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Drives & Controls Show sets a new attendance record

15 April, 2014

The Drives & Controls Show and the cluster of allied events held at the Birmingham NEC last week, set new attendance records – despite a major accident closing the nearby M6 motorway for the whole of the first day of the show and preventing many potential visitors from reaching the NEC.

Over three days, the shows attracted 12,793 visitors  – an increase of nearly 15% on the 11,146 who visited the previous event in 2012. The total number of exhibitors across the cluster of shows was 370 – around 100 more than at the previous event in 2012. And the four seminar theatres attracted a total audience of more than 1,000 people. 

“The event looked and felt magnificent,” says Ian Atkinson, managing director of DFA Media, which organised the shows. “It attracted almost universal praise from the exhibitors,” he adds.

“The success was far beyond what we expected,” says Doug Devlin, sales director for the Drives exhibition. “There was a real buzz in the halls and the exhibitors reported good numbers of high-quality leads. Both the EPTDA and Gambica pavilions were very busy over the three days and both will be increased in size to accommodate more members for the 2016 show.

“The industry has clearly picked up,” he adds, “and there is a confidence in the manufacturing and engineering sectors that was reflected in the visitor footfall.”

Carl Krajewski, managing director of Siemens’ UK motion and controls partner, HMK, reports that despite the problems on the roads, his company took 50% more enquiries on the first day of the show than it did at the previous event.

Beckhoff Automation had the biggest stand in the Drives Show, and according to UK sales manager Lucie Thaxter, the stand was busy all the time. “We’ve made some really good contacts,” she adds.

Exhibitors at the the 2014 Drives & Controls Show report that they made numerous high-quality contacts with potential customers

B&R Automation had more new products on its large stand than it has ever had before and had an extremely successful event. “It’s been the best UK exhibition we’ve ever had in terms of leads and quality,” reports general manager, Simon Goodwin, who felt there was “a positive level of optimism in the hall”.

Lenze had set itself a target of raising its enquiry level by at least 25% over the figure it achieved at the 2012 Drives Show, and easily exceeded this target. “We’ve had some cracking enquiries,” says marketing manager, Geoff Spear. One of these enquiries could potentially be worth £500,000 to the company.

Another company that had a successful event was the enclosure-maker Rittal. Attending his last Drives Show before retiring, the company’s marketing manager John Wilkins reports that the Wednesday was “the best day we’ve ever had at a Drives Show” with more than 100 “proper” enquiries.

The German sensor-maker Wenglor Sensoric was a newcomer at this year’s Drives show. The company has previously exhibited at the PPMA Show but, according to director James Mayo, the response Wenglor experienced at the Drives Show was better than it has ever had at PPMA. “We will definitely be back,” he says.

Devlin reports that the success of the 2014 Drives show has resulted in a record number of rebookings for the next event in 2016. Companies that have already confirmed their intention to exhibit at the 2016 show include Beckhoff, B&R Automation, Centa, Carter Bearings, Dunkermotoren, Eplan, E-T-A Circuit Breakers, HMK/Siemens, ILME, Leuze Electronics, LMC, Radwell International, Rittal, Tempa Pano and Wenglor.

The 2016 Drives & Controls Show will take place at the NEC from 12–14 April.

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