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Quarry Management recaptures the excitement and atmosphere of Hillhead 2010

This year's Hillhead (June 22-24) may have come and gone but not without – excuse the pun – rocking the extractive and construction industries yet again. As usual, many of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers were at Tarmac’s Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton, Derbyshire, with a huge range of exhibits on static display and/or live demonstration.

Here, we take a look back at some of the biggest product launches and key announcements made at the event, as well as reporting exhibitor and visitor feedback on this year’s show.

The build-up to Hillhead 2010

As with previous shows, this year’s event was well received, with most people pleased to see Hillhead return. Even before the show started, it was evident that many exhibitors and visitors had high hopes for Hillhead 2010.

In January, organizers of the SED construction equipment exhibition decided to postpone this year’s event due to the current economic situation. And more recently, under no less unfortunate circumstances, the ban on air travel caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash impacted the final figures for visitor numbers at Bauma 2010. 

So, how did Hillhead 2010 fare under a climate of global economic uncertainty? With every square metre of exhibition space fully booked, the event registered an all-time high for the overall number of exhibitors and, with no less than 80 items of plant and equipment on demonstration, Hillhead once again underlined its status as the world’s biggest working quarry show.

The exhibition’s commercial manager, Richard Bradbury, recalled: ‘After filling the Main Pavilion in February, momentum continued to build into the spring with the Registration Pavilion doubling in size to satisfy additional indoor demand, while the last remaining outdoor plots were filled.’

Importantly, preparations for the event went smoothly and according to plan, to ensure Hillhead 2010 opened bang on schedule on Tuesday 22 June. Dave Harasym, UK sales manager for Martin Engineering, was very pleased with the organization of the event.

‘We decided to set up our stand a few days before on the Friday, and I was impressed with the speed and co-ordination of planning such a exhibition,’ he explained. ‘For us, our stand preparations went very well – probably the best since we began exhibiting at the show.’

Another regular exhibitor who enjoyed a problem-free and easy installation of their stand at Hillhead was Hippowash. Chris McCumesky, managing director, said: ‘This year it’s been a breeze. It’s our fourth show so it helps that we know what to expect in terms of planning and preparing for Hillhead, but, more importantly, the main showground is well managed and the event organizers are always around to help.’

With a record 460 exhibitors, there were more companies than ever before showcasing their latest products and services, making this year’s show one of the most logistically challenging Hillhead exhibitions to date.

‘We began working on our stand quite early on and, therefore, the build-up went reasonably well,’ said Keith Ragg, general manager – concrete division at Liebherr-Great Britain. ‘However, as one would expect from a major exhibition such as Hillhead, the eve of the show was very busy. Other exhibitors were getting their stands ready so there were some logistical issues, but we managed to sort these out with the help of the organizers. The extra effort was worthwhile and we are very happy with the presentation of our stand.’

The heat is on

Exhibitors and visitors alike could not have asked for much better weather at this year’s Hillhead. The Mediterranean heat began a few days before the show and continued throughout the three-day event.

As Hillhead 2010 opened for business, the first full day saw thousands filtering through the showground and pavilions, taking in the wealth of sights and sounds coming from every direction. But the showground itself was not the only happening place to be.

During the opening morning, 10 years of success in reducing death and injury in Great Britain's quarries was marked in a special event on the shared Tarmac/QMJ Publishing Ltd stand, to which senior industry executives, union officials and other key stakeholders were invited.

Reportable injuries in the sector have been reduced by 76% since the 'Hard Target' initiative was launched in 2000, and Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), commended the companies, trade bodies and trade unions for their efforts. She also used her speech to rally the industry in making a renewed commitment to Target Zero, with the aim of bringing down reportable injuries by a further 15% year on year by 2015.

Ms Hackitt said: ‘The quarrying industry has demonstrated what can be achieved when an industry sector commits to improvement in health and safety. However, there is no room for complacency. As the number of incidents decrease, it will get ever more challenging for the industry to make further gains. Reaching the new goals will require even more hard work, determination and the development of new approaches.'

Martin Isles, deputy president for the Institute of Quarrying, added: ‘The industry has made massive strides in health and safety over the last 10 years in particular. But to achieve its ultimate goal of zero harm, a stronger focus is needed on the more challenging issues and to convince all stakeholders that the supply chain has a vital role to play.’

Indeed, in a further move to promote the elimination of accidents within the quarrying industry, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) used Hillhead 2010 as a platform to launch its latest tool to help the sector improve safety. ‘Safer by Association’ is the MPA’s new site-based health and safety audit package, which is offered free to its members to assist them in their quest to deliver a safer, healthier industry.

Staying on the theme of safety, the British Aggregates Association was also on hand to make attendees aware of its own Safety Scheme, which offers a professional audit of site, personnel and working practices.

Joining the MPA and BAA in the ‘Information Village’ were other key industry organizations, including the Institute of Quarrying and MPQC. The Institute was showcasing its e-learning developments with three education partners: Institute of Asphalt Technology; Concrete Society; and University of Derby. MPQC was on hand to provide details of its mobile plant, SHE and haulier training programmes.  

Green solutions

While health and safety best practice continues to be the top priority for the wider quarrying industry, as demonstrated at the show, sustainability and responsible sourcing are becoming just as important. Many companies are keener now than at any time in the past to demonstrate their commitment to environmental issues, and a large number of stands clearly conveyed the message that 'going green' is the way forward.

AP Pavers, for example, had on display for the first time in the UK Bomag’s ‘working prototype’ hybrid-drive tandem roller – the BW174 AP AM. Powered by an electric motor/generator and high-capacity battery, the hybrid roller uses a smaller capacity diesel engine than a conventional machine, which lowers fuel consumption and associated carbon emissions. Initial tests on the prototype have shown that fuel savings of up to 30% are feasible. 

Total also clearly sent out the environmentally friendly message to visitors by promoting their array of business lines (Total Bitumen, Total Lubricants, Nickerson Fuel Oils etc) and how they can help businesses meet current/future energy needs, which, in turn, will improve environmental performance. John Tuite, sales manager for Total Bitumen UK, said Hillhead provided the perfect platform for the company to build working relationships with new and existing customers.

'This year's show has been a huge success for us; in fact we think it's been better than the 2007 event,' he enthused. 'We are delighted with the location of our stand, which includes a World Rally Championship simulator that has attracted many visitors. It's important for Total to have a presence at the exhibition to support the relevant industries and it gives us the opportunity to discuss our sustainability strategy – which comprises three key areas: lower working temperatures; durability; and sustainability – with  customers.’

Hillhead 2010 was also the launch venue for Total Lubricants' brand new range of multi-purpose oils, Total Concept TP Star, specifically designed to help off-road vehicles reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

According to Phil Hindley, manager of the industrial lubricants division at Total UK, the new range offers not only a one-stop solution that provides site transport managers with two oils for all vehicle needs, but can also reduce fuel consumption by as much as 3% and help produce six tonnes less CO2 emissions per machine each year.

Among the other exhibitors demonstrating their green credentials at this year's show were batch-heater plant specialists Mixlance, who put on a eye-catching display and demonstration of their 'light on demand' igniter system, which replaces the need for an oil- or gas-fired pilot assembly in batch-heater plants. Managing director Jed Smyth expressed his delight with the huge interest in the igniter and confirmed that a number of orders had been agreed on the stand.

'Even before Hillhead opened, having the igniter demonstrated in real time on our stand generated a lot of interest from other exhibitors,’ he commented. ‘But what pleased me more is that during the show we sold at least three igniter units with several more potential orders to follow, and we've also had overseas interest in our products.' 

Another major exhibitor fully involved in helping their customers meet their green agendas and improve their environmental performance is Volvo CE. They took their largest ever stand at Hillhead 2010, showcasing their latest range of construction equipment and road machinery, as well as promoting their core values: quality; safety; and environmental care.

One of the key initiatives presented on the Volvo CE stand was the Eco-Operator programme – a training initiative that teaches fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly methods of operating machinery.

At the show the company also announced its distribution agreement with Perlini Equipment to sell and support the Italian manufacturer’s range of rigid haulers in the UK. There will be four rigid hauler models available – the DP405, DP605, DP705 and DP905 ranging from 40 to 100 tonnes payload capacity

Val Ledden, managing director of Volvo CE, said he was extremely pleased with the company's presence at the show. 'We've had very positive feedback from our customers. They've been very loyal to us in these difficult economic times and one of the key messages we wanted to convey at Hillhead is that whether it's good times or bad times, Volvo are always part of the industry, which is why we're here. We've spent most of our annual marketing budget at Hillhead 2010, so we can get as close as possible to our customers and this has been a very enjoyable experience.'

Likewise, JCB reported a high level of interest in both of their stands and their own dedicated demonstration area. The company displayed a vast range of models from its heavyline range of machinery, as well as new powered attachments including, on show for the first time at Hillhead, the CB90 (40m3/h), CB70 (30m3/h) and CB60 (20m3/h) crusher buckets, which have been designed to work with the JCB line of tracked excavators, from the JS160 to the JS360.

Other newly launched exhibits on show for the time at Hillhead included the Airtrac 3200S, a versatile mobile waste-processing machine that can be used in a wide range of waste sectors, particularly for small fraction fines clean up, ranging from 8-200mm. 

Hubert Watson, managing director of Iona Waste Systems, described the launch of the Airtrac machine as ‘highly successful’ with a large number of enquiries coming from competitors at the show. 

‘Targeting the waste recycling and industrial waste markets, the 3200S is a unique machine that will, potentially, allow customers to recycle up to 95% of their C&D waste material,’ he said. ‘A success story for us at Hillhead is that Finlay Hire have signed a deal to purchase a unit.’ 

Another exhibitor who enjoyed a highly successful and rewarding Hillhead was Sandvik Mining and Construction. There were no fewer than 10 new machines on the company’s stand, including the global launch of the QE440 tracked scalper, which was on demonstration, along with a host of other Sandvik products. Hillhead 2010 was also the first public venue to mark the full integration and rebranding of the Extec and Fintec products lines under the Sandvik brand.  

Melissa Baker, Sandvik marketing manager – mobile crushing and screening, said the company had had one of its most successful Hillhead appearances to date. ‘Hillhead 2010 has been one of our busiest ever shows. Most visitors to the stand were interested in our mobile equipment range and we picked up in excess of 800 potential sales leads each day. The response to the mobile range has, therefore, been tremendous – much better than our appearance at Bauma 2010.’

Among the other exhibitors with crushing and screening equipment on display at this year’s show were APR/Gipo, Anaconda Equipment International, Baioni, Bruce Engineering, Dig A Crusher, Hazemag, Keestrack N.V., OM, Edge, EMS, Iona, Maximus Crushing & Screening, McCloskey International, Metso, Stelex Construction Equipment and Tesab Engineering, to name but a few. 

Sunlight, camera, action

A key attraction of any Hillhead show is the plethora of live action that takes place in the event’s three dedicated demonstration areas, and this year was no exception. With glorious weather and a multitude of plant and equipment taking part in real job site applications in a genuine working environment, visitors had plenty to keep them enthralled in the sunshine throughout the show.

In particular, the live demonstrations at the face end of the showground benefited greatly from the creation of a new box-cut section together with a 25% gradient ramp leading to a new bench. This not only provided a suitable platform for a 46-tonne Volvo EC460 crawler excavator and JCB JS360 machine to do their work, the latter feeding material into the latest road-going trommel screen from Stelex – the 500 tonnes/h Hercules HT182M, but also provided a new and impressive backdrop for the wide range of loaders and haulers being put through their paces in the face area.

Among the machines taking part in the action were a Perlini 405 rigid dumptruck and Volvo A40E, Bell B30D and B40D, Case 340 and JCB 722 articulated dumptrucks; together with Volvo L350F, Bell L2606E, Case 1221E, JCB 456ZX and New Holland W270B and W190B wheel loaders. Also being demonstrated in this section were various excavator attachments including several crusher buckets from the Dig A Crusher range; these were fitted to carriers of varying sizes including a Hitachi Z-axis 359LL, Volvo EC210LC and Doosan 140LCV. In addition, a Komatsu D61PX dozer equipped with a Topcon TM1 levelling device provided demonstrations of millimetre accuracy grade control.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the showground, in the recycling demonstration area, a variety of JCB loaders were kept busy feeding a Powerscreen Turbo Chieftain 1400 and the brand new Maximus 516 heavy-duty scalper, which made its debut appearance at the show. Not far away, Herbst Machinery were showing off their new Compac crusher, which was fed by a Hanix H75C mini-excavator. Working in tandem with the new crusher was a Compac 8140 mobile screener, which was launched at Hillhead 2005 and can now be found on many recycling sites throughout the UK.  

Elsewhere in the recycling area, Baughans were demonstrating their Jobber mini-crusher, which was fed by a Case WX210 material handler equipped with a clamshell bucket. Output from the crusher was being fed into a Baughans Middi Q barrel screen to produce both fine and coarse products. Other equipment on demonstration in this arena included engcon’s versatile Tiltrotator system as well as Dust Boss and Akkua Jet 35S dust-suppression systems from Inmalo and Comac respectively.

However, arguably the most unusual demonstrations in this part of the showground were given by a unique pair of machines from all-terrain plant suppliers Artcom Tradebridge – namely a Huddig 1260B (Muddy Mary) multi-tasking articulated backhoe loader in tracked configuration, together with a Menzi Muck walking excavator, which has the ability to move around in a spider-like fashion and can work on seemingly impossible gradients.

Just around the corner from here, visitors had the opportunity to see regular demonstrations of Titan Trailers’ custom-built aggregate/asphalt trailer with its ingenious self-unloading ‘walking floor’ system, while adjacent to this were demonstrations of various Allu and Dromone crushing buckets mounted on carriers of various sizes, including a Doosan DX340, New Holland E215B and Volvo EC210.

Close by, in the rock processing demonstration area, Sandvik were putting several machines through their paces. Working on its own was the new QI440 tracked impact crusher, while operating in two tandem pairs were a QJ340 tracked jaw crusher feeding into the new high-capacity QE440 scalper; and a UH440i tracked cone crusher feeding into a QA450 triple-deck tracked screener.

Right next door, Powerscreen’s new Warrior 2400 three-way-split screener could be seen in action alongside a Pegson XA750 tracked jaw crusher, which was feeding into a Pegson 1500 Maxtrak. Being previewed at Hillhead, the 1500 Maxtrak is due to be launched in 2011 and will be one of the largest mobile cone crushers on the market. In the adjacent Terex Finlay demonstration area, the company’s largest tracked jaw crusher, the J-1480, could be seen feeding the new C-1550 tracked cone crusher which, in turn, was feeding a four-way-split 984 triple-deck horizontal screen.

Elsewhere in the rock processing demonstration area, visitors could see a Tesab 10570 tracked jaw crusher feeding a 1412T tracked impactor; McCloskey’s new C40 compact mobile jaw crusher feeding an R70 twin-deck screener, which in turn was discharging on to a TS3665 tracked stockpiling conveyor; and a Rubble Master RM100 compact recycling crusher.

Global reach

Hillhead is seen an important platform for businesses to get their products into the worldwide markets, and this year’s show continued this tradition. Pat Brian, global sales and marketing director at Powerscreen, a world leader in mobile crushing, screening and washing equipment, said he had noticed that the company’s stand attracted more international interest than at previous exhibitions.

‘There seemed to be more international visitors to our stand this year, which shows Hillhead is more than just a local UK event,’ he explained. ‘We have welcomed visitors from Australia, various parts of South America, India and the Middle East. Many of them were impressed with and showed great interest in our Pegson 1500 Maxtrak cone crusher.

‘As we’re an international organization, what’s been great about exhibiting at Hillhead is that the strong international audience fits very well with the way Powerscreen wants to position itself.’

Echoing these sentiments was Len McGarry, managing director of Moisture Reduction Systems, who has vast experience in solving dewatering problems around the world, thanks to his patented cost-effective pumping system.

‘We’ve had a significant number of positive leads, particularly from overseas, and have taken a good number of orders during the show, including the sale of three pumping systems to a customer from Trinidad,’ he confirmed. ‘We always see high-quality people at Hillhead and it gives us the ideal opportunity to break into uncharted markets abroad.’   

Ian Ross, founder of Lansdowne Products, also noticed the presence of a high-calibre international audience at this year’s event. He told QM the response to his products, which include a glucose-based detergent cleaner and tyre sealer for trucks and plant, had been ‘incredible’. ‘I reckon we’ve had over 40 good leads,’ he commented. ‘We’ve seen people from countries such as New Zealand, Ireland and Spain. There’s been a lot of foreigners as well as people from nearer to home. It’s been an excellent show.’

Hillhead also offers overseas companies an ideal opportunity to break into the UK and Ireland markets. Carsten Weiss, managing director of German firm Lintec GmbH & Co. Kg, suppliers of complete containerized asphalt and concrete mixing plants, was impressed with the scale and variety of visitors to the show.

‘As a first-time exhibitor, we are very pleased to be here, primarily because we want to make inroads into the UK concrete market,’ said Mr Weiss. ‘Hillhead gives us the perfect opportunity to promote our products to a wider UK and international audience.’

The middle day of the event (Wednesday) is usually the busiest out of the three show days and by the end of the morning on the 23rd, most exhibitors were reporting very busy stands with lots of business activity.

Professor Geoffrey Walton of PGW&A LLP, specialists in the design, development and after-use of quarries, said he was delighted with the level of interest from visitors at this year’s show. ‘We did more business on the first day of Hillhead 2010 than all three days of the previous show in 2007. As a result, we have some 30 or 40 good leads to follow up,’ he confirmed.

Likewise, Owen Batham of recently established Elite Precast Concrete Ltd said he too had been taken aback by the number of enquiries about his company’s Lego-type interlocking concrete blocks. ‘I’ve visited several Hillhead shows in the past and had always thought of it as really just a plant show,’ he commented. ‘However, this year, as a first-time exhibitor, I’ve been surprised by the amount of interest shown in our products. We’ve had about 40 enquiries, particularly from local councils and waste-recycling companies, and should pick up at least 15 really good orders following the show.’

Heavy industrial vacuum specialists Forvac were equally positive about the benefits of exhibiting at Hillhead. Describing the number and quality of visitors at this year’s event as ‘excellent’, director Terry Dunwell said: ‘As a first time exhibitor, we wished we had exhibited at the show before. We’ve seen plenty of visitors coming to our stand and, as a result, received more sales leads than we expected. Hillhead is definitely the show for Forvac to be at and next time we’ll consider having a larger stand with more exhibits on display.’

Meanwhile, Arbra Instruments, manufacturers of the new Beethoven Sparkmaster shotfiring device, who have been to every Hillhead since the show was launched in 1982, said this year’s event was one of the best they had attended. Company representative Ian Skinner said: ‘I would say this is busier than the previous show for us. People are focused – they are actually interested in something specific.’

PT Tech, manufacturers of clutches for heavy-duty industrial applications, reported that Hillhead 2010 had exceeded their expectations. ‘It’s been the best trade show for our company in its 27-year history,’ confirmed vice-president Ralph Rogers. ‘We have actually concluded business on the stand – and you don’t usually do that at a trade show.’

Meeting expectation

As the hot weather continued into the final day of the show (Thursday), ice cream, sun lotion and sunglasses had become the norm for many visitors at this year’s event. And judging by all the positive comments from exhibitors at the show, not to mention visitors (more on this later), this year’s Hillhead, despite the effects of the recent recession, appears to have been a resounding success.  

In the current market environment, Hillhead 2010 is seen as an important showcase event for future technological developments. Alex Moss, managing director of DUO (Europe), one of leading providers of processing solutions for the quarrying and recycling industries, said: ‘We’ve been trying to show all our visitors the development work that we’ve been doing since the last exhibition and how the progress of the market dynamics have changed.

‘The latest and most notable product on our stand is the new Powerscreen Aggwash, which is a fully integrated mobile wash plant. It is a unique piece of kit in the market and I’m pleased to say the concept has been accepted extremely well at the show.’

Also stressing the importance of keeping customers informed of new advances in technology, Stuart Berry, burner technician for Ammann Asphalt, said: ‘Despite the economic situation, we continue to invest in developing newer products and support services for our targeted markets.

‘There is now a need for the asphalt industry to be more sustainable than ever before, and we want our customers to know how we can help them to operate in a more environmentally responsible manner. Coming to a show such as Hillhead helps us to achieve this by maintaining contact with our existing customers, as well as opening doors to new clients.’ 

Indeed, many of the visitors QM spoke to said that the abundance of brand new plant and equipment being exhibited, together with the constant live action displays in a real working environment, are what gives Hillhead its unique atmosphere and popular appeal.

Per Muren, R&D manager at NCC Roads AB of Sweden, told QM: ‘Having been to the 2005 and 2007 shows, this is my third visit to Hillhead and every time I get the chance to go, I try to get my colleagues to come along to the exhibition. It appeals to me because it’s a working quarry equipment demonstration show and there is nothing like this in Scandinavia or elsewhere in Europe. The scale of the show is also perfect for visitors who only have one or two days to spend.’

Kola Akosile, vice-chairman of Akos Quarries of Nigeria, said he heard about Hillhead 2010 through Agg-Net, the online news and information service for the aggregates and recycling industries, and was glad that he had made the trip to Buxton. ‘I’m very impressed by the show, the number of exhibitors, the atmosphere and the demonstration areas in a working quarry,’ he enthused. ‘It has been an educational visit and I will definitely be back in two years’ time.’

Acknowledgements

QMJ Publishing Ltd, the organizers of Hillhead 2010, would like to express their gratitude to Tarmac Ltd and all the other companies and individuals too numerous to mention who helped to make the show such a success. Grateful thanks are also due to Hillhead 2010’s sponsors, in particular Nynas for sponsoring the pocket Visitor Guide, carrier bags and visitor registration; and Brammer for sponsoring the shuttle buses and Hillhead Café.

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