October 2021 Edition

The Comedy of Errors That’s Not So FunnyIEDA’s October podcast welcomes Jarrett Harris from OTR for a pulse check on the bizarre supply-demand scenario in which we find ourselves. Independent equipment dealers – not to mention everyone in the heavy equipment industry – are sick of hearing the word “unprecedented” inserted in front of whatever the latest phenomenon is in this year’s comedy of errors. So says OTR’s director of Cyclicals Research, Jarrett Harris, who personally and regularly engages with North American industry players, including IEDA members, and oversees a global team to report on key market trends and intelligence. OTR stands for Off The Record, but Jarrett goes on the record with IEDA this month to discuss predictions (and a little advice) about equipment supply chains, lead times, pricing, ’22’s winter auctions, and more. CLICK HERE to hear the conversation.  

U.S. Energy Consumers Will Pay Dearly While China Drives Global Carbon Emissions

Some in Congress are seeking to force natural gas-powered electricity out of the grid in favor of wind and solar. From the story: The proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation package now being hotly debated in Congress is loaded with provisions aimed at raising the cost of natural gas-powered electricity in a clear but misguided effort to force it out of the grid in favor of wind and solar. The worst provision is the proposed “Clean Electricity Payment Program” (CEPP), which fines a utility for keeping natural gas in its mix but not adding renewables, while it would reward other utilities with large sums of taxpayer dollars for increasing wind and solar output. READ FULL STORY Meanwhile, EEIA released “The Folly of Ideology-Driven Energy Policies Takes Center Stage” on Oct. 19 … From the Statement: Constrained fossil fuel production and transport capacity is feeding an already adverse inflation trend and adding to growing supply chain bottlenecks that are making some consumer and industrial products unavailable at any price. As we head into winter, it looks like the worst is yet to come. So where is all this leading? First, the Administration seems finally to be discovering the inevitable and predictable consequences of its anti-fossil fuel crusade – skyrocketing energy costs fueling inflation. This is getting bad reviews across America. So is the specter of the President asking OPEC to produce more oil after he shut down Keystone XL, ended production leases on Federal lands and implemented other regulatory restraints on domestic production. Finding no help from OPEC, President Biden has turned to the very same people – American producers – whose output he has until now tried to choke off. Another recent headline underscores the irony: “Biden Suddenly Loves Frackers – After waging war on the industry, Biden wants its help to reduce gas prices” (WSJ Editorial Board 10/15/21). READ FULL MESSAGE

Where Do Things Stand with the Infrastructure Bill and Transportation Funding?

Since the Senate’s passage of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in August, negotiations have taken a turn for the partisan worse in the House. What once seemed to be a bipartisan effort to enact the largest spending increase for infrastructure in decades has devolved into last-ditch efforts to just keep current transportation funding levels intact – but only for one more month – and to prevent the entire federal government from shutting down, at least until December 3. What happened? The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act passed the Senate August 10 in a bipartisan 69-30 vote. It includes $550 billion in new funding over five years as well as reauthorizes increased transportation funding through 2026. Though the bill had bipartisan support in the Senate, House Democrats wanted the bill paired with a $3.5 billion package of Biden administration initiatives called the Build Back Better Plan. READ FULL STORY

Meet Spot, The Robot Puppy

Construction, oil & gas, power & utilities, and mining are benefitting from Spot, an agile mobile robot that navigates terrain while allowing its user to automate routine inspection tasks and data-capture safely, accurately and frequently. Made by Boston Dynamics, he may eventually show up on your customer’s jobsite – will he be the contractor’s next best friend? NBC’s wesh.com reports that just down the road from its Orlando studios on the HostDime building site, constructors Robins and Morton are using a robotic puppy. “Spot,” the affectionately named robot from Boston Dynamics, can see in hard-to-reach areas. Able to navigate obstacles, Spot helps the construction team building a data center in Eatonville, Fla., by getting its cameras near hard-to-reach areas that are important to the build. Believe it or not, developers have come up with Margarita Spot, and the bot pup indeed proved he could tote a fully powered blender. But that was only intended as an application experiment, according to a Boston Dynamics blog interview, not a deployable solution. …It demonstrates that Spot is a customizable platform users can get creative with. Customers can easily integrate their preferred sensors or software using the API—building on or streamlining their existing processes with Spot, rather than reinventing the wheel. Imagine the possibilities. Meanwhile, the construction industry, whose reputation with technology adoption is not all that polished, has a number of new robotic products attempting to gain market share. According to an article on LinkedIn, “many ready-to-use field robots exist now and may be used on construction projects. Doxel’s robots, situated in California, employ artificial intelligence to automatically scan project progress on a regular basis and provide reports that highlight inconsistencies or problem areas when compared to design. Dusty Robotics has developed a machine that prints straight into concrete and automates the chalk line and tape measure procedure to one-sixteenth of an inch precision. The Jaibot from Hilti is intended to aid installation execution by marking and drilling above anchor holes … [and]  Toggle Construction Robots, a construction robotics developer based in New York, just acquired a $8 million investment to turn rebar tying into a faster, more efficient operation. Toggle’s 50,000-square-foot production facility will now use robots to prefabricate rebar structures, which will then be shipped to construction sites ready to use.   Right to Repair Association Asks for HelpIEDA supports The Repair Association through annual membership––we’re sharing their special request with you. From the email: We wish this wasn’t the case but raising money for the right to repair battle is one of the biggest ways we can battle manufacturer lobbyists – and raising it early is vital so that our campaign can have the resources we need when it matters most. It’s likely 2022 or bust for the Right to Repair legislation to pass! We need your help now!!! In 2021, we saw legislation pass in a State Senate for the first time. The FTC concluded a 2-year report that basically said that OEM rebuttals of Right to Repair were baseless. The Biden Administration recently handed down an Executive Order encouraging the FTC and agencies to oppose OEM monopolies in support of the Right to Repair. READ FULL MESSAGE