If you’ve been following our blog, you may remember that earlier this year we worked with ESCO to design and build a custom excavator bucket for a Houston-based company called Southern Crushed Concrete, Inc. This unique bucket was made with one purpose in mind: breaking up paved concrete so it can be hauled to a local recycling plant.
Southern Crushed Concrete had been using a standard ESCO XDP bucket on a 30 ton class excavator to get the job done, but the constant abuse associated with breaking up concrete was causing the lifting eye on the back of the bucket to wear out. After the company’s equipment manager approached us for a solution, we teamed up with the engineers at ESCO to develop a reinforced bucket with a heavy-duty spike ripper attached to the back that could crush concrete without getting worn out.
Recently, we checked in with the team at Southern Crushed Concrete, and they couldn’t be happier with the performance of their custom bucket.
“Our downtime has been significantly decreased and we are in the process of changing our fleet over to all ESCO special excavator buckets and Loadmaster lip/loader buckets,” said Equipment Manager David Hooker in a statement. “Thanks to ESCO and their customer friendly attitude my problem was solved.”
Southern Crushed Concrete’s customized XDP bucket has been so successful that the company is preparing to outfit the rest of its vehicle fleet with more of these specialized products from ESCO. This build presented its fair share of design challenges, and we’re thrilled to hear that our client is satisfied with the results.
Looking for your own specialized solution to a particularly tough job? At Texas Contractor’s Equipment, we’d be happy to lend a hand. Stop in or give us a call today to get started!
Cleanup and construction crews may still be working hard to repair the damage done by Hurricane Harvey, but that isn’t stopping Houston’s residents from looking toward the future. This month, two local nonprofit groups revealed a “master plan” that could make sweeping design changes to Downtown Houston over the next 20 years.
Officially known as Plan Downtown: Converging Culture Lifestyle & Commerce, this blueprint for the future of Downtown Houston was developed over 18 months with input from hundreds of local stakeholders, designers and residents. The plan includes a diverse array of proposed features, all of which are designed making the city more sustainable, resilient and accessible.
Perhaps the most notable component of the plan is the Green Loop, a five-mile ring of parks and bike paths that will encircle the downtown area and connect it to nearby neighborhoods such as Midtown and Freedman’s Town. Other proposed improvements include new storm water detention areas, 12,000 residential units and an Innovation Center for entrepreneurship.
“This 20-year vision plan outlines recommendations for both short-term and long-term planning, development and design that will improve the visitor appeal, business climate, livability and connectivity within and around Downtown Houston leading up to the city’s bicentennial in 2036,” says the project’s description.
Here at Texas Contractor’s Equipment, we’re proud to be a part of a community that is constantly striving to grow and improve itself, even in the face of hardship. Houston is already a great place to live, and we can’t wait to see what the next 20 years has in store for us.
Currently, it takes about three and a half hours to make the drive from Houston to Dallas-Fort Worth on Interstate 45. Thanks to investor-owned railroad company Texas Central, however, a new bullet train could one day cut the 240-mile trip down to just 90 minutes. Once complete, the train will be the first of its kind in the country, and it will be funded entirely by private investors.
Recently, progress on the bullet train’s development passed a major milestone when Texas Central selected Fluor and The Lane Construction Corporation to refine plans for the $15 billion project. Once the planning and development phase is complete, the two companies will also be in charge of the railway’s construction. At Texas Central, the executive team is understandably excited about getting two more major players on board for the project.
“It’s huge,” said Texas Central President Tim Keith in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal. “It shows we’re ready and that we’re moving forward every day. It’s evidence that this project is attracting world-class companies and that we’re on the cusp of being the first high-speed rail in America.”
Not only will the bullet train provide Texans with a fast, efficient way to get back and forth between Dallas and Houston, it’s also expected to create 10,000 new jobs during each year of the construction process. Furthermore, 25 percent of the permanent jobs created by the project will be in rural communities along the train’s route.
Construction on the railways could begin as soon as 2018. Once it’s up and running, the bullet train is projected to generate more than $35 billion in economic benefits over the next 25 years. For the 14 million who travel between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth each year, the state-of-the-art train could make the trip a whole lot safer and easier.
On Saturday, August 26, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the shore of Copano Bay and swept across Texas in one of the most powerful weather events in recent memory. When the storm was over, it had dropped so much rain on Houston that the entire city sank by roughly two centimeters.
But by the time Harvey had been downgraded to a tropical storm and moved on to Louisiana, the citizens of Texas had already begun the long process of recovery. First responders worked around the clock to rescue stranded homeowners and treat people with chronic conditions who had lost their medications in the flooding. Volunteers in small boats aided the efforts of first responders by going house to house looking for survivors. A few of these volunteers even sacrificed their lives trying to rescue families from the floodwaters.
“Since Monday morning at 1 a.m., we’ve pulled out 81 people, six dogs and one cat,“ said one volunteer who drove more than 100 miles to contribute to the rescue effort.
In the days and weeks since Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast, Texans from all walks of life have stepped up to the plate to support one another. J.J. Watt, star defensive end of the Houston Texans, launched a fundraising campaign which has generated at least $30 million since August 28. The city of San Antonio sent a fleet of trucks to help clean up the debris left over from the storm. Officials from Austin sent their own trucks to Houston soon after. Together, these crews are working to remove 8 million cubic yards of debris from homes throughout the area.
Harvey may be gone, but hurricane season isn’t over yet. Now, our thoughts and prayers lie with the citizens of Florida who are just beginning to recover from the destruction left by Hurricane Irma. In times like this, when the challenges we face might seem insurmountable, let’s keep in mind the advice Fred Rodgers’ mother gave to him as a child.
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Have you ever wondered how these big loader bucket edges are made? It takes a great deal of engineering, designing, welding, and painting to make these parts. ESCO Corporation has a facility located in Covington, Kentucky that does exactly this along with creating excavator and loader buckets. They put steel plate and castings together for a variety of customers.
Our customer who is a large concrete recycling business here in Houston, Texas gave us the task to design a lip assembly to replace his outdated lip system in several large loader buckets.
Below is a brief explanation of how this was done:
After all the engineering is done creating the lip it moves to the shop to be cut out of steel plate, then beveled to accept the adapters and lip shrouds.
The lip is then fitted with the Wing Plates which will hold the Toplok® Wing Shrouds (wear item). The adapters (shanks) are also spaced and laid out.
After all the adapters and Toplok Shroud Boss’s are tacked into place, then the welder starts the long task of welding everything to the specifications that ESCO has for these weldments.
The adapters are now all welded up, cleaned up, and inspected before the welder moves to the boss’s.
It takes many years to get welds that look like this being produced out of the Covington plant. See the up-close picture showing this welder putting his welding experience to use. Also notice all the safety equipment he has on for his protection.
After final inspection is approved the edge is then fitted with ESCO’s Ultralok® teeth, Toplok Lip Shrouds, and Toplok Wing shrouds with all the pins installed. Then the entire Loadmaster lip assembly is sent to the paint ship to have the famous ESCO Red Paint applied. It is now ready to ship to the customer.
After arriving at the customer’s plant their welder starts to weld it into the bucket to be used as a productive asset.
Modern milling bits might be pretty rugged and durable, but they don’t last forever. We subject our ground engaging tools to some serious wear and tear, and sooner or later those bits will need to be replaced. Chances are, you’ve got a healthy pile of used worn out bits lying around right now.
Thanks to the Kennametal Carbide Recycling Program, you can get rid of those old milling bits and earn credit towards tool purchases in the future. That’s right – you can turn your used bits into extra money for your business. This program is not only good for the environment, but for your wallet as well.
To make things even easier, we’ll come and haul the bits away for you.
Just collect your milling bits in 55 gallon drums with drain holes. The barrels need to be free of any toxic materials i.e. motor oil, acids, detergents and anti-freeze materials. Then give us a call once you have filled 2 or more drums. Kennametal will schedule a pickup and take them to their recycling plant. Then Texas Contractors Equipment will credit your account with the buyback pricing given at the time the bits are received by Kennametal. With that credit, you can buy more of the bits you need to keep your equipment running day in and day out. In the long run, this can make your business more profitable and efficient.
Interested in learning more about Kennametal’s recycling program or any of the other products and services we offer at Texas contractors Equipment? Contact us online, stop in or give us a call at our toll-free number today to speak with a representative!
Thanks to a bill that was recently approved by both the state Senate and House of Representatives, American steel and iron will continue to reign supreme in Texas for the foreseeable future. Commonly known as the “Buy American” bill, Senate Bill 1289 will expand an existing provision which requires many state projects to use steel and iron from American suppliers whenever possible.
Under the terms of the new bill, large state-sponsored construction projects will be required to source their steel and iron from American suppliers as long as the cost is no more than 20 percent higher than less expensive imports. Other exceptions include cases where American companies aren’t prepared to supply the materials for a project, and cases where there is a “compelling state interest” to source steel and iron from a foreign supplier. The bill is designed to further incentivize the use of domestic building materials in Texas, and prevent foreign suppliers from having an unfair competitive advantage over American companies.
“Our intention are to make sure foreign governments like China and Turkey can’t create a foreign steel market that would gut the American market,” said Senator Brandon Creighton in a statement.
In addition to this bill, the Texas State Legislature is scheduled to vote on another “Buy American” provision in May of 2019 that would require American steel and iron to be used in water infrastructure projects as well.
After being approved by both chambers of the state legislature, Senate Bill 1289 has just one final hurdle to overcome: getting a signature from Governor Greg Abbott. With widespread support from both legislators and industry officials, the bill is expected to be signed into law without incident, securing the place of American steel and iron in construction sites throughout The Lone Star State.
There are many cities across the country that are, unfortunately, seeing significant declines in their populations right now. For example, a new report published by the American City Business Journals shows that cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh are losing residents every single week. Cleveland tops the list with more than 66 people choosing to leave the city every seven days. Unemployment rates and the local economy are no doubt playing a part in this.
In Texas, on the other hand, we’ve been much more fortunate in recent years. In fact, a number of the fastest-growing cities in the country are located in the Lone Star State. Houston sits at the top the list, according to the American City Business Journals report, with more than 2,600 people moving into the city every week. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is also attracting more than 2,400 new residents per week. The economy is booming in many parts of the state, and the housing market is very strong, which has led to an influx of people moving into cities in Texas. A recent SmartAsset survey called Texas the best state for first-time home buyers in the country.
Construction companies all across the state are keeping busy, building new properties for people to live, and work at because there are so many people coming to Texas. Texas Contractors Equipment, Inc is helping these companies by providing them with various parts for their equipment that they need to get the job done right. We are a family-owned-and-operated business that has been assisting companies with their needs for more than 40 years now, and we specialize in ground engaging tools of all shapes and sizes. From custom excavator buckets to teeth, cutting edges, and milling teeth for heavy machinery, we have everything companies need to meet the demands of their customers.
Does your company need to purchase durable, rugged ground engaging tools for your next Texas-sized project? Call us at 713-776-1212 or 800-483-9266 to speak with one of our representatives today.
Construction companies in Texas have plenty of work to do, but in recent years many of them have struggled to recruit the talent they need to get the job done. This labor shortage is stretching companies thin in many places, and that’s why a number of different industry groups have launched campaigns to educate people about the value of construction careers and encourage them to apply for construction jobs in Texas.
In February, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Texas unveiled their Texas Builds campaign, which highlights the success stories of people at all levels of the Lone Star state’s construction industry. The program describes the Texas construction industry as “a place of good pay and great opportunities staffed by tens of thousands of hard working craftspeople who take great pride in what they build and who look out for the safety of their coworkers.”
In fact, construction workers can expect to earn 10 percent more than the average worker in Texas, with an average salary of over $60,000 a year. People who aren’t familiar with the industry might think of these as low paying jobs, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Entry-level jobs can also lead to even more lucrative management positions. One man interviewed in the Texas Builds intro video describes how a career in construction allowed him to work his way up from a laborer all the way to becoming the president of a company.
Meanwhile, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC) have begun meeting to tackle labor shortages on a local scale. This group is starting an outreach program that works with schools and colleges to educate young people about the opportunities in the industrial sector. They’re particularly interested in attracting students to skilled labor positions such as pipefitters, electricians and welders.
“We’ve been working diligently at the younger levels to first of all change the perception of the industry, and then make it an easy entry point to join the construction industry and make it a career,” said ABC President Russel Hamley in an interview.
Thanks to the recent labor shortage, there’s never been a better time to join the ranks of the hard-working construction workers who have made Texas the great state it is today.
Things are looking up for crude oil and natural gas producers in the Lone Star State. After weathering an economic slump that has lasted since the market peaked in November 2014, the Texas Petro Index (TPI) has seen steady increases for the last several months. Although some of the metrics that govern the TPI have been somewhat mixed, overall industry forecasts are looking bright.
“Crude oil and natural gas prices, the rig count, the number of drilling permits issued, and the value of oil and gas produced in Texas all registered year-over-year increases in January,” said Karr Ingham, the economist who created the TPI.
Ingham has attributed the economic uptick in Texas’ oil and gas industry to a few different factors. Last year a number of major oil-producing countries signed an agreement to reduce the global oil supply, which increased wellhead prices by about $6-8 a barrel. Oil prices have since fallen slightly, but the current average price per barrel is still higher than it was at the same time in 2015 and 2016. Furthermore, recent cost cutting measures have made it easier for oil and gas producers in Texas to do business. Fueled by low operational costs and a sudden bump in oil prices, Ingham believes 2017 will continue be a good year for oil and gas in Texas.
“The expansion is in its infancy and 2017 will very likely be a year of growth and recovery in the Texas upstream oil and gas economy,” he said in a statement.
And, if construction teams are able to resume work on the proposed expansion to the Keystone XL pipeline, oil and gas producers in Texas could get yet another economic boost in the coming months. If completed, the pipeline could ship roughly 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada’s Alberta Province to the U.S. Gulf Coast. This, in turn, could have a positive trickle-down effect on the construction industry in Texas as well. When the oil and gas industry thrives in Texas, everybody wins.