Every day at bauma is eventful and full of highlights. We summarise the most important of each day for you.
On Friday, October 28, the bauma FORUM focused on the issue of “the way to zero emissions.” This way will be long and challenging, said Eugen Schobesberger, the Chair of High-Level Technical Policy Advisory Group of the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE). During his brief talk in the innovation hall LAB0, the Managing Director of Technology at Liebherr-EMtec GmbH noted that the CECE thinks that the decarbonization of the construction-equipment industry in Europe consists of four pillars. Pillar one: Optimized components can improve machinery efficiency. Pillar two: Specially trained employees and autonomous solutions can help increase work efficiency. Pillar three: Process efficiency can also be improved by selecting the best machine or machine combination. Pillar four: Alternative sources of energy can be used.
He said this process was being hampered in particular by the heterogeneity of construction equipment and the variety of jobs they have to perform. “It will take a long time for manufacturers to develop, validate and industrialize the appropriate solutions,” Schobesberger said. “But the other side must start working today to create the necessary infrastructure. Otherwise, future machinery will never have an opportunity to find a home in the marketplace.”
John Smeets informed the audience at the bauma FORUM about the role that companies that rent construction machinery could play in the effort to achieve zero emissions. The Technical Director of the rental company Boels Rental is a member of the Technical Committee of the European Rental Association (ERA). “We are increasingly investing not only in digitalization solutions like telematics and fleet management, but also in green, low-emission technology,” Smeets said. The rental company offers workshops where users can learn about the equipment. “Even if huge differences exist among European countries, we are seeing increased interest in this area,” the expert said.
Against the backdrop of the trend toward electric construction machinery seen at bauma 2022, John Smeets forecast a rise in demand for smart grids: “In light of fluctuating energy costs and grid capacities as well as of individual machinery usage times, the focus here will be on determining which machine should be ideally recharged at which time.”
How can digitalization contribute to zero emissions in the construction industry? Charles Bénard, co-founder and the Managing Director of the French IT provider Hiboo, offered a simple answer to this question at the bauma FORUM: “We cannot optimize anything if we are unable to measure our current carbon emissions.” These measurements require construction companies to collect and interpret a number of data from sources that range from machinery manufacturers or telematics. More so than ever before: “The current energy crisis has given a further boost to our customers’ interest in consumption data in particular,” Bénard said. Eugen Schobesberger and John Smeets also view the crisis as an opportunity: It is forcing manufacturers and customers to become more efficient, they said.
That digitalization is currently one of the main topics in the construction industry was already clearly evident in the first official minutes of bauma 2022: In his address at the opening of the world’s leading trade fair on Monday morning, German Minister for Digital and Transport Volker Wissing said: “We must leave analog-digital duplication behind us and fully leverage the potential of digitalization.” In this context, he announced the German government would mandate building information modeling (BIM) across the board throughout the country for federal government projects starting in 2025. BIM is a method to optimize the management of construction projects across life cycles with the help of digital building information and software.
On Thursday, the bauma FORUM devoted an entire day to the key topic “the digital construction site.” “Construction machinery must meet the requirements of the digital construction site — and not the other way around,” asserted Ralf Lüddemann, Chair of the Committee for Construction Machinery Technology and Construction Logistics at the German Construction Industry Federation (HDB), in his presentation. This would require, among other things, standardized interfaces, he added. And this is exactly the point where the industry faces significant hurdles. “A lack of standards and heterogeneous interfaces still frequently stand in the way of construction companies realizing end-to-end communication and further processing machine and process data to be beneficial,” explained Dirk Siewert, Head of Civil Engineering and Construction Machinery Technology at HDB.
To address this situation, the German Mechanical Engineering Association (VDMA) and HDB established the working group “Machines in Construction 4.0” (MiC 4.0, http://mic40.org) at bauma 2019. “Our goal is to develop a uniform, cross-manufacturer, machinery-independent and data-law-compliant digital communications form for the entire construction process,” Siewert explained to the audience at the bauma FORUM. According to Siewert, 105 members from seven countries are currently involved in around 30 working groups that are tackling the overarching topics of machinery data, data law, system architecture and human-machine interfaces. “One special aspect of MiC 4.0 is that competitors are collaborating on the topic for the higher aim of benefiting customers,” emphasized Thomas Zitterbart, Head of the accessory equipment product line at Liebherr Hydraulikbagger GmbH, in his presentation.
Part of the MiC 4.0 working groups, the “accessory equipment” cluster posted remarkable success at this year’s bauma. Over the past two years, the team succeeded in developing an open, manufacturer-independent data interface that can be used to map all relevant use cases for communication between accessory equipment and construction machinery. The MiC 4.0 BUS simplifies controlling excavator equipment such as buckets, claws and hammers. Additional operating components and displays that are commonly used today are no longer required. The new data interface makes it possible to even use complex tools and equipment through “plug-and-work” — that is, without complicated conversions.
This exceptional development achievement was honored with the bauma Innovation Award 2022 in the category “Digitalization.” All those interested can get a vivid impression of the MiC 4.0 BUS in the innovation hall bauma LAB0.
From the world of bits and bytes back to sturdy, tangible steel: The breathtaking dimensions of many exhibits provide a special fascination for visitors to bauma. This year’s front-runner among the giants presented in Munich is Liebherr’s LR 1700-1.0 crawler crane. Weighing 750 tons, it’s the heaviest exhibit at the trade fair — as well as the largest: The crane's boom can be extended to 198 meters!
In addition to being a showcase for construction and building material machinery, bauma is serving once again this year as the central information platform for the mining industry. This focus was reflected by the topic covered on Wednesday at the bauma FORUM in the innovation hall bauma LAB0: “Mining – sustainable, efficient and reliable.”
For Dr. Michael Schulte Strathaus, Board member of the German Mechanical Engineering Association (VDMA), digitalization, automation and interoperability are fundamental requirements for boosting efficiency and successfully decarbonizing mining production. The industry realized years ago that platform-independent data exchange was an important key to digitalization. In this regard, the VDMA is committed to establishing the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA). Dr. Schulte Strathaus recommended the UPC UA Walks for anyone wanting to learn more about how this standard is being applied in business. The association is offering the guided tours twice a day at bauma together with the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University. The 45-minute walks begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively at the VDMA stand C2.121.
BGE Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung mbH also has a major interest in the use of OPC UA as a way to facilitate automation and digitalization. According to the company’s expert, David Horner, the operating company owned by the German federal government envisions a preferably autonomous final nuclear waste repository – not least for the purpose of keeping people away from potentially exposed areas, particularly those underground. During the bauma FORUM, Horner discussed the development steps taken by BGE in recent years to develop a standardized information model for machine-to-machine interaction based on OPC UA.
Professor Elisabeth Clausen, Head of the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University, is of the opinion that mining operations of the future would not only have to be smart, green and as climate neutral as possible, but also always focus on people. “Mining companies need a culture in which employees can also be part of this development journey,” the professor stressed.
In the academic work at her institute, the main trends of automation, digitalization and electrification frequently go hand in hand. She referred to the recently launched ELMAR project, funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, as one of the latest examples of this. In this project, a consortium of research and industry partners is is investigating how the decarbonization of the raw materials sector can be achieved and implemented in a holistic approach. The project not only involves the deployment of autonomous electric heavy-duty electric mine transport systems, but is also, in fact, about adapting the infrastructure this requires, and redesigning the relevant operational processes “In other words, it’s about far more than simply replacing diesel with electricity,” as the scientist made clear.
“The road to autonomous machines” – this was the main topic of the bauma FORUM on the second day of the trade fair. One thing is already quite clear to Fabio Carluccio, the Head of Quarry Decarbonization at the construction-materials producer Holcim: “Automation is clearing the way to net-zero quarries and is enhancing the appeal of the business model.” During his talk at the FORUM, he noted that autonomous and digital mining processes were initially facilitating, above all, increased employee safety and the centralization of operational oversight. The expert also highlighted the close connection that exists among autonomous solutions, the use of smaller vehicles and electromobility. He said he thought that the huge trucks used in today’s quarry activities, machines whose capacities are only partially utilized during many operational phases, could be replaced by much smaller autonomous vehicles. Such vehicles are easier to electrify thanks to their smaller size, Carluccio said.
He noted that the smaller e-vehicles were more cost-efficient, produced less dust and noise and generated dramatically lower CO2 emissions. They could also use narrower roads in quarries, Carluccio said.
“The opportunities for autonomous and carbon-neutral solutions are still limited today,” he acknowledged. This is why Holcim is striving to become a trailblazer in mining operations of the future, a company that will help develop new concepts and technologies as well as adopt them from other industrial branches.
Professor Dr. Martin Sobczyk of the Institute for Mechanical Engineering at the Technical Mining Academy of Freiberg, Germany, noted that automation and electrification practically belonged together. In his talk at the bauma FORUM, he pointed out that productivity in mining could be increased in a number of ways: automation and autonomization, new traction designs as well as the coupling and uncoupling of traction and operations. He said problems in mining operations included locating machines without GPS availability and transmitting data in almost real time.
One extraordinary innovation from the area of “smart construction equipment” at bauma 2022 is the exosystem made by Built Robotics Inc. Gaurav Kikani, the Vice President for Business Development and Strategy at the company, presented the retrofitting system that he said could be used to easily turn any excavator into a totally autonomous trenching robot. Equipped with robust hardware and an eight-stage safety system, the upgrade facilitates autonomous trenching in various types of soils and depths as well as under a range of conditions. The exosystem can be installed on an excavator and then calibrated in less than a day, Kikani said. A sign of industry recognition: The new product developed by Built Robotics was nominated for the bauma Innovation Award 2022 in the category of mechanical engineering.
The Start-up Area is located in the innovation hall bauma LAB0, near the bauma FORUM. Psiori GmbH is one of the companies that have booths there. The company is using its booth to demonstrate a project in which a timber-loading crane used by a paper factory in Florida is being brought up to “level 3 autonomy.” With the help of cameras, laser scanners, internal sensors and an artificial intelligence developed by Psiori, the 350-ton crane can efficiently and safely unload tree trunks from trucks on its own – with the option of human intervention. It can also place them onto a conveyor belt for further processing or add them to stacks for temporary storage purposes. On the second day of the trade fair, Volker Voß, the Managing Director of Psiori, was already quite pleased about the number of contacts the company had made with interested makers of construction machinery and users from all parts of the world. “These contacts fit very nicely into the international focus of our company,” Voß said.
Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel, the co-CEOs of Messe München, were pleased to welcome a number of widely known national and state political figures on the first day of bauma 2022: Dr. Volker Wissing, the German minister for Digital and Transport, Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder and Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger were among the many visitors attending the world-class trade fair. Söder described bauma 2022 as an exhibition that offered “new perspectives and traditional stabilities.” He also noted that the trade fair served as a “mood booster” for the industry. Minister Wissing agreed, noting that the trade fair exuded optimism, something that is needed in particular right now. Alluding to the past two Corona years, Rummel, the trade fair managing director responsible for bauma, emphasised: "Personal contact cannot be digitised".
As part of the trade fair’s supporting program, the bauma FORUM focused on “construction methods and materials of tomorrow,” one of the five key topics to be addressed at this year’s exhibition, during the fair’s first day. The talks given in the innovation hall bauma LAB0 covered the wide range of potential perspectives here.
Luc Rudowski, the Head of Innovation at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, Business Unit Cement Technologies, noted that the task of lowering the CO₂ emissions during the cement-production process ranked among the most crucial challenges facing the industry. In this context, he talked to audience members about polysius pure oxyfuel technology, a pioneering process that enables the CO₂ concentration in the kiln exhaust gas to be increased to up to 100% during clinker production. The CO₂ that is subsequently separated can be used industrially or stored.
One very promising construction technique is 3D concrete printing, or additive manufacturing. At the bauma FORUM, Frank Will, who holds a professorship in construction machinery at the Technical University of Dresden, talked about monolithic, or full-wall 3D printing. The expert noted that the process was capable of using even coarse materials and would significantly reduce work hours. The hardware necessary to perform the job was practically touchable at the bauma booth of Putzmeister. Visitors to the booth will get to know Karlos, the prototype of a 3D printer based on a truck-mounted concrete pump.
Peri, a company that specializes in framework and scaffolding, has developed a deep base of know-how in 3-D contour printing. Alexander Bettenmann, a business development manager at PERI 3D Printing, sees tremendous amounts of potential in the integration of various trades into the printing process. He noted that his company is already capable of integrating empty pipes into the printing process as well as parts of the interior design like bathtub edging, kitchenettes and wood-burning stoves. “We are open to new ideas and are looking forward to making contacts,” Bettenmann said. Peri’s 3D construction team is taking part in bauma for the first time.
In her talk during the bauma FORUM, Claudia Eugenin of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile offered some additional thoughts about ways to improve the sustainability of building 3D printing. She suggested the idea of integrating the huge amounts of waste materials produced by Chile’s mining industry into the print compound. There is also a social aspect here as well. “Roughly one-fourth of families in Chile live in poorly constructed buildings,” Eugenin said. “3D-printed houses would certainly help.”
The topic “Innovative building materials and construction techniques of the future” was also reflected in the bauma Innovation Award 2022. On Sunday, Holcim GmbH (Germany) won the award in the construction category for its CPC concrete elements. CPC stands for carbon prestressed concrete. In this process, concrete is reinforced with prestressed carbon fibers instead of the traditional choice, steel. This process creates thin, high-performance concrete plates that enable up to 80 percent of material to be saved and the carbon footprint of the construction element to be lowered by up to 75 percent.
You missed today's presentations from the bauma FORUM?
The nominees and winners of the Innovation Award 2022 were also presented today at the bauma FORUM. You can find all the information here.