What Rhymes With Eyjafjallajokull?By Frank Manfredi
Article Date: 06-01-2010
Copyright(C) 2010 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
How about: Ash, clouds, cancelled flights, forfeited rooms, greatly reduced Bauma 2010 attendance?
Bauma 2010, the once-every-three-years construction machinery trade show held in Munich, Germany, took place from April 19 to 26, despite the fact that the Icelandic volcano prevented many people from attending, especially those travelling from any place that required their plane to pass over airspace west and north of Europe. I, like many other people bound for Bauma 2010, was done in by the volcano with the hard to pronounce name – Eyjafjallajökull. I have to say, I was relieved when I finally cancelled my plan to go after I realized I would only be able to attend the show for one day and that once I arrived I would immediately have to worry about finding a return flight to the U.S. This would have been my 11th Bauma; my first was in 1980.
At 550,000 square meters (slightly less than six million square feet) the show is the largest of its kind in the world. It makes most other shows look like county fairs by comparison. According to the Bauma Fair officials, there were 415,000 visitors this year from 200 countries. Attendance was down about 17 percent from Bauma 2008. Anecdotes from attendees with whom I have spoken are that attendance was mostly from countries surrounding Germany, unless they arrived in Europe before the flight ban, of course. Bauma management made a heroic effort to get people in the region to the show. A caravan of seven buses brought exhibitors from Turkey to Munich. Buses also brought a large group of Chinese exhibitors to the show once they arrived in Frankfurt. In total, there were 3,150 exhibitors, but fair organizers manned the exhibits for approximately 50 companies that never made it to Munich.
A straw poll I took of those who attended indicated the mood of manufacturers improved considerably as the week went on and attendance increased. As attendance increased so did the amount of orders reported. Bauma, like many shows in Europe, are where customers go to purchase machines. This is unlike shows in the U.S. that are strictly for display purposes. The managing director of Zeppelin and CEO of Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH, Germany, the Caterpillar dealer for Germany, was quoted as saying, “The good old times are coming back: The figures for sales taken at the fair far exceed our expectations. We reckon we will be able to match the volume we took at the record Bauma in 2007. This is a clear signal that at Zeppelin-Cat, too, business is moving forward again after the difficult year of 2009.” Michikazu Okada, vice president of Hitachi Sumitomo Heavy Industries Construction Crane Co., Ltd., Japan said, “We had a lot of new business opportunities, some of which already resulted in unexpected conclusions of sale.”
Interesting Things I’ve Heard
The most extravagant exhibit was by Liebherr, which erected a three-story hospitality/office building, designed by an award-winning architect, on their space to house the 1,200 staff they brought to the show. The Liebherr exhibit included every machine the company manufactures. The big surprise on the exhibit was the launch of Liebherr’s first articulated dump truck (ADT), the model TA230, with a rated capacity of 30 tons. The company has plans to launch another model in the future in the 40-ton range. Liebherr also featured its new 600-ton capacity LR 1600/2-W crane designed for larger wind turbines up to 3 MW on 320-foot towers and a new 400-ton capacity mining truck.
Other manufacturers were no slouches with their exhibits. The Caterpillar/Zepplin display covered more than 115,000 square feet. The company displayed close to 60 machines, from its model 301.6C mini hydraulic excavator to the 993K large quarry truck. In particular, new and updated products included the M325D L material handler with port handling attachment, AP555E asphalt paver, 434E mechanical and 432E backhoe loaders, 988H large wheel loader, 50 DEM demolition excavator, TH417 telehandler, P200 series hydraulic concrete pulverizers and a new quarry body for the 770 rigid-frame off-highway truck.
Caterpillar also featured its new diesel-electric D7E dozer. According to Chairman-elect Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar is now looking at other machines in its portfolio to which the technology could be applied. The principle of the D7E’s drive system is to use the diesel engine as a generator, which then powers electric drive motors on the tracks. Oberhelman said, “We have plans to extend that to other products. It won’t be all of them by any means, but there are three or four product families where we think it will work very well.” Oberhelman had planned to host a press conference at Bauma, but his travel plans were thwarted by the volcano. Instead, he attended the press conference electronically from his office in Peoria. It worked out very well. Perhaps others will use that technology in the future.
Hitachiused Bauma as the launch pad for a new range of three compact wheeled loaders, covering the 0.7 m3 to 1.05 m3 bucket classes. Company management said that these sizes are very popular in Germany, accounting for 75 percent of the European wheel loader market. Also new at Bauma from Hitachi were three heavy wheeled loaders at the other end of the weight spectrum. The machines are the first fruits of the company’s alliance with Kawasaki, and now give it a wheeled loader range that tops-out with the 6 m3 bucket class ZW 550.
LiuGong Machinery Corporation, headquartered in Guangxi, China, used Bauma to announce a major assault on European markets. The company said it is setting up a new European base in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is hiring new staff and is recruiting dealers with a view to greatly expanding its sales of a range of equipment in Europe including excavators, rollers, wheeled loaders, skid steers and backhoes. The company already has a North America presence with an operation in Katy, Texas, and last year opened a wheel loader manufacturing facility near Indore, India. LiuGong said it would not rule out eventually building machines in Europe.
Bomag launched its largest-ever roller at Bauma, the BW332 single drum roller with an operating weight of 32 tons. The roller features a compaction depth of more than 5 feet.
Manitowochas launched the latest in its Potain Igo range of tower cranes, the model T 130 with an 8-ton capacity. The new crane is equipped with the company’s new Ultra View Cab, too.
Volvo launched four new machines in its compact excavator range; the models EC15C, EC17C, EC18C and EC20C, to replace existing models. All four models are powered by a 12.3 kW diesel engine.
Komatsu featured its PC200-8 hybrid tracked excavator, the world’s first production hybrid construction machine. The unit is currently available in parts of Asia and North America, although no European launch date has yet been set. The Hybrid PC200LC-8 uses an electric swing motor, power generator motor, capacitor and diesel engine, which captures kinetic energy when the upper body is braked during slewing and uses it to charge capacitors. These can then provide a fast discharge of energy to turn the upper structure or supplement the diesel engine’s power. According to Komatsu, this can reduce fuel consumption from between -20 and -40 percent over a standard PC200-8, depending on the application.
Hammrolled out its HD+ range of articulating tandem rollers, with new mid-range 9 and 11 ton class models.
Doosan-owned Bobcat launched four rotary telehandlers at Bauma, with lifting heights of 15.7, 18.7, 20.5 and 24.5 m. The smallest machine rotates 400 degrees and the rest, 360 degrees. The rotating telehandlers can be fitted with a variety of Bobcat attachments, including man platforms, extension jibs, buckets and pallet forks for transporting bricks and other materials.
Separately, Doosan Infracore Construction Equipment agreed to an alliance with Italian telehandler manufacturer Dieci to offer four Dieci-produced high-capacity telehandlers under the Doosan brand. Doosan will have the rights to sell the handlers anywhere in the world. The range offers maximum lift heights of 10 meters and lifting capacities from 7 to 21 tons, larger than any of the Bobcat branded handlers produced in Europe. The 16-ton capacity DT160 was on the Doosan exhibit at Bauma. The decision to brand the telehandlers as Doosan rather than Bobcat was made to preserve the Bobcat name for compact equipment and Doosan for heavy machines. Doosan recently appointed Tony Helsham as its worldwide CEO for construction equipment, including the Bobcat brands. Readers may recognize his name as the former CEO of Volvo Construction Equipment.
There was quite a bit of corporate news from CNH and its parent company Fiat. CNH announced the appointment of Henrik Starup as vice president, Construction Equipment Europe, reporting to James E. McCullough, president and CEO of CNH Construction Equipment Business. Starup joins CNH from IVECO. Separately, Fiat announced it will spin off its nonautomobile activities within the year. The move, it calls a “de-merger” will create a new company – Fiat Industrial – that will be headed by Sergio Marchionne and listed as a separate company on the Milan stock exchange. The new organization will incorporate CNH, Iveco trucks and the part of Fiat Powertrain Technologies that produces engines for these markets. The passenger car division will remain within the existing Fiat Group organization, along with the part of FPT that produces engines and components for cars.
Finally, a shockeroo. Over the years many companies have been accused of copying patents and other intellectual property. Japanese manufacturers had their turn in the past as well as Korean companies. Chinese manufacturers are the newest entrants to the worldwide equipment market and were most recently accused of copying during Bauma. JCB successfully applied for court injunctions in Germany to have the products of three companies they called “Far Eastern manufacturers” removed from the Bauma show for copyright and patent infringements. The court orders in Germany resulted in injunctions being served against one telehandler company and two loader backhoe manufacturers who were exhibiting their machines at Bauma. As a result of the action, the machines were removed from the show and impounded or in one case covered with a tarpaulin.
Barring another natural disaster, the 30th Bauma, International Trade Fair for Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines, Mining Machines, Construction Vehicles and Construction Equipment, will take place in three years time, April 15 to 21 in 2013 in Munich.
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