With clear blue skies, record crowds and all the majors from the plant and equipment world in attendance, business continued to be buoyant going into the final day of the show. And judging by all the positive comments from exhibitors at the show, not to mention visitors, Hillhead 2018 was undoubtedly the biggest and most successful show to date.
With the slogan ‘Wim back ay we!’ – a Black Country reference to Wolves to being back in the Premier League – emblazoned across their stand, Wolverhampton-based Liquid Management Solutions (LMS) were also back in their own preferred location at the top of the ramp. For more than 15 years, LMS have provided a comprehensive range of fuel and lubrication dispensing and control equipment, systems and services to clients within the mineral extractives industry, as well as providing cost-effective solutions to fuel quality problems.
Speaking on the morning of the final day of the show, managing director Kevin Taylor said: ‘If the show ended right now, I would still be going home happy, such has been the quantity and quality of visitors we’ve seen. Hillhead is a great event where everyone from company chairmen to maintenance engineers stop and talk to you. The quality of the conversations we have here is really excellent,’ he enthused.
Back at the main showground, many of the visitors QM spoke to said that the huge array 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.
Sam Wood, a surveyor, commented: ‘I have enjoyed it. I was at the first exhibition at Tadcaster in 1982 – and I haven’t missed many over all that time. I will definitely be back at the next show in 2020. It keeps me up to date with the technological advances and what’s available. The show also provides a great opportunity to network with other people in the industry.’
Commenting on his experience at Hillhead 2018, civil specialist Lee Hathersall said: ‘It has been great. I’m always looking for machines and the exhibition gives me the opportunity to compare them. I’ve come to a good few Hillheads and it always pays off.’
Hillhead is widely known for attracting visitors from around the world and this year’s event was no exception. Darren Bassingthwaighte, marketing manager for TEMA Isenmann, noted that the company’s stand had more overseas visitors than at previous shows.
‘There seemed to be more international interest in our screening media solutions this year, which shows Hillhead is recognized worldwide,’ he said. ‘We have welcomed visitors from Australia, Canada, Norway, Iceland and the Falkland Islands. Many of them were impressed with and showed strong interest in our WS85 modular screening system, along with the magnetic and compatible WS2.10 lining solution.’
Likewise, Reuben Bruce, managing director of Northern Ireland-based Bruce Engineering, was equally upbeat about this year’s show and commented on the high-calibre international audience. ‘Footfall on the stand is up on previous shows, the number of enquiries is up and the quality of the conversations is also up,’ he remarked, adding that his stand attracted visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Israel and Iran, and even from countries as far afield as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Quite apart from visitor numbers, Mr Bruce had further reason to be cheerful, having completed the sale of the BWPOD 100 Bruce WashPod – the centrepiece of the company’s stand – during the show.
The plant’s proud new owner, Nathan Heelas, general manager of Norfolk & Suffolk Plant Ltd, said the WashPod, together with an associated Bruce water and sludge treatment system, was the first of its kind in the UK and would be installed in the autumn as part of an expansion of the company’s site in Beccles, Suffolk. ‘We’re aiming to create a just-in-time waste-recycling operation that will reduce waste to landfill and increase recycled aggregates to market,’ explained Mr Heelas. ‘It’s an idea we want to expand around the UK.’
Hatz GB displayed several advanced diesel engines, including their new three-cylinder 3H50TIC and four-cylinder 4H50TIC, and used the show to explain to visitors how the clean output and modest dimensions of both engines would be ideally suited to a wide range of machinery. Sales manager Tarryn Jackson explained: ‘Our design and engineering team put a huge effort into developing these engines, so we were delighted to have the opportunity, at Hillhead, to detail all the new features and benefits these engines have to offer.
‘We were busy throughout the three days with a mixture of people visiting our display area, some existing customers, but also a large number of individuals who have yet to consider our engines for their projects. They all seemed impressed with the qualities of the H50 range.’
Mecalac Construction Equipment UK (formerly Terex GB) used Hillhead 2018 to promote their full range of compact loaders, excavators and dumpers, including the recently launched MWR excavator and the company’s all-new cabbed site dumper. Operational marketing manager Allison Sedgwick said the show provided an excellent platform from which to promote the Mecalac brand and to gain exposure for the company’s full range of equipment. ‘We’ve had a really good variety of visitors to the stand,’ she commented, ‘and it’s been great to be able to inform them about the capabilities of our machines.’
David Kinloch, regional manger for UK & Ireland at CDE Global, said he was very pleased with the huge interest shown in the company’s newest products at Hillhead, most notably the AggMax 163SR log-washer and two brand new Infinity screen models. ‘It’s been an excellent show for us, as we’ve picked up a substantial number of positive leads and even closed a number of deals on the stand,’ he enthused.
In a similar vein, Andy Sales, managing director of BDS Marketing Research, said Hillhead 2018 had been a ‘really positive experience’, allowing the business to meet a host of existing customers as well as some potential new clients. He explained: ‘It has also helped to boost the presence of BDS within the industry in ways that we could not have achieved otherwise, which can only help us grown in the long term.’
Mr Sales added that the show’s organization was superb and had been commented on to that effect by everyone he spoke to, including adjacent stand-holders.