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Plantworx 2015 Review

First published in the July 2015 issue of Quarry Management

Construction machinery show debuts at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground

The second Plantworx construction machinery show has been deemed a huge success by its organizers, who reported an 18% increase in visitor numbers over the inaugural event at Stoneleigh in 2013. With a total of 344 exhibitors spanning an area of around 135,000m at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, in Leicestershire, both the three-day show and the new venue with its wide open spaces and ‘mud-free’ parking areas drew positive comments from visitors and exhibitors alike.

Rick Still, Hyundai’s UK & Ireland sales manager, said: ‘Throughout the three-days of the show the stand was a hive of activity with visitors. The demo plot was a big hit with operators queuing to try out our new range of machines, which were well received by all. Our UK dealers were also present on the stand and met with customers nationwide, many of whom placed significant orders.’

Chris Bushell, UK & Eire sales manager for Takeuchi Mfg (UK) Ltd, said: ‘Plantworx proved to be a great three days for Takeuchi. We saw plenty of plant guys old and new, who all wanted to see and test out the new machines. It proved to be a good, easy-to-get-to event for the industry – it was packed full of machine demos and that’s what visitors want to see.’

As in 2013, the show also attracted the attention of the BBC Breakfast news programme, which broadcast live from the event on the first day. Business reporter Victoria Fritz donned a hard hat and hi-viz vest to interview leading figures from the construction equipment industry, including: Rob Oliver, chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), which hosts the Plantworx event; Jacqui Miller, global marketing director with Miller International; Paul McPherson, sales and marketing director with Terex; and Nick Allen, managing director of Volvo Construction Equipment. Viewed by an estimated 1.5 million viewers, the coverage no doubt helped to raise the profile of the construction equipment industry among the general public.

Many visitors turned up at the event with their chequebooks in hand, eager to upgrade their fleets. L Lynch Plant Hire signed a £5.8 million deal at the show for the purchase of 50 Cat 320E L hydraulic excavators from UK and Ireland Caterpillar dealers Finning. This deal was followed by a visit to the Hill Engineering stand where L Lynch placed an additional order for 50 Tefra couplers to support the new Cat machines, in a deal worth £120,000.

Merrill Lynch, director at L Lynch Plant Hire, said: ‘This investment is indicative of the growing demand in the plant hire market due to huge UK projects, including Crossrail, the M25 widening and, moving forward, HS2. We specify Cat machines and Hill Engineering’s Tefra quick-hitch as they complement each other perfectly and their reliability is second to none.’

Plant hirers Hewden also finalized a deal at the show, investing around £1 million in more than 180 new Miller breaker attachments for use with their range of excavators and telehandlers. ‘We have worked closely with the Miller team to provide Hewden customers with not only the safest breakers on the market, but a range that adds real value to the on-site solution they provide,’ said Adrian Murphy, chief executive officer of Hewden.

On the last day of the show, in addition to the usual trade visitors, Plantworx opened its doors to students from local schools and colleges in the hope of encouraging more youngsters into the construction equipment industry. More than 300 children attended the student event and were given a trail to follow where they were encouraged to visit participating stands, answer questions and take part in challenges.

Rob Oliver, chief executive of the CEA, said: ‘The sheer delight on the faces of many of our junior visitors on the last afternoon suggests we may repeat the experiment of allowing the next generation of construction equipment enthusiasts access to the event.’

Commenting on the overall success of the show, Mr Oliver said: ‘Full marks to the Plantworx team for delivering the biggest show yet and at a new venue. We have created a show of substance and clear benefit to the UK construction market. I believe we have delivered on the promise of a show ‘for the industry, by the industry’ with lots of business being conducted.

‘We will study the detailed post-show responses, but the venue seemed to get a strong thumbs up from exhibitors and visitors alike. My own straw poll of exhibitors indicates that we have alighted on a popular venue at Bruntingthorpe, with the wide open space making the set up and break down much easier.’

The organizers have announced that the next Plantworx show will take place from 6–8 June 2017, and while they have yet to confirm the venue, it would seem that initial responses all point towards Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground.

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