Bauma, in Bavaria southern Germany, is the world's largest construction exhibition. Statistics such as a third of a million visitors, 2,000 exhibitors and 430,000m2 of exhibition space are meaningless until you have seen it first hand.
This year, the 25th Bauma event takes place on a new site, with Munich Messe having just completed construction on the city's long disused Reim airport site. The control tower and distinctive terminal building have been retained, but everything else has been ripped out to make way for the glitzy new complex spread across 12 halls and vast open area.
Bauma rightfully claims to be the construction exhibition that everyone waits for because it provides the launch pad for many technological developments and innovations.
This year Bauma's organisers say it is a question of evolution rather than revolution. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of innovation, with manufacturers investing effort on achieving increased performance, with less tiring work and better safer for the operatives.
According to research undertaken on behalf of Bauma, factors influencing purchasing decisions are undergoing a major shift. For example in 1992 a product's quality accounted for two thirds of a purchasing decision, while by the turn of the century there is a perception that service considerations will be more important.
The reason for this is a general improvement in construction products. Essentially nearly all new construction equipment on the market is capable of performing to an adequate standard, which was not necessarily the case in the past. Other factors then become important and the decision to buy a particular brand of piling rig comes down to the same sort of decision as buying a car. Bauma's research show that a machine's appearance influences purchasing decision even in this down to earth segment.