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Plantworx 2013 Review

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Inaugural construction equipment exhibition deemed a success

The inaugural Plantworx construction exhibition, which took place at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, Warwickshire, from 14–16 May, was deemed a success by its organizers, despite the last-minute changes to the site plan due to adverse weather and ground conditions, not to mention torrential rain for the best part of two days during the show itself. 

The event, which was organized and promoted by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), boasted 260 exhibitors from all areas of the construction industry and attracted a total visitor attendance of 11,696 people over the three days of the show. Claimed to be the UK’s largest ‘working’ construction event spanning more than 100,000m2, Plantworx 2013 gave visitors the chance to see some of the latest plant and machinery operating in ‘real’ construction site conditions.

The morning of day one began with BBC Breakfast News broadcasting live reports from the show. Plantworx organizer Rob Oliver, CEO of the CEA; Alan Blake, CEO of JCB; and Lee Andrews, business manager with Finning, all took part in interviews on the state of the construction equipment market with the programme’s irrepressible business presenter Stephanie McGovern.  

The event itself was divided into a six distinct areas or zones: the Dig Zone; the No Dig Zone; the Site Clearance Zone; the Pavilion zone; the Security Village; and the Training & Education Zone. Not surprisingly for an event of this kind, the largest zone and the one that tended to attract the most visitors was the Dig Zone, which, as the name implies, was a live action area where some of the latest machines could be seen on static display as well as at work in the adjacent demonstration areas. Some exhibitors, including Ammann, Case, Finning, JCB, Takeuchi and Volvo, encouraged suitably accredited visitors to try the machines for themselves in the digging areas.

While qualified operators and equipment buyers had the chance to get behind the controls, there was more to the show than just digging and loading equipment. In the No Dig Zone products ranging from from pumps, welfare cabins and access equipment to off-road tyres and electronic safety technology were on display, while in the Site Clearance Zone several crusher buckets, shears, pulverizers, grapples, dust-suppression units and lighting towers were put through their paces. 

As the largest covered area within the show, the Pavilion Zone offered a visitors some welcome respite from the worst of the weather and was the place to visit for those seeking workshop equipment, innovative gadgets, hydraulic systems and plant safety equipment. For those looking to protect their fleet from theft and reduce their insurance premiums, the Security Village was home to some of the latest mobile plant security and tracking systems and innovations. In the Training & Education Zone, training providers and various colleges offering construction courses were on hand to encourage young people into the construction industry, and to discuss government funding and other incentives for companies looking to take on apprentices. 

Reflecting on the show after the gates closed on the final day, the Plantworx team said that although visitor numbers had perhaps not been quite as high as expected, they were delighted with the quality of those attending. And looking ahead, exhibition director Simon Frere-Cook said: ‘Many exhibitors and visitors have asked if we will be repeating Plantworx in two years’ time. From the positive feedback we have already received – we are in no doubt that there will be a 2015 event.’ 

Rob Oliver, CEO of the Construction Equipment association, added: ‘The intention is that Plantworx will take a permanent place on the exhibition calendar, taking place every two years – as requested by exhibitors – and alternating with the well-established Hillhead event.’

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