Attendees at CONEXPO-CON/AGG who heard Timon Kaple sing “Troubled Times” didn't seem to relate to his lyrics.

Kaple, a Boston-area musician, was in the Stihl booth, playing the custom-built Cutquik Peavey guitar, a prize in the exhibitor's contest. “Everyone who stops to listen seems to be in good spirits, or maybe they just like my music,” said Kaple.

With the economy struggling, one might have expected low attendance. Instead, the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in March shattered records. More than 144,600 people attended; 2182 exhibitors displayed their products in more than 2.28 million square feet.

There was definitely a buzz. Practically every exhibitor used the event to initiate new product launches or explain a major improvement. Everywhere, one could hear buzzwords such as green, Tier IV emissions, integrated technology, and fuel efficiency.

The show demonstrated that the construction equipment market is not limited to North America. International giants such Caterpillar, Liebherr, Komatsu, JCB, Volvo, and Cummins reported on their global strategic plans. More than 28,000 of those who attended (19% of the total) hailed from 130 countries outside the U.S. This is a 30% increase from 2005.

Here are some of the more interesting products THE CONCRETE PRODUCER staff found.

Electrifying news

Among the more electrifying introductions was Caterpillar's D7E—the first electric drive, track-type tractor using modern technology. The unique power system delivers higher productivity, reduced fuel consumption and operating costs, and longer drivetrain component life.

The D7E will be in the 60,000-lb weight range and powered by a Cat C9 engine, producing 235 hp. Compared to the D7R Series II, the D7E will deliver 25% more material moved per gallon of fuel, 10% greater productivity, and 10% lower lifetime operating costs.

The diesel engine drives a generator to produce electricity that powers two AC electric drive motors, which are connected to a differential steering system. A traditional mechanical transmission isn't needed because the variable-speed electric motors serve as a continuously variable transmission. Caterpillar Inc. 800-368-6029.