I first heard of Bauma when I was working for Material Service in the 1980s. Columbia Quarry, our neighboring competitor, had purchased some new stockpile trucks while visiting the German exhibition.

They introduced articulated dumps to Central Illinois. The units significantly streamlined their dirt moving operations. In time our management reported to Mr. Crown that Columbia had gained a competitive operational advantage with this innovation. I still believe that my managers used this observation to justify their own trip to Munich the next time the show occurred. (I’m still bitter as they went without me.)

Not exactly a house-hold word here, Bauma is reported to be the world’s largest construction equipment exposition. It’s about 35% larger than Conexpo, the American event that will occur in 2014. 530,000 visitors from more than 200 countries trekked the jam packed Bauma 2013. (The visitor figure includes the general public, students, and spouses.)

While organizers report that Bauma broke all previous records for exhibitors, space sold and visitors, I thought the place was void of American producers and contractors. I spoke to several North American Bauma regulars, who shared my same observation. Bauma’s final report confirmed this. The 'Top Ten' countries of origin among the visitors were: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Russian Federation, France, Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden and Poland.

But innovation knows no geographic boundaries. I discovered several firms with proven products not yet represented in the US. And over the next few weeks I’ll be updating this column with reports on the innovations unveiled at Bauma 2013.

But I couldn’t see everything. I’d welcome the comments from those of you went on any impressions about the event.

BTW, if you are into long range travel planning, the next bauma takes place from April 11 to 17, 2016 again in Munich.