Intermat Middle East second edition
Did Intermat Middle East convince exhibitors?
Did Intermat Middle East convince exhibitors that Abu Dhabi is the place to do business? PMV Middle East asks the question.
In only its second year, Intermat Middle East garnered mixed responses from exhibitors, though the majority tended towards the positive. In the post-GFC world, where marketing budgets are limited, in the busy world of construction shows Intermat had to prove that it deserves to be the main machinery show for the region.
Opened by His Excellency Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works, UAE, the show had a wide variety of exhibitors, from well-established names such as JCB, Liebherr, Doosan, Putzmeister and Atlas Copco.
It also featured newer entrants into the market, such as Beton Blocks and Sleipner, who - with relatively unknown products - were hoping to meet possible clients, and benefit from the ability to explain in person the value of their products.
The contingent of Chinese brands were notable in their absence, with the exception of Liugong, perhaps in anticipation of activities around bauma China the following month.
Firstly, the bad. The outdoor exhibition was unforgiving in the midday heat that edged towards a high of 40° on the second day of the exhibition, which some described as ‘unseasonally hot’, but which accords with the temperatures usually recorded in Abu Dhabi in October.
Many exhibitors had trouble adequately cooling their outdoor booths with their temporary air conditioning units, and not all visitors to the show ventured outside.
Additionally, footfall on the whole was light, and the size of the show was such that many visitors were able to tour the booths they were interested in around one hour, meaning that the mass of people did not build to high levels.
Nevertheless, the refrain from many equipment sellers was ‘Quality not quantity’ – with one saying he would rather meet with two valuable buyers than 20 low-value ones. Additionally, the slower pace of the show meant that sellers were able to spend time with those who had an interest in their products.
“Compared with last year, I can see an improvement in the organisation, and in the advertising used by the organisers,” said Karl Fakhoury, Doosan district attachments manager, Middle East and Africa.
“This is good progress. However the number of customers has not been high enough, though the quality has improved compared with last year. Investors are here, so there is potential.”
And always the most important indicator, a number of deals were concluded at the show, with key account customers travelling to Abu Dhabi from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, and within the Emirates.
Another positive was the link between the show and the UAE Ministry of Public Works, which resulted in a two day conference with presentations given by a range of experts, including presentations given by officials about the pilot trials in Abu Dhabi for the use of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) in the construction of new roads, and for the use of cold milled asphalt recycling in the repair of roads, both of which provoked lively discussion from the audience.
Among the exhibitors on show, there were a mix of the well-established brands and dealerships, and newer entrants to the market with relatively unknown products.
Salamah Group, the agent for Sleipner in the Middle East, was a first time exhibitor. The Sleipner technology is a set of wheels that clamps on excavator tracks, and allows them to be transported by being ‘towed’ behind trucks, using their boom.
Primarily designed for use in quarries and mining applications, the different options of wheels are able to be used on the full range of excavators, from under 30 tonnes up to 550 tonnes.
The wheels are too large to be easily displayed, but it is a product perhaps best demonstrated with video.
“One day one we had very interesting traffic, diverse people from a few countries, but mainly local companies from the UAE,” said managing director Sherif Selim. “We saw a lot of interest because the product is new in the market, and a lot of people showed appreciation for it.”
Selim says that while the product is new here, and thus inevitably invites some scepticism, the products have been used globally since 1996, so they have a large number of references, and some in the region have worked with the equipment in other countries.
Beton Block was another company looking to make inroads into the region. Their product – steel moulds that are used to form concrete blocks – launched in Europe over 20 years ago.
The process can be used by contractors carrying out work with concrete to ‘dispose’ of the concrete that is left over. The blocks can then be sold for building of walls, buildings, or other similar structures.
This was their first show here in the region, and the reception was better than expected, said Beton Block’s René Roelofsen. Having the product on display was a definite aid, he said.
In Europe, where they have over 1000 customers, demand spread gradually as contractors saw them in use by competitors. “It’s an easy business, and an easy way to make money.”
Smaller contractors can have a single mould, and fill it up over several days, while larger contractors can use multiple moulds, especially for occasions when a full mixer truck is forced to returns to the yard.
For the well-established brands, the show was a chance to reinforce their relationships with customers, and project an image of permanence in the region. Speaking at the show, York Liang, general manager of Liugong Machinery (Middle East) FZE, said that they had met with a number of key account customers from across the GCC. “This event is very important for us.
We are focused on the long term, and we want to present ourselves as long-term partners with our customers.”
Liugong has been established in the GCC for eight years, and has a subsidiary based in Jebel Ali freezone in Dubai. Most popular segments are currently excavators, wheel loaders, backhoes and forklifts said Liang, with sales improving on last year’s, and Liugong is now benefitting from repeat customers.
The Intermat event was also an opportunity to meet with customers and discuss matters including customer support. “We provide much closer support to our customers, including training, spare parts, and technical support. We do work with our partners and staff to provide customer service of international standards. We are committed to satisfy our customers for the long term.”
The largest indoor stand belonged to Atlas Copco, exhibiting Atlas Copco products and Dynapac, including the launch of a new Dynapac pneumatic roller, the CP275. A number of major Atlas Copco products were on display, including some of its large shipping-container sized generators, and a range of lighting towers were also launched at the show.
And to answer the question posed, will Intermat become the main machinery show in the region? While there were many dissenters, overall most companies were positive about their presence at the show, especially the larger brands who had benefited from inviting key customers.
The word on many people’s lips was ‘support’, with companies willing to support the Intermat show, and at the same time willing to make a commitment to the market.
And while 2012 was not an unfettered success, it seems clear that there is a strong demand in the region for a dedicated machinery show, and it is not unreasonable to predict that next year will see improved attendance from many brands in the industry.