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Visitor numbers soar by 40% at the Drives Show

06 May, 2008

The cluster of engineering exhibitions led by the Drives & Controls Show attracted more than 10,000 visitors to the Birmingham NEC in April – an increase of more than 40% on the previous event in 2006.

Preliminary attendance figures for the shows – which include the new Plant and Works Exhibition, the AirTech pneumatics show, and the IFPEX fluid power exhibition – show that 9,674 people registered for the events in the NEC’s Hall 3, with a further 1,000 signing up for the allied Electrex electrical engineering exhibition in Hall 2.

Unofficial figures for the neighbouring MACH manufacturing technologies exhibition reveal that it too recorded a dramatic surge in visitors to more than 27,000 – an increase of some 21% on the 2006 attendance.

"In all the years we have been organising Drives & Controls, I’ve never known such volume of visitors," says Doug Devlin, sales director for the Drives & Controls Show. "Along with our own extensive marketing campaign, our exhibitors put a lot of time and effort into both their stands and their own marketing, which clearly reaped the rewards. Already the bookings are coming in thick and fast for 2010!"

The high visitor turnout is reflected in enthusiastic reports from most of the exhibitors.

Danfoss Drives, for example, received 40% more enquiries than it did at the previous show in 2006. "The quality of the enquiries was also noticeably improved," says Tony Pickering, Danfoss’ senior director for Northern Europe. "The value of the enquires taken, if they result in orders, would be in excess of £500,000."

Pickering and Devlin

Danfoss has already booked a larger stand for the 2010 event. "It was a very easy decision to sign up for the next exhibition as the show will go from strength to strength if the results of this year are to go by," says Pickering (shown above. left, signing the booking form, with Devlin).

Rival drives-maker Control Techniques also had a successful show. "We think Drives and Controls is now firmly established as the UK’s number one exhibition for automation and drives," says general manager, Dave Baston, adding that it was "one of our most successful events so far this year".

Dave Proud of KTR Couplings reports that the company had "a superb show. By the end of the first day, we already knew that we would be back in 2010." About 80% of the enquiries KTR received were from new contacts. "It was a great way to meet new industries where our product could be used that we didn’t even know about," Proud remarks.

Carl Krajewski of HMK Technical Services says that the show "was the best that we have exhibited at for eight years." HMK ran out of enquiry pads on the second day of the show. "Each of our sales visits costs the company £200," Krajewski points out. "By the end of the second day, the show had already paid for itself based on the number of visitors to the stand – they came to us!"

"Compared to 2006 we saw a noticeable increase in visitors," reports John Wilkins, from the enclosure-maker, Rittal. "The co-location with the other shows makes it a must-see event for engineers."

Rittal’s rival Eldon Electric also had a good show, after several years’ absence. It had its entire UK sales force of eight manning the stand but was so busy that it had to call people back from lunch to cope with the number of visitors. "By the end of the second day, we knew that it was the right decision to take part," says sales and marketing director, Paul Nightingale. "We can’t wait for the 2010 show!"

The exhibition even changed the minds of some people who were previously dubious about trade shows. "I hold some sceptical views about the viability of this type of show in today’s electronic world," admits John Attenborough, general manager of the motor and generator manufacturer, Marelli UK, "but the days I spent at Birmingham will yield a sound return on investment. I look forward to Drives & Controls 2010."

Another motor-maker, WEG, had 12 people manning its stand and managing director Patrick O’Neill reports that all were kept very busy. Visitors were particularly interested in WEG’s new W22 family of high-efficiency motors, and its permanent magnet machines.

A newcomer to the show, Ideas in Automation, is already making plans for the 2010 event. Managing director Nick Cadby reports that the company received "excellent visitor numbers each day, including blue-chip companies."

Bob Bolton, spokesman for Bonfiglioli, describes the NEC event as "the best Drives show yet," adding that the company received "a steady flow of visitor traffic on all three days that we didn’t expect. The business generated has more than covered the costs and the show was an excellent platform to launch several new drive products."

Nigel Evenett, managing director of the motor manufacturer, Lafert Electric, says he was surprised at how consistently busy the show was and reports that "the leads we had surpassed our expectations". He is talking about needing a larger stand for the 2010 show.

Rockwell Automation, making its firs appearance at the Drives & Controls Show for many years, had a "busy three days" which generated "quality leads". The company’s Brad McEwan says that initial indications are that the decision to return was well-founded.

David Higham, managing director of the gear supplier Habasit Rossi, reports that the Drives show was "one of the best we have ever exhibited at" and that the company received an "unprecedented" number of "very useful" enquiries.

The NEC event would probably have been even larger if it had not taken place in the same week as the massive Hannover Fair in Germany, preventing many potential exhibitors from attending. This should not happen in 2010, when Drives & Controls and the other shows will be held from 8–10 June. As well as avoiding a clash with Hannover, this will allow companies launching products at Hannover to unveil them to a UK audience a few weeks later.




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Exhibition

Birmingham 2018The next Drives & Controls Exhibition and Conference will take place in Birmingham, UK, from 10-12 April, 2018. For more information on the event, visit the Show Web site

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