Bauma, the world’s largest trade fair for construction equipment and mining machinery, will take place from the 8th to the 14th of April in Munich, Germany. The fair, which will be the 32nd edition, is held every three years.
Like the construction industry, the show keeps growing. It will cover about 6.7 million square feet of exhibit space, an increase of about 100,000 square feet over the 2016 fair. “We expect more than 3,500 exhibitors from 60 countries around the world, and we will host 600,000 visitors from 200 countries. The whole world is represented at Bauma,” said Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München, the show organizer.
“The question is, what motivates 600,000 people to flock to the trade fairgrounds in Munich within seven days?” he asked. “I think one important reason is that Bauma shows the full dimensions of the construction machinery industry.” That starts with every type of machine needed for mining raw material, extraction and processing, to construction material manufacturing, to the entire spectrum of construction equipment, suppliers and services, he said. Visitors are also able to meet all the key players on a worldwide level who are active in this industry.
“And it’s really the place to see the latest innovations in the industry,” continued Dittrich. With its three-year cycle Bauma has adapted to the product-development cycle in the industry, he explained. “It is where everybody likes to showcase the newest trends and newest ideas. At Bauma, you can see the construction machinery market of the future.”
The innovations showcased at Bauma dovetail with larger trends affecting society, added Joachim Schmid, Managing Director of the VDMA Construction Equipment and Mining sector. For example, sustainability is a major concern worldwide—most everyone wants to conserve resources, reduce pollution and protect the climate, he said.
“To increase sustainability in construction, it’s obvious that we should increase efficiency,” said Schmid. General contractors readily admit that efficiency, compared to other industries, is quite poor. That will be a major topic of discussion at Bauma. And it’s not just about increasing the efficiency of individual machines. It’s about improving the entire process involved throughout a construction project. Experts see the possibility to increase efficiency by 50%, he noted.
Sustainability as it relates to Bauma also includes new types of construction materials. Textile-reinforced, ultrahigh-performance concrete is one example he cited. “We can save a lot of material with that technology.” The same holds for processing and recycling of materials, there is ample room for improvement, said Schmid.
Another major trend that goes hand-in-hand with sustainability is digitization, he continued. Machines equipped with a range of sensors and communication interfaces can now provide data that drives equipment performance, fuel consumption, predictive maintenance, fleet management, and even permits automated work processes.
Thanks to digitization, quite complicated machines, that perform complex functions, are evolving to provide more-consistent performance, are much easier to use and run more efficiently. “And don’t forget about workplace safety and user friendliness,” said Schmid. Telematics, networked construction sites, building information modeling, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, maintenance automation—these are all issues that will be highlighted from various exhibitors at Bauma, he noted.
For instance, virtual reality will be a dedicated technology area for the show, said Dittrich. It will be the focus of Hall B0, where exhibitors will display their VR solutions, such as for servicing equipment. VR is getting more and more important, and visitors will see it concentrated in one place. It also permits exhibitors not displaying actual machines to participate at the show and let visitors learn about their products and digital solutions. That gives many companies the opportunity to take part without having the floor space in a traditional sense, said Dittrich.
It’s a sign that digitization will become even more important in the years ahead. “People ask, ‘How do you see Bauma in 10 or 20 years?’” said Dittrich. It will surely be more digital than today, he predicted. “Already components are sold more and more via the internet. And smaller machines are already sold online. Machine builders are working on artificial intelligence solutions to get more information to and from the customer. Therefore I think the construction machinery industry, and Bauma, will become even more digital in the future.”