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Drives & Controls Show defies the downturn

05 August, 2010

The Drives & Controls Show which took place at the Birmingham NEC in early June, was one of the most successful ever. The event attracted 103 exhibitors – 16% more than the previous show held in April 2008, before the worst effects of the recession had been felt.

The 2010 show was also 22% larger than the 2008 event, covering an area of 2,630m2, and attracting more large-scale “showcase” stands. The event’s growing international status was evident in a Chinese delegation with more than twice as many exhibitors as in 2008.

Despite the recent recession, the cluster of shows that includes Drives & Controls attracted more than 8,600 visitors – only slightly down on the 2008 event, which included the Electrex electrical engineering show. Electrex was not part of the 2010 cluster, which consisted of Plant & Works, the Air-Tech compressed air show, the IFPEX fluid power event, as well as Drives & Controls.

According to Ian Atkinson, managing director of the event organiser, DFA Media, the shows have achieved “significant growth despite tough conditions for manufacturers”. He says that this highlights industry’s “continuing commitment to support these important events”.

“As in 2008, the visitors came from across the core industrial sectors and more importantly with live projects and looking to place orders,” adds exhibition sales director, Doug Devlin. “In general, the exhibitors were delighted with the quality and quantity of leads, especially from Blue Chip companies.

“The seminar programme proved highly popular with some sessions overflowing into the aisles!,” Devlin reports. “The investment in stand design, both in space-only and shell schemes, gave the whole event a feel-good factor.”

Baldor Electric had its largest UK exhibition stand for many years and the effort appears to have paid off. “We’re really, really pleased with the show,” says marketing director, Mark Crocker. “In terms of the number and quality of leads, it’s been up with SPS/IPC/Drives and Hannover for us. People have been coming with real projects, and looking for solutions. We’ve had some very strong leads.”

“Drives & Controls 2010 surprised us once again with a fantastic quality of visitors,” comments Carl Krajewski
 of HMK Technical Services. “We had half-expected poor attendance and poor quality due to the unfavourable economic environment and the over-utilisation of remaining engineers in industry, but the reality could not have been further from that. We had 65 quality enquiries over the three days, with the majority coming from new potential clients. We have ready secured orders on the back of the show. We cannot wait for the next show in 2012.”

Mike Loughran of Rockwell Automation says that the show was “invaluable to get our new technology in front of new and existing customers. About 80% of the leads are projects or those looking to migrate.” He adds that some customers had travelled more than 130 miles to get to the show: “It’s quite positive during these strange economic times that people are coming – and coming from far afield.”

According to Peter Walker, director the first-time exhibitor, Vipa, the show was “absolutely amazing. We’re part of a young company and only been going for 18 months, so this was really part of our formal launch to the market and the industry to build the brand.”

A video report on the exhibition can be seen at

The next Drives & Controls Show will take place from 17–19 April, 2012

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