Monday, 8 August 2011

Making an exhibition of yourself

A colleague of mine, a stalwart in the plant, tool and equipment industry, was recently bemoaning that the perceived decline in plant and equipment trade shows was inhibiting the opportunities to see new equipment on display or in a working environment.

I was a little taken aback by these comments.

Although two specific plant shows were recently cancelled, to my mind there are still a number of exhibitions in the UK and Europe that offer the chance to view all the latest plant and tools, both large and small, mechanical and non-mechanical.

SED was always one to look forward to, but that is now in the past and the promoters of the forthcoming Plantworx 2013 show should be commended for their wholehearted efforts to ensure that we will have a working trade show to replace SED. It was a shame that the Big Plant and Off-Road show never got off the ground, I gather there was quite considerable interest by prospective exhibitors, but in the end it appears that the organisers couldn’t get quite enough support to ensure its success.

So, assuming we can’t all wait until 2013 to satisfy our lust for new plant and machinery, where do we go in the coming months to get our fix of metal and diesel?

Well, firstly, let’s travel back in time to June and revisit Amsterdam, host of the International Rental Exhibition. The show was supported by some quality exhibitors from right across Western Europe, but the three days suffered from a lack of visitors, which makes one wonder if the rental industry on mainland Europe is mature enough to host an exhibition of this sort. However, it was reported that the people who did turn up were reputably key decision makers from blue chip rental organisations.

Moving up to the present and once summer is out of the way, we can look forward to visiting SALTEX in September. SALTEX is organised by the IOG and always has a vast array of plant and machinery on display right across Windsor Racecourse. Obviously it is biased towards the landscape and gardening markets, but always well worth a look around, with some top brand names showcasing their latest equipment.

Once we have indulged ourselves on mowers, chippers and tractors, we can then all pop across the M4 to descend on the Showman’s Show, held each year at the Newbury Showground in October. This is one of my favourite shows, as it combines a fun atmosphere with some serious pieces of kit, including generators, telehandlers, lighting sets, fencing, temporary trackway and structures. Each year many of the UK's largest hire firms take up some space to display their line up of products hoping to catch the eye of event and festival organisers’ right across Europe.

Then we have a little winter break during November and December, but in January we can look forward to the Event Show, at Olympia, which as changed focus over the years, mainly targeting the exhibition industry, but nonetheless you can still find a good selection of interesting equipment, particularly in the temporary accommodation sectors.

In February, the great and good from the tool and equipment hire trade gather at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena for the aptly named Executive Hire Show. Now, old timers like me, still hanker after the HIREX exhibitions which used to cover two or more halls at Wembley, but this is now and those days are gone for good. The Executive Hire Show is the one for the small plant industry and everyone working within this market should make the effort to attend. Indeed, I am always impressed with the amount of effort the Executive Hire Show team put into promoting the show - it was well supported in 2011 and should be equally successful in 2012.

In addition to these specific shows, there are a number of specialist exhibitions dotted around, which the most discerning ‘exhibition junkie’ should consider. I am thinking of the Health and Safety Show (the name is the giveaway with what you will find inside!), the Plant and Waste Recycling Show and its rival, the Recycling and Waste Management Show, which is attended by many local authorities and recycling organisations.

For those of us that are more adventurous; a trip into Europe will find you at Bauma, set for Munich in 2013, or Intermat Paris in April 2012. These are massive set-ups which both feature, what can only be described as a whole town of tools, construction plant, machinery and equipment from right across the world.

So, in conclusion, when I placed this information in front of my erstwhile colleague, I noted with some satisfaction that a gleam had entered into his eyes, as he started making notes about the shows and exhibitions he would attend in the coming months.

It looks like he will be there, so maybe we’ll see you in the aisles!

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