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Bauma 2019: just brilliant!

Bauma 2019 smashed all its records – from the number of visitors to the floor space occupied. I braved the crowds (and, believe me, this was no easy task) and tried to get a reasonable overview of the event.

use the word “reasonable” because, in order to fully take in the show, you need to be there all day for each of the seven show days: bauma (always spelt with a lower case “b” for some unknown reason) is massive! (Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the exhibition, it’s the world’s largest construction machinery trade show and it takes place in Munich, Germany, every three years; the next one happens from April 4 to 10, 2022).

This year, the exhibitors occupied an unprecedented 614 000 m2 of space – and there were 3 700 companies exhibiting from 63 countries. Accordingly, it was absolutely impossible to visit every stand, but I did race around like a mad thing, trying to gather as much useful and relevant information as possible. So, here goes (I have listed relevant exhibitors in alphabetical form):

Continental

Continental presented ContiLogger, a new service concept that helps operators to keep their tyre costs under control. The ContiLogger process starts with a customer solution engineer, who conducts a field study to measure speed, distance, location, lateral forces, elevation change, road grade, cycle downtime and the pressure and temperature of the tyres. The engineer then makes recommendations aimed at optimising tyre life.

Daimler

In typical Daimler style, the company had a massive presence at bauma, with a total of 22 construction vehicles on display over an area of 2 700 m². From delivery vans to light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, to heavy-duty tractor units and individually adapted special-purpose vehicles, Daimler showed vehicles for almost every application in the construction segment.

However, I am going to focus on its most significant exhibits – those of the new Mercedes-Benz Arocs, which celebrated its world premiere at bauma. I was fortunate enough to be able to see the static displays of the vehicle on the stand, and I could also get behind the wheel at the Ebenhöh gravel plant outside Munich.

Much of the exhibition is dedicated to yellow metal. Caterpillar alone exhibited over 60 machines.

I was also able to drive a comprehensive selection of construction vehicles from the Daimler stable – from the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, to a heavy-duty all-wheel drive tipper, the Arocs 4153 AK 8×8/4 with a turbo retarder clutch and 80-t drivetrain. And, in between those, other Arocs with various-sized engines such as the 4143 K 8×4/4 and the Arocs 1853 K 4×2 were also available.

A Canter 4×4 and a Zetros 4043 A 6×6 for export completed the vehicle line-up (the Zetros was an absolute blast to drive), but, back to the star (no pun intended) of the bauma show: the new Arocs.

First, I need to clear something up. I am calling it the “new Arocs” – but it isn’t completely new. Essentially it’s the Arocs that we just got in South Africa with some pretty fabulous features added on (the most obvious is the MirrorCam – also available on the latest Actros).

Other innovations worthy of mention are the Multimedia Cockpit, Active Brake Assist 5, an enhanced version of Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and a newly revised Sideguard Assist. They’re all massively impressive features (I wrote about most of them when the latest Actros bowed onto the global stage at the IAA last year). However, as I will explain in due course, they aren’t all destined for South Africa. So let’s go through the new features and I will explain what they’re all about.

More than 620 000 people attended this year’s bauma.

As a driver, the first thing you notice about the new Arocs is the Multimedia Cockpit. The second is the MirrorCam. Personally, I love both of the features – and the great thing is that they may become available in South Africa as early as next year.

The Multimedia Cockpit is just so cool. It’s like two large iPads, seated side by side. The high-resolution colour display on the primary screen replaces the traditional instrument cluster with its speedometer, rev counter and fuel gauge. The secondary screen, which is a touchscreen, can replace the usual switches (those normal switches are still available should tech-averse drivers prefer to use them). It also displays information (tyre pressure, for instance).

Then there are those cameras. Wow, I love driving with them. You can see so much more – virtually the entire tipper trailer, for instance, making reversing so much easier. Because the cameras are so much more aerodynamic than mirrors, fuel savings result while safety is improved, too (because visibility is so much better).

Then there is another pretty massive benefit that I didn’t even think about. I was chatting to Christo Kleynhans, marketing manager for Mercedes-Benz Trucks, during bauma and he pointed out (quite rightfully) that the cameras can be an important security feature in crime-ridden South Africa, too.

“If a driver parks his Actros or Arocs somewhere – at a truck stop, for instance – and he hears a strange noise in the middle of the night, there is no need for him to leave the safety of his cab. He can inspect the visuals from the cameras – and see exactly what is going on outside,” he told me. That’s a feature that could save that driver’s life!

Christo Kleynhans, marketing manager for Mercedes-Benz Trucks, believes that the MirrorCams are a terrific security feature (we fully agree!)

Speaking of saving lives, Active Brake Assist 5 is another new feature that we will get in South Africa – initially on the Actros only. The new Active Brake Assist 5 is able to slow down the truck to a standstill if there is the danger of a rear-end collision. This system is now even more powerful than its predecessor and no longer utilises only radar, but a combination of the radar and camera systems. Among other things, the system’s response in a speed range below 50 km/h has been improved.

Yet another great feature of the new Arocs that will come to South Africa (initially on Actros only), is PPC. It will form part of an efficiency pack (which will also include MirrorCam and tyre-pressure monitoring). I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of PPC; we all know how it works – and the substantial fuel savings it affords. “Even a highly skilled driver with excellent knowledge of the route doesn’t achieve fuel consumption rates like those of the new Arocs (or Actros, for that matter) with improved PPC,” Kleynhans pointed out.

There are two other features of the new Arocs overseas that really impressed me, too: Sideguard Assist and Traffic Sign Assist. The former reduces the risk of dangerous accidents on the passenger side when turning to the right; the latter recognises signs and displays them to the driver.

Both are terrific safety systems. However neither are planned for South Africa at this stage – so I won’t go into more detail about them. Despite the fact that these two systems are missing (let’s face it, most people won’t even know about them let alone realise that they’re not there), I am sure that the very latest Arocs will be welcomed by South African operators with open arms (and maybe open wallets too)!

Iveco

Iveco showed the natural-gas powered 44-t Stralis NP 6×2 crane-tipper truck, which is ideal for recycling applications. It is clean and very quiet. The Stralis X-Way rigid three-way tipper truck on display is ideal for road-building applications. It is available with a switchable hydraulic front-wheel drive, which means fewer moving parts.

Also on display was the top-of-the-range Iveco Daily 4×4: the first seven-tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) 4×4 vehicle with a payload up to 4 300 kg. The exhibit also featured the 65-t GVM new Iveco Astra HHD9 8×6 Euro 6 in dumper configuration with a 24 m3 reinforced body and an automatic transmission.

Hella

Hella had a world premiere on its stand in the form of a beacon that combines design and state-of-the-art LED technology. The first-of-its-kind design beacon is black and futuristic-looking, and it fits perfectly into the existing vehicle silhouette thanks to its design and compact dimensions (around 60 mm in height). The beacon is maintenance-free.

ellow metal was to be seen everywhere! Many of the machines cost millions (of Euros, not rands).

MAN

MAN had lots and lots of world premieres on its stand – plus a number of driveline innovations too.

The really big news on the stand was the arrival of the company’s new Euro-6 standard nine-litre D15 engine, which will be replacing the tried and proven D20 engine in the MAN TGS and TGX truck series in 2019.

The straight-six engine achieves higher power, lighter weight and better fuel efficiency, despite a smaller cubic capacity. The engine’s light weight is a massive benefit; payload is increased by about 230 kg! Three power ratings – 330 hp (243 kW), 360 hp (265 kW) and 400 hp (294 kW) – are up for grabs.

A number of trucks that were enjoying their world premiere also caught my eye. These included the TGS 33.470 6x6H BL mobile crane tipper and the TGX 18.510 4×2 BLS tipping semi-trailer tractor. The former boasts a medium-height chassis with MAN Hydro Drive on the front axle providing traction as required. It is equipped with the new Euro-6 D26 engine, ComfortSteering, Lane Return Assist and a GVM of 59 t. The latter featured the XLION specification level, a spacious XLX cab and the Euro-6 D26 engine uprated by
10 hp (7,4 kW) and 100 Nm of torque.

It was also interesting to learn of a further development when it comes to concrete mixers. MAN launched the lightweight hypoid tandem axle unit at bauma in 2016, which offered a weight saving of 180 kg compared to the previously installed 13-t axles. The upgrade to the new MAN D15 engine series will further reduce the chassis weight by approximately 230 kg, meaning a whopping 410 kg payload gain. That will be music to operators’ ears.

The 65-t GVM Iveco Astra HHD9 8×6 is powered by the Cursor 13 engine.

Meritor

Meritor announced the launch of several new braking solutions for multiple off-highway applications at bauma, including a full line of wet disc brakes, a high capacity hydraulic disc brake and a 500 mm drum brake.

Michelin

Michelin presented its E3/L3 tyre – for ADTs, graders
and wheel loaders – on two Caterpillar vehicles and two Volvo vehicles. The company also presented advanced new tyre technology. Constructed from pure rubber
and patented composite material in a honeycomb spoke design, the tyre/wheel fusion also features built-in suspension.

Palfinger

Palfinger presented a new digital tool in the form of “data glasses” called Smart Eye. They help the service technician when he’s conducting fault analysis and repairs to Palfinger products – the glasses contain a built-in camera, so a service expert can keep an eye on things and provide advice and input. Smart Eye speeds up fault diagnoses, thereby maximising the uptime of the company’s products.

MAN exhibited new (much lighter) engines on its stand. These engines afford massive payload gains.

Scania

Scania celebrated 50 years of V8 production at bauma, while also displaying six construction trucks, which can all run on hydrotreated vegetable oil. Scania also showed connected engines for equipment, vehicles and vessels that facilitate fleet monitoring and optimised uptime.

Volkswagen

The new Transporter 6.1 made its world debut at bauma. It is available as a panel van, a Kombi and as a single or double cab pick-up. Highlights of the new model include a switch from hydraulic to electro-mechanical power steering and lots of new driver assistance systems (Lane Assist, Cross Wind Assist, Park Assist, Rear Traffic Alert and Trailer Assist, for instance).

The Transporter 6.1 is being launched with 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines delivering 66 kW, 81 kW, 110 kW and 146 kW. An electric derivative with a payload of almost 1,2 t and a range of more than 400 km is also coming soon.

Volvo

The emphasis on the Volvo stand was obviously on construction equipment, and the company’s 2 293 m2 indoor and 5 870 m2 outdoor stands were hives of activity, with
50 machines moving around non-stop.

During bauma, the company announced that it would go electric on its Volvo-branded compact excavators and wheel loaders in 2020. The Volvo FMX – a capable and powerful construction truck – was also on display.

My friends call me a glomad (a global nomad lest you don’t get it). That’s a particularly apt word, because I am always trawling all corners of the globe, looking for stories. As a result, I have slept in some seriously strange places – on a bed of ice in the Arctic circle, on the floor in a traditional Japanese hotel, on the sand dunes in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan … and even on the floor of a Thai cargo ship. Mostly however I tend to sleep on aircraft (if I had a dog, he would bark at me when I eventually come home). I am passionate about trucks, cars, travel, food, wine, people and hugs – so I write about all these things. Except the hugs.

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