CeMAT 2016


The leading materials handling exhibition has wrapped up a smaller gathering with fewer exhibitors (1,000 as opposed to 1,250 in 2014) and fewer than the 53,000 visitors recorded last time. Interesting fact this year’s show drew a higher proportion of foreign exhibitors and visitors than previous editions, despite the plethora of CeMAT events in other countries. The smaller numbers where showing an energy and enthusiasm, especially surrounding autonomous shuttle systems and robot solutions for the intralogistics processes.

Barry Su, general manager of import and export for Maximal Forklifts, says the show was better than the last one. "I heard other exhibitors say the traffic was less, but not for Maximal," he says, attributing the strong interest to the new product on show at the stand. 
Chinese lithium-ion forklift innovator BYD got off to a great start at CeMAT with a win in the International Forklift of the Year awards, taking the title in the Counterbalance Truck up to 3.5 T category for its ECB18C, an 80 v lithium-ion stacker.  Javier Contijoch, head of BYD Europe’s forklift division,was extremely pleased with the win and with his team’s ability to show a full range at CeMAT. This was BYD’s second showing at CeMAT, but the first with a market-ready product range, and the stand enjoyed strong interest from end-users and dealers. 
German attachment maker Durwen showed a new paper roll clamp this year, and export director Ralf Taubenheim says it was "very well received by customers".  "We have strong interest and are very optimistic about this fair," he adds, especially some new potential customers in Africa. 

James Kuo, Eric Lin and Masayasu Ando from Tailift Taiwan’s Tailift CEO Eric Lin says while overall visitor numbers were down, his stand enjoyed a lot more visits than in previous years, thanks to last year’s acquisition of his company by Toyota. There was strong interest in both the Tailift product from Taiwan and the CT Power forklifts from China. Goodsense experienced strong interest, 80% from dealers, which tied in well with the company’s objectives. There was very positive reaction to the quality of products on show, and the price, says Eric Dai, general manager, was "acceptable". The export product on show had more safety, efficiency and environmental features than the equivalent Chinese domestic products. 
Parts and accessories supplier TVH has built a reputation for the party atmosphere at its stand, and sales director Kristof Bolle says "we have created a concept where hospitality is very important and we say a big thank-you to our customers for their business". He notes that finding new contacts is far less important for TVH than in previous years, but he stresses that there’s lots of value in maintaining contact with customers and showing them new products. New offerings this year include Tailift parts and a host of battery innovations. 
Aaron Zhao, marketing director of Lonking, was excited to bring his company’s products to the European markets for the first time. "We see the European market as a really big market for us and we brought some models for this market," he says, noting that his company learned a lot from its participation in CeMAT Australia last year. 
Tobias Laxa, group marketing manager of UniCarriers Europe, describes his company’s CeMAT experience as a great success, noting that his booth was far more crowded than many others. Faced with some market confusion about UniCarriers, which was acquired by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries last year, Laxa and his team did some focused marketing ahead of the show to invite customers and potential customers. "Of course, UniCarriers Europe cover the whole European and African market, so we had lots of international visitors and less from Germany – and that’s been very good for us." 
For Hangcha, the focus of the stand mirrored the overall CeMAT theme of automation, and it was one of only two Chinese companies to show Automatic Guided Vehicles at CeMAT. Long Kang, general manager of Hangcha’s Intelligent Vehicles Division, says the company’s AGV technology was also incorporated into its mainstream forklifts to improve safety and efficiency. 
Toyota Material Handling US president Brett Wood was impressed by the rise of automation on show at CeMAT – both process automation and automated forklifts. "There’sbeen a big increase in automated and semi-automated lift trucks. Years ago, it was just moving a product from point A to point B, now it's also about lifting it to point C," he says. He believes automation has been beneficial for  customers in terms of efficiency and safety.  He was also struck by the increased presence of Chinese manufacturers at CeMAT this year. 
For LiuGong North American forklift division president Ken Biediger, CeMAT was an opportunity to "tell our story, to tell people who LuiGong is and how we’re different from the other Chinese manufacturers – not only product-wise, but our business model and practice as well". 

Jungheinrich chairman Hans-Georg Frey As one of the biggest exhibitors at CeMAT, Jungheinrich regards the show as the most important show in the intralogistics sector, according to chairman Hans-Georg Frey. "At least on the Jungheinrich booth, we have had a very good turn-out of customers," he says.  One of the big drawcards at the huge Jungheinrich display was the IFOY-winning EKX 516 narrow-aisle stacker with a unique dampening device to stabilise the ride overuneven surfaces.  "Another very interesting exhibit is the automatic pallet mover (APM). We are not only offering the forklift, but we are offering complete logistics solutions integrating all the new digitalisation," he adds. The Jungheinrich display included a range of lithium-ion solutions, also available as replacements in existing electric trucks. 
One of the notable absentees from the CeMAT exhibitor line-up was Linde, which has missed the last three editions, opting instead to host its own exhibition in May. Vice president of sales and service marketing Massimilano Sammartano noted that some of his rivals were showing their offerings in the digital world, along with some newer energy options, but he was impressed with some of the offerings in the Industry 4.0 hall. Some of these themes were explored at Linde’s recent World of Materials Handling event, which highlighted many non-forklift solutions, he says. 
Martin McVicar, managing director of Combilift, sees CeMAT as one of the most important shows for his company, and brought 19 products to Hannover. "We really want to show our dealers what the products can do," he says, explaining the large demonstration area.  McVicar notes smaller visitor number numbers early in the show, but "we have had some very good contacts and are positive about going forward with CeMAT".  The company used the event to hand over its 30,000th truck to Austrian customer Haslinger Stahlbau. 

Peter Maton and Philippe Vindevogel from Vulkoprin Philippe Vindevogel, sales and marketing manager of wheel and tyre maker Vulkoprin, notes the lack of big attendance numbers at the event, but was very happy with the interest in his stand. "When you prepare in a proper manner and invite your visitors to come over, you can make sure that the correct people come to see you," he says. Colleague Peter Maton adds that the high concentration of OEM partners in Europe helped ensure the success of the company’s participation. "It’s not the quantity, but the quality that counts," he stresses. 
Hu Wenhong, vice general manager of Heli, saw the show get off to a slow start, but pick up significantly by the second day. "We brought some new products – a reach truck, a three-wheel electric and some warehouse equipment as well as a four-wheel electric forklift, all designed for the export market," he explains. 
Davide Roncari, Cascade senior vice president operations – international, brought a substantial range of attachments and forks to CeMAT, including some new products like a carton clamp and a paper clamp, both of which "keep an eye on the environment".  Roncari says attachments are under pressure to be more energy efficient, with tweaks to hydraulics aimed at reducing fuel consumption. 

Matthias Fischer, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling Europe Matthias Fischer, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling Europe, also saw the show gather pace after a slow start, with leads up 25% early in the show. He notes a significant change in the visitor profile over the years, "from a lot of drivers and small companies to more and moredecision makers and larger entities".  Rather than focusing on product, Toyota opted to provide some insight into its culture, with a virtual tour of a production line and a glimpse into some future solutions. However, a number of new machines, many based on lithium-ion batteries, were on show alongside some logistics solutions. "The solution is getting more and more important for the customer than the products," he says. 
EP vice president Tian Sang attributed the slow start of CeMAT and the reduced exhibitor numbers to a combination of the increased frequency of the show (every second year) and the growing number of international CeMAT events. She was happy to see new products on most stands, but didn’t really see anything overly impressive. 
Bill Pedriana, director of sales & marketing at Big Joe Forklifts, and EP vice president Tian Sang She notes that it’s important for China’s EP to show off its products at shows like CeMAT to clearly differentiate from the German and Japanese OEMs. There were almost 20 new mid- to low- end products suitable for the European market.  EP continues to make inroads in the US, according to Bill Pedriana, director of sales & marketing at Big Joe Forklifts, by tapping into the trust in the 60-year-old Big Joe brand. "We’re bringing EP innovation to the market with a brand that’s trusted," he says. 
John Maguire, director of Narrow Aisle, notes a very big difference from past CeMATs. "We had a great response from the outset. We were disappointed at the last show that there weren’t many overseas visitors, but this year we saw many, many foreign visitors. We are here because of overseas customers, not so much the European customers, because our products work best with the ISO pallet (as opposed to the EURO pallet)," he says, particularly welcoming rising interest from China and South East Asia, which are growing warehouse markets. Chu Jiang, vice president of Ruyi, says a new product range enabled his company to take its biggest stand to date at CeMAT. "We have new products and I have to introduce these to our customers – not only new designs, but new functions," he says, adding that there is a focus on safety and operator comfort while keeping costs down. "In fact, every product here has something new. Some of them are small changes, others feature a lot of change." 
In 2018, CeMAT returns to Hannover slightly earlier in the year and for five days instead of four, coinciding with the larger Hannover Fair. The move is not without controversy, with some exhibitors welcoming the potential for additional visitors while others fearing the influx of "non-industry people", accommodation shortages and general crowding.