In this article:
- The Rise of Automation
- Charging Ahead: Electrification
- AI: The New Workforce
- Connecting Equipment: IoT Innovations
- Custom Parts on Demand: 3D Printing
- The Eyes in the Sky: Drone Technology
- Building Smarter: Modular Construction
- Green Machines: Sustainable Construction
- Data at the Helm: Data-Driven Decisions
- Predicting the Unpredictable: Predictive Maintenance
"What trends should I expect to see taking off in the construction industry in 2024?"
In a world that's constantly shifting towards smarter technology and greener practices, the heavy equipment industry is not being left behind.
In this article, we'll explore 10 trends that are reshaping the heavy equipment landscape going into 2024 to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Automation is transforming the heavy equipment industry at an unprecedented pace—both in manufacturing as well as operation. In 2024, expect a surge in autonomous vehicles and robotics designed to boost productivity and safety in sectors like construction and mining. In fact, according to the 2023 Autonomous Construction Equipment Global Market Report from Research and Markets, the global market for autonomous construction equipment is expected to grow from $11.86 billion in 2022 to $20.33 billion by 2027, at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 9.7%.
As we delve deeper into automation, it's evident that this is just the beginning. The subsequent trends are built upon this foundational shift towards leveraging information—leading us into a future where machines work smarter, not harder.
The shift to electric-powered equipment means a cleaner, quieter era for the heavy equipment industry. With zero emissions, this trend keeps an eye on environmental impact as well as cost-saving power efficiency. Market projections also back electric-powered equipment—with the electric construction equipment market predicted to grow from $9.2 billion in 2022 to $24.8 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 22%.
Electrification is paving the way for innovation in terms of eco-consciousness and efficiency, but what about the efficiency of information? This is where artificial intelligence is becoming more and more useful in the sectors leaning upon the heavy equipment industry.
Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing safety and efficiency—from hazard detection to optimizing production. With an estimated AI market within the construction industry standing around $721M, this figure is projected to increase to nearly $5B by 2028, according to the Global Artificial Intelligence in Construction Industry Research Report, 2023-2028.
“Will AI take human jobs in the heavy equipment industry?”
While there is always a looming fear of a dystopian future in which smart robots take human jobs across industries, the heavy equipment industry’s use of artificial intelligence is one more of augmentation rather than replacement.
With AI technology advancing and increasing in adoption in construction, mining, agriculture, and other fields related to the heavy equipment industry, workers should expect safer working environments, efficient processes, smart decision-making, and actually new jobs in the field of AI data maintenance.
AI's capabilities are vast and varied, intertwining seamlessly with our next trend – the Internet of Things.
IoT (or “Internet of Things”) brings heavy equipment into the digital age with remote monitoring and improved maintenance—minimizing downtime and increasing connectivity. From wearable AR and VR devices for operators to interconnected sensors, IoT uses the power of internet connectivity to bolster safety and productivity across sites related to construction, agriculture, mining, and much more.
Because of this, investments in the global IoT construction industry are projected to reach $34B by the end of 2031.
The interconnectedness of IoT feeds directly into the customization possibilities offered by 3D printing.
Reducing costs and lead times, 3D printing is a growing source of pre-made equipment elements and custom parts for heavy equipment. As 3D printing technology increases, this allows manufacturers to use new materials, reduce waste, speed up product testing, and reduce costs as well as wait times.
The increased access to 3D printing technologies also continues to extend access to ready-made heavy equipment parts in more places—thus decreasing the burden on the parts supply chain.
According to Straits Research, the global 3D printing construction market is projected to reach $1.5B by 2024—a 249% leap from 2019.
This trend towards customization and efficiency is mirrored in the versatile use of aerial drones related to the heavy equipment and construction industries.
Since they arrived on the scene, the usefulness of aerial drones has changed the game—from surveying sites and equipment inspection to providing security surveillance for construction sites. While these are some understood applications, the heavy equipment industry is increasing their utility for tasks ranging from inventory lot management to equipment marketing production.
Industrial drone usage is soaring to new heights with the estimated growth of the construction drone market flying higher than $10 B by 2027 with a CAGR of 15%.
As drones provide a bird's-eye view, modular construction is redefining the landscape from the ground up.
Modular construction has continued to revolutionize the construction industry—offering cost and time savings by assembling prefabricated modules on-site. This style of building has helped increase build quality, reduce materials waste, benefit sustainability practices, and streamline the production of projects. A modular approach to construction has also proven itself incredibly innovative due to its increased ability to integrate with other growing technologies—such as AI, 3D printing, and predictive maintenance designs.
Due to all of these factors and more, modular construction is predicted by analysts to grow by $33B by 2027 with a CAGR or over 6%.
This methodical approach to building complements the industry's shift towards sustainability.
With environmental concerns at the forefront, the industry is seeing an uptick in equipment that reduces ecological footprints in the form of environmentally sustainable practices. More than zero-emission heavy equipment, equipment manufacturers and construction professionals are looking for new ways to cut materials waste, increase energy efficiency, extend product lifespans, and optimize sustainability with digital tools.
Analysts project that the sustainable construction industry will account for $12.9 B by 2028 with a CAGR of 4.4%.
The green revolution within heavy equipment goes hand in hand with the data-driven decisions shaping the future.
The heavy equipment industry and industries utilizing said tools have never had more data at their fingertips—and it’s changing how they do business. From optimizing production schedules to reducing costs while improving safety, data is driving the industry forward at record speed. Though specific growth metrics are tricky to pinpoint due to the diversity of data technologies employed, according to an AvidXchange's 2024 Trends Survey, data analytics are expected to significantly boost productivity and inform decision-making in the construction industry in 2024.
Harnessing the power of data leads to our next transformative trend – predictive maintenance.
The heavy equipment industry is increasingly embracing predictive maintenance—which is a transformative approach that leverages data analysis and technology to predict equipment failures before they occur.
This shift towards predictive maintenance is driven by advancements in technologies mentioned in the above-mentioned trends; IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), but also machine learning—which enables more accurate, real-time monitoring and analysis of equipment performance.
Heading into 2024 and beyond, the benefits of predictive maintenance in the heavy equipment industry are becoming more pronounced. This approach promises to significantly reduce downtime by preemptively identifying maintenance needs and enhancing equipment longevity and efficiency.
The progression from data to predictive analytics exemplifies the industry's ongoing commitment to innovation—which circles back to the increasing role of automation.
Embracing the Future
The heavy equipment industry is at the cusp of a technological revolution. These trends are the harbingers of an efficient, sustainable, and safer future. As you consider how these developments can impact your business, remember that staying informed is key.
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