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BTB 34: Elmia Wood 2013

Live demo or a static in-woods show?

— Gary Olsen, factory sales representative, international

I remember attending and being overwhelmed and awed at my very first Elmia Wood Show as a post graduate student way back in 1993 and I’ve been privileged enough to have attended all but one of the subsequent shows.

A static show: Tigercat machines are set-up in a cleared area of a forest, a large number of people disbursed throughout the scene stand atop mulch covered ground, Tigercat show tents are far in the distance.

Since Tigercat’s first participation at Elmia Wood in 2001, I can without doubt say that the level of dynamic activity in the form of actual logging has seen a steady decline to the point where this year’s show was only marginally more than a static in-the-woods show. Most of the actual dynamic logging operations have become little more than contrived and choreographed show-pieces offering precious little for prospective machine buyers looking to see the latest and greatest developments in action.

However, attendance for the 2013 show was staggering with 50 000 visitors over the four days and to this end Elmia is an excellent branding exercise for the Scandinavian forest industry. With visitors from South America, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, the exhibition had a definite and much needed international flavour, despite the fact that many of the Scandinavian style machines on display are offering solutions for problems most people do not have. The traditionally large focus on small scale harvesting at this show, while interesting, is of very little relevance for the large commercial plantation operations that exist in the Southern Hemisphere.

The large scale cut-to-length focus certainly makes for more interest for the international visitor and the opportunity to better understand, touch or climb in new machines is of high value. Perhaps of even greater value is the opportunity to speak to the OEM staff, owners and engineers and take advantage of the chance to better understand trends, progress and reasons for change and advancement of machines and designs. In addition to the 1055B and 1075B forwarders and the 1135 harvester, Tigercat brought the new 610C double drum winch mountain skidder as well as representatives from Belgian Tigercat dealer, Clohse-Group. Clohse will be demonstrating the machine in Belgium, Germany and France over the next few months. Tigercat also dedicated a cadre of engineers and senior level personnel to interact with customers.

Elmia Wood remains a world-class industry event and is well respected worldwide. However, it might be time for the organizers and participants to rethink the format and return to larger scale live demonstrations that more closely approximate real-world operations.