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The outdoor exhibition area for bauma resembles a city of machinery. Setup for the April event began in November.  (Messe München)

bauma industry barometer: tech-focused in North America

The triennial behemoth of an off-highway trade fair, bauma, may be a few months away yet, but setup for what essentially becomes a city of towering machinery began in November, with Liebherr one of the first manufacturers on-site, according to Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München, who presented an event update as well as the results of an “industry barometer” survey during a media gathering in Cleveland.

“The industry is booming,” he said, which is reflected in the growth of bauma. More than 3,500 exhibitors—a record number—from 55 countries will show their wares in April at the fairgrounds in Munich, Germany. Organizers added two new structures to the site, for a total of 18 halls in 2019, and they expect the number of visitors to surpass 600,000.

Visitors will be surrounded by a sea of construction equipment and vehicles, building material machines, and mining machines, along with supplier technologies that reflect three megatrends—digitization, efficiency and sustainability—as well as the particular focal areas of the bauma show, which include autonomous operation, electric mobility, telematics and networked construction sites, remote control and maintenance.

“It’s not about increasing efficiency of single machines now, it’s about the whole process,” said Stefan Rummel, Managing Director, Messe München. “Experts believe it’s possible to increase efficiency by 50% if you look into the processes.”

He added that contractors need open telematics systems to truly be effective. “For effective digitization, we’ll need standards,” Rummel said. “Machines will have to talk to each other and [share] data. On a construction site you will have machines from various manufacturers; this is the real challenge.”

For the construction-industry barometer, a survey was conducted for the first time in 2018 among nearly 10,000 attendees/contacts from the 2016 event, all of whom are significantly involved in investment decisions, Dittrich said. He presented a few categories for which the North American (NA) respondents answered significantly different than the average of all other visitors.

For change in total investments expected in the next 12 months, 61% of North American respondents replied that they will increase investments, compared to 44% for the average. “This shows that the construction machinery economy is running well [in North America] and that decision-makers are quite confident with regard to the next 12 months,” Dittrich said.

The survey also evaluated technical trends in the sector. “North America is very focused on technical innovations,” Dittrich said.

For autonomous driving/working, 23% of North American respondents are focused on this trend compared to 14% for all others. For 3D printing, 20% for North America and 11% for the rest; likewise, for telematics, 20% and 10%, respectively.

Regarding research fields for three tech areas—use of 3D printing, the implementation of BIM (building information modeling), and the use of artificial intelligence (AI)—the results differed greatly, by more than 10 percentage points in each category:

• 3D printing (e.g., for components/machine parts/entire structures)—North America, 26%; Others, 14%

• BIM (digital modeling and recording all structural data)—North America, 8%; Others, 20%

• AI (e.g., for predictive maintenance, logistics, in robots)—North America, 20%; Others, 9%.

“I was surprised about the level of technology focus” for North American respondents, Dittrich said. “It’s much greater than the rest of the world.”

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering of course will be on the ground in Munich—in addition to several other major industry events in 2019—gathering news on the latest machines and tech trends such as those examined in this industry barometer, and reporting on them in the pages of the magazine and online at Continue reading »