The middle day of Hillhead (Wednesday) is usually the busiest of the three days and by the end of the morning on 27 June, most exhibitors were reporting packed stands with lots of business activity, none more so than Finning, who described this year’s exhibition as ‘the best and busiest Hillhead they have ever experienced’.
Over the last few years, technology has moved forward a great deal in the extractive and mineral-processing sectors, and at this year’s Hillhead show Finning and their technology partners Sitech showcased new Cat technologies and service offerings which, they say, will shape the industry's future.
As well as impressive outdoor exhibits – which included a Cat 745 articulated dumptruck and Cat 320 excavator – indoor exhibits on the Finning/Sitech stand focused on future technological developments and solutions for the construction equipment industry. These ranged from state-of-the-art simulators and aerial survey drones to sophisticated 2D and 3D grade-control software, all designed to help fleet operators to manage their machines efficiently while improving safety and reducing operational costs.
The indoor exhibits had plenty of virtual reality (VR) experiences for attendees to view and try out, including one where they could sit in a simulated cab of a dumptruck or dozer and work through a virtual job site.
‘The response to the VR technology, remote-controlled bulldozers and other heavy equipment has been very positive,’ said Phil Lewis, head of Finning Managed Solutions (FMS).
‘Hillhead has provided a future-forward showcase that allows attendees to see and test what is out there now for companies like ourselves and what’s possible. There has been a lot of footfall on our stand during the show and we’ve been busy all day, every day. We couldn’t have asked for a better exhibition, particularly in terms of the quality of visitors.’
Among the other exhibitors keen to show off their latest tech were Keestrack, who presented their revolutionary H4e mobile cone crusher at Hillhead 2018. Making its UK debut, the highly compact plant with optional integrated pre-screen and three-deck hanging screen was displayed as a fully hybrid electric version, capable of offering significant energy savings in secondary or tertiary crushing.
Michael Brookshaw, Keestrack’s global distributor manager, said: ‘We were really impressed by the large international attendance at this year’s show. We met numerous expert visitors from all over Europe and our overseas market regions, including the Americas and Asia.’
Case Construction Equipment were equally positive about the benefits of exhibiting at this year’s event, as Crispin Turner, marketing manager for Case Northern Europe, explained: ‘We had a very good show and were incredibly busy throughout – helped, of course, by the fine weather. It is key for us to exhibit at Hillhead because it is the premier event for the quarrying and construction equipment industries.
‘There have been a lot of enquiries about the all-new Case CX750D, the largest and most powerful machine in our excavator range, as well as strong interest in vehicles from our sister brands Iveco and Astra, particularly the Iveco Stralis X-Way.
Across on the Atlas Copco stand, marketing assistant Rebecca Donovan said Hillhead 2018 was the perfect show for bringing people up to speed with the company’s extensive line of new products, ranging from generators and portable compressors to pumps and lighting towers. ‘This is my first ever Hillhead and I have been particularly impressed with the scale and quality of visitors to our stand,’ she commented.
‘It is a unique trade show, but more importantly it gives us an opportunity to build relationships with prospective and existing customers. We’ve had a lot of top-level people on the stand enquiring about our new technologies and we have a number of good leads to follow up. Overall, it has been a fantastic show.’
Attending Hillhead for the first time, recently formed Epiroc (formerly part of Atlas Copco) offered visitors the chance to view their SpeedCut 100 diamond wire cutting machine aimed at the dimension stone industry, alongside hydraulic breakers from the marketing-leading SB range right up to the HB 10000, which is said to be the largest breaker in the world.
Emma Crump, product marketing manager (hydraulic attachment tools) for Epiroc, said the show was very positive with the company’s new brand identity and recently rebranded products.
‘Following our separation from Atlas Copco, it was important to send out the message to customers that Epiroc products come from the same production, distribution and sales centres as they did under the Atlas Copco name,’ she commented. ‘The launch of the new business brand marks an exciting new chapter for us, as we look forward to offering customers in mining and infrastructure the best products, short lead-times and value-adding services and propositions.’
Another exhibitor who used this year’s Hillhead as a public venue to unveil their new brand identity were Brammer Buck & Hickman, one of the UK’s leading industrial supplies specialists. The company’s brighter and bolder logo has been designed to further unify the Brammer and Buck & Hickman brands and to create a simpler and more modern brand identity.
Chris McLaren, national key account manager – aggregates sector, for Brammer Buck & Hickman, described Hillhead as the ‘biggest showpiece event of its kind in the world’.
‘For me, Hillhead is the best trade fair to capture an audience; the size and scale of this show are outstanding,’ he added. ‘We couldn’t have asked for a better venue to launch our new brand logo and we hope to reinforce the brand in the minds of new and existing customers. The visitor response to the vast range of products we supply has, again, been tremendous.’