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Construction’s greatest show on earth

Digger Blogger | 19:07, Wed March 06 2013

If you are planning a trip to Bauma here’s a good place to start. If you are not going, over the next few weeks I aim to bring you a flavour of what you’re missing.

Bauma is not just the largest construction trade show in the world; it is also the world’s biggest assembly of capital equipment. It is held every three years in Munich. Last time, in 2010, despite the eruption of a volcano in Iceland making air travel impossible within northern Europe for much of the week, some 420,000 visitors were registered from 200 countries. This time it seems possible that visitor numbers could top half a million. The only constraint is hotel rooms within commuting distance.

If you have been to Bauma before, you will know exactly what to expect. If you haven’t, and you have any interest in construction technologies, you should. More than 3,300 exhibitors will be occupying a bigger-than-ever 570,000 square metres of exhibition space dedicated to the latest construction equipment, components and processes.

In short, Bauma is ridiculously big. Do not expect to see everything, even if you plan to visit for all seven days. It is best to do some homework before you go. Work out what and who you want to see, and plan you route around the showground. Consider swotting up on key industry issues. A key theme for Bauma 2013 is engine emissions regulations and how equipment manufacturers are meeting the requirements of Stage IIIB and the very similar US Tier 4. For the uninitiated, we suggest a crash-course in the relative merits of diesel particulate filters (DPFs), exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Most machines will use one or more after-treatment technologies to remove carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), soot/particulate matter (PM) and mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) from their fumes. There is a notable exception in the JCB machines powered by its Ecomax engine.

For further details on what to see at Bauma, how to get there or finding a hotel room (again, good luck with that…) check out www.bauma.de

Now.. when it comes to Bauma, Liebherr is the daddy. Many major manufacturers make quite a statement with their presence, but none can match Liebherr, for whom Munich is home turf. Although the company is registered as Swiss for tax purposes, it is very much a local Bavarian enterprise. The Liebherr stand at Bauma is the size of a medium-sized retail park, with more than 60 machines on show. The stand has been under construction since November last year. This is a big stand – more than 14,000m2, or three and a half acres in old money – housing some big machines. These include: seven crawler cranes, 10 tower cranes (including two truck-mounted), 10 all-terrain cranes, a arge rotary drilling rig, three wheeled excavators, seven crawler excavators, eight wheeled loaders, three crawler tractors and loaders, a pipelayer, a telehandler, two material handlers, an articulated truck, a mining truck and a seriously big 350-tonne mining excavator with a 22m³ bucket. New models among these include the A910 Compact Litronic wheeled excavator, an 11.5-tonne sister model to the A 914 and A 918 Compact Litronic models. The Stage IIIB-compliant 75kW Deutz diesel engine has an oxidising catalytic converter, with a diesel particulate filter as an optional extra. The 22-tonne R 922 crawler excavator, replacing the R906, and TA 240 articulated dump truck are also being seen for the first time. Launch of Liebherr’s new 40-tonne ADT follows on from the 30-tonne TA 230 seen at Hillhead last year. Alongside these, Liebherr will be premiering its diesel engines that comply with the EU Stage IV / EPA Tier 4 Final exhaust emission limits coming into force in 2014. Liebherr relies only on selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to clean up emissions on these.

On the cranes side, the LTR 1220 telescopic crawler and LTM 1750-9.1 all-terrain, rated at 220-tonne and 750-tonne capacity respectively, make their trade show debut. Perhaps most interesting on the Liebherr stand, however, is a new concept machine that is part wheeled loader and part telehandler. Liebherr calls the L506C and L508C “compact”. Both models stand less than 2.5m high and have tipping loads of 3.45 and 3.85 tonnes respectively. The L506C weighs 5,180kg and has a standard 0.8m³ bucket. The L508C weighs 5,600kg and has a 1.0m³ standard bucket. The midsize and large wheeled loader ranges from Liebherr have also had a makeover, with new Stage IIIB engines added.

Below are some photographs taken last year of the Liebherr stand at Paris's international construction event Intermat.

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