Zero-emission operation is one of the major trends in the construction machinery industry. The world’s leading trade fair for construction machinery, building material and mining machines as well as construction vehicles and equipment just ended. Bauma organiser Messe München said more than 495,000 visitors attended the show from October 24-30, with around 50% being international visitors. A total of 3,200 exhibitors from 60 countries.
Several OEMs have already introduced electric-powered machines to the market, and more prototypes continue to be unveiled. Currently, the majority of the battery-electric construction equipment available or under development is compact; this is due to the smaller battery size required and reduced charging times. But larger machine options, including hybrids, are in the works as well. Mining has used electric drive for some time. And underground mining equipment has been powered by batteries for several years now as the elimination of emissions greatly benefits worker safety and reduces the need for expensive ventilation systems. However, these machines are much larger and many mine sites have their own electricity which has made the switch to electrification easier.
When we talk about advancements in construction technology, we are often talking about topics like new wearable tech, software, data collection, surveillance and drones. A huge piece of the industry that is often overlooked in the technological era is the construction equipment itself. While autonomous equipment is still a future possibility for most contractors, there is an up-and-coming trend for construction equipment that will be here sooner than you’d think: electric and battery-powered equipment. While electric and autonomous may seem to refer to each other, they are actually quite different. Electric vehicles refer to the power source that make the vehicle run. Autonomous is a reflection of the actual operational function. Autonomous vehicles are also often called self-driving and use a variety of AI technology and sensors to operate without a driver.
One of the main themes of the show was alternative power, with many exhibitors showing electric and hybrid models – although many of these were prototypes and not yet commercially available. Joachim Schmid, Managing Director of the Construction Machinery and Building Material Association of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), said, “The exhibitors are offering solutions to address current challenges related to CO2 neutrality as well as tackling the issue of skilled worker shortages with automation and digitalization. This is the future.”
The next Bauma show will be held April 7–13, 2025, in Munich.