With impressive stands, generous hospitality and intense networking, IMHX 2010 has given a real lift to the storage and handling sector. The industry’s flagship exhibition, which took place from 16-19 November at Birmingham’s NEC, showed a buoyant and business-like spirit that reflects the improved economic climate.

The show’s joint organisers – Quartz Publishing and Exhibitions Ltd and the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) – were delighted with both the quality and quantity of visitors, as well as the extremely positive mood at the event. “We have worked very hard over the last few years to attract the right people to IMHX,” commented Paul Michael, Managing Director of Quartz, “and our exhibitors have told us that IMHX 2010 has been very successful for them. This is an industry show and co-operation between the exhibitors and organisers is vital – we listen to what our clients want and respond accordingly. For their part, our exhibitors put on a fantastic show.” Commenting on the positive atmosphere at the show, James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, said, “There were obviously some very serious discussions taking place at this year’s show. Visitors and exhibitors alike were clearly upbeat about business prospects and a significant number of BITA members and other exhibitors have reported a very high level of interest and quality enquiries.”

Thousands of supply chain solutions

Supported by main sponsor, Albury Asset Rentals – the UK’s premier supplier of leasing and finance to the materials handling industry, having financed over 50,000 forklifts during the last 14 years – IMHX once again featured products and services from right across the logistics industry. For the first time in the show’s history, IMHX also featured two special pavilions. Hosted by the Automated Material Handling Systems Association, the AMHSA Pavilion featured a number of its members in stands arranged around a central hospitality area. Commented AMHSA President, Mike Vernon, “By concentrating the presence of automation suppliers in one area of the show, the AMHSA pavilion provided a highly visible platform at IMHX from which the association could promote automated logistics.” The Food & Drink Logistics Suppliers’ Pavilion, sponsored by the Food Storage & Distribution Federation (FSDF), was also a new feature in this year’s show, recognising that IMHX continues to attract large numbers of visitors from the food & drink sector.

Informative seminars and surgeries

IMHX 2010 featured a programme of over 30 highly informative and free seminars from industry leaders on the themes of Information Technology, Innovation and Environment. The show’s organisers also teamed up with leading independent supply chain consultants, OPS Logistics Consultancy, to offer a free advice surgery for the very first time at IMHX. Visitors were able to take advantage of a free, 20-minute consultation with one of the industry experts from OPS to explore ways of increasing revenue, reducing costs and improving customer experience. Commented Kevin Holland, Senior Consultant for OPS, “Because the clinics were well promoted in advance of the show, visitors came with genuine issues to discuss and the feedback has been excellent.”

First carbon-neutral logistics event

Once again breaking new ground, IMHX 2010 has been the first logistics trade exhibition to offset the CO2 produced through visitor travel to the venue. The show featured a special Environmental Zone, sponsored by Shell Gas (LPG), at which visitors were able to record their show travel footprint – at no cost to themselves – using a web-based carbon calculator. The show’s organisers are offsetting this CO2 by planting trees within the UK through an accredited carbon offset partner. The Environmental Zone also featured a number of green solutions offered by exhibitors that contribute to a cleaner environment, energy efficiency and reduced waste.

Help for Heroes benefits to the tune of £14,000

With the logistics industry tracing its roots back to the military, it was fitting that the show’s organisers chose Help for Heroes, along with the Benevolent Funds of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Fusiliers, as the official charities for IMHX 2010.
Since its launch in 2007, Help for Heroes has raised over £44 million to support wounded service personnel and their families. As well as visitor donations through collection buckets around the show, exhibitors bid generously for exclusive items at a charity auction at the show’s Gala Dinner on the Thursday night. Lots included signed sporting memorabilia, tickets to the 2011 British Grand Prix, a Kindle e-book reader and a T-shirt donated by champion diver, Tom Daley, who visited the show on the Thursday. In keeping with the military theme, dinner guests were joined by some armed forces heroes and entertained by the corps of drums of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, in full military regalia.

IMHX Design 4 Safety Award winners revealed

The winners of the Design 4 Safety awards, jointly organised by IMHX co-owners Quartz and BITA, were announced at IMHX 2010. A new initiative to highlight the importance of product design in improving safety standards, the competition’s entries were judged by an independent panel of materials handling and health and safety experts, with four finalists announced on the first day of the show and the overall winner – chosen by visitor voting – revealed on the final day. The finalist for the Industrial Trucks category was Toyota Material Handling UK for its BT Pro Lifter hand pallet truck. This innovative product transfers power from the pump-action tiller arm to the truck’s steering wheels to turn them a third of a revolution, helping to get the truck moving. This means that the truck requires up to 67% less starting effort than a standard hand pallet truck, reducing operator strain. In the Racking & Storage category, the finalist was the US company Sentry Protection Products and the firm’s owner, Jim Ryan, collected the prize for its Rack Sentry 100mm Cut-out racking protector. Manufactured from durable polyethylene, the much-copied Rack Sentry is the original impact-absorbing column protector. Jim Ryan commented, “It’s great to be back here in the UK. The show has been everything we expected and it’s a real bonus to win one of the prestigious Design 4 Safety awards.” Transdek was the finalist in the Automation category, scooping first place for its innovative double deck lifts, developed over a period of seven years, for the safe loading and unloading of double deck trailers. The fourth finalist was Cooper SH, which won the Technology category with its NearGuard solution. This alert system for forklifts and other mobile machinery indicates both the direction and proximity of objects using sensors that search for RFID tags. The tags can be fitted to other machines or items such as compulsory clothing and a radar-like screen and alarm system indicate any imminent danger to the driver. From the four finalists, the one voted by visitors to IMHX 2010 as the overall winner of the inaugural Design 4 Safety awards was the BT Pro Lifter hand pallet truck from Toyota Material Handling UK, which attracted over 50% of the votes cast to win by a clear margin.

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