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Drives Show heads for the record books

03 March, 2008

Next month’s Drives & Controls Show looks set to be the UK’s largest and most important exhibition for the motion engineering, automation and mechanical power transmission sectors, for many years. With almost two months to go, the total exhibition floorspace booked is more than 50% up on the previous show in 2006.

CT 2006 stand

Exhibition sales director Doug Devlin says that the 2006 exhibition helped to re-establish the show in its new format and biennial frequency, alongside a cluster of related engineering events, including the massive MACH manufacturing and machine tool exhibition. Together, these shows are forecast to attract more than 40,000 visitors to the Birmingham NEC – far more than any comparable UK event.

"We really have the cream of the UK manufacturing sector here," says Devlin. "The success of the event in 2006 spoke for itself and this year’s exhibition has really become the place to be seen."

Many leading motion engineering and automation companies are showing their confidence in the event by returning to the Drives & Controls Show for the first time in many years. These include names such as Siemens, Schneider Electric, WEG, Hitachi, Mayr, Berger Lahr, Lutze, Alcatel Dunkermotoren, RS Components, Transmission Developments, Rotor and Marelli Motori.

The show has also attracted several first-time exhibitors including Weidmüller, Fortress Interlocks, Stocko, Baumüller, Pfaff-Silberblau, Zettlex, GE Industrial and Slater Drive Systems.

Companies returning after having a successful 2006 event include Control Techniques – which will share the show’s largest stand with its Emerson Electric sister company, Leroy-Somer – as well as Danfoss Motion Controls, Lamonde Automation, Phoenix Contact, Rittal, Lafert Electric Motors, SEW Eurodrive, Gefran and Motion Control Products.

The interest in the show has been international. India’s largest industrial chain manufacturer, TIDC, will be there, as will a delegation of companies from China.

This year also marks the birth of the new Plant & Works Exhibition, targeting maintenance engineers. This will include a pavilion of stands for members of the repairers’ trade body, the AEMT, as well as other stands of interest to Drives Show visitors, including Fluke, Hansen Transmissions and Flir.

Another event joining the NEC cluster for the first time is Independent Power & Energy Europe, which will cover areas such as on-site and standby power, sustainable energy, fuel cells, combined heat and power, UPSs and batteries. Nearby, visitors will find the Electrex electrical engineering and contracting show.

The international fluid power exhibition Ifpex will be returning to the UK for the first time in many years, bringing well-known names such as Gates, Legris and Stauff. Exhibitors in the neighbouring Air-Tech compressed air event include Boge, Beko and Atlas Copco.

In addition to the exhibitions, visitors will be able to attend a series of seminars and conferences related to the shows. Drives & Controls, and its sister magazines, Plant & Works Engineering and Hydraulics & Pneumatics, have organised a series of free seminars that will take place on all three days of the show. A wide variety of speakers have been invited to talk, including experts from the Carbon Trust, Gambica, the HSE, the AEMT, and the Government’s Single Market Directives department. The keynote speech on the first day will be given by Stephen Radley, chief economist at the EEF, who will predict how the manufacturing climate in the UK is likely to develop during the rest of 2008.

The Drives & Controls Show takes place from 22-24 April at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. For more details and to pre-register, please visit

• If you are interested in taking one of the few remaining stands, please contact Doug Devlin immediately on (44) 01922 644766 or email him at

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

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