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Hillhead 2016 Show Review

First published in the July 2016 issue of Quarry Management as Show Success

Once again thousands of visitors from across Europe and far beyond descended on Derbyshire for Hillhead 2016. And with more live demonstrations, more new plant and equipment and more exhibitors than ever before, the event proved to be a record-breaker. Quarry Management reports

Brexit may have received its fair share of publicity in recent weeks but for Hillhead 2016 – the world’s biggest working quarry exhibition – it was business as usual with the show recording an all-time high for the overall number of exhibitors (476) while a bumper 18,655 unique visitors (from 71 countries) attended this year’s event – representing a 7.1% increase in attendance over the previous show in 2014.

This year’s trade fair, held from 28-30 June at Tarmac’s Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton, Derbyshire, once again underlined its status as the world’s premier event for the mineral products, construction equipment and recycling industries, with exhibitors expressing great satisfaction with the number and quality of visitors who came.

Demand for Hillhead 2016 had been buoyant with every square metre of exhibition space – including a new outdoor area at the southern end of the site (near the JCB stand) and an extended Registration Pavilion – completely sold out several months before the official opening of the show.

The highly popular showcase event, held every two years, attracted some 450 exhibitors and 17,412 trade visitors in 2014. This year’s Hillhead, however, proved to be the biggest ever in the show’s history, as thousands of visitors were able to catch up on all the latest innovations and technological developments available from 470-plus exhibitors who occupied the largest area of exhibition space to date. 

As with previous shows, this year’s event was well received and exhibitors and visitors alike were pleased to see Hillhead once again offering a newly expanded showground with the creation of nearly 2,000m2 of additional outdoor space.

‘With a long waiting list for exhibitor space at Hillhead 2016, we had to accommodate some of this demand in the new showground area,’ said show director Richard Bradbury. ‘Two access points were created to maximize visitor flow during the exhibition – one at the far end of the JCB stand and the other coming off the aisle populated by the Invest Northern Ireland stands. Interest for indoor space was also buoyant and in response we increased the size of the Registration Pavilion again.’

According to the organizers, the newly extended area of the showground worked extremely well and is already oversubscribed for 2018, while the extended registration pavilion also proved very successful, prompting plans for a further significant increase in size in 2018.

All eyes on Hillhead 

As Hillhead 2016 opened its doors, the first full day saw thousands filtering through the showground and pavilions to view the wide range of exhibits on static display and/or live demonstration. Whether it is new product/service launches, partnership announcements, promoting a new brand or keeping an close eye on competitors, Hillhead has always been, and continues to be, the ideal spotlight event and platform for exhibitors to introduce their latest innovations and break into the worldwide markets.

For others, it is about sharing industry knowledge and spreading good health, safety and environmental best practice across all sectors of the wider quarrying industry. During the opening morning, the Mineral Products Association (MPA), in conjunction with Tarmac, took the opportunity to launch its brand new, comprehensive ‘Driver’s Handbook’.

The latest guide has been developed by members as a tool for drivers to help them understand and manage the risks that they face and can create when driving and operating vehicles for work. It is hoped that the new handbook will help them make safer choices about the way they drive and behave around vehicles.

Health and safety is the MPA’s top priority and the association is working rigorously with its members to improve the training and behaviour of some 30,000 drivers, both owner operators and fleet hauliers, who work within the industry, 

Speaking at the launch of the MPA Driver’s Handbook, Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, urged the quarrying industry to embrace the new guidelines and reminded everyone of the importance of delivering ‘zero harm’ throughout the whole supply chain. 

He commented: ‘The role of industry drivers is critical. They are essential for the delivery of 1 million tonnes of mineral products from over 2,000 sites throughout the UK. The handbook provides consistent national health and safety guidance for drivers and will complement site-specific inductions. We hope that it will make a real difference to site and road safety.’

Echoing these sentiments was Nick Elliot, national transport manager for Hope Construction Materials, who highlighted the MPA Driver’s Handbook as the ‘ultimate guidance for delivering much-needed safety improvement on public roads.’

While health and safety best practice continues to be the top priority for the mineral products industry, as demonstrated at the show, employee engagement/motivation and continuous skills development are becoming equally as important.

As previewed in the Hillhead 2016 Showguide (pages 42-43), the Institute of Quarrying introduced its Skills Wheel on its stand at the exhibition. The day before the show opened, Julian Smallshaw, head of education at the Institute, had spoken about the Wheel at the BAA annual seminar in Buxton. The Institute works with the University of Derby as the provider of its higher education courses, which is not about to change. But it wants what Mr Smallshaw described at the BAA event as a 360° vision of training, ranging from apprenticeships perhaps even up to doctorates or masters degrees. ‘It depends on what you tell us you want,’ he said.

Meanwhile, visitors were able to try their hand at filling a dumptruck in virtual reality on the MPQC stand, where there were prizes of £100 of Amazon vouchers for the person who did it in the fastest time, £50 for the second fastest and £30 for the third fastest on each day of Hillhead. MP Awards is considering buying a simulator to take round to schools and colleges to engage with youngsters and encourage them to consider a career in the minerals industry.

Seal the deal

The middle day (Wednesday) of Hillhead is traditionally the busiest of the three show days and, despite the rain, the general consensus by the end of the afternoon was that many exhibitors were reporting lots of potential business activity and new orders on their stands, including Terex Finlay who had no fewer than 14 machines on display and demonstration. 

Among a selection of some of the deals done over the three days – in partnership with Finlay Group – was a J-960 jaw crusher purchased by OCL Regeneration, while Colin Basi, chairman of Kent-based KKB Group, made the journey north to the Peak District to take delivery of a new 883+ heavy-duty screener. Terex Finlay also secured an order for their brand new 873 Spaleck heavy-duty recycling screen from quarry operators Peter Bennie. 

Rik Kiddle, sales and marketing director of Finlay Group, said: ‘Despite the weather, particularly on the Wednesday, we had a really successful Hillhead and our congratulations go to all concerned with putting on a great event. It was fantastic to meet with both existing and also new customers.’

Brian Pauley, marketing manger for Terex Finlay, described Hillhead as the most important trade fair on their events calendar – and this year’s show was no exception. 

‘Hillhead 2016, once again, has been a very strong show for us regionally and internationally,’ he commented. ‘We’ve taken more machines than ever before to the exhibition and there was a great amount of interest in the new models from the Terex Finlay stable, particularly the I-140RS impact crusher which will be officially launched later in the year. Of course, our established models caught the attention of the visitors too. 

‘Overall, the response to our mobile products at Hillhead has been fantastic; we’ve had a significant number of positive leads whilst managing to close a number of deals at the show. We look forward to hopefully agreeing on a few more in the weeks and months to come.’ 

Another exhibitor who enjoyed a highly successful and rewarding Hillhead was Ammann. Impressed by the large number and variety of visitors to the show, the company reported high levels of interest in both their wide range of construction equipment and new asphalt plant training programme. 

'At Hillhead, we've always had very positive feedback from customers on our product line but this year we also wanted to showcase our aftermarket initiatives, none more so than the range of plant utilization training courses we have developed specially for the asphalt materials sector,’ said David Hunt, operations manager for Ammann UK. ‘Hillhead is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation to customers, both new and existing, and also to learn about the challenges the businesses face.’ 

Stephen McDonough, sales manager for Ammann UK, added: ‘Training was, therefore, a key focus on our stand and we’ve managed to pick up a substantial number of enquiries at the show. This allows us to continue to support the mineral products industry through the high standard of training for which we are known, helping to create a culture of safety and integrity within the sector.’

Bomag also enjoyed a hive of activity on their stand and managing director Alan Batty expressed his delight with the huge interest shown in the company’s latest paving and compaction equipment, and confirmed that a number of orders had been taken by the second day of the event. 

He told QM: ‘We’ve had a lot of enquiries about our new BF 300 P2 paver and ‘dash-5’ generation Stage IV-compliant single-drum rollers. As an added bonus, we’ve received new orders for some of the new and updated models from our extensive product line-up, which is not something that we necessarily expect at major exhibitions.

‘We also spent a lot of time discussing our aftermarket products and services with visitors – and, as a result of this, we have many leads to follow up. All in all, the show was a great success on all counts and I’m looking forward to the next Hillhead.’

Powerscreen, who recently celebrated 50 years in business, described Hillhead 2016 as one of their busiest ever shows and Colin Clements, international sales director, said he was impressed by the scale and quality of visitors to the show. 

‘Hillhead continues to be the number one UK and Ireland showcase event for us,’ he commented. ‘Unlike Bauma which, of course, is a huge exhibition covering a much wider market, Hillhead represents specific industry sectors in which we operate and this has helped us to maintain direct contact with our existing customers, as well as opening up new business opportunities. 

‘During the show days the footfall on our stand has been immense, even the heavy rainfall on the Wednesday did not deter visitors passing through. The show is the perfect venue for launching new products to customers from around the world and I am very happy with the positive response as we have generated more sales leads than expected, plus we’ve closed deals worth several million pounds on the stand, including sales of the Chieftain 2200 mobile screen and redesigned Premiertrak 400 jaw crusher.’

Mr Clements added: ‘It’s our 50th anniversary this year, so we were very happy to have celebrated with our dealers and customers as well as meeting potential new clients at one of the world’s best trade shows of its kind.’

Customer focus 

Showing just how far Euroblend have risen in recent years, the company had its largest ever presence at this year’s show with an impressive range of plant and equipment on display, including the FAST 100 concrete batching unit and EuroWash concrete recycling system. 

‘We’re very pleased to be exhibiting at Hillhead again; this time showcasing more products than ever before,’ said Charmayne Allen, PA and marketing for Euroblend. ‘The show gives us the perfect opportunity to promote our plant and equipment, and helps us raise the profiles of the different brands we represent in the UK and Ireland markets. 

‘We’ve seen plenty of high-quality visitors coming to our stand and, as a result, received a high number of good leads and enquiries. Hillhead is definitely the show for us to be at and next time we’ll consider having a larger stand with more exhibits on display.’ 

Among the other exhibitors enjoying a highly successful Hillhead 2016 were Sandvik, who displayed and demonstrated a wide variety of products which, again, attracted strong interest from visitors. These included: the QJ341+ jaw crusher with its double deck pre-screen; CH540 stationary cone crusher; and Ranger DX800 drill rig. 

Eugene Lyons, global sales and marketing director for Sandvik, said this year’s Hillhead was the perfect showcase event for bringing customers up to speed with the company’s innovative products and services and keeping them informed of new advances in technology. 

‘Managing mobile plant fleet efficiently, improving safety and ensuring the lowest operating cost-per-tonne for a wide range of materials and applications are just some of the key challenges facing the mineral products industry.’ he said. ‘At Hillhead we can get as close as possible to our customers, showcasing the total solutions nature of our product range and demonstrating how Sandvik products and services can help them to improve safety and productivity even further.’  

Newly introduced exhibits on show for the first time at Hillhead included CDE Global’s new M2500 E5X washing plant, which is the end result of a three-year R&D cycle and has been developed to produce up to five washed and classified products. 

Matt Bunting, director of business development UK & Ireland for CDE, described the Hillhead launch of the latest M-Series product as ‘highly successful’ with a large number of enquiries coming from both the UK and overseas. He commented: ‘We have a long record of exhibiting at Hillhead and with the UK and Ireland being our home market it serves as an excellent platform to share our latest developments and innovations with a large audience.’

Co-exhibitors Terex Washing Systems and Terex Minerals Processing Systems were both equally positive about the benefits of exhibiting at this year’s show. Oliver Donnelly, TWS business line director, said: ‘It’s been a tremendous show and we’ve had very positive feedback to all our products and services on show, including a lot of interest in our new FM Ultrafines recovery system and AggreScalp scalping unit, along with the latest MJ400R recycling jaw unit. 

‘We’ve noticed a very high volume of people coming to our stand over the three show days and the visitor quality and type were exactly what we were looking for. It exceeded our expectations.’

Demonstrations galore

The working demonstrations are what make the Hillhead experience so special. Having the opportunity to see plant and equipment doing a real ‘job of work’ in a live quarry environment is invaluable for both exhibitors and visitors alike. Explaining why Hillhead is the premium show for the quarrying, construction and recycling industries, show director Richard Bradbury said: ‘Hillhead provides a unique opportunity to showcase the latest products, equipment and services, not just through static displays, but also across its four live demonstration areas, which this year were busier than ever before. It is the working nature of the show that sets it apart.’

The Quarry Face area is always a hive of activity at Hillhead, but this year was the busiest it has ever been thanks to the creation of four new benches that gave the area a completely new look and a lot more space for machines to operate. For the first time ever, a pair of mobile primary jaw crushers – two Terex Finlay J-1170 machines – were positioned at the heart of this area, with a plethora of large tracked excavators, wheel loaders, articulated dumptrucks (ADTs) and other machines carrying out feeding, loading and hauling duties all around them.

As usual, Caterpillar machines featured prominently, including a 52-tonne Cat 352FL ME XE excavator together with some of its smaller stablemates (the 349E, 336F and 320E), a Cat 982M wheel loader, a Cat 745C ADT and a Cat 730C ejector-body version. Other Cat machines on demonstration included, among others, a CS66B smooth-drum vibratory soil compactor, a D6N track-type tractor and a TH414C telehandler. Alex Andrews, marketing development manager with Cat dealers Finning UK said she was delighted with the number of visitors who gathered to watch the company’s regular live equipment presentations.    

Other large excavators operating in this arena included: Liebherr’s 956 and 936 models; a Hyundai HX520L; a Case CX500D; a Bell L2606E, a Komatsu PC490LC; a JCB JS370XD; a Doosan DX380LC-5 and a DX300LC; a Volvo L150H and a Sany SV335C. Among the various wheel loaders in action were: Hyundai’s new HL980; Liebherr’s recently introduced L586 XPower; Doosan’s range-topping DL550-5; a Case 1121F; a Hitachi ZW370-5; and a Komatsu WA470. Articulated dumptrucks were represented by, among others, a 50-tonne Bell B50E, a Volvo A40G, a Komatsu HM400, a Terex TA300 and a Doosan DA30.

Speaking during the show, Scott Freeman, business director UK/ROI for Case Construction, said the company had sold a 721 FXR wheel loader to Newtown Waste Solutions and three CX210 excavators to Cory Environmental, while Doosan said they too had made sales and received enquiries from across the whole of the UK, from the north of Scotland to the South East, and from the West Country to East Anglia. Likewise, Hyundai said their stand had been mobbed at times, with barely enough staff on hand to deal with all the visitors. 

Also in the Quarry Face area, Worsley Plant demonstrated two excavator-mounted MB crusher buckets and a Remu screening bucket, while another excavator acted as a carrier for a Miller MGB 3000 hydraulic hammer. Effective control of dust in this area was provided by MistCannon and DustLayer dust-suppression solutions from Corgin.

Meanwhile, just around the corner in the Rock Processing demo area, otherwise known as ‘Crusher Alley’, Quarry Manufacturing & Supplies (QMS) returned to Hillhead with a fully functioning modular crushing plant comprising a QMS B3 cone crusher, a QMS feeding/stockpile conveyor and QMS 1.83m x 4.0m twin-deck screen. In the area adjacent to QMS, Sandvik put two pairs of mobile machines from their extensive product range through their paces at regular intervals. These comprised a QJ241 jaw crusher feeding a QA335 Doublescreen, and the brand new QJ341 Eco+ jaw crusher with pre-screen feeding into a QS331 cone crusher with hanging screen.

Powerscreen had three mobile machines in action this year: the new Trackpactor 550, the company’s flagship horizontal-shaft impactor, worked in tandem with a Chieftain 2200 triple-deck screen, while the new-generation Premiertrak 400 jaw crusher worked alongside as a standalone unit. Terex Finlay also had three machines on duty in Crusher Alley. Being previewed in advance of its official launch in the third quarter of 2016 was the new I-140RS impactor with its onboard detachable sizing screen and recirculation conveyor, whilst alongside it the company ‘unleashed the beasts’ in the form of a J-1480 jaw crusher and recently launched C-1554 cone crusher. 

On the next plot Tesab demonstrated their heavy-duty 10580 tracked primary jaw crusher in tandem with a 24m Trackstack 8042T mobile stockpile conveyor, while next to them and completing the Rock Processing demonstrations McCloskey International had a J40 V2 mobile jaw crusher feeding an ST80T tracked stacking conveyor. All the machines in Crusher Alley were kept well fed by a variety of haulers, loaders and excavators from most of the major manufacturers.

At the southern end of the showground, in the main Recycling demo area, Maximus Crushing & Screening demonstrated their 512S scalper with the help of mobile plant from JCB, who once again had a large array of machines operating in the working area, including their all-new 427 and range-topping 457 wheel loaders, plus JS220, JS300 and JS370 excavators, along with various compactors, skid-steers and backhoe loaders.

Elsewhere in the Recycling demo area Herbst Machinery showed off their Agri Crusher, a towable unit driven by a power take-off from an agricultural tractor, alongside their Compac S52 screen, while engcon demonstrated a variety of Tiltrotator attachments and ECO Baughans showcased their compact crushing and screening equipment. Also in this area, ECY Haulmark showed off a Rubblemaster RM90G0 impact crusher along with a range of hydraulic breakers, crusher buckets and other attachments, while ACE Plant were kept busy with demonstrations of their full range of Dustfighter and Quickspray dust-suppression units. 

Among the machines being put through their paces in the Registration demo area at the top of the ramp were an M515 tracked trommel from MDS, an 893 Spaleck heavy-duty screener from Terex Finlay, a Rockster R1100DS impactor, and a Red Rhino 7000+ compact crusher. These were working with and alongside a range of mobile plant including Sany SY215C, SY235C and SY335C excavators, a Terex TA400 articulated dumptruck, a Hidromek 300LC excavator, and a Bergmann 3012 swivel-tip dumper, while Rototilt and SMP showed off the versatility of their excavator attachments.

Around the stands

MRO product specialists Brammer operate in nine key sectors, including quarries. With more than 5 million products available from the 90 Brammer branches around the UK and the company’s central distribution centre in Manchester, most operators will find what they need in bearings and seals, mechanical power transmission, fluid power, electrical power transmission, tools and maintenance and PPE and site safety. But if 90 branches are still not enough, customers can have their own on-site mini version with the Brammer Invend and Insite vending services.

These are a good way of making all those smaller, frequently used consumables, including products such as masks and gloves, readily available while at the same time tracing who is using them, which has been found to reduce consumption of them by as much as 40% on some sites. Having decided the stock levels required, Brammer will keep the vending machines stocked to that level to make life easy for the customer. It is clearly a popular proposition because last year the number of installations of the vending machines topped the 1,000 mark.

Babcock invited visitors to take the Babcock Challenge by completing a buzzwire course in the quickest possible time without setting off the buzzer, with a bottle of Prosseco being given away each day for the winner. The aim was to get people on the stand to tell them how  this UK company has grown into a global business managing £42 billion of assets worldwide.

Babcock have been trading in fleet management for more than 30 years, traditionally working for utilities and emergency services. Three-and-a-half years ago they branched out into mining and minerals, which director Simon Purchon said was ‘a bit of a revelation to us’. What Babcock do is ‘sweat the assets’, so the plant and equipment throughout a group works at maximum potential – and stays working at maximum potential thanks to the use of telematics and preventative maintenance rather than crisis management. ‘Really, we’re allowing our customers to do the same job with fewer assets, saving them money,’ said Mr Purchon.

On the Siemens stand, application specialist Gary Palmer was explaining how the global technology and engineering company is taking a leading role in the next industrial revolution, with minerals being one of the company’s five key areas of operation. At Hillhead 2016, the company was emphasizing how its integrated, no fuss plug-and-play drive systems could be used for greater efficiency and safer conditions in production by gathering smart data from machines. What it amounts to is maximizing the up-time of plant, increasing its reliability and reducing energy consumption using bespoke systems designed for each client’s specific needs. The systems being installed are intended to continue working for 20–25 years, which gives Siemens confidence in the future. This is allowing them to recruit apprentices to make sure the skills of people like Mr Palmer are passed on to another generation of engineers.

When it comes to bitumen, reduced-temperature materials get the job done quicker and Nynas can provide the binders to make low-temperature products. That was the message from director Steve Waller. ‘Our products are part of the armoury of asset managers,’ he said, ‘and asset management is the key to determining whether central government invests.’ He recommended anyone thinking of opening an asphalt plant to talk to Nynas.

Total, who claim pole position as the largest refiner and marketer of bitumen in Europe, say the referendum result on 23 June has done nothing to cool their enthusiasm for including the UK in that claim. Investment in the UK continues and the first boat arrived at Total’s new Southern terminal in Thurrock, Essex, during Hillhead. It was more than a decade ago that Total carried out a sustainability survey that identified durability, lower temperatures and recycling as main areas of development along with improvements in health and safety. Those aims have been successfully pursued. Visitors to the stand heard how, for example, Total Styrelf PMB and ECO2 bitumen could assist with the asset management of highways. With lower working temperatures and rapid return to use, it means highways reopen to traffic sooner and the carbon footprint is reduced. ‘It’s all about solutions,’ said national sales & marketing manager John Tuite.

Northern Ireland has become a recognized centre of manufacturing for quarrying, mining, recycling and construction equipment, with all the benefits of geographical proximity that such a concentration brings. The importance of the province to the sector was in full evidence at Hillhead with 40 companies from Northern Ireland exhibiting. And, judging by the accents, there was also a good number of visitors from all parts of Ireland, North and South, among the visitors.

As well as major companies from Northern Ireland, such as Powerscreen and Smiley Munroe, exhibiting on stands of their own, 19 firms were exhibiting in a Northern Irish avenue with Invest Northern Ireland, the Belfast-based economic development agency that helps companies develop products and export them worldwide. It helped the companies exhibiting under its banner with the cost of being at Hillhead. In return, the sector provides the region with some £500 million of exports each year.

Powerscreen, as mentioned earlier, were celebrating 50 years in business at the exhibition this year – a celebration that was rounded off for 450 of their worldwide network of distributors and major customers on the Friday following Hillhead at the Titanic Centre in Belfast (see page 50). Powerscreen were one of the companies that led Northern Ireland into its dominant position in the manufacture of products for the minerals processing and construction industries, but it is a sector that is still attracting new companies, some of which were exhibiting at this year’s Hillhead for the first time thanks to Invest Northern Ireland.

They included Crushing & Screening Parts, set up two years ago by Michael McGrath after he had spent 25 years in various divisions of Terex. His aim is to be a single source spares supplier to processing companies, no matter which machinery they are using. And, he says, 65% of the products he is selling originate in Northern Ireland.

But although Crushing & Screening Parts sell all over the world, until now they have not sold much on their own doorstep into the UK – a position Mr McGrath was hoping to change by exhibiting at Hillhead. He said he had not exhibited at Bauma in Germany in April because ‘it’s too expensive, too far away and too international’. ‘What I like about Hillhead is that it’s more to the point. If you want to talk to quarry people this is where you come,’ he added.

Another of the Northern Irish companies was Pneutrol International, manufacturers of automatic batching control systems. The company is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and at Hillhead was introducing a new version of a product that measures the slump of concrete. According to sales manager Jordan Miller, it is the first system of its kind on the market.

The system not only measures concrete rheological properties such as slump, load volume, viscosity, yield stress and temperatures in a mixer and at delivery, it records them into the cloud, which can put an end to some of the arguments about who is to blame when a concrete turns out to be not quite what was required. ‘With this we can say it was right when it was delivered, it’s up to you what you did with it after that,’ said Mr Miller.

While there is not room here to mention all 19 of the Northern Ireland companies exhibiting with Invest Northern Ireland, another of the region’s specialist manufacturers, Euro Springs, who make precision engineered springs, camber bars, grid bars, grouser bars and tines for many of Northern Ireland’s OEMs, as well as supplying their specialist products, many of them as bespoke solutions, around the world, were back at Hillhead this year after taking a break last time.

Euro Springs’ technical sales director, Martin McNamee, believes the show is important. He said that as well as having an opportunity to see established customers he had also had enquiries from manufacturers in Belgium and Nigeria. ‘We look on this exhibition as an investment in the future. Some people ask if they can afford to come here, but can you afford not to come? Where better to put your message out?’


QMJ Publishing Ltd, the organizers of Hillhead 2016, would like to express their gratitude to Tarmac Ltd for permission to use the Hillhead site. Also, a host of services and facilities at the show are made possible by the generous support of sponsors and the organizers would like to thank the following companies and organizations: Babcock, Brammer, The Institute of Quarrying, Invest Northern Ireland, Mercedes-Benz, Nynas, Powerscreen and Siemens.

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