Plantworx 2023 kicked off and concluded with a welcome twist. From its very first show in 2013, every single show had been blighted by incessant rainfall and biblical conditions. However, this time around, the event started and ended with wall-to-wall sunshine.
As the doors opened on Plantworx 2023 (13th – 15th June, East of England Arena Peterborough), attendees were greeted with a scorching hot and sunny spectacle, completely uncharacteristic of previous shows. The unexpected weather conditions added an extra layer of excitement to the event, and the ice cream van was doing a roaring trade!
Suneeta Johal, CEO of the Construction Equipment Association, commented on the event, “As my first Plantworx event as CEO, I was truly impressed by the innovative technology showcased, the industry recognition through our innovation awards, and the significant deals made. I also received really good feedback from exhibitors about the quality of the organisation and ops – which is all down to our excellent operational team, headed up by Simon Frere-Cook and Stuart Favill.”
Suneeta concluded, “Peterborough gifted us with great weather and an electrifying atmosphere for my first Plantworx experience. Now, it’s time to set our sights on Plantworx 2025 and our next exciting venue, which we are actively seeking and we are hoping to update our loyal exhibitors and visitors in the coming months.”
The show was declared a resounding success as attendees, undeterred by the sweltering conditions, eagerly entered the East of England Arena in Peterborough. They were greeted with a wide array of state-of-the-art machinery and innovative products on display. The Plantworx team was thrilled to announce that over the course of the three-day event, the footfall was circa 14,000 and of those 10,000 were unique visitors who basked in the scorching weather to explore the offerings.
The show was supported by National Highways and Costain, who were onsite throughout the whole event to talk to exhibitors and also Operators, attending the event. The National Highways and Costain team shared the Partners Lounge with several other organisations, including AMPS – Association of Manufacturers and Suppliers of Power Systems and ancillary equipment and overseas organisations including, ANMOPYC, bauma 2025, bauma CONEXPO INDIA, BICES 2023 Show, British Embassy Ulaanbaatar, CII – EXCON, Conexpo – CON / AGG, M & T Expo and the UK’s Department for Business and Trade. In addition, a large Mongolian delegation flew into the show to do business with UK exhibitors – such is the far reach of the show.
The progress in making construction machinery run on electricity is happening very fast. This showed at Plantworx 2023, where lots of these new electric machines were on display.
Along with these new machines, there were also renewable energy solutions being shown. Companies like MHM Group were there, demonstrating how they’re using renewable energy in construction. This shows that the industry is really starting to think about how it can be more green and sustainable.
With over 300 exhibitors (including 100 new exhibitors), Plantworx 2023 received immense praise from participants and attendees alike, with an abundance of positive feedback flooding in through phone calls, emails, and various social media platforms. The Plantworx team received numerous comments of appreciation and the collective sentiment expressed a genuine and heart-warming satisfaction surrounding the event.
One particular visitor on arrival went to the organisers’ office, he had recently suffered from heart issues, and a Plantworx steward kindly escorted him around the show in an electric buggy! He came back into the office and he said that, after visiting the show for many years, he had never experienced anything like it and was bowled over, he also said it was the most organised show he has ever been to and the Plantworx ops team, should be proud! High praise indeed.
Plantworx exhibitors were equally as complimentary of the show – many exhibitors reported that the show had been their best one yet (Neil Williams, Leica Geosystems, Part of Hexagon) and that the visitors who visited the company’s stand were serious buyers.
Mecalac also had a very good event, Allison Sedgwick, Marketing Manager said, “Plantworx 2023 was a fantastic show for us with a really positive vibe. After a four-year wait we all couldn’t wait to get back to the show that never fails to deliver a platform for our dealers to sell from. The sun shone for us in many ways with us also getting an innovation award for our revolutionary REVOTRUCK site dumper.”
Xerotech made its show debut and benefitted from the coolness of the inside arena. Jesse Morris, Head of Marketing Xerotech commented on the show, “Well what a show Plantworx has been with live demos, the latest in technology and industry awards. It was a successful event and an incredible experience
Even by our high standards, last week was truly outstanding! We also scooped a Special Recognition Award for Best Use of Technology for our Hibernium battery pack.
The interest in electrification with visitors to our booth has been exceptional with visitors seeking to capitalise on the on battery technology over its diesel counterparts. Judging by this event, we are excited by what the future holds for the construction industry.”
Xwatch Safety Solutions also made its show debut showcasing its XW series of safety solutions, including height, slew, and RCI (rated capacity indicator) systems. The company also used the show to launch its 3D Collision Avoidance System in collaboration with Leica Geosystems, which can also be utilised for underground utilities. Xwatch Sales and Operations Director, Dan Leaney reported an excellent show with a huge interest in the products – and if the handshakes and verbal agreements come to fruition – the team would have secured in excess of £1million in orders.
SANY reported an ‘overwhelming response’ at Plantworx 2023. “We are thrilled with the overwhelming response and success we achieved at Plantworx 2023,” said Leigh Harris, business development director at SANY UK. “The exhibition provided an invaluable opportunity for us to engage with industry leaders, establish new partnerships, and demonstrate the innovation and excellence that defines our brand.
“The positive feedback we received regarding our new range of wheel loaders has further reinforced our commitment to delivering top-quality construction machinery to our customers.”
SANY used the event to showcase its latest range of wheel loaders – the SW305 and SW405 – which were said to have garnered ‘significant attention’ over the three days.
Mick Dysart, Managing Director EXVAC Equipment Sales Ltd was delighted with the event. He said “Plantworx 2023 provided the UK launchpad for the EXVAC suction excavator. Having reviewed the significant number of sales and ‘hot’ leads generated at the show, it is clear that Plantworx 2023 has delivered what we had hoped to achieve, and more. Footfall was good and, more importantly, there was a high proportion of decision-makers among the visitors.
The scale of our presence at Plantworx 2023, a 24m2 stand with the scope to deliver live EXVAC demonstrations, represented a significant investment, both in time and financially. The Plantworx 2023 team was extremely supportive in guiding us through the inevitable stresses and strains leading up to the show.
If you have an innovative and distinctive product like the EXVAC suction excavator, I would highly recommend including future Plantworx shows in your marketing plans.”
The Liugong machinery stand was a hive of activity and there was a lot of interest in the new 16.5kW 9027F-E electric machine. The company sold five of these battery-powered minis at the show on the first day – going on to do deals for a further 17 machines! The silent-running 856HE wheel loader also made an appearance at the show.
Matt Coleman, Sales Manager Professional Landscaper Contract & Site Works Equipment – UK Direct Market at The Toro Company, was at Plantworx for the first time with Toro UK, he commented “This was the first year of Toro U.K. Ltd choosing to take stand space and showcase our extensive portfolio of Compact Construction Equipment. The show beat all expectations, and the quality of visitors over the three days was encouraging, ranging from Business Owners to Plant Operators. It’s very rare to sell anything off stand without any follow-ups post-event but we did! Also, there was strong interest from established construction dealers keen to take on the Toro Compact Construction as a new franchise for them.”
Peter Beach, Managing Director Genquip Groundhog, is a great advocate of Plantworx, and his clever and witty series of videos leading up to the show, brought a smile to the Plantworx 2023 team! Peter and Daisy (the hog) had a fantastic show – he said, “Genquip Groundhog had a hugely successful time at Plantworx 2023. We were highlighting our innovative Carbon reduction welfare units and of course, the amazing weather helped with this!
The quality of visitors this year was amazing meaning all three units on our stand did not come back to the factory but straight to customer depots as all were sold at the show. It didn’t stop there, we had a fixed axle office on Team MHM stand and we sold this too, along with five others we had in stock at the factory. Leads taken at the show meant we also sold five more stock mobile units straight from the factory.”
Peter concluded, “ Thanks, Plantworx 2023 you were great. And my weather forecast was amazingly incorrect!”
Gaz Evans, GEM Attachments and Scale models exhibited for the first time at Plantworx in the indoor Arena, he had a cracking show, “Lucinda and myself can’t thank the customers enough who have supported us at Plantworx, and the current and new OEMs that came to speak with us. Our stand is a little shy of models – we have done some phenomenal business.”
Plantworx also served as the stage for the announcement of the 600,000th machine protected by the CEA’s CESAR Scheme, a leading solution in machinery anti-theft. Suneeta Johal, CEO of the Construction Equipment Association, awarded MANITOU with a symbolic CESAR ID plate, numbered 600,000. Representatives from MANITOU included Mark Ormond (Managing Director), Mark, expressing his company’s support for CESAR, said, “We have been supporters of the CESAR Scheme since its inception and recognise its part in reducing theft. We are delighted to be the manufacturer of the machine which has reached this incredible milestone and will continue to support CESAR!”
In 2019 CESAR expanded its service by launching CESAR ECV, allowing for rapid verification of a machine’s emission status, and introduced unique security feature-rich Ultra High-Frequency RFID transponders. Kevin Howells, MD of DATATAG ID, CESAR’s technology partner, commended MANITOU for their ongoing support. He emphasised the value that the CESAR ECV and new UHF transponders, bring to customers and major infrastructure projects in the UK, highlighting the innovation that keeps CESAR ahead of its competitors.
Visitors also had a fantastic experience at the show
The Plantworx 2023 event was a big hit among visitors, even though a few well-known brands decided not to exhibit this year. Visitors were more than happy to see strong representation from top brands like Takeuchi, Bobcat, Liugong, Sany, Develon, Mecalac, Hidromek and Caterpillar. A standout moment was XCMG making its first UK appearance. These big names brought energy and excitement to the showground, showing off the best in plant machinery and construction equipment, with some very impressive demonstrations.
What set Plantworx 2023 apart was its role as a gathering place for online buddies. Before the event, these folks knew each other only from social media groups. But at Plantworx, they finally got the chance to meet in person. This added a fun, social vibe to the event, making it feel like a big reunion of friends. This face-to-face interaction added a unique, friendly twist to Plantworx 2023, making it more than just a trade show.
These online groups really enjoyed exploring the exhibition together. Seeing the machines from brands like Takeuchi, Sany, XCMG, Develon, Mecalac, Engcon, Digga Europe, Rototilt, Steelwrist, Caterpillar, and many many more, gave them lots to talk about and get hands-on in the demo areas.
A special thank you to visitors Peter Mckenna, Dan Cullin, Kenneth Hatcher, Jim Turner, and the rest of the online ‘Breakfast Show’ crew who made it to the event and for all the pre-show, post-show and during the event. And for all of your very kind comments – you really are the best kind of visitor!
Chris Charlton, Director CJ Charlton Group came to the show armed with his cheque book, he said “I had a great day at Plantworx. And sealed a deal with Mutley Plant Services on some new demolition attachments, which will be added to our equipment fleet later this month.”
Merrill Lynch, Lynch Plant Hire and Haulage also visited the show and stopped by the Takeuchi stand and a deal was agreed with Takeuchi dealer, CBL (Clive Barford Limited) on the 1st Takeuchi TB395W, to the largest fleet of 10tonne wheeled excavators in the UK.
The indoor arena was home to the new Get Connected Zone and the Simulation Zone
The Simulation Zone at Plantworx, a state-of-the-art training platform for construction professionals, hosted by Plantforce Rentals, made a triumphant return in 2023 following its phenomenal debut in 2019. This innovative and interactive zone provided an unmatched opportunity for beginners and seasoned operators alike to enhance their skills and familiarise themselves with machine control systems, and advanced technologies, and gain insights into the realm of construction. Throughout the entire show, the zone was teeming with activity as every age group and various levels of experience tried their hands at the simulators.
The companies’ stands in the indoor arena had been buzzing with visitors and offered a cool alternative to the soaring temperatures outside. The technology that was presented is set to change the future of construction. The newly inaugurated Get Connected Zone had brought together companies that had new and innovative ways of delivering solutions. The focus was on the people-plant interface, telematics, the connected site, and safety systems. Indoor companies such as Ongrade MC (Thomas Plant), Unicontrol, Smart Construction Sitech, Sodex, Plinx, MachineMax, GKD, and FTC were present.
Exhibitors, MachineMax and PLINX announced their partnership at the show in the ‘Get Connected Zone’. The two businesses have teamed up to provide a whole new approach to the connected worksite, integrating sensors from machines to people into one data-driven dashboard. Plinx also announced a new in-cab visual alert solution linked to the MachineMax sensors to support reductions in idle time.
The outside ‘Get Connected Zone’ exhibitors included key sponsors, Leica Geosystems, Conquip, Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe, and Ongrade MC (Thomas Plant).
Flannery Plant Hire, brought and supported the Operators Skills Hub to Plantworx and reported that they had a wonderful three days at Plantworx Construction Exhibition 2023 last week. “ It was an unforgettable experience, which included engaging with many industry professionals and witnessing some exciting innovations that the industry has produced. Thank you to all who made it possible.”
Brand new Operator Challenge – Awesome Earthmovers
The Operator Challenge Zone, hosted by Awesome Earthmovers, and sponsored by Hyundai, was the hub of the show. Operators in their 100s and a whole host of influencers gathered in the Plantworx ‘speedway area’ and it was really buzzing with activity. There was a real feeling of camaraderie as operators took to the timed challenges in Hyundai machines.
The Operator challenge was graced by guest visits from several of the UK’s top social media figures. These include Amy Underwood, widely known as Amy the Digger Girl, Conor Kelly also known as Conor the Digger Driver, Lloyd Peckham recognized as Bearded Excavation, Kurt Mills, more famously known as Lord Muck, Lana Edwards, who goes by Tracklass1, and the rising star, Ben ‘the operator’ Wade, who appears to have a promising career ahead. The contest between Conor and Lloyd, which was dubbed ‘rumble in the jungle’, was eagerly anticipated and showcased on Instagram and TikTok. Although it was a tight competition, Bearded Excavation ultimately claimed victory.
Onsite Awards – winner of the onsite awards
At Plantworx 2023 there were onsite awards for those exhibitors who made a big impact on the onsite judges who looked at companies’ stands and demonstration areas. The awards – were presented at the Exhibitor’s Reception which took place on the evening of the first day of the show. The winners were as follows;
The Winner of the Best Indoor Static Stand is Radiodetection. The judges, Angela and Simon thought that the stand as welcoming and the staff were very attentive and approachable. Visitors to the stand could visibly see the product and were in no doubt about what was on offer.
The second winner of the night for Best Outdoor Static Stand went to Xwatch Safety Solutions. The judges felt that it was welcoming, and an innovative use of materials including flower boxes and aged wood. The upstairs grass mezzanine provides a quiet place to sit relax and see the rest of the show away from the hustle and bustle. The seating area was also very welcoming and provided some much-needed shade. The staff also make a great team. Dan Leaney, Xwatch Safety Solutions, Operations Director said, “We were thrilled to win this award – this is our first Plantworx and we really made an effort with our stand. I am very pleased that the Xwatch team has been recognised.”
The next award was for The Best Use of an Outdoor demo area. Our judges, Nick Drew and Peter Haddock – were unanimous that this prize should go to Develon. There was a lot of thought and preparation that went into this stand – it really had the wow factor. A really nice feel and flow and was not just a ‘Tent in a field’ but a truly impressive stand.
Develon – Kevin Lynch, Marketing Communications Manager for Develon, said: “We are delighted to win the Best Use of Live Demonstration Award, especially with the transition we are making with the Develon brand and making its first appearance at Plantworx. The excellent Demo show on the stand carried out by our operators, Nigel Horton and Alex Humpage, brings across the high performance, innovation, versatility and durability of Develon equipment in an exciting and very watchable way.”
The Outstanding Contractor Award was presented to Fuchsia Events and the team. Plantworx Event Director, Simon Frere-Cook presented the award to family-run business Fuchsia, Chairman, Mike Coleman, who dedicated this award to his son Nick Foreman. Simon said, that you couldn’t fault Nick and the Fuchsia team – they are impeccable in every aspect of site etiquette and always excel in everything they do. Nothing is too much trouble for the team.
The Best Demonstrator at Plantworx (Operator) Award is a hotly contested award as there are many talented demonstrators at the show. However, there has to be a winner and this year it was Takeuchi demonstrator, Owen Mays.
Nick Drew, Earthmovers magazine, judged the category, he said, “Owen Mays on the Takeuchi stand, operating the TB395-W rubber duck excavator, showcased exceptional skill and a profound understanding of the machine’s capabilities. His utilisation of the Engcon Tiltrotator was nothing short of impressive, exemplifying the perfect blend of flexibility and accuracy. Owen demonstrated the full potential of the machine, leaving a lasting impression as an expert operator.”
The end of the road for the Peterborough Showground
Plantworx 2023 marked the final trade show held at the East of England venue, as it is now scheduled for a significant housing development. This transition brings forth exciting prospects for the construction industry. We have already begun exploring various suggestions and approaches from potential venues for our future exhibitions in 2025 and beyond. Watch this space for news of Plantworx 2025.
There is so much more to report – the team will be posting updates on the Plantworx website (www. plantworx.co.uk). There’s also a lot of content from our onsite media team, Peter Haddock, Mark and Freddie Anthony, Nick Drew and rookie, Isaac Murphy. Also, Matt Glover, our onsite photographer. Thank you to everyone who made Plantworx 2023 happen.
See below for other events, which took place at Plantworx