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Show starters

The Construction Equipment Association is buoyant after a positive response to its plans for a new plant show in 2013. Margo Cole spoke to the organisation’s chief executive and vice president.

When the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) announced in January that it was launching a new plant show, a few eyebrows were raised about the wisdom of jumping into this market so soon after the demise of SED.

But with 130 exhibitors already signed up two years ahead of the first event, it looks like the industry believes it needs an enterprise like this.

“When you talk to a lot of manufacturers they tend to say that there are already too many exhibitions, so I was fairly sceptical about launching another one,” says CEA chief executive Rob Oliver. “The general view is that worldwide there are too many shows trying to be what they’re not.”

Clear vision

But the industry has backed the CEA’s Plantworx event wholeheartedly - perhaps because Oliver is clear about what it is and what it is not: “When we started canvassing opinion, potential purchasers and operators said that they like seeing machines in action, and that experience plays quite a part in the purchasing decision. So we are starting from the premise that it should have a demonstration element at its core,” he says.

Plantworx is not designed to compete with massive international shows like Bauma and Conexpo; it is specifically for the UK market.

“We hope Plantworx can have some positive effect in terms of marketing to young people and supporting them”

Rob Oliver, CEA


CEA vice president Nick Ground says: “Manufacturers tell us that a lot of their business is with small companies who are below the radar of corporate entertaining at shows like Bauma. And even at Bauma you can’t drive the machines yourself.”

The event will showcase the innovative aspects of machines that are on the market at the moment, and show how they can contribute to improving efficiency and sustainability. “I think technology may be ahead of specification,” claims Oliver, who says the event will give clients and consultants the chance to see what some of these machines are capable of, and may encourage them to change their specifications.

First event

The first Plantworx event will be in May 2013, but the CEA plans to build towards it with a series of events and activities every six months, starting with a get-together at the show venue next week.

“Over the next couple of years there will be various activities under the Plantworx banner including conferences, awards programmes and even student bursaries,” says Oliver.

The idea of bursaries is to address skills shortages, particularly in the manufacturing sector. “Every company from small to multinational can’t find engineers,” says Ground. “We need to have more young people coming into engineering, and we hope Plantworx can have some positive effect in terms of marketing to young people and supporting them.”

Oliver adds: “We are keen that partnering with Plantworx doesn’t just mean turning up at an exhibition for three days in May 2013. We want to be responsive to ideas, and we will be providing a framework and hoping different interest groups will help us to flesh it out.”

  • Plantworx will be held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire from 14-16 May 2013. An event is being held for potential exhibitors on Wednesday 25 May 2011. For more information go to

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