Taking place at the Birmingham NEC between 17th-19th April, Drives & Controls, Air-Tech, IFPEX, and the Plant and Asset Management Exhibition are set to be one of the largest manufacturing and engineering events of the year. Energy Management magazine takes a closer look at what’s going on in 2012

The previous Drives & Controls exhibition, held in 2010, was one of the most successful in the show’s history, attracting 103 exhibitors – 16% more than in 2008, before the worst effects of the recession had been felt. The 2010 show was also 22% larger than the 2008 event, covering an area of 2,630m2, and attracting more large scale ‘showcase’ stands.

Despite the recession, the co-location of events which includes Drives & Controls, Air-Tech, and The International Fluid Power Exhibition (IFPEX), attracted more than 8,600 visitors in 2010.

What’s on in 2012?

A highlight of this year’s Drives & Controls show will be a pavilion organised by the European Power Transmission Distributors Association (EPTDA) and featuring up to 15 of its members. The pavilion will be modelled on one that the EPTDA has run successfully at alternate Hannover Fairs for more than a decade.

This will be the first time that the EPTDA has organised such an event away from Hannover. “It is a chance for our members to get a better grip on the UK market,” said EPTDA executive vice-president, Hans Hanegreefs, who expects most of his members at the show to be from outside the UK, with one even travelling from the US to appear. The EPTDA is also planning to hold a reception at the show.

Energy and safety

Complementing 2012’s co-location of events is a free highly focused seminar programme. New for 2012 is the Energy and Safety seminar theatre, sponsored by CompAir, where themed panel discussions and seminar presentations will focus on key energy management topics, ranging from wind turbine maintenance, to the latest legislative debates surrounding health and safety – including machinery safety and ATEX.

Also new for 2012 is the Exhibitor Forum seminar theatre which will include more technical workshop style presentations, with practical issues being discussed concerning the various sectors that make up the Drives & Controls exhibition, Air-Tech, and IFPEX.

In addition, the Plant and Asset Management exhibition will have two free seminar theatres, however, for those wanting to attend, it is advisable to book in advance to guarantee a seat. Despite only being launched in February 2011, momentum is building, with the floor plan having to be enlarged to accommodate additional stand space and a second seminar theatre.

In depth coverage

To give a flavour of the depth and range of seminar topics being presented, the following are just two of the sessions so far submitted and accepted. Andrew Stevens, from EA Technology, will deliver a session on ‘Condition Assessment of HV Assets’. EA Technology has developed condition assessment techniques over the last 40 years that are recognised and used globally. Stevens will describe these techniques and explain that, when used in conjunction with the Health & Safety Guidelines (HSG230), they not only make sure legal obligations are met but also ensure the continuous operation of high voltage assets.

Timothy Bradshaw, an applications specialist with Mistras, will deliver a session on the ‘Application of Online Asset Inspection and Monitoring’. His focus will be on the use of online inspection and monitoring techniques which allow the intelligent prioritisation of asset maintenance that minimises unnecessary down-time. Bradshaw will discuss the range of techniques that are available (together with their benefits and restrictions), such as pipework, storage tanks, pressure vessels, structures, transformers etc, that allow the maximum amount of data about an asset’s condition to be established without its removal from service.

Other sessions in the pipeline include the early and accurate detection of rolling element bearing faults, risk mitigation through strategic maintenance and reliability, knowledge management and global asset management, OEE and effective asset management, and linking maintenance and asset management.

Combined, the seminar theatres will give delegates the opportunity to pick up best practice tips and valuable advice from a variety of speakers, representing a cross section of the engineering and manufacturing sector.


MACH, the manufacturing technologies exhibition that runs alongside the Drives & Controls show, is set to be significantly larger than it was in 2010. The Manufacturing Technologies Association, which organises MACH, reports that it has already filled the NEC’s Hall 5 and that bookings for Hall 4 are coming in “thick and fast.” For the first time this year, there will be a direct link between the Drives and MACH shows.

Details on how to register for the April shows can be found below.

Drives & Controls


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