A look back at Plantworx 2017 – A full Report.

The 3rd biennial Plantworx Construction Machinery Show, hosted by the CEA (Construction Equipment Association), ended last week (8th June) following an extraordinary three-day action-packed event!
The show opened to torrential rain but it did not ‘stop play’ and hardy visitors braved the elements and worked their way around the show taking shelter on the undercover trade stands.  On day-two there was glorious sunshine, however due to a large amount of footfall, mud was abundant, but this did not dampen the spirits of visitors who flocked through the gates to see the plethora of brand new equipment on display at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire. The Plantworx team has also reported more than12,300 visitors came through the gates over the three-days.
Rob Oliver, chief executive of the CEA said, “We had two things dumped on us at the show, three inches of rain on day one – and a General Election on day three! However, the spirit at the show shone through – and it achieved our goal of providing a successful business event for our industry. Early indications are that a lot of exhibitors are reporting significant new contacts. Great too that our partnership with Primary Engineer really delivered with the showcase for school age engineers in The Hub area. We will continue to develop the show, not forgetting that we are there to reflect the needs of our sector first and foremost.”

A successful event – despite biblical weather conditions!
The show, which spanned a whopping 140,000 square metres and was home to 395 exhibitors, for three-days, was deemed a success. Following the show social media platforms were ‘buzzing’ with mostly positive comments from both exhibitors and visitors alike.
Visitor Sean Gratton S Gratton Plant Hire said via twitter, “I Thought it was a great show – great access and a well thought out show.”
Graham Sandercock, MD at Mecalac dealers, Specialist Plant South West, was an exhibitor at the show he said, via Facebook, “It was wet and muddy as hell, but it didn’t dampen the spirits! There were some cracking guys I spoke to with great enthusiasm for machinery. Cheers!”
Graham added, “Mecalac had a great stand and demo area and our operator, Michael Gruffaz, won best demonstrator of the show with what he did with the 6MCR. There was a huge amount of interest in the MCR and MWR machines with many people discovering them for the first time.”
Visitor Jason Snaith reported on Facebook, “Fantastic atmosphere on the Finning/ Sitech stand with the lads from the Facebook group, Digger Man Blog.”
First time exhibitors, Hugh Crane had a great inaugural show, they said, “We exhibited for the first time this year. Great event apart from the rain on Tuesday!”Visitor Trevor Little said on Twitter, “Having been to all three Plantworx – this show was the best so far.”
“It’s been a great few days despite the weather,” said exhibitors Point of Rental Software. “Thanks, Plantworx Construction Exhibition!”
Leica Geosystems teamed up with UK Plant Operators for this year’s Plantworx event in a bid to help highlight technology in construction and how its changing the way we work.
UK Plant Operators founder, Dale Hawkins said, “Despite the brief weather interruptions we found the visitors to this year’s event very engaging with over 500 entries into our simulator competition. With the main focus being icon machine control guidance and the way it can enhance the operator to become more efficient in their works, the skill level displayed during the competition was outstanding.
We are very much looking forward to the next event. Thank you and your teams support during the event, a job well done you should all be proud.”
Hervè Malibas managing director Containex said, “A great thank you again for this big show which was a true success for us.”
“Thank you from all at Thwaites for the effort put in by the Plantworx team over the last two weeks, we had a fantastic show and a busy stand over the whole three days.” Andy Sabin, Thwaites
Datatag managing director, Kevin Howells said, “Plantworx went well for Datatag we were pleased to be able to mark the ten-year anniversary of CESAR during the show. The success of the CESAR scheme was prominent throughout as so many manufactures were displaying their CESAR marked machines.”
Kevin added, “The event overall was a good networking opportunity and visitor footfall to the stand was good despite the challenging weather conditions on the first day.
Datatag were also proud to have won the Plantworx innovation award for MicroCESAR leading up to the show and this success really helped promote the newly launched scheme during the event.”
Business Done, Strong Sales Leads and Quality Visitors at Plantworx…
“Despite the challenging weather conditions Plantworx 2017 turned out to be extremely encouraging for Miller, with enquiries at an exceptionally high level compared to previous shows.” Said, Brendan Quill, sales and marketing director at Miller. “We have attributed the significant increase in sales leads due to the introduction of our new PowerLatch Tilt coupler which gained a huge amount of interest during the 3-day show.
Plantworx gave us the perfect opportunity to showcase live our newest, lightest, lowest, PowerLatch Tilt coupler and enable customers to see the tangible benefits of the added 180o versatility and functionality in action for themselves.”
A&Y Equipment, announced that they had become the UK’s Dieci construction importer at Plantworx, sold their first Dieci telehandler at the show on Tuesday. A local independent builder who had been rained off his site came onto the stand to take a look at the Dieci machines. A deal was agreed for a Dedalus 30.7, which is a fixed telehandler able to lift 3 tonnes up to 7 metres.
A&Y MD, Robert Brown said “Plantworx was the ideal time to launch this new range, it was a great opportunity for relevant people to see and talk about these new machines. From the show we have made sales of a Dedalus 30.7 as well as the Apollo 25.6R from the stand, this is on top of many further Dieci enquires, along with our existing Ammann, Yanmar and Cormidi equipment”
A representative from Molson Group, dealers for Hyundai, Kobelco and Sennebogen said, “We did a few deals on the stand – it’s the first time an umbrella has closed a deal for me.”
Andrew Taylor, general manager for Sany dealer, TDL Equipment said, “We had a very busy three-days, the first two were excellent and generated many enquires, and whilst the last day was slower it also proved excellent. The stand location was better than in 2015 and the show overall brings us many new customers and also without doubt help us promote the quality Sany Product in the UK. The demonstration area allows operators to try and see what Sany can delivery, the feedback we got was excellent.”
Exhibitor, IAPS Group said, “We had a great show. The weather conditions helped us to demonstrate the soft ground capabilities of the latest Hinowa Spa tracked booms.”
“Despite the weather the BOMAG stand was busy throughout the three- day-show. Our new location appeared a benefit compared to the first year at Bruntingthorpe, when we were at the bottom end of the site.” Reported BOMAG managing director, Alan Batty
Alan added, “The quality of visitors was high. Our customers found us and engaged with us positively and we also met a few ‘new faces’ which is why we continue to attend the major shows.”

Primary Engineer event at Plantworx…
On the final day of the show more than ten Leicestershire Primary and Secondary schools took part in the inaugural CEA/Plantworx Primary Engineer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) challenge at Plantworx – held in the new Plantworx ‘Hub’.
What a fantastic morning it was! The schools which took part in this challenge battled the elements and difficult ground conditions to get to Plantworx and brought their carefully engineered vehicles and fluid power projects to the ‘Celebration Event’ ready to take part in the competition.
The CEA and Plantworx team have had very positive feedback from the schools involved and many said that if this event (Primary Engineer) was run each year – it would automatically be added to the school curriculum.
Judges included engineers from Caterpillar, JCB and Perkins, who volunteered for the role, and from other sponsor companies including AMI, Bomag, BSP Foundations, GKD, Gomaco, Datatag, Marubeni Komatsu, Point of Rental and TriMark.  Plantworx exhibitor and Primary Engineer sponsor, Nylacast kindly provided all the High Viz vests for the students.
It was the judge’s role to talk to the school teams individually about how they designed their projects and what methods and preparation were used. The teams were also judged on their communication skills and the best theme of the day! The final part of the judging process for the Primary School (Apprentice Level 1) teams was to test their vehicles on a 12mtr x 4mtr ‘runway’ to see just how far, and how straight, they could travel. The Primary Schools who used batteries (Apprentice Level 2) in their vehicles were challenged to ascend a ramp.
As far as the judges were concerned – all of the teams were winners and each and every school received a medal and a certificate. However, the overall winning teams were:

  • Apprentice Level 1 Winner – Richmond Primary School
  • Apprentice Level 1 Runner Up – Redhill Primary School
  • Apprentice Level 2 Winner – Linden Primary School
  • Apprentice Level 2 Runner Up – Leighfield Academy
  • Secondary Engineer Winner – Merrydale School
  • Secondary Engineer Winner – King Edward VII College

JCB Apprentices were on hand to chat to the children about their projects and they even brought along their full-size JCB Loadall (parked up in the Hub) which was designed and built by 68 JCB Apprentices.  Charles Stevenson, JCB general manager, also offered each of the participating schools a trip to JCB headquarters in Rocester. Bomag was kind enough to provide the event with a ’50-years of Bomag’ cake – which once cut by CEA Skills Council ambassador, Nigel Baseley, went down an absolute treat.

JCB’s Apprentice Programme Advisor, Chris Morris, also attended the event, he said, “JCB Engineering Talent Programme would like to thank Plantworx, Construction Equipment Association and Primary Engineer for inviting us along to the Primary and Secondary Engineering Awards.
The day was thoroughly enjoyable and it was great to see the young budding engineers in action. We also brought along the Apprentice Built Loadall which was manufactured and built entirely by 68 JCB engineering apprentices at our World Headquarters in Staffordshire. This made such an impact with the students and the advice given by our apprentices will hopefully help inspire them into a career in engineering.
Some of the thought and hard work that has gone into the projects seen today was fantastic and it was great to see the smiles on each of the student’s face during the trials.
As we know, the UK is heavily short of engineers and Primary Engineer is doing a fantastic job in helping to promote engineering through school engagement, by setting tasks and importantly, making it enjoyable. It was an excellent achievement by all. Keep up the good work!”
Phil Bulmer, teacher King Edward VII secondary school brought a team of his pupils for the fluid power challenge and won first prize, he said “We all had such a wonderful time – my students were very excited to take part and winning it was the icing on the cake. It was also a great opportunity to network with other local DT teachers.
Please can you thank all the organisers who made the event such a special day. I do hope you run it again next year, I did mention to Steve Crowther (Primary Engineer) I’d be happy to bring our crane to next year’s training day and demonstrate it to other teachers.”
Martin Cuthbert, managing director at Webtec Products, a Plantworx exhibitor visited the event in the Hub, he said, “Congratulations to CEA Plantworx and Primary Engineer for running such a fantastic engineering event for primary and secondary school children round Leicester on Thursday. As a fan of hydraulics, I was drawn to the fluid power challenge and even though I arrived after the main event I got to see a demonstration of a local secondary school’s entry.
Wow! A pick and place robot arm, built from MDF wood, syringes and plastic tubing by four 14 year olds and their teacher. What an incredible challenge and absolutely on message for Plantworx where you are surrounded by heavy machinery. Next year, this could be a whole year group taking part not just an adventurous few in their break time. As with all things, you need the advance party to prove it can work, no doubt the school teachers, headmasters / headmistresses and the pupils themselves will be a bit hesitant at first, but they shouldn’t be.”
The CEA is hoping to work with Primary Engineer and local Leicestershire schools again in 2018. Watch this space!
Student Afternoon – Local Schools brave the mud and rain and enjoy the show…
The final day of the show Plantworx once again opened its doors to students from local schools and colleges to encourage more youngsters into looking at careers in the Construction Equipment industry. Despite the rain and the mud (which they thoroughly enjoyed) over 350 children attended the student event – each were given a hi-viz jacket, kindly supplied by Plantworx Exhibitor Nylacast, and were given a student trail to follow where the children were encouraged to visit participating stands, answer questions and take part in challenges.
The children had a whale of a time – so much so that a pupil from John Wycliffe Primary School, who brought 70 children to the show said, “This is the best trip ever – it’s better than the London Aquarium and Harry Potter World!”Teacher Paul Clarke from Craven College said, “Thank you for a great and enlightening day on behalf of Craven College plus the mud added to the atmosphere!”
Mr Tara from Manor High School said, “Thank you for inviting us to the student event – we all thoroughly enjoyed the time with you.”
On-Site Awards at Plantworx…
At Plantworx 2017 there were onsite awards for those exhibitors who made a big impact the onsite judges who looked at companies stands and demonstration areas. The awards – were presented at the Exhibitors Reception which took place in the Plantworx Hub on day two of the show.
Earthmovers magazine were the sponsors of both the Best Operator Award and the Best Demonstration Award. Editor Graham Black judged the awards at the event alongside Earthmovers Digger-Man Blog, Nick Drew.
Winner of the Best Operator Award was Mecalac’s Operator, Michael Gruffaz, Graham said, “Michael demonstrated the unique features and benefits of the Mecalac 6MCR to its best advantage, to an experienced audience who immediately saw the advantages of this multi-function product.”
Winner of the Best Demonstration plot was Wacker Neuson, “Not only was there a wide variety of product types working on Wacker Neuson’s demonstration plot – showcasing their full range – but there was a number of alternative driveline technologies featured.” Reported Graham.
Fuchsia Exhibition Services were the sponsors of the Best Indoor Stand and Best Out Door Stand. The winner of the Best Indoor Stand was the Elsa s.r.l and LBW Machines stand in Pavilion A. Judging this category was Plantworx sales manager Angela Spink. “The Elsa/LBW stand was well thought out and there was a very impressive display of their product and an engaging demonstration. The stand was always busy and the stand personnel really showed enthusiasm and interaction with the visitors who came to their stand.”
The Best Outdoor Stand was awarded to TJC Sales, a UK dealer for Hidromek. Judge Angela Spink said, “The static part of the TJC Sales stand was well thought out and although simple – was very impressive. Home grown fresh flowers surrounded a garden shed in troughs – it was really inviting and a lot of thought went into the design and it complemented the all-action Hidromek demonstration area.”
The Best Onsite Contractor/Stand Build Award, sponsored by Plantworx, was judged by the onsite ‘build-up’ team headed up by Nick Coleman. “Containex was a clear winner from the start,” said Nick. “From build up through to breakdown Containex and their contractor S&S Site Services did an excellent job.“
Another very significant award to be presented at the event was the Paul Bidwell Memorial Award which was presented to Altrad Belle who has also made an outstanding contribution to the show since its inception back in 2010. The Plantworx team were all part of judging this award and the decision was unanimous! Altrad Belle year on year never fail to impress with their dedication to Plantworx.
The Paul Bidwell Memorial Award is a tribute award in memory of the late Paul Bidwell, marketing manager of Manitou UK. Paul was a very keen supporter of Plantworx and was one of the original members of the ‘working-group’. The presentation of the award winner was Paul’s wife Rosemary Bidwell and son James who drove for many hours to the show – just to present this award.
The final award of the show was the People’s Choice Award was judged by the visitors in the Hub area of the show, where all the Plantworx Innovation Award Winners were highlighted – many with their products on display. Visitors were invited to vote for their favourite product. JCB’s Hydradig was a clear winner. CEA chief executive, Rob Oliver, presented the Award to the JCB stand team on the final afternoon of the show.
Well that’s it for another two-years. Here’s to the 2019 – Dates to be Confirmed.