In the holy trinity of giant construction trade shows, Bauma (Munich, Germany, April 15-21) is by far the largest.
It’s so large that show organizers hold a “pre-Bauma” gathering in January just to give trade journalists a preview of the new products that will be at the exhibition.
It provides a road map, in a way, to help focus our efforts in planning for the show. With 6,135,000 square feet of exhibits and more than 3,300 exhibitors, planning is a very good idea. Bauma says demand is so strong that 370 exhibitors remain on a waiting list. Imagine hundreds of people in matching sport coats and other uniforms, pressing their sad faces against the glass doors of an exhibit hall come April…
There’s no equipment on display at pre-Bauma, only rows of austere tables manned by manufacturers with press kits and brief iPad presentations. Writers and editors flit from table to table for the better part of two days, like pollen-mad bees in a garden. Some fellow journalists compared the event to speed dating, but without a timer. And with far fewer women.
Many of the companies are Euro-centric, but there’s still plenty of fodder for North American equipment fleets. Here’s a sampling of what’s being introduced in April at Bauma for sale on this side of the Atlantic—and part of what we’ll be writing about in the coming weeks and months.
- Caterpillar will show its 336E H hybrid excavator to the public for the very first time. The unit uses an hydraulic accumulator to store and reuse energy.
- Volvo is unveiling its ECR25D, ECR58D, and ECR88D short swing radius compact excavators, Tier 4-Final machines with superstructures that swing within their own track width with standard counterweights.
- Case is launching the Tier 4-F 75C and 80C compact excavators, boasting the same size cab as larger Case excavators, in addition to new M Series dozers in the 13- to 20-ton size class (1150, 1650, and an entirely new model when it hits these shores, the 2050).
- Cummins is following up on its Intermat 2012 reveal of the QSF2.8 engine by showing a QSF3.8 T4-F engine (3.8L, 85 to 132 horsepower). This now gives the company full extension of line between 49 horsepower and 4,200 horsepower.
Other observations: For the most part, we heard notes of optimism out of Europe about the construction economy. While some countries continue to struggle (Spain, Italy), others are holding strong (Germany and much of Northern Europe). Quite a few people asked about the American construction market. The word I recall using most was “spotty.” Yes, for the trip, spotty ranked second only to “Bier!”
Finally, sitting at the Wacker Neuson table, I couldn’t help but pick up and examine a tiny scale model of a Wacker skid steer loader. Wacker’s European representatives recoiled a bit and didn’t want to talk about it, but the company is looking at bringing skid steers to the U.S. at some point. This would be a natural, as the European market is more about compact wheel loaders and side dumps than skid steers. We’ll keep our eyes open, as always.