Rock Products

NOV 2018

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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38 • ROCK products • November 2018 best screening media value on a cost per ton basis. We strive to continuously innovate new products that meet the needs of aggregate producers. ROY: Business is quite good for Volvo CE in North America. The Quarry and Mining segment is up about 15 percent in the region, as many producers are looking to update their old fleets to save high maintenance and operational costs of old machines. Volvo CE has been investing in research on innovative technologies to create products that will solve some of the typical inefficiencies of the aggregates industry, such as high machine fuel consumption, high idle time, poor bucket filling and high total cost of operation. Our engineers are testing modern prototypes developed to address these issues – the projects include an auton- omous, battery electric load carrier and a hybrid wheel loader. Currently Volvo's fully electric quarry concept is undergoing 10 weeks of real life testing at a Skanska quarry in Sweden. These investments aim to meet custom- ers' demands, as they are constantly striving to minimize operating costs and maximize uptime and productivity. We are tackling the needs of the industry and society together. We see this research as creating a competitive advantage for Volvo CE in the aggregate industry. KANARIS: Even though we have not seen substantial increase in sales in the aggregate industry over the past few years, we are investing in new technologies and production equipment in order to meet future demands that we believe is forth- coming. Aggregate producers do invest in capital equipment; however, the investments are made primarily in equipment that adapt older technology. Our strategic approach is to invest in research and manufacturing of high efficiency equipment that can produce higher output while is using less energy, eliminating the need of maintenance, and provide operator safety. 3. President Trump promised $1 trillion in infrastruc- ture funding, but so far that has not materialized. How confident are you that we will see a solid plan in the coming year? What do you base your answer on? CISZCZON: I can't say I am confident, but I am cautiously optimistic that it can happen in 2019. The administration has previously committed to $200 billion infrastructure spending for the $1 trillion target. I am hard pressed to see the private sector contributing $800 billion to the $1 trillion target so I think the federal government will have to contribute sig- nificantly more to get a bill passed. That said, infrastructure spending is one area where the administration should be able to find some common ground with the opposition party. GRAY: I am optimistic. The strength of our economy should help the effort. LEPP: We are confident that the current administration will push through this funding, as it has a number of other important issues since the election. Sustained growth of the economy will increase demands on infrastructure across the country, and further growth – or even maintaining the cur- rent level – cannot be done with current infrastructure. KANARIS: VDG is in the camp of the more optimistic inves- tors. Even though 1 trillion in infrastructure funding has not materialized yet, we believe the country cannot postpone much longer the urgent need of addressing the infrastructure repair and improvements on roads, bridges, ports, airports, etc. We believe it is a matter of time before these issues will be addressed and capital investments will be made by federal and state governments. LININGER: Having lived and worked in Washington, D.C., in the past, I realize that it can be challenging to get motions approved, regardless of how important it can be to our nation. I will say, it will not happen without a concerted industry-wide focus and effort. Campaigns like the "Don't Let America Dead End" effort, which help press Congress to pass a long term Highway Trust Fund package, are critical in edu- cating our representatives of the importance of our national infrastructure and the impact, both positive and negative, it can have on our economy and our nation. KRAUSE: I was pretty sure that we were not going to see any type of bill until at least 2020. There seems like too many other "priorities" that infrastructure would not get the atten- tion. After visiting Capitol Hill as part of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association's Fall Meeting, my feelings were strengthened that nothing will happen. The one comment that has stuck with me was that "we only work on last-min- ute deadlines and since infrastructure is funded for the next two years, nothing will happen until 2020." Happily we have seen states take infrastructure into their own hands and have raised some funds from actions like raising gas taxes. This has helped to raise the optimism and business levels, but not everywhere. GARRISON: Since it's an election year, we did not expect to see anything. We recently spent a week on Capitol Hill talking with Congressmen about federal funding for roads and bridges. The feedback was a resounding "not this year." There was agreement from both sides that we need to get proper funding and repair our infrastructure. The issue is really the divide in Washington and agreeing on how to pay for it. However, we did some optimism going into 2019. ROY: There is no doubt that major investment in infra- structure has the power to drive America's economy and job creation while making the country more competitive. The plan proposed by the president presents important Q&A Forum

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