The first ever iVT Expo – a brand-new event for the off-highway vehicle industry that showcases nothing but the latest and next-generation components and technologies – has been unanimously declared a success after its inaugural staging in Cologne, Germany, last week (13-14 February 2019).
The event combined a free-to-attend exhibition with four conferences, each addressing the critical issues that will shape future vehicles: increasing hybridisation and electrification; autonomous technology; improved cab design and ergonomics; and greater powertrain efficiency and reduced emissions.
More than 90 exhibitors presented their latest solutions – with highlights including the debut of Bel Power’s new BCL Series 25kW onboard bidirectional inverter charger for hybrid and full-electric vehicles; ABB’s HES880 mobile drive, which can be used both as a standalone drive or as part of an electric powertrain; Opal-RT’s real-time simulation technology for testing and validating electric motor drives; and Avid Technology’s demonstration of its seal-free electric water pump to help keep electrified powertrain components cool. AVL List was also on hand to provide an update on its new, flexible, cost-efficient, high-performing electric tractor chassis.
Visitors seeking solutions to enhance cab comfort were able to check out KAB Seating’s latest Sciox seat range for construction and agricultural vehicles. Fortaco Group presented a solution for powering the air-conditioning system even when the engine is turned off, and Caldaro presented the latest version of its Viper joystick grip – the XT.
For those looking for ways to enable greater vehicle autonomy, b-plus provided live demonstrations of its Validation Toolchain, a complete system for the recording, analysis and processing of the many sensor inputs (such as cameras and radar) involved in automated vehicles.
These and many other exciting new product launches and technology developments dominated proceedings, attracting more than 1,000 attendees in total over the two days of the show. Closed to the general public, this was not an event for farmers, contractors or casual vehicle fans. There were no vehicles on display or for sale. Instead, the first ever iVT Expo exclusively catered for those who build the machines, conveniently bringing together all the latest new components and technologies under one roof for serious business discussion and valuable networking opportunities.
“The quality of visitors is very high,” commented Ronald de Jeu, account manager, Würth Elektronik ICS GmbH, Germany. “We didn’t get any pen collectors or those just looking for bags and goodies. All the people we’ve seen are potentially new customers or are existing customers with new projects. It’s been far beyond our expectations, particularly for the size of the show, to have as many leads as we have received. It was a far better show for us than Agritechnica, for instance. The overall feeling on the quality of the leads is really good.”
“Here you can find the right people, in the right spot, together,” said Stefan Taxer, mobile automation product manager for B&R Industrial, Austria, who was at the show to present the company’s innovative X90 product line for mastering mobile control and I/O tasks. “It is not as big as Bauma or Agritechnica, so it’s easier to make the contacts that we are interested in for our business, which is automation solutions for agriculture and construction markets.”
“It’s been very good. We’ve had some very interesting conversations, with good OEM discussions in particular, so for us the quality was brilliant,” added Daniel Magnus, marketing manager, Sontheim Industrie Elektronik GmbH, Germany. “We’re looking forward to next year.”
“For Avid, this show has definitely been worthwhile and value for money, allowing us to continue to promote our brand and our wide portfolio of all our products,” noted Iain Young, sales director, Avid Technology Ltd, UK. “I think what’s different about this show, versus other events, is the quality of visitors on our stand coming from the markets that we’re focused on in both the off- and on-road vehicle sectors.”
Meanwhile the four pay-to-attend conferences – Autonomous Industrial Vehicle Technology; Electric & Hybrid Industrial Vehicle Technology; Industrial Vehicle Powertrain Technology; and Industrial Vehicle Cab Design & Technology – brought together over 80 expert speakers to address critical trends and discuss best practice.
Leading speakers included Uwe Müller, chief project manager – advanced engineering, Volvo Construction Equipment, who presented ‘Electric Site: the future of quarries is electric’; Elza Marisa Paiva de Figueiredo, autonomous system manager for Europe, Danfoss Power Solutions, who provided an introduction to off-highway autonomous machine design; and Gustavo Guerra, design director, Volvo Construction Equipment, who discussed the future of human-centric design.
“The panel discussions at the conferences have been very interesting,” said Peter Reuterberg, chief designer for Volvo CE. “In particular, I enjoyed a discussion on autonomy regarding liability issues, which was very illuminating. I’ve met some good new contacts and I’d definitely come back next year.”
“I came because I’m interested in autonomous vehicles and some powertrain developments,” added Thomas Fedde, advanced engineering manager, Claas Tractor, Germany. “As a vehicle developer, it’s been interesting to come and get the latest news about what is going on in the vehicle component industry, and what are the current developments.”
“It’s been very interesting,” noted Axel Meister, director strategic marketing, Danfoss Power Solutions, Germany. “The exhibition and conferences cover a wide range of topics. It’s a good event for specialists, with deep-dive discussions on new technology topics, and it’s also good for getting a strategic understanding and general overview of key trends and what is happening in the market.”
With so many important OEM and Tier 1 and Tier 2 thought leaders in one place, all those who attended the first iVT Expo agreed that it offered the perfect opportunity to make new contacts, source new ideas and discover the latest components and technologies.
Next year the show will take place a little later in the year. The dates for iVT Expo 2020 are Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 June, with the event once again returning to the Köln Messe, Cologne, Germany.