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From the organisers of

Hillhead Digital Review

First published in the May 2021 issue of Quarry Management as Streaming Success 

QM takes a brief look back at some of the highlights of Hillhead Digital 2021 – the first-ever virtual conference and exhibition for the mineral products, construction and recycling industries

With a total of 4,988 online visitors in attendance, the inaugural Hillhead Digital event – which took place from 30–31 March 2021 – proved to be a huge success, as confirmed by the extremely upbeat and positive feedback from show attendees across the two days. 

This first major quarrying and construction industry event of its kind saw around 350 virtual exhibitor booths showcasing the latest innovations, products and services, whilst the ‘New Horizons | Building the Recovery’ conference featured more than 70 presentations and panel discussions covering the main themes of Digitalization, Decarbonization and Infrastructure, which are expected to shape and transform the mineral products sector in the post-pandemic era.

The impact of COVID-19 has been a major disruptor unlike any seen in modern peacetime, forcing sweeping changes to how people live and work. Many of the biggest trade events and conferences have had to be postponed or cancelled this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines, whilst others have sought to adapt to the new normal and deliver a fully digital experience amid the growing global spread of COVID-19. 

The success of Hillhead Digital has not only opened up an additional new, interactive virtual event platform for organizers the QMJ Group going forward, but also demonstrated to both exhibitors and visitors that digital transformation offers greater resiliency and innovation in the face of COVID-19 challenges. 

With manufacturers and suppliers keen but unable to showcase their products and services at physical exhibitions over the last 18 months, the virtual show offered a silver lining in the form of a dynamic new digital platform where the Hillhead community could reconnect, share and embrace all of the positive developments that will invigorate the construction recovery.

Among the many companies and organizations who took part in this year’s Hillhead Digital event were Doosan, Marubeni-Komatsu, Terex Finlay, Molson Group, Volvo Trucks, the Mineral Products Association, Powerscreen, Shell and Wirtgen, whilst a host of other exhibitors showcased their latest technology, including FMS (Force Measuring Systems), EvoQuip, Cummins, SBM Mineral Processing GmbH, EDGE Innovate and Weir Minerals, to name but a few (further details of just some of the new products showcased at the digital event can be found below).

With a vast number of delegates registered for the symposium, the multi-stream conference was an overwhelming success, thanks to a packed schedule of high-calibre speakers and live-streamed content, seminars and interactive panel sessions, not to mention opportunities to network with industry professionals and experts throughout the two days.

Former BBC presenter Susannah Streeter hosted seminar proceedings in the Decarbonization stream (on day one), with Martin Baxter, deputy chief executive officer and director of policy and external affairs at Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), opening ‘The Carbon Crisis’ session. 

Other key speakers contributing to the climate change and low-carbon debate included: Tim Burnhope, JCB’s chief innovation and growth officer; Marian Garfield, sustainability director at Hanson UK; Jane Lindsay-Green, Shell UK’s low-carbon offers manager; and Michael O’Neill, engineering director for Terex Minerals Processing. 

Meanwhile, an Industry Spotlight stream on day one – moderated by leading technology broadcaster Zoe Kleinman – featured a further 15 highly engaging presentations that provided valuable insights into the key developments in digitalization, decarbonization and health and safety. 

And continuing the theme of health and safety best practice, the Institute of Quarrying’s People focused stream looked at the challenges facing the aggregates industry in the post-COVID-19 recovery. 

The industry’s commitment to ‘Creating Future Leaders: Building Skills for the Future’ could not come at a better time – as quarry operators and materials suppliers look to address the alarming skills shortages and develop a highly skilled, knowledgeable and competent workforce ready to meet those challenges in the post-pandemic era.

Health and safety leadership, workforce engagement, personal development and well-being were among the key topics of discussion during the IQ People stream, with keynote speaker Viv Russell, managing director of Longcliffe Group and chair of QNJAC (Quarries Joint National Advisory Committee), opening the morning session seminar proceedings. 

Also joining the seminar sessions and lively facilitated debates were David D’Souza, director of membership at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Ian Greenaway, chair of the HS2 Skills and Supply Chain Board, and HSE Quarries Inspector Catherine Pickett.

Innovation is key to delivering the UK’s current and future infrastructure challenges, and day two of the New Horizons | Building the Recovery conference proved to be just as engaging and highly thought-provoking as day one of the seminar proceedings, with no less than 50 high-calibre speakers contributing to the Digitalization and Infrastructure-focused streams.

Hosted by Zoe Kleinman, the Digitalization stream gave an insight into the digital and technological innovations (eg drone technology, IoT solutions, advanced telematics, automation etc) that are being trialled, adopted and used to optimize productivity, efficiency and safety, whilst delivering a low-cost, environmentally friendly operation. 

Bringing together all of those who have a keen interest in a digital future and artificial intelligence, some of the industry experts who took part in the seminars and live panel debates included: Simon Briggs, director of Geodime; Dr Liam Bermingham, explosives engineer at EPC-UK; Theresa Farell, AI business development manager for SKF UK; and guest speaker representatives from SITECH, CDE Global, Terex Finlay, Molson Group and Siemens. 

The Infrastructure stream – moderated by Susannah Streeter – featured contributions from leading experts within the wider construction and civil engineering sector on the vital role mineral products will play in helping deliver the major infrastructure and building projects, which are crucial to supporting the UK’s economy recovery and long-term development.  

The massive scale of projects currently under way, including HS2, and schemes in the pipeline as part of the Build Back Better agenda, means there are unprecedented challenges and opportunities ahead for the UK construction supply chain.

Many of the high-profile speakers who took part in the Infrastructure stream emphasized the importance of delivering an improving, sustainable and greener construction industry that is not only fully fit for purpose but also for the future.

Among them were: Andy Brown, head of construction planning and logistics at HS2 Ltd; Michael Ambrose, technical lead, centre of excellence at Highways England; Mark Flint, head of technical at FM Conway; Richard Kershaw, technical manager of materials for CEMEX; and a Tarmac team that included Rob Gossling, head of commercial engineering, Chris Swan, head of rail, and Robert Lane, HS2 general manager. 

For anyone who missed the event or who wants to revisit the proceedings, the 70+ presentations and panel discussions from the New Horizons | Building the Recovery conference are now available on demand and free to view until the end of May 2021 on the Hillhead Digital platform (

Visitors to the platform will also be able to visit the 350 virtual exhibitor booths; watch promotional videos; download company brochures, product specifications and case studies; and make enquiries through the messaging facility at each booth. The networking tool will also remain active on the platform. 

Commenting on the event, Hillhead Digital event director Richard Bradbury said: ‘Thank you to everyone who attended the first Hillhead Digital live event. We look forward to continuing to build the Hillhead Digital community and welcome your feedback for future conference themes.’

The next ‘live’ Hillhead show will take place at Hillhead Quarry, Buxton, from 21–23 June 2022. For more information visit:

Digger Guard innovation for Hitachi 

Digger Guard, a new range of protective guards developed specifically for Hitachi Construction Machinery UK, was officially launched at Hillhead Digital 2021. 

Plastics manufacturers Norplast Ltd developed the innovative Digger Guard product range in response to a project brief from Hitachi, following an invitation to design a new vandal guard to overcome problems with existing systems used to protect excavator cabs.

Norplast’s design and development team achieved significant improvements which merited a patent for Digger Guard. With Hitachi as their first major customer, the company is overseeing the roll out of the new vandal guards on several excavator models across the UK.

Dave Smith, managing director of Norplast, commented: ‘Construction industry machinery is exposed to extensive risk of costly damage both accidentally and through vandalism. With Digger Guard, we have achieved improvements that we’re confident will save operators time on the job and reduce both downtime and insurance costs.’

New Hidromek machines on point at Hillhead Digital 

Hidromek presented their brand-new HMK 635 WL wheel loader suitable for working in a variety of applications (eg quarrying, road construction, concrete production etc).

The heavy-duty loading shovel offers operational versatility, superior comfort and higher levels of operator safety. Powered by a 282hp Mercedes engine that delivers 1,200Nm of torque, the HMK 635 WL benefits from low fuel consumption, high breakout power and exceptional control capability in demanding working areas.

The wheel loader has been designed specially to reduce cycle times with high loads delivered in a short space of time, thanks to a 3.5m3 capacity bucket and its ability to work with different attachments for added flexibility.

Operator safety and comfort have also been a major design focus on the new HMK 635 WL. A rear-view camera, a touchscreen panel, heated mirrors and a ROPS and FOPS-certified cab have been added to enhance productivity and convenience for the operator.

Also on show from Hidromek was the new HMK 150 WR wheeled excavator, which features an improved hydraulic system design with a two-piece boom (4,800mm), a 2,300mm arm and a 0.6m3 capacity bucket. 

Powered by a water-cooled diesel engine with turbocharger (Stage V compliant), the machine’s intercooler helps deliver high torque at low rev/min. The HMK 150 WR is also equipped with automatic powerboost technology, providing added power and maximum performance for the task at hand.

Two UK debuts from Coveya 

Coveya launched their latest dust-suppression equipment – the Jetmister and Multimister – mobile systems that have been designed to tackle construction and demolition site dust issues. Both dust-suppression machines are equipped with heavy-duty, puncture-proof tyres and braked swivel wheels, allowing them to be easily positioned on site.

With a heavy-duty galvanized chassis for robustness and a tiltable mast (up to 30° for high-reach areas), the Jetmister has a throw of 10–35m via an auto 90° swinging nozzle. To achieve its throw distance, the dust-suppression unit is powered by a Yanmar diesel engine.

The industrial-duty trolley Multimister has been engineered specifically for providing atomized water in problematic areas with or without mains water supply. Equipped with a 100-litre water tank, the Multimister unit can suppress dust for 50–60mins remotely or continuously via a float valve from a mains source. 

ROCO unveil new electric crushing equipment 

ROCO announced that they were going electric with the launch of two brand-new jaw crushers – the RYDER 1000 and REX 850. The electrically driven processing plants come with a host of additional features as standard and are well suited to construction and demolition waste applications, as well as aggregate, recycling and concrete crushing operations.

Low transport weight, permit-free movement and plug-in options to the local electricity grid means the latest ROCO mobile jaw crushers can get to site easily and deliver a low-cost, environmentally friendly operation for crushing and recycling contractors alike. 

Pioneer Pump bring Stage V pumping solutions to Hillhead Digital 

Pioneer Pump unveiled one of their largest ever ranges of pumps with more than 40 models on virtual display at the show. The new EVO pumps are all powered by the latest Stage V emission-compliant diesel engines and range in size from 3in (80mm) to 30in (760mm), with flows up to 10,000m3/h and heads up to 260m.

With Stage V emissions engine technology available, it has never been more critical to ensure that pump hydraulic performance is closely matched with the power output of the engine.

‘For this reason, our engineers have spent hours of diligent research and development on our new EVO range to ensure we deliver a proven, field-tested, reliable product to our valued customers first time, every time,’ commented Adam Race, engineering manager for Pioneer Pump.

The company used the Hillhead Digital platform to showcase the many key benefits of the latest EVO pumps range, including telemetry remote control and monitoring, improved accessibility for servicing, increased fuel economy and reduced noise. 

Latest DAF FAW 8x4 Tridem showcased at all-digital event 

Taking centre stage in the DAF Trucks virtual booth was the new 32-tonne ‘FAW’ 8x4 rear-steer rigid. 

According to the vehicle manufacturer, the construction truck’s three-axle ‘tridem’ rear bogie consists of a double-drive tandem for superior off-road traction, with a steering and lifting rearmost axle providing game-changing manoeuvrability for accessing restricted locations both on and off road.

The FAW can be configured to meet operators’ specific needs and is available with either the compact CF or spacious XF cab, and a choice of engine ratings from the 10.8 litre MX-11 (370hp, 410hp and 450hp) to the 12.9 litre MX-13 (430hp, 480hp and 530hp) units.

Kiverco showcase Ks series waste-recycling plants

Northern Ireland-based Kiverco have launched their Ks series waste-recycling plants, which can be installed and operational in just one day. 

The modular range – which includes both a trommel screen and a waste screen – can be easily transported by trailer and off-loaded with a simple hydraulic jacking leg on site, where it can be prepared for use within just a few hours.

Capable of handling up to 14 recovered products from various mixed waste streams, the Ks series waste-recovery plants are available with a choice of either a two-, three- or four-bay picking station to recover the desired recyclables.

The recycling equipment has also been designed on a single skid-frame chassis and is equipped with a ‘plug-and-play’ power connection, allowing it to be powered by either mains electricity supply or a generator.

According to Kiverco, the new recycling plant series would appeal to waste contractors and rental companies alike, thanks to its simplicity, rapid set-up/tear-down times and extensive product recovery options. 

New Ranger 24-RS added to ProStack portfolio 

At Hillhead Digital, ProStack announced the expansion of their portfolio of advanced mobile bulk-handling equipment with the launch of the Ranger 24-RS. 

One of the most efficient and effective ways of stockpiling material in the aggregates sector, the new radial conveyor has been designed to help end-users improve site productivity.

Available in either pit or road-towable variants, the Ranger 24-RS is a versatile machine with several key features, including an optional radial hydraulic function, lattice design for increased strength and reduced weight, and optional engine for self-powered applications.

The radial conveyor is available with both electric and hydraulic drive systems and can be tailored to meet individual operator needs.

New InteliDrive 400 smart control systems from ComAp

ComAp showcased their latest product line InteliDrive 400 – specially designed customizable engines controls for the stationary engine market. The smart controller range consists of the InteliDrive 430 for simple applications and the InteliDrive 480 for more complex applications.

The InteliDrive units can easily be modified to suit any customer application, whether it be water pumping, hydraulic control or air compression.

In addition to the 4.3in full-colour display panel being fully customizable (eg gauges, instruments, graphs etc), the hardware itself can be adjusted, including engine control modules and connections to Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE or 5G.

The InteliDrive 430 and 480 controllers are also fully compatible with ComAp’s WebSupervisor and AirGate software support packages, so customers can monitor and maintain their equipment online or via the company’s smartphone app.

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