It’s a safe bet that most National Driller readers have been to a trade show. They know the events are important for both manufacturers and their customers. But, have readers thought much about what it takes to display at the largest construction trade show in the world?

National Driller is attending the 2016 Bauma event April 11-17 in Munich. Just getting an editor there with the camera and notebook is a bit of a logistical feat. That got us thinking, how tough is it for American manufacturers to make the trip all the way to Munich to display their products? What would keep a manufacturer going back year after year?

“Once you make that commitment to show your equipment at the show, it just shows that you have the ability to deal in the international arena,” says Sue Frank, president of TEI Rock Drills. “It was a pretty big deal the first time we actually went over there.”

The list of exhibitors for 2016 includes Acker Drill Company, Atlas Copco, a few Bauer companies, Boart Longyear, Center Rock Inc., CZM Foundation Equipment, Doosan Portable Power, Fraste, Numa, Soilmec, TEI Rock Drills, Vermeer and many others. We spoke with four of those manufacturers for this story. They told us what it means to be an exhibitor at Bauma, what products they expect to show off there and about the logistics involved.

‘International Exposure’

Montrose, Colo.-based TEI displayed at Bauma once before, in 2013. That year’s event featured almost 3,500 exhibitors from several dozen countries and attracted more than half a million visitors over the course of a week. The company, founded in 1980 as Tech Enterprises Inc., typically attends six to eight trade shows per year.

At Bauma, the rock drill maker is displaying its largest drill, the new TE 1000 drifter, and its smallest, the TE 160 hex drifter. They also expect to display one of their big-selling excavator attachments.

“We’ve always dealt internationally, but this just gave us that international exposure among the other manufacturers,” Frank adds. Networking with distributors is important for a small manufacturer, particularly when working to get established or expand beyond the United States.

Numa, a Thompson, Conn.-based hammer and bit manufacturer, will attend its 10th Bauma event this month. Vice President Dave Gorman says the first Bauma events the company attended were quite a bit smaller.

“I guess this year they’re expecting over a half million people from 200 countries walking through the place,” he says. “It’s not often you get that opportunity to be in the same place with half a million people that could potentially be customers of you — or partners with you.”

Numa plans to have displays for its full range of down-the-hole hammers and bits, with a focus on its Super Jaws overburden bits. Super Jaws bits have a design that simultaneously drills and cases holes.

“For this show, that would be our main focus for a product — talking with all these construction drillers across the world saying, this is a much better way for setting foundations and piles, whether it be for bridges or foundations or jetties and so on and so forth.”

Reaching Beyond U.S.

Center Rock has the spotlight on three specific products, what Dave Pietrzykowski, president and CEO, calls the “core” of their business: the 24-inch Roto-Loc underreamer system for casing advancement, their 12-inch hammer from the Rock Xtreme line, and the LP canister drill.

“What we hope to do is expand our global footprint,” says Pietrzykowski of the Berlin, Pa.-based company. “While we’re there, we’ll have the opportunity to network with people that may be interested in distributing our products.”

“It’s just a unique event where you get everybody in the same place...And you know you can’t really put a price tag on that kind of exposure and forming those relationships at these shows that expand beyond the week that you’re there.”

Center Rock, which was founded in 1998, has attended a few Bauma events. The company serves oil and gas, construction, foundations and mining contractors.

“The USA is a huge market, and I think the best market in the world … but it is a rather finite market. A lot of it is dependent on the economy and how many big projects happen to be going on at any one particular point in time.”

Pascal Lefevre says the stars of this month’s show for Boart Longyear are the company’s Driller Control Interface (DCI) and sonic tooling. It will also be talking about the new LS 250 MiniSonic rig and the LX 6 multipurpose rig, though it won’t be displaying any rigs this year.

Lefevre is the Utah-based company’s director of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He’s based in Geneva, Switzerland. Boart Longyear, which was founded 125 years ago, last attended Bauma in 2007.

“Bauma for many years was really a show dedicated to construction. ... Now Bauma has evolved. It’s now not only a show presenting the construction side. It’s also a show where the mining people are now visiting; there is a mining part. So, for us, it it’s really becoming a very interesting show where we can exhibit both our mining exploration side and the construction side, which we are developing.”

Mining is 2016 Theme

Lefevre says that the focus of this year’s event — on mining — helped Boart Longyear make the choice to get back into the exhibitor list. The company has a big footprint internationally in the mining space.

All four companies spoke highly of Bauma and shows like it for giving them exposure to customer feedback, particularly for non-U.S. markets.

“It’s just a unique event where you get everybody in the same place,” Gorman says. “And you know you can’t really put a price tag on that kind of exposure and forming those relationships at these shows that expand beyond the week that you’re there.”

“What we get out of a show like Bauma or other shows — the main shows and the various different industries that we serve — are those insights that really go into our product roadmap as to what we’re designing for the future,” Gorman says.

Pietrzykowski says Center Rock, like other companies, welcomes the event’s spotlight this year on mining, and what it can do for companies working in that space.

“That’s really what we’re trying to do here at Center Rock, is become more diversified so that we’re not exposed entirely to the cyclicality of oil and gas and construction, which can be rather extreme swings. … We’re now focusing on this construction segment within mining for these large tools. Again, that’s a major focus moving forward.”

‘New Opportunities, New Frontiers’

“I think that most people still tend to attend the larger Bauma show because they know that any equipment that they might want to see is going to be there,” Frank says. “I think still most equipment manufacturers think of Bauma as, that’s definitely one of those shows that you want to be at.”

Frank likens Bauma to Con-Expo in Las Vegas, but still says the two events attract different audiences — making it worth it to attend both.

“The perfect person that comes into our booth,” Gorman says, “is the decision maker around drilling purchases. … We want somebody that’s going to come in our booth that is experienced with drilling and also is, you know, the decision maker around the acquisition of DTH products.”

For Center Rock, the exposure and networking potential make traveling to Munich worth it.

“What you do when you start reaching a high market share is you look for additional markets, and that’s kind of where we are now,” Pietrzykowski says. “We’re taking fantastic care of the customers that we’ve grown up with, and of course we’re beholden to them because they’ve been loyal. But we also need to look for new opportunities, new frontiers, and I think Bauma gives us that opportunity because it gives us exposure to some of the international clientele that we would not typically see at a lot of the trade shows we attend here domestically.”

“We also get to see and get a peek at what some of the competitors in the space are doing, as well,” Gorman says.

“It’s really the perfect profile of show for us, because we can really display the full range of products we are offering — both on the rig side and on the tooling side,” Lefevre says.