As a showcase for fluid-power innovation, Bauma is about as good as it gets. For starters, the triennial construction and mining-equipment exhibition being held this April in Munich is massive. So much so, it’s reportedly the world’s largest industrial trade fair of any kind. In 2013, the show hosted a mindboggling 535,000 visitors from just about every country on the planet. This time around, more than 3,400 exhibitors will feature countless new products and machines of every stripe.
Even better, mobile hydraulics will be center-stage for most of it. Bauma promises a hands-on look at the latest fluid-power components, systems and controls that lie at the heart of next-generation offerings from OEMs. As with any great show, the editors of Fluid Power World will track the introductions, industry issues and technology trends. Here’s a few of the topics we plan to address during and after the show, in no particular order.
Business vibes. For many fluid power manufacturers, mobile equipment is the most important sector they serve. Is there an air of optimism, or is the market still suffering from slack commodity demand and slow economic growth? Are companies investing in R&D and keeping engineers employed?
Rise of Asia. Are Chinese fluid-power companies making headway globally? What’s the perception and reality of cost versus quality? Are knock-offs a significant issue among traditional suppliers?
Predicting the future. Like concept cars at automobile shows, major OEMs like to give a glimpse of abstract, speculative and sometimes off-the-wall machines still on the drawing board. In that light, what’s on the horizon? And have investments in futuristic platforms like remote and autonomous control taken a back seat to current economic realities?
Gee-whiz designs. How are cutting-edge design concepts and software tools resulting in novel products that up the ante in terms of performance, power-density, user-friendliness and so on?
Precision, electronic controls and IoT. What are the latest thoughts on boosting machine performance through onboard electronics? And is networking hydraulic components to the Internet and Cloud a growing reality or just a fad?
Think green. What’s new on the engineering front to wring more energy savings out of hydraulic systems? Are OEMs moving ahead with hybrid systems and energy-recovery systems? And Tier 5 emissions regulations may be on the horizon. How will that affect hydraulic designs?
Safety. Safety concepts and regulations in different regions and markets vary considerably; some are viewed too stringent and others too lenient. Is there a growing consensus on system and machine safety?
Reliability and condition monitoring. Unpredictable breakdowns and premature failures are still the biggest headaches for machine users. How are makers of filtration and fluid systems keeping contamination under control? And how are manufacturers predicting faults before problems cause costly shutdowns?
Bauma runs April 11 to 17. Keep up on the action from the show floor at www.fluidpowerworld.com.