Digging Deeper - June 2021 - Akkerman

Digging Deeper – June 2021

Akkerman Inc.

Digging Deeper – June 2021

Weld Shop Progress Update

The 10,800-sq.ft. facility expansion is well underway and will result in a new and larger weld shop, increased efficiency, and a cleaner more organized work environment. The old weld shop will be converted into dedicated warehouse space where warehouse racking will be installed to remove parts from the production floor to make way for dedicated in-process build staging while freeing up floor space.

The concrete has been cut for the trench drain expansion in the wash bay area. We are working to secure a contactors for the concrete work. Once this is poured, we’ll install a new pressure washer, doubling our wash bay area and capacity.

The project has been progressing on schedule. To date, the old concrete has been broken up and removed, the foundation has been poured, new fill materials has been added and the exterior of the structure and roof is complete.

Weld Shop Progress Timeline

What’s next:

Trade Shows

July 13-15, 2021

UCT 2021
Booth #528
Nashville, TN
Music City Center

Exhibitor & Presenter

November 8-10, 2021

No-Dig North
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Convention Center

Exhibitor & Presenter

524 Haul Unit Travels Into The Future

In January 2019, engineering developed a project plan to update the 524 Haul Unit, emphasizing safety, like the updated safety features on the 1548 Haul Unit implemented in 2010.

The 524 Haul Unit facilitates spoil removal for TBM sizes 48SC to 600 and 11 dirt buckets models in both standard and extended lengths.

We released the first 524 Haul Unit in 1977, and several iterations were designed and manufactured before the current day model was developed in 1990. This version has been quite popular – we’ve manufactured and sold 173 units.

The foremost specification to address with the redesign was replacing the reversing contactors with a new permanent magnet AC motor controller and a wireless control pendent. This change essentially means that the new design must have variable speed options (slow, medium, and fast) versus on or off only. If the target price point is met, the third consideration is the option for a fully autonomous mode, so an operator would not be needed on the haul unit for dirt bucket cycling. The final requirement is to incorporate the latest standards for lighting, horn, and braking.

The design team also discussed the option for a non-autonomous version. The models would be identified as 624A for autonomous and 624, as the updated 524 with the newest specifications.

We developed a 624A prototype in 2020. In the Fall of 2020, they set up a tunnel simulation in the east end parking lot to verify the autonomy capabilities. Wood segments and other objects were thrown within the LiDAR sensor’s sight path, and it performed very well, coming to an abrupt stop when these instances occurred.

In March 2021, the 624A was installed in the PCI Roads project tunnel in Eden Prairie, MN. The haul unit performed automated travel in and out of the tunnel, stopping at each end without an operator riding along.

The unit’s acceleration and gradeability will be verified in the next few months, required the 624A to travel on an inclined track and with a loaded dirt bucket to test for load rating. Stay tuned for more!

624A Haul Unit

624A LiDAR Sensor

Staff Highlight

Staff Highlight | Jason

Jason a.k.a. “Auggie” began his employment at Akkerman in March of 2008. He started in the welding department, and later moved to machining. Auggie is Chief Safety Officer, and an integral member of the Safety Committee and Akkerman’s safety culture.

Nominated Because:

“Recently Jason came in on night-shift for a week to fix the Cincinnati. He was also willing to come in early to turn a bell end ring for a customer skin in order to meet the shipping deadline.”

“Jason is very friendly, happy and helpful. He has an upbeat positive attitude. He is a fun person to work around.”

Words That Describe Jason:

  • Dedication
  • Collaborator
  • Outstanding
  • Knowledgeable
  • Friendly
  • Helpful
  • Positive Attitude


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