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Groundbreaking Interest at Intermat 2000

PARIS - If the sheer size of Intermat 2000 was any indication of how the international construction and engineering market is faring, then no worries. From May 16 to 21 at the Paris-Nord Exhibition Centre, an estimated 190,000 people maneuvered their way around 3 million square feet of exhibition area, including an outdoor exhibition, with almost 2,000 equipment brands from 33 countries.

Multinational companies in the earthmoving sector such as Caterpillar, Manitou and Bobcat/Ingersoll-Rand staked out some of the prime real estate at the show and treated visitors to live demonstrations of their newest machines.

"We exhibited over 35 machines this week," Vito Baumgartner, president of Caterpillar Overseas, told RER. "This included many new products, notably our brand-new line of skid-steer loaders ,which is making its debut on the European market."

Product innovations and the impact of new technology dominated this year's event. firms such as, Cobra Mensura, Methocad, and Geomedia touted their products and services aimed at meeting the emerging online needs of the construction and civil engineering sector.

One area was dedicated to introducing hundreds of local youngsters to the ins and outs of the manufacturing industry. Many trooped to a cyber cafe where they connected online with some of the exhibitors, watched corporate videos and met with various industry experts.

The show also marked the debut of several companies, including French manufacturer Speedo International, which is in the personal platform machine market. Sylvie Fung, spokeswoman for the company, said Speedo plans to unveil its platforms in the United States later this year. The platforms are geared for painters, electricians, contractors and small-homeowners.

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