EDITOR’S COMMENT ISSUE 58 AUG 2017 / SEPT 2017
Come rain or shine
Mother nature provided a stiff test for exhibitors and visitors to the Elmia forestry show but all passed with flying colours
It was an uncomfortable start to the show when failure to buy a new pair of boots led to a plimsole being lost to the quagmire that was being passed off as the Elmia carpark. As anyone at the show will attest, three days of hard rain leading into, and continuing through, the opening day had left the showgrounds, and surrounds, in a horrendous state.
However, after being fitted with a sturdy pair of Australian-made work boots moments after entering the main exhibition area, myself and my colleague – himself battling to keep the torrential rain from sliding off his clean, bald head and down the back of his shirt – were ready to take on the information overload that awaited us.
I must admit some embarrassment that my first impression of the show was surprise at the positive atmosphere. Despite the torrential rain, the numbers were strong and mood was buoyant. When we passed through the media centre there were smiles all-round. The downpour appeared to be water off a duck’s back, so to speak.
For most other industries, such weather for an outdoor event would have been regarded as a catastrophe. Not so for the resilient folk of the forestry space.
And the mood was contagious. Even the insulated, office-softened editor and sales executive from International Forest Industries were soon in high spirits. Soon enough, the lost plimsole and mud underfoot were destined to be hilarious footnotes of a great first day.
My mood was also enhanced by my colleague going knee-deep into a puddle camouflaged by woodchips. He took it uncharacteristically well.
The atmosphere was maintained throughout the day. Everyone we spoke to was enthusiastic about their business and their technologies, eager to show off what they had been working on – in some cases three years’ work leading into Elmia.
And it was clear to see why. The standard of innovation was exceptional. Perhaps it’s the grounded nature of the forestry equipment manufacturers that allows them to have such a tight-knit relationship with their customers, but there are few other industries that can claim to innovate so closely in line with their industry’s needs.
And this isn’t confined to the smaller companies or to certain sub-sectors of the industry – it is part of the fabric that makes up the forestry culture.
We therefore had countless conversations around new applications, tweaks to existing technologies and a few genuine product breakthroughs. Without exception, we could see these advancements making positive impacts on the daily lives of those operating in the forests.
A handful of those technology upgrades and releases have made it into the pages of this edition of IFI. Had we had the resources, that section of the magazine could have been literally several hundred pages.
And, so, we emerged from our three days at Elmia satisfied and impressed. We said a silent prayer of thanks for the serendipitous upgrade and resulting extra ground clearance of our hire car, which somehow managed to wade through the sea of wet sod (the carpark) to the sealed roads. Then we guiltily enjoyed the seat warmers and climate control settings as we settled in for the drive to the airport.
And, as we reflected on the past few days – the attitudes and the technologies – we were reminded precisely why it is we love this industry.