Eyes on Bauma
Bauma is a chance for firms to show off their machinery innovations
Bauma is a chance for companies to show off their key machinery innovations to a global audience
While sales of machinery may rise and fall with the global economy and the construction markets, the tale of construction machinery shows is less precise.
The 2010 edition of the bauma show in Munich, Germany, was the largest ever, despite the world being in the grips of one of the largest ever economic crises.
More recently, in November last year, bauma China in Shanghai was judged to be a huge success based on the levels of participation, despite the slump in construction activity in the Chinese market.
As Klaus Dittrich, chairman and CEO of Messe München International, points out, the preparation for the China show was carried out before the market fell away, and if the show had been carried out six months later it could have been a very different story.
Dittrich is responsible for organising the show in Munich next month, at which more than 450,000 visitors are expected to attend from approximately 200 countries. He says that economic doom and gloom can concentrate the purpose of visitors and exhibitors alike.
“Crisis is always a time where exhibitors try to position themselves in a new way – to be innovative and dynamic.
“During the crisis in 2009, there were a lot of trade fairs where we broke all-time records on the visitor and exhibitor side. We were surprised, but it’s always a matter of showing that we have a way outside of the crisis.”
Visitors also use large machinery shows to orient themselves with market he suggests.
Bauma is the largest construction show in the world, and this year its space has risen to 570,000m², an increase of 15,000m² from the previous edition.
Despite the increase, the exhibitor space was sold out in May last year.
The previous event was notable for the affect of the Icelandic ashcloud affecting aviation, so visitor numbers will inevitably be up.
“We hope the ash cloud doesn’t affect the attendance this time like it did in 2010,” says Dittrich with a dry smile.
As the largest show, it benefits from the attention of many of the big manufacturers exhibiting.
“We know that a lot of manufacturers adapt their innovation cycles to bauma every three years,” said Dittrich. “They use the platform very intensively.
They would like to show the worldwide audience their latest innovations.”
Johann Sailer, head of construction hoist manufacturing firm GEDA-Dechentreiter, and chairman of VDMA and president of CECE, says that product innovation is a chance for manufacturers to demonstrate the advantages their products will bring to contractors in terms of lower operating costs and improved efficiency.
“Sometimes it seems as if the industry is more driven by regulations to be better, but if you look backwards 20 years and compare all the machines, it’s a big step.
“It’s not only from the regulations, it’s coming from our innovations to be better, to give the market more possibilities to do jobs in shorter periods, with more efficiency.”
Recognising the importance of innovation has lead to the creation of a series of innovation awards at the show, expanding on previously existing awards and extending them to include all international companies.
The categories are machinery, machinery component, construction process/construction work, research, design.
Out of a total of 156 submissions from Germany and international companies, the entries have been shortlisted down to three per award category.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the newness of the awards, German companies dominate the field, with well known names such as Herrenknecht, for its new semi-trenchless method for installing pipelines; Bauer Maschinen for a tablet PC ‘transferring the digital workplace to the construction machine’; and Aker Wirth with its new mobile tunnel miner.
Volvo Construction Equipment is also a finalist in the machine component catergory forits fume extraction system.
In the design category, two new Liebherr compact loaders, on show for the first time at bauma 2013, have been shortlisted, as well the Kaiser Walking Mobile Excavator 2013, built by Kaiser AG Fahrzeugwerk, and Wacker Neuson’s new EH 100 demolition breaker.
No company can do without China
The importance of China to the global construction equipment market is highlighted by 2012 sales figures, according to Johann Sailer, chairman of the VDMA, ahead of the bauma trade fair in Munich this April.
Globally, mobile construction machinery worth $100bn was sold worldwide last year, according to figures from Off-Highway-Research. Of this, nearly $30bn was sold in the Chinese market, $22bn in North America, and just $12bn in Europe.
The high figure was despite the decline of 30% in the Chinese market last year. “As with the automotive industry, China has become an important factor for the production and sales of construction machinery,” said Sailer.
“At the moment, the country is facing financing problems and surplus capacities on its domestic market. Experts believe China to have overcome this situation within the next 18 months.
“In the long-run, this country will be and remain the top market for construction machinery again.”
In 2012, the German construction equipment and building material machinery industry generated $16.7bn (€12.5bn) in turnover, of which construction equipment made up $10.6bn, while remainder was made up with building material, glass and ceramics machinery. The sales figures constitute a 1% rise from 2011.
“Although, on the whole, times are difficult, last year was a good year for our industry”, said Sailer, who added that it is not expected that 2013 will see any peaks either.