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Bauma 2016: Connectivity and digital revolution

Connectivity and the digital revolution in heavy machinery dominated the conversation at Bauma

3,423 Exhibitors from 58 countries
3,423 Exhibitors from 58 countries

This year’s Bauma introduced a flurry of new products applicable to both the industry at large and the specific needs of Middle East markets. But as much as the machines themselves, the agenda of the exhibitors was just as much about the technology and innovation that they are introducing alongside their new iron.

The tone was set from day one by Caterpillar’s CEO Doug Oberhelman, who heralded the age of ‘smart iron’ at Bauma, citing the advances in digital technology, data collection and analysis and machine control driving the industry towards ever greater precision and productivity.

“Three years ago at Bauma 2013, I talked about our investments in technology to deliver customer value,” he stated. “Since then it has become even more evident that digital transformation is a reality for the world and for our industry. Most of you know I love to talk about Caterpillar yellow iron, and well now we’re adding to that by talking about ‘smart iron’.

“While investment is challenging given the current business conditions, we are accelerating our digital technology focus, and we are going to lead the transformation — because we want our customers to get the most out of their equipment.”

Oberhelman noted that there are already 400,000 connected Caterpillar assets across the globe — the largest connected industrial fleet for the industries that the company serves — and a total installed base of three million assets at work around the world, giving the manufacturer ‘a head start on everybody’.

Critical to Caterpillar’s lofty goals is its 175-dealer network, which will facilitate the manufacturer’s ultimate objective of having a unified technology platform draw together data from across its customers’ fleets of machines to allow analytics across a single massive dataset.

Oberhelman concluded: “When you combine our incredible dealer network with the expertise and experience of our people we will have a great competitive advantage. The industrial revolution is going to be remarkable for the construction industry — all because of digital technology — and I can’t wait to see what this means.”

Caterpillar iron on display included the 966M XE wheel loader with an advanced power train design, three new pavers, the AP300F, AP355F and AP555F, with quick-heating screed systems, and the 6015B hydraulic mining shovel built with class-leading speed and power and optimized to load Cat’s 773, 775 and 777 rigid dump trucks.

Swedish strength

Volvo CE celebrated its presence with the unveiling of the 90t EC950E hydraulic crawler excavator — the largest hydraulic crawler excavator it has made.

“I’m very pleased to say that on the first day of the show, we were taking orders on this,” said Martin Weissburg, president of Volvo CE, about the EC950E.

“It’s the best in class, driving the best total cost of ownership for our customers in terms of cost per tonne moved. It’s meeting demand and strengthening our support for customers in the mining, quarrying and heavy construction segment. No matter where we are in the business cycle, Volvo Group and Volvo CE invest in being industry leaders and driving innovation.”

Volvo CE’s 55t-capacity A60H — the largest production hauler the company has ever made —was also said by Weissburg to be meeting growing customer demand for articulated haulers with larger capacities. He also noted how Volvo CE had been advanced its compact lines now enjoying growing demand.

Weissburg also highlighted Volvo’s electric quarry site project run in partnership with Skanska, the Swedish Energy Agency, and two universities.

“It’s a development project to electrify the operation of a quarry,” he exclaimed. “It could reduce the environmental impact, but also improve the operational efficiency — making quarrying more profitable.”

In all, Volvo launched 16 products at the show, along with a new generation of machine control systems. It simultaneously announced integration agreements with technology firms Trimble and Topcon, and launched an on-board display, Co-Pilot — a tablet-based system to deliver a intelligent machine services, such as Load Assist, Dig Assist, Compact Assist and Pave Assist.

During the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) seminar hosted by Volvo CE, the manufacturer also announced its election to the corporate advisory board of the World Green Building Council — to help influence decision-making and develop strategies for environmentally friendly building methods through the organisation’s network across 75 countries and 27,000 industry affiliates.

All up in the air

Terex’s Bauma was in many ways a homage to its legacy brands, celebrating 50 years of the Genie and Powerscreen brands, and the reintroduction of the Demag brand to its all-terrain and lattice crawler crane lines.

Ken Lousberg, president of Terex Cranes, highlighted: “In the last 24 months alone, our crane business has introduced 10 new machines, developed product innovations, improved its manufacturing processes, and enhanced aftermarket parts and service by adding stations around the world.”

He noted that there was a tremendous amount for Terex and its 20,000-strong to be proud of team, but that it shouldn’t rest on its laurels — and revealed plans to also reintroduce the city crane under Demag.

However, Terex Aerial Work Platforms, or Genie-branded product, had some of the most relevant developments for customers in the Middle East. In response to the demand for higher capacity AWPs, Genie revealed the Z-45/25XC boom lift — a version of the Z-45/25J RT diesel-powered, rough-terrain articulating boom lift that delivers 100% more capacity but weighs only 440kg more.

Equally innovative is the Z-60/37 hybrid boom lift, which provides a choice between four hours operation in full-electric mode for emission-free indoors use, and a week of run time with a single tank in hybrid mode.

Adam Hailey, product manager for Terex AWP, added: “This is the kind of machine that’s first on and last off the jobsite — so exactly what rental outfits are looking for.”

Bumper Bauma

Over the seven days of the show, around 580,000 visitors attended from 200 countries — a rise of more than 9% on Bauma 2013 — and of the 3,423 exhibitors, 2,160 came from abroad, representing 58 countries and accounting for 63% of the record 605,000m3 area.

Stefan Heissler, a Liebherr AG board member, commented: “Bauma 2016 was a tremendous success for Liebherr. We received orders from a variety of different markets, and in some segments our expectations were exceeded.”

Liebherr launched the 450t LTM1450-8.1, an eight-axle, all-terrain crane with 85m telescopic boom that turned heads with its ability to hoist 20t in weight at full extension and perform other jobs normally reserved for the 500t class. Focused on high economy and simple set-up on site, the LTM1450-8.1 can taxi with a 12t load, including its complete boom and supports.

Liebherr’s VarioBallast also enables the ballast radius to be reduced incrementally from 7m to 5m using a simple hydraulic system, a feature which is very practical on constricted sites.

For Manitowoc, on the other hand, its ‘Crane Control System’ featured prominently at Bauma. Launched in 2014, Manitowoc became the first manufacturer to introduce a common operating platform across multiple product lines. This has continued with every model developed since and at Bauma 2016 nine of the 15 cranes on display included CCS.

In terms of iron, Manitowoc’s Potain Hup 32-27 self-erecting tower crane was a key exhibit. It featured an adjustable two-section mast with a third section contained within the second.

In “low position”, the working height is 21m, including a slight extension of the third mast as part of the jib erection process. Fully telescoped out, it boosts the height of the crane to 27m.

Barry Pennypacker, president and CEO of Manitowoc Cranes, said: “It’s exciting to be at our first major exhibition as a standalone crane company,” he said. “Being solely focused on the cranes business fundamentally changes how we create value.”

Also new and drawing attention was the Grove GMK5150L all-terrain crane, a 150t-capacity unit with a 60m boom, though also available in a standard boom version with a 51m mast. Both deliver class-leading ‘taxi’ or road-going configurations.

Path to victory

Jürgen and Stefan Wirtgen, managing partners of the Wirtgen Group, concurred: “Bauma has always been a barometer for the industry and from the start it had a very special significance for our company — and our presentation at this year’s Bauma was the most successful so far.”

Wirtgen unveiled numerous innovations, but the most dramatic was perhaps the GKL Silent, from Benninghoven, which Wirtgen describes as ‘a quantum leap in mastic asphalt technology’ — an asphalt mixer with no hydraulic components and a minimal acoustic profile.

Perhaps the most tight-lipped exhibitor was JLG, which ultimately previewed the world’s tallest articulating boom lift, the 1500AJP, with a working outreach of 23.5m and a category-leading work envelope of 74,000m3 of reachable space.

Equally, the platform capacity of 270kg unrestricted and 45kg restricted allows operators to reach more work space and take more materials with them than any other articulating boom lift.

The lift also leads the industry in lift speeds — two minutes 15 seconds to move from the ground to maximum platform height — enabling operators to spend more time working and less time positioning.

John Garrison, president and CEO of the Terex Corporation, emphasised: “Every three years, Bauma offers us the unique opportunity to meet with customers from around the world.”

Masatoshi Morishita, CEO and MD at Komatsu Europe, neatly summed: “We make use of the attention Bauma attracts to present our innovations.

“This event is a milestone for the industry. It’s not only Komatsu that tries to get certain machines ready in time for Bauma. This trade show really drives the entire industry forward.”

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