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Hillhead Digital Preview Part 1

Taking place exclusively online from 30-31 March 2021, Hillhead Digital combines a multi-stream conference with an innovative exhibition platform that will allow the quarrying, construction and recycling sectors to engage like never before. With over 300 exhibitors registered and more than 50 free-to-attend seminars and live panels confirmed across two days, in this two-part preview QM takes a look at the key themes of the virtual conference and previews some of the latest plant, technological innovations and services at this inaugural all-digital event for the industry 

Twelve months ago, the world of Zoom, webinars and online product launches were considered to be a very niche area of the events sector and corporate landscape. Fast forward to 2021 and it seems everyone now has something to say about the new virtual world, as companies embrace emerging digital technologies and seek new ways to engage, collaborate and do business in the post-pandemic era.  

Hillhead Digital – which will take place online from 30–31 March 2021 – opens up a new virtual event platform for organizers the QMJ Group, with high-calibre industry speakers and online delegates coming together to learn, share knowledge and ideas, and to connect with relevant industry professionals and exhibiting companies. 

Under the theme: ‘New Horizons | Building the Recovery’, the multi-stream online conference will feature over 50 highly engaging, educational and informative presentations and no less than 12 panel discussions across two days, providing invaluable insights into the major developments that will shape and transform the mineral extractives and construction sectors over the next decade.

The seminars have been specifically chosen to deliver a high-quality programme of topical and technical presentations that will be an invaluable source of knowledge and key advice for those who work in the mineral products industry and construction supply chain, as keynotes, speakers and panels explore the themes of Decarbonization, Digitalization and Infrastructure. 

Conference programme highlights

Among the many high calibre speakers confirmed for the virtual symposium are: Martin Baxter, executive director of policy at IEMA, who will open ‘The Carbon Crisis’ session with ‘Making the transition to a low-carbon future’; and Jane Lindsay-Green, an energy-transition specialist from Shell International, who will demonstrate the transforming landscape with ‘Responding to changing energy needs: the pathway to decarbonization in construction and cement’.

Complementing the climate change theme, Tim Burnhope, JCB’s chief innovation officer, will feature in the ‘Time to Flick the Switch’ session. Mr Burnhope will explain how innovative near-zero-emission diesel engines and groundbreaking electric and hydrogen technologies can help accelerate the roadmap to zero emissions.

During the ‘Making Modern Materials’ session which closes the Decarbonization stream, among the speakers taking part will be John Shields, owner and group energy director of Longcliffe Quarries, who has set the ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2027 and will present ‘Calcium Carbonates without the Carbon’.

Opening the Digitalization stream, Avi Nowitz and Eitan Vesely of SKF will contribute to the ‘Removing the Human factor’ session by providing a unique insight into ‘Automated Machine Learning’ through SKF’s Enlight AI solution.

Robert Whetstone, vice-president of Martin Engineering, will join Valeria Zimenkoya to explore ‘The challenges of creating win-win business models with IoT solutions’ in the ‘Intelligent Plant Control’ session.

Meanwhile, Dr Liam Bermingham of EPC-UK will present in the ‘Evolution at the Interface’ session and explore how a digital quarry, alongside mobile plant telematic systems, can make a significant impact on productivity, effectiveness, and safety – as well as cost savings in the blasting process.

The Infrastructure stream will look at the impact of HS2 on the minerals extractive industry. The Tarmac team of Rob Gossling, head of commercial engineering; Graham Cooper, lime director; and Robert Lane, HS2 general manager, will explore the project’s commitment to more sustainable construction with ‘Facing the Challenges of HS2’ and ‘HS2 Raising the Bar’.

The latest technologies transforming road construction will also be discussed with Marcus Wiksten of Topcon Positioning Group using the Nordøyvegen project – an impressive civil engineering scheme connecting five islands off the coast of Norway – as a case study on ‘how to win the bid for Infrastructure Projects’.

The Decarbonization and Infrastructure streams of the conference to be held on 30 and 31 March, respectively, will be hosted online by Susannah Streeter – a leading broadcaster and financial commentator, who has anchored flagship BBC business news programmes on TV and radio, and moderated at major summits, conferences and events, including the recent World Green Economy Summit in Dubai. 

The Digitalization stream on 31 March will be moderated by Zoe Kleinman, a leading technology journalist and presenter with 20 years of broadcasting experience and a passion for all things tech, having covered stories home and abroad for some of the UK’s most-watched news shows, as well as BBC World TV and national and international BBC Radio, such as Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme. 

The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) will also run a dedicated ‘People’ stream on 30 March exploring the technical and leadership skills that the people delivering this transformational change will need to master. Entitled ‘Creating Future Leaders: Building Skills for the Future’, three sessions throughout the day will look at the health and safety challenges in the post-pandemic era; what makes a good leader – beyond technical competence; and skills capability and personal development for the mineral extractives professionals of tomorrow.

And with some areas of the conference programme oversubscribed, plans are being made to add a fifth ‘Industry Spotlight’ stream to accommodate wider demand for participation in the event. A full agenda and line-up of speakers for this stream will be announced in the coming weeks.

Thinking digitally 

With digital technology playing an increasingly key role in helping businesses to grow and evolve, more than 300 UK and international suppliers of plant, equipment, materials and services have confirmed their participation at Hillhead Digital.  

Attendees at the online event will be able to browse through hundreds of exhibiting companies, sourcing the latest equipment and service solutions in the quarrying, construction and recycling industries. Functionality will allow them to visit virtual booths, request/arrange online meetings with company representatives (live chat or Zoom); watch exclusive new product videos; peer-to-peer network; download brochures, conference handouts and other useful information into their online basket; and much more.

Richard Bradbury, managing director of the QMJ Group, commented: ‘With exhibitors unable to showcase their products and services at physical exhibitions over the last year, Hillhead Digital will provide a dynamic platform for the community to reconnect and share all of the positive developments that will help shape the construction recovery.

‘Our digital-format event will extend Hillhead’s international reach and increase its coverage of the technology sector and younger demographic groups. It will celebrate the enormous contribution the sector makes to the UK.’

On the following pages we provide a brief glimpse of some of the latest innovations, products and services to watch out for at next month’s all-digital event. 

Environmental equipment manufacturers ACE Plant will be exhibiting a full line-up of their mobile dust-suppression equipment, as well as one of the largest ranges of fully bunded diesel and AdBlue bowsers available in the UK. The company will also be highlighting its collaborative approach to working with all of its customers and this is emphasized by delivering fully bespoke solutions tailored to individual requirements, ranging from specialized dust-suppression systems and mobile lighting towers through to Bundie Bowser storage equipment. 

Innovation and problem-solving will be key themes featured predominantly in the Acorn Industrial Services virtual booth. The company will be highlighting an extensive range of products, from bearings and couplings to power transmission systems and maintenance/condition monitoring equipment that minimize unplanned plant downtime. Hillhead Digital will also provide the perfect platform for Acorn to announce a new partnership with leading power transmission specialists Gates. The new distribution agreement with Acorn means that Gates’ power transmission products will now be more accessible than ever. Gates’ pioneering approach to manufacturing and product innovation has led to the development of the premium V-belt brand Predator – a robust solution for quarrying and mining applications. This advanced belt helps to eliminate maintenance requirements whilst standing up to heavy shock loads and extreme contamination. The Predator V-belts are suitable for a range of machines, including crushers, screens, pumps and conveyors.

Air-Seal Products will be promoting their unique range of tyre sealants, which can prevent up to 95% of all punctures (up to 30mm) whilst preventing all rim, bead and other slow air leaks. From HGVs and trailers to dumpers and forklifts, the company’s sealants are used on pneumatic tyres worldwide and have increasingly become a proven, major solution in the past two decades. A strong emphasis on saving fuel costs and how a single treatment of Air-Seal’s tyre sealants, which can cost less than the average single tyre repair, will be highlighted in the company’s virtual booth.  

Specialist robotic technology is rapidly becoming a leading innovation for the demolition industry. With this in mind, Astrak – one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of excavator undercarriage and wear parts – will be unveiling their Duraline XD replacement rubber pads specifically designed for Brokk robotic demolition equipment. The DuraLine XD replacement stabilizer pads have been specially designed for superior durability, higher productivity and ease of fitting/removal, using premium-quality abrasion-resistant rubber and state-of-the-art equipment whilst following the most stringent quality-control processes.

To be showcased exclusively online at Hillhead Digital, Atlantic Pumps will be exhibiting a unique filter press pump solution which offers the advantages of both a centrifugal slurry pump and positive displacement pump. According to the company, neither the SlurryPro centrifugal pump and positive displacement unit in the two-pump set-up needs to run continuously, or pump for longer than is necessary – unlike a centrifugal double-stage slurry pump option. As the filter press pump operates for a reduced combined time, site operators/end-users can reduce energy costs and downtime and, as a result, increase their bottom line. Also making their debut at the virtual event will be the company’s newly branded EnviroHub treatment tanks range. EnviroHub features a control system that can monitor, treat and report on water quality on site, via real-time automated datalogging and reporting tools. The new treatment tanks, which have already generated much industry interest, will be shown for the first time at a trade show. 

Brown McFarlane will be introducing one of the widest ranges of in-stock carbon and stainless steel plates available. In recent years, the company has invested heavily in new warehouses and the latest equipment, including a state-of-the-art processing facility offering steel plate profiling, high-definition plasma cutting, drilling, laser and water-jet cutting and machining. Further enhancing their stainless steel sheet and plate offerings to the quarrying and mining sectors, Brown McFarlane have been appointed as exclusive suppliers of high-performance, wear-resistant Creusabro products for the UK and Ireland, alongside other sole distributorships including NLMK Europe’s Quard range of abrasion plates and Quened line of Q&T plates. 

Bunting will be giving online attendees at Hillhead Digital an opportunity to see the company’s extensive range of magnetic separators, metal detectors and eddy current separators, and how they can stop costly machinery damage and enable metal recovery from waste. Among the products on show will be Bunting’s overband magnets, pulley magnets and industrial metal detectors, which have all been specially designed to detect and remove metal to protect crushers, screens and conveying equipment. The company will also be presenting its permanent range which includes: the popular PCB and QBC (quick belt change) overband magnets; and, specifically for the waste-recycling sector, overband/pulley magnets for the separation of ferrous metals, and eddy current separators for the recovery of non-ferrous metals.

Energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions have now become central to the way many businesses in the quarrying industry and related sectors operate. Echoing this message will be Cambridge & Counties Bank, who recently commissioned a research study into sentiments towards decarbonization and electrification of vehicles. The finance solutions specialist found that a vast majority of SME business owners (94%) believe UK companies that use vehicles and wheeled assets have a responsibility to change them to electric vehicles as soon as possible, with almost half (46%) saying this should be a priority.

Doosan will be launching a number of new machines at Hillhead Digital, including the DL-7 Series wheel loader range, the DX-7 crawler excavator and the latest ADT models, as well as a host of next-generation machinery solutions, driven by Stage V engines that have been developed to provide higher productivity, increased fuel efficiency and low cost of ownership. Another heavy-duty machine making its debut will be the 80-tonne DX800LC-7 – the largest excavator ever manufactured by Doosan. The company will also be demonstrating its XiteCloud smart solution, which maximizes productivity by incorporating complex 3D drone construction surveys and earthwork calculations into a cloud platform. XiteCloud is the first step in commercializing Concept-X – Doosan’s integrated unmanned and automated control solution which was first demonstrated to the construction plant market in 2019. 

Among the exhibits taking centre stage for EDGE Innovate will be the VS420 – a high-capacity, high torque twin-shaft shredder designed for processing a wide range of materials, including: construction and demolition waste; green waste, municipal solid waste; biomass; and end-of-life tyres. Powered by a Caterpillar C9.3B industrial engine (compliant with EU Stage V emissions standards), the waste shredder has been specifically engineered for versatility and high resistance to contaminants, whilst delivering strong performance and up to 9% lower fuel consumption, compared with Stage IIIB engine options. The company will also be presenting the EDGE SM186, a versatile wheel-mounted mobile screening solution designed for difficult and demanding applications, including aggregates, demolition waste, recycling, soils and compost. 

Contactless sensor technology specialists elobau UK will be showcasing their productivity-boosting innovations for the construction, off-highway and industrial sectors. Visitors to the company’s online booth will be able to see a wide range of mobile plant operator control products, accessories and sensors, including the company’s latest MA225 midi modular armrest and joystick concepts. Designed to help increase operator comfort and productivity, the innovative midi armrest can be customized with a number of control and operating elements, such as fingertip joysticks, thumbwheels and hand-throttle modules.

Compact crushing and screening equipment suppliers EvoQuip will be using Hillhead Digital to further promote their new Falcon range of finishing screens, which has been specially engineered to provide scalping, screening and stockpiling in a self-contained unit. Launched in December 2020, the Falcon 1220 and Falcon 1230 are compact, easily transportable machines and offer operators rapid set-up and tear-down times. The screenbox on the Falcon 1230 unit features three inclined decks – 3.66m x 1.52m (12ft x 5ft) on the top and middle, and 3.00m x 1.52m (10ft x 5ft) on the bottom – that provide a total screening area of 170ft2 for efficient, high-capacity screening, even at small fractions. The Falcon 1220 model features a 3.65m x 1.5m (12ft x 5ft) double-deck incline screen with a remote-tipping reject grid, hydraulic screen tensioning of the bottom deck and three on-board hydraulic folding conveyors as standard, with the option of adding a double-deck vibrating grid.

HES Sales, a leading supplier of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric tool brands, will be highlighting their successful track record in meeting the equipment and aftermarket needs of both SMEs and major construction firms. For example, the company was recently approached by a contractor for its on-site lifting and jacking expertise to help support the installation of a 65m bridge, over the M42 motorway, near Birmingham. The new road bridge – the first permanent structure to be installed along the route of HS2 – required innovative engineering techniques to minimize disruption to the road users below. The bridge was, therefore, constructed off site and manoeuvred along the motorway by a self-propelled modular transporter, before being affixed to composite concrete abutments. Supplied by HES Sales, 16 Hi-Force single-acting, fail-safe lock-ring cylinders – each with a 400-tonne lifting capacity – were placed upon temporary support stools on the east and west bridge abutments, resulting in a successful installation. 

Another company showcasing its industrial engineering expertise at Hillhead Digital will be JJ Loughran, who operate the largest Motovario Assembly Centre (MAC) in the UK and Ireland, providing fast turnaround times for a wide range of helical bevel, helical inline and parallel shaft gearboxes, from 14mm to 100mm bore. In addition, the company is a longstanding ABB authorized value provider, supplying motors up to 315kW off the shelf and electric motors (up to 710kW) from ABB’s central stock locations or factories directly. JJ Loughran also have distribution partnerships with other leading global manufacturers including: Danfoss drives (0.25kW to 400kW); OLI industrial vibrating motors; and Rossi gear reducers, gearmotors and electric motors, which are all backed by a three-year warranty.

Innovative thinking will be the spotlight in the K-Form Screen Rails booth, where visitors will be able to learn more about the company’s environmentally friendly UPVC screed railing. Offering an alternative to steel and timber formwork, the lightweight and durable K-Form product (manufactured from 100% recycled materials) is designed for concrete pours of up to 225mm thick and does not require removal after placement of concrete. Other product innovations on show will include MEA Water Management’s DM drainage channels for use on roads and motorways, and their PG and Mearing PG EVO drainage products for multi-storey car parks. Another key exhibit will be Adfil’s high-performance Darus macro-synthetic fibre range, which offers a proven alternative to conventional steel mesh concrete reinforcement for mineral processing project applications, where durability and service life are key considerations. 

Lutze Group have confirmed that they will be giving virtual attendees an opportunity to see a broad range of their conveyor belt solutions and discuss the importance of delivering continuous product improvement, to ensure customers can maintain highly productive, reliable and efficient conveying systems. The belt conveyor specialist will also present a line of wear protection products. Another key focus for Lutze will be their high-quality customer care which epitomizes the company’s core values of innovation, operator safety, sustainability and long-term customer value.  

Magotteaux, a world leader in process optimization solutions for abrasive and impact applications in the aggregates, mining and cement sectors, will be at Hillhead Digital to show how they can help new and existing customers maximize their materials processing operations with the appropriate equipment and services. Part of the Sigdo Koppers Group, Magotteaux operate in more than 150 countries, with a 3,200-strong workforce. 

A key focus in the NOCN Group booth will be fulfilling the construction industry’s need for a safe, competent and sustainable workforce. The education and skills organization currently provides a range of industry-leading competency assessment schemes and training courses to help construction firms/contractors on the route towards competence. These include: regulated qualifications; end-point assessments; access to higher education; assured short courses via the SiteRight brand; consultancy services; and CISRS (Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme) and Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) accreditations.

Paragon, one of the UK’s leading specialist banks, will be highlighting their range of finance solutions and packages for businesses in the quarrying, construction and waste-management sectors. Financial experts will be on hand at Hillhead Digital to discuss new/used asset finance across the mobile plant market, the bespoke solutions available to large and small firms, and the financial support needed for manufacturers and vendors from one-off sales to more structured programmes.

Established in 2018 and exhibiting for the first time at a Hillhead exhibition, ROCO will be unveiling their compact jaw crushers, the R9 and R9 R-Version, and a range of screening equipment including the 1600S scalper, the X3 Rinser and the X7T aggregate screen. Also on show will be the company’s T-Range of mobile feeder stackers and M-Range of steel magnets. 

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, Sir Meccanica SpA will be showcasing their range of portable multifunctional machine tools that carry out machining work on internal and external cylindrical surfaces, with a key emphasis on innovation, reliability and reduced downtime. The company’s product range includes: boring/overlay welding machine tools; flange facing units; and unique portable CNC machinery.

Smiley Monroe, manufacturers of endless conveyor belts for the materials processing sector, will be presenting a number of products designed around maximizing mobile machinery uptime in their ‘Giants of Belting’ themed booth. Among the exhibits on show will be cut rubber and plastic parts (supplied as a ready-to-fit kit) and Zip Clip which is said to be the world’s fastest replacement belt. 

Sykes-Pickavant, a UK market leader in the supply of specialist tools, will be showing a selection of products from their newly expanded range of equipment solutions for the industrial and construction sectors. Among the new exhibits will be three bearing installation kits and a heavy-duty bearing-extraction solution for use on engine, gearbox and industrial machinery bearings. The company will also be introducing two new internal collet extractors and threaded stud extractors for the removal of tapered dowels. 

Vortex Global, specialists in solids and bulk handling components, will be at Hillhead Digital to highlight the breadth of their product range with the company’s diverter valves, slide gates and loading spouts on show. A major focus of the Vortex digital booth, however, will be the company’s Titan pivoting chute diverter, which has been specially developed to increase process efficiency and handle abrasive materials (clinker, fly ash, cement, gypsum, bentonite, limestone etc) in gravity flow applications. The 4,990kg diverter – which has a gate opening of 900mm – features an inlet chute, a 10mm carbon steel body and an internal pivoting chute made of 20mm thick abrasion-resistant steel (400 BHN). 

Industrial cleaning equipment manufacturers Tennant UK will be exhibiting a host of products and technological developments at Hillhead Digital, including the S16, their latest battery-powered ride-on sweeper featuring leading-edge innovations designed to combat the challenges facing today’s industrial facilities managers. The S16 is a versatile fume-free machine that has been engineered for ease of operation and maintenance, whilst providing exceptional productivity benefits. Key features of the sweeper include: MaxPro sweeping technology, which provides consistent brush power regardless of surface and debris changes in both indoor and outdoor applications, allowing users to achieve consistent cleaning results on various surface types; and an Eco-mode for reduced energy consumption, helping to extend run time and reduce noise for anytime cleaning.

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