AMHSA Members Thrive At Highly Successful PPMA Exhibition
Life is beginning to show signs of slowly returning to some normality. AMHSA members were recently present at the PPMA exhibition at the N.E.C., Birmingham, demonstrating innovative and technological machinery and services. Matt Jones, AMHSA, went along to find out more.
Matt Jones, AMHSA Administration & Events Manager at PPMA
On arrival at the N.E.C. everything seemed to be just as normal as before the pandemic had prevented any events, not just on this scale, from taking place for over 12 months. The site owners, organisers and exhibitors, though well rehearsed for this type of event, had obviously worked twice as hard to ensure that safety, and now public health, was of paramount importance, the coronavirus, obviously, being a new major concern. The usual safety considerations were all in place – plentiful and professionally well managed attended parking areas, park and ride bus services to the exhibition hall entrances and then additional levels of health care.
All visitors were asked to demonstrate evidence of a double vaccination before being permitted. An NHS app certificate or test result required presenting to staff before entering the halls. Nearly everybody entering had pre-registered on line and were able to demonstrate evidence of their health status. Whilst not compulsory, visitors were reminded, of their choice to wear face masks if they wished to. In addition there were hand sanitising stations positioned both at the entrance and salient points throughout the hall. Touch points had also been considered and obviously reduced to prevent any risk of spreading the virus between all guests. Many of the exhibitors’ stands had also been assessed to further reduce any risk, though all were still very impressive!
Exhibiting companies had obviously worked hard with the show organisers to deliver an exhibition that would demonstrate the latest in the processing and packing machinery and automated material handling systems equipment available on the market. Stands were constructed to a very high standard and impressive scale.
John Oakley, Managing Director, Nerak said “our stand continues to impress visitors and demonstrates the capability of our products”, “the simple robust well engineered design of our lifting equipment is testament to its reliability and our exhibition model is no exception”. Exhibitors were treated to demonstrations of traditional and hugely successful equipment and to newer more innovative technologies wishing to introduce or upgrade equipment necessary to develop their operational success.
Colour coded carpeting and clear floorplan maps helped visitors navigate their way around the hall and orientate themselves with a degree of efficiency, locating targetted stands with some ease. Whilst some exhibitors had decided to “go all out” and place a full range of exhibition equipment products on their stands, others had decided to reduce the physical build of their space and let their products take centre stage and do “the talking for them”.
The additional dimension of the fuel shortages was not going to deter exhibitors or visitors to the show and many were determined to ensure that they were at the NEC, especially after what had been endured during the pandemic.
A steady flow of visitors enjoyed acessing exhibitors’ stands whilst strolling along the lanes and avenues laid out in the usual style but with plenty of space, reducing bottlenecks and keeping things feeling extremely safe. Exhibitors were keen to welcome guests onto their stands to discuss products and share their experiences of the last eighteen months.
Foundations to Build On
The exhibition has demonstrated that, as life begins to return to some resemblance of normality and the freedoms we all enjoy, large scale business events are emergin once more. We can all expect a full programme of events during 2022 albeit with some potential restrictive considerations remaining in place.
But, with the positivity of all contributors to this show evident, we can assume that business will continue to bounce back and thrive and suppliers will undoubtedly want to demonstrate their solutions during 2022.
Exhibition organisers are confident that this show has benefited everybody involved. They commented that “the PPMA Show has once again proved to be a successful event for both visitors and exhibitors. We’re thrilled to have delivered our first live show since 2019 and evidence is that buyers have visited our event with active projects in mind”.
The exhibition saw in excess of 250 companies showcasing equipment, services and technical expertise with 1,250 brands showcased from smart manufacturing, processing equipment, material handling and packaging solutions on display.
Exhibitors Enjoy the Success
Exhibitors to the PPMA have enjoyed a high calibre of visitors with plenty of leads. Derek Scott, Sales Manager at Engelmann & Buckham commented that “his colleagues had enjoyed a lot of interest on the stand and that enquiries had even been made of other sectors of their business”, likely demonstrating that interest in automation continues to grow at an accelerated rate.
Rachel Duckworth, Marketing Manager at Beckhoff Automation had also experienced keen interest from visitors. Rachel said “that the stand is always well received and that their exhibition model of their XPlanar was a real draw and facilitates a vision”.
It may be too early to gauge the appetite for large scale international exhibitions, but based on visitor numbers within the first couple of hours of the exhibition doors opening, visitors’ thirst for a return to being able to meet physically and enjoy live demonstrations of products is definitely returning – albeit in a changed world. We will all undoubtedly have to modify our behaviours and attitudes in accordance with guidelines and public health advice if we are to see a quickening return to large scale lucrative exhibitions. But, exhibitors have definitely endeavoured to tackle the problems presented by Corona Virus – lets hope it proves fruitful for everybody concerned.
Matt Jones, AMHSA