Plant & Works Engineering
Industry is open for business!
Published:  05 August, 2010

Industry professionals were able to gain the broadest insight concerning what industry solutions are currently available on the market at the recent Plant & Works, Drives & Controls, Air-Tech and IFPEX Exhibitions at the NEC, Birmingham between 8-10 June 2010.

Ian Atkinson, managing director of DFA Media - event organiser - explained DFA's co-located shows have shown "significant growth despite tough conditions for manufacturers, highlighting industry"s continuing commitment to support these important events during the downturn”. The total number of exhibitors for the combined shows were up from 221 to 234 (6% growth), with net metreage up by 4.7%. Visitor numbers for the four events were over 8600, and on par with the four shows in 2008.

Plant and Works Exhibition

Exhibitors at the Plant and Works Exhibition were a mix of suppliers of plant and maintenance equipment and related products and services. Condition monitoring was a core area for the show, with many using the event as a launch pad for their latest developments.

For example the new Tork Performance W4 wall-mounted dispenser was the highlight of the Tork stand. Also on show were Tork Advanced 420 wipers and Tork Multipurpose 530 cloths designed to save time and cut costs in machine maintenance and site cleaning operations.

This was the first time that Tork had taken a stand at the biennial Plant & Works exhibition. “The show was a great success”, said SCA Tissue Europe’s industrial product and market manager Mark Riley. “We gained excellent exposure and generated some good leads, Both the quality of the visitors and the relevance to Tork was high.”

The Tork Performance range comprises seven dispensers in various formats and a choice of two colours. The W4 wall-mounted system is designed to reduce consumption by dispensing wipers one at a time to minimise waste and over-use.

Wipers available in the W4 system include Tork Premium 530, a low-linting, durable wiper ideal for solvent wiping and degreasing. Tork Premium 530 can be used for machine maintenance, repair tasks and general site cleaning operations.

Graeme Dunne, managing director, GDO Engineering Services, highlighted how he felt the show went for his company: “Plant and Works 2010, as our first company trade show has proven a total success.  Interest in our condition monitoring techniques, especially with regard to electric motor condition monitoring (MCM) was considerable due to the cost savings it offers against unplanned downtime.  Having received many excellent leads over the period of the event, which have now been followed up, we have actually already secured contracts with contacts made from the exhibition, not only for our core services but in addition for those companies we represent as a distributor.  We have also seen a fourfold increased in our website enquiries.

“Now firmly in the belief that exhibitions are as core to business development as they were in the past, we are confirming our attendance at Plant and Works 2012.”

Handling and Storage exhibitors were also present in force at this year’s show, ranging from forklift truck manufacturers to labelling systems and printers. In addition energy related products and services highlighted the diverse nature of the Plant & Works Exhibition.  For example Rob McCord, head of national accounts at Flogas commented: “The Plant & Works Exhibition provided us with a great way to introduce our newly launched New Energy division to the manufacturing and commercial sector.

“We were busy throughout the show and received some really positive feedback on our New Energy offering, which provides companies looking to switch from oil to LPG with a cost-effective way in which they can save money, reduce their carbon emissions and meet the government targets required of them. It was also a great chance for us to discuss the ever-changing energy needs of the manufacturing industry with its representatives face-to-face.”

Focus on Health and Safety across all industry sectors was emphasised by the co-located events working in association with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). In addition the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) was also exhibiting to promote the best in Health and Safety.

The Plant and Works Exhibition also recorded healthy growth, with exhibitors up from 41 in 2008 to 46 at this year’s event (12% increase).

Drives & Controls Show

Many of the UK’s leading automation and motion engineering companies showed their confidence in the future of the industry by booking substantial stands for the 2010 event. Exhibitors were up from 89 in 2008 to 103 (16% increase) in 2010. The show size was also up by 500m2 from 2151 to 2630 m2 (22% growth).

All sectors of the industry were represented at the exhibition, including automation, drives, motors, safety, mechanical and actuation, and electrical. Other technologies represented at the show, included communications, sensors and measurement and software.

The 2010 event also included a Chinese delegation with at least twice as many exhibitors as in 2008, and highlighted the event’s growing international credentials.

Drives & Controls clearly remains the UK's premier event for power transmission, motion control and automation.

John Wilkins, Rittal marketing services manager commented: “We were overwhelmed by the response we had at the 2010 Drives and Controls Exhibition. The excellent quality and sheer number of leads were outstanding, far exceeding our highest expectations. Decision makers from Blue-Chip companies were at the show in force, making the event an invaluable and unique business opportunity. In comparison with other similar events around the world the Drives and Controls Exhibition is at the very top. We look forward to 2012.”

Carl Krajewski
HMK Technical Services Ltd also highlighted his company’s success: "Drives & Controls 2010 surprised us once again with a fantastic quality of visitors. We had half expected poor attendance and poor quality due to the unfavourable economic environment and the over utilisation of remaining engineers in industry, but reality could not have been further from that. We had 65 quality enquiries over the three days, with the majority coming from new potential clients. We have ready secured orders on the back of the show. The resounding consensus is that we can not wait for the next show in 2012 "


The compressed air industry’s event - Air-Tech 2010 returned to its NEC home confident of its position as the UK’s number one forum for compressed air and pneumatics businesses.

Air-Tech was again an all-encompassing event covering the whole of the compressed air supply chain from compressors to practical applications. The show highlighted technologies such as air treatment equipment and instrumentation, air dryers, condensing separators, heat exchangers and control systems. The show also had the endorsement of the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS).

Andy Jones, general manager of Mattei UK told PWE: “It’s been really good. We’ve done the right thing coming here. It’s been a very positive show for us. We are definitely doing Air-Tech again. The new generator showcase for Air-Tech 2012 also looks extremely interesting and will be an exciting addition to the exhibition.”

Colin Mander, managing director of Compair UK was also positive about his company’s decision to attend: “We’ve had good leads from the right customers - a lot of Blue-Chip companies have attended the show. It’s also been an ideal opportunity to show all our distributors and potential new distributors the new products that we’ve launched. It’s been really useful for us. We will be coming back in 2012.”


The International Fluid Power Exhibition (IFPEX) once again took centre stage. IFPEX has always provided the ideal forum; as much for important networking as for displays of the latest products, services, advice and guidance. This was reflected in an increase in exhibitors up from 59 to 61 (3% growth).

Together with the more traditional mechanical hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical/electronic disciplines, electro-hydraulics systems are now becoming increasingly common within various industry sectors – and with many convincing benefits to report. Indeed, it is impossible to ignore the impressive advances in electronics with fluid power systems; offering benefits in all areas; including fuel consumption, noise, emissions and systems monitoring. The later of these items of course adds to reliability with the ability to spot potential problems before they cause damage. Real-time condition monitoring saves real money. With this in mind, IFPEX featured a number of leading industry players who were geared to explain all the benefits of such solutions and outline how such systems could prove ideal for organisations.

Independent Free Seminars

Complementing this year’s events were a highly focused series of more than 32 seminars (the largest seminar programme for the DFA series of shows to date) that gave delegates the opportunity to pick up best practice tips and valuable advice from a variety of speakers, representing a cross section of the engineering and manufacturing sector. Presentations ranged from energy management and plant safety to manual handling, Ethernet communications and gearbox maintenance.

Issues such as marketing strategy and even an insight into the financial world to help visitors understand the often misunderstood concept of lending criteria and what banks are looking for in manufacturers in today’s economic climate, were also presented.

Organisations represented in the seminar programme included: GAMBICA, the British Gear Association, Carbon Trust, HSE, Barclays Bank, The Institute of Marketing, The British Compressed Air Society, The British Fluid Power Association, The Institution of Diagnostics Engineers, The University of Bath, Cranfield University, BINDT, plus many others.

This year’s seminar programme was a positive reflection of both commerce and industry keen to participate in key issues and discussions at such a crucial time.

Ian Atkinson commented: “The combination of leading manufacturing events gave a visitors a unique opportunity to formulate the whole of their manufacturing strategy at once, while keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in industry. Exhibitors collectively represented the cutting edge of the most fundamental aspects of engineering today.”

The biennial events will return to the NEC, Birmingham between 17-19 April 2012, alongside MACH.

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