30 nominees in the running to become winners of the 9th edition of the competition
Chaired by Alain Grizaud, the chairman of FNTP, the international INTERMAT Innovation Awards competition pays tribute to equipment, technology, services, solutions or products that contribute to driving progress in the construction, infrastructure and materials industries, and to achieving the major transitions in the sector.
Among the new developments in this ninth edition, entrants could compete in news categories New Technologies & Energy and Low carbon & energy transition while four special awards recognising initiatives by companies offering a specific innovation will also be presented: World of Concrete Award, Low carbon Initiative and solution Award, Strat-up Award and Safety Award.
The jury* will meet for the final time in March to select the winners in each of the 5 categories and 4 Special Prizes. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on April 24, the first day of the show.
The diversity and inventiveness of the products, equipment, technologies and services honored by the jury illustrate the tremendous capacity for innovation of equipment manufacturers, and the excellence of their practices in collectively providing innovative, sustainable solutions tailored to the needs of construction professionals.
Innovation trends for low-carbon efficiency
Energy transition is the watchword today. The construction industry is no exception to the obligation to share this goal so as to limit global warming, in proportion with its contribution to CO2 emissions (37% worldwide).
The entire sector is concerned by the need to decarbonise. A worksite is made up of materials and the means to use them: people and equipment.
Construction equipment, which uses a lot of diesel fuel, is evolving to reduce its impact on the environment. Innovation is what makes this possible.
Site and machine organization and efficiency
The first step is to increase the efficiency of the worksite and the machinery to optimise its use, reduce consumption per unit produced and, ultimately, improve the quality of the structure.
3D guidance (Komatsu Europe, Heracles Robotics) automatically improves the work of equipment.
The digitalisation of machines now means that their operating parameters can be monitored in real time, and, with the help of artificial intelligence and augmented reality, predictive maintenance can be carried out to limit unscheduled downtime (Bergerat Monnoyeur). At the same time, it enhances manufacturers’ knowledge of the behaviour of their products. This approach requires sophisticated diagnostic tools (Cojali France). Monitoring can be used on components subject to high workloads, such as the bodies of dumper trucks (Duratray International).
Machine maintenance ensures machine availability, with on-site services including, for example, a field-based hydraulic oil analysis service (Chrono Flex).
Improving worksite efficiency means better control of the risks, for example when tunnelling with a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Muography makes this non-destructive control possible (Muodim).
Improving site efficiency also means, in building and civil engineering applications, taking readings of distance, periphery and volume, with a device that works by inertia, thereby reducing errors when ordering materials, for example (Moasure).
New technologies and energy at the heart of materials
For machinery, the energy transition entails a change of energy source. Electricity, which already powers quarry material processing plants and tower cranes, is now being used in mobile equipment.
Currently limited to small and medium-sized earthmoving machinery, it is used in self-drive aerial platforms and transport vehicles, and is now making its way into portable concrete mixers (Putzmeister) and truck mounted AWPs (Multitel Pagliero).
Manufacturers offer «electrical kits» for the construction of equipment, or retrofitting for diesel machines (Moog Construction, Novum Tech).
In this context, it may make sense to replace conventional hydraulic cylinders with electric cylinders, which are reliable and require no regular maintenance (Excess Engineering).
Manufacturers are also exploring the hydrogen sector, to power either internal combustion engines or fuel cells. A growing number are developing prototypes for models that will be on the market in a few years’ time.
Materials and energy savings
Material selection, processing and use play an important part in the potential reduction in CO₂ emissions from construction.
Analysing the impact of building products on the environment, an essential element of choice for projects, requires a declaration that can be facilitated by suitable software (One Click).
Green developments include the use of low-emission concrete, for example in pre-cast construction (Betolar), with the use of innovative fibres (AraNea), or poured on site with formwork methods suited to their early strength (Sateco).
In addition, roads are seeing the recycling of asphalt (Ermont, Fayat), and material sorting in view of its reuse, with specialist equipment (Dynaset, DMS Technologie).
Recycling the materials that make up ground-engaging tools contributes to the resource savings expected of today’s construction sites (Wirtgen).