MUNICH—Any concerns about economic troubles in China and other developing markets slowing global construction demand were not evident at the Bauma construction equipment trade show, which saw over half a million attendees descend on Munich, Germany, for the largest industry event of the year. Roughly 580,000 visitors from 200 countries took in the offerings of 3,423 exhibitors at the triennial construction equipment trade fair.
Often seen as a European equipment show, this year’s Bauma saw a mix of exhibitors, with 63% coming from outside Germany. It was the largest Bauma by attendance in the history of the show, according to the organizers, Messe München.
Big announcements at the show from manufacturers were keyed toward European and North American markets, reflecting a growing focus on renewed construction spending in developed markets. This included companies whose primary markets were in other regions.
“We need to expand our presence in North America and Europe,” says Makoto Kato, managing director for Kobelco Europe. “We will maintain stable shares in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, but we see opportunity in Europe.” Kobelco reentered the European market at the beginning of 2014, and sees opportunities for growth in Europe. “2015 was a record year for Kobelco in Europe,” says Kato, who cited major opportunities for the Japan-based crane and excavator maker in Italy and Central Europe.
The company had a number of new innovations on display intended for the European and North American markets, including a new hybrid excavator, the SK210-C which was unveiled earlier this year. What sets the new hybrid apart from earlier versions is its method of storing energy. Earlier versions stored leftover power from the duty cycle in capacitors, which would discharge during "return to dig," to conserve fuel. But capacitors discharge quickly, while the machine requires more consistent power to continue its work cycle. Kobelco’s approach uses batteries instead of capacitors, offering more consistent power over the dig cycle.
Crane maker Manitowoc took the opportunity at the show to not only show the latest Grove, Manitowoc and Potain cranes, but also outline a new corporate strategy following the spilt from it’s food-service business in March.
One of the biggest draws at the show was the massive 667-ton mining excavator at Komatsu’s outdoor booth, with many attendees climbing into its giant 47-cu-yd bucket for Bauma selfies. The company also took the occasion to highlight its own updated hybrid excavator, as well as an expansion of its Komtrax telematics system.
In another record-setter, JLG announced it sold the first of its new 1500AJP articulating boom lifts to European rental giant Riwal. The 1500AJP has a 158-ft working height, the tallest in the market. It will be available in 2017.
Given the nervousness in the broader global construction market, Bauma’s organizers were relieved by the high level of activity at the show. “Many exhibitors are talking about a record level of demand at Bauma 2016,” said Klaus Dittrich, chairman and CEO of Messe München. “And that is an extremely positive sign in this current uncertain climate.”