Eye on the Industry

Tilly’s visit Bauma in Munich

Bauma crowd pic

The world has finally opened up again, affording the Australian heavy equipment industry the opportunity to reconnect and catch up on international happenings at Bauma Munich.

Bauma Munich is one of the premier global trade shows showcasing all things construction, and members of the Tilly’s Toowoomba team were fortunate to visit again after a lengthy absence.
With around 3,200 exhibitors from 60 countries occupying 614,000m2 of space, it is a mammoth task for the 495,000 visitors from over 200 countries to cover all that ground, but is well worth the effort. The scale of the event alone is something to behold but more importantly, gaining current information on how the industry is trending is invaluable.

ELECTRICALLY POWERED MACHINERY

Technology is always at the forefront of these trade shows and this year was no exception, with less emphasis on autonomous machinery and a significant showing of electrically powered machinery. All the major original equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, Komatsu, John Deere and of course the big player in that part of the world, Liebherr, displayed a broad range of machinery using electric-powered motors rather than the traditional diesel- powered option.

One of the most notable and impressive machines at the show this year was Komatsu’s PC4000 full electric excavator. Electrical power is clearly the trend moving forward, and it will be very interesting to watch how this technology filters into the Australian market and how long that impact will take.

Interestingly, having the opportunity to meet and talk to many Europeans at the show, there is a genuine concern in that region about the availability of power for the coming winter, given the current situation in Ukraine. The general public are really worried about simply heating their homes, which does beg the question: how are these electric machines going to be charged?

Cat electric machine

UPCOMING TRENDS

Although there is a real sense of life returning to normal when surrounded by that many people, there was a glaring omission noticeable at this show and that was the Chinese manufacturers. It could be argued that it was a direct result of Bauma Shanghai being scheduled for November, which was subsequently cancelled. However, it more closely resembled what we are experiencing in the global market with a number of lockdowns still being enforced across China. That being said, on the positive side, there does seem to be a general consensus – even optimism – that the freight issues and pricing out of China are improving. Not yet to pre-COVID prices, but heading in the right direction.
Either due to the lack of Chinese presence, or just through an intended promotional
campaign, it was also very noticeable that the Turkish contingent was well represented in Munich. Without getting too far ahead of the game, the Turkish manufacturers have managed to introduce a number of products into existing distribution channels and are already making an impact.
Could Turkey be a major alternative for multiple product lines currently sourced out of China, given the changing Chinese environment? Unlike perception or previous experience, they certainly do seem to have a far greater focus on quality assurance and might be answering some of the questions end users have been asking for some time.
The Tilly’s team suggests that watching this space will be very interesting for the Australian industry.
From the huge 120m telescope truck- mounted crane to the toy-like PC01E with Honda replaceable battery packs, there certainly was something at Bauma for everyone in the construction, civil and infrastructure industries.

The event once again provided a great opportunity to enjoy face-to-face conversations with current suppliers and manufacturers to strengthen business relationships, alongside the opportunity to discover new business ideas and supply lines to grow the Australian market. Finally, observing the trends and the direction the European markets are taking gives a fair indication of the inevitable changes the Australian industry can expect in the longer term.

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