It was a stunning debut indeed. Prior to the show they thought 17,000 attendees would be likely, but more than 32,000 came through the gates.
More than 300 exhibitors took booth space at the event, which like its American big brother in Las Vegas, featured an outdoor lot overflowing with haul trucks, excavators, crushers and cranes. Several indoor exhibit halls were filled as well.
Also, like ConExpo-Con/Agg, the event featured an ample educational component. Rock Products and Mining Media International teamed up with AEM to produce an aggregates education track. I was proud to serve as the moderator of the seminars. As my Spanish is extremely bad, I was thankful that they offered simultaneous translation services.
Latin American aggregates producers were keenly interested in the content of the sessions, which included a history of the cone crusher, by Dave McCracken, KPI-JCI/Astec Mobile Screens; fines recovery and water management, by Courtney Barrett, McLanahan Corp.; crushing technology and mobile equipment screening by Gabriel Alvarez, Powerscreen; and dry, fine screening solutions, also by Dave McCracken.
The attendees asked a number of questions and in talking to them afterwards, I learned that technology issues are high on their list, as they seek to streamline operations and garner additional efficiencies at plants that are currently not the most sophisticated.
The aggregates industry in Chile is very small, while further north in Columbia it is thriving. It was very interesting to compare notes and get a sense of where the Latin American industry is, which by many accounts, is similar to the 1950s in the United States.
In speaking with industry manufacturers, it is clear they see a giant market ripe for expansion in Latin America, especially in countries where the government is stable and open to growing its industrial base.
In case you were wondering, I returned to the United States just as Hurricane Patricia tore into Mexico, and I flew out of Houston for home before the torrential rain and floods hit.
The trip was a success on all levels.