. If you’ve solved a problem with a new piece of technology or new configuration of iron, let us know about it. We want to share your success to the benefit of the industry at large. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.