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IMHX 2013 breaks records

The International Materials Handling Exhibition (IMHX 2013) held at the NEC in Birmingham this month broke all previous records. The highest ever footfall of over 19,500 visitors attended while a record 412 exhibitors displayed diverse solutions for intralogistics.

Highlights of the show included a programme of free seminars, the IMHX Logistics Case Study Conference, the Automated Material Handling Systems Association’s ‘Meet the Expert' presentations and the UKWA 3PL Zone hosted by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

In addition there was the Design 4 Safety competition, which recognises the importance of product design in improving safety throughout the materials handling industry. Winners, chosen in six categories were announced on the first day of the show, with the overall ‘Professionals' Choice' Award given to Sentry Protection Products with its innovative Collision Sentry forklift collision avoidance system. This award was decided by visitor voting and revealed on the last day.

A large number of forklift models made their début at IMHX 2013. Toyota Material Handling UK previewed its latest products – due for release later in the year – including the new Traigo80 electric-powered forklift and the Lithium Ion warehouse range.  Toyota also showed its forklift simulator which it developed to help improve operator driving and to identify areas for improvement.

Linde Material Handling UK officially unveiled its new reach truck range on the opening morning of the show. The range features models with load capacities from 1.4 to 2.0 tonnes and lift heights up to 13m and can be fitted with an ultra-high visibility, toughened glass roof. Crown Lift Trucks displayed not only the nine new products it has introduced in the UK during the past year but also QuickPick Remote, its new semi-automated low-level order picker. The truck can be used in manual mode or operated remotely via a wireless transceiver glove worn by the picker.

Combilift chose IMHX for the world première of its new Combi-WR Walkie Reach, the company's first ever pedestrian truck and the only pedestrian reach stacker that can work in an aisle width of 2m, pallet to pallet. The company also showcased its new C4000E multi-directional model, an electric forklift that offers the versatility of both indoor and outdoor operation. Yale Europe Materials Handling showed its ‘V' series of electric counterbalance forklifts for the first time in the UK, while Doosan unveiled the brand-new 1.4t and 1.6t capacity models in its recently launched 7-series of reach trucks. Translift Bendi used IMHX to launch the world's first articulated order picking truck, the Bendi Order Picker, which combines man-up order picking with conventional stacking within an aisle just 1.6m wide. Jungheinrich staged the world première of its brand-new reach truck, the ETV 318, at IMHX 2013. With capacities up to 1.8t and lift heights up to 11.5m, the new reach truck features a panoramic roof made of tinted safety glass.

Rob Fisher, director of the Materials Handling Group of organiser, Informa, said: "We're absolutely delighted that we have delivered a record number of visitors at IMHX 2013. Equally as important, the feedback we've had from exhibitors shows that the quality of the visitor profile is excellent, resulting in a large volume of high-quality leads from senior people."

The show's co-organiser, the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), was also pleased. James Clark, secretary general of BITA, commented: "Many BITA members have said that they enjoyed many serious and positive discussions over the four days of the show. Visitors were upbeat about business prospects and are ready to re-invest. It was a real bonus to see so many young apprentices at the show – after all, they are the future of our industry."

IMHX 2013 exhibitors were pleased with the number of visitors and the quality of the leads they achieved. For example, Paul Watson, general sales manager for Doosan Industrial Vehicles, said: "Doosan had an excellent show and we believe that it was well worth our investment." Paula Ovaskainen, marketing manager for Cimcorp, said: "Our stand at IMHX 2013 was larger than we had ever taken before at this show so that we could install a live demo of our 3D Shuttle robotic handling system. The quantity and quality of the enquiries we received have made our investment very worthwhile."

For the next IMHX event in three years' time, the show is moving to an autumn slot and new halls. Fisher said: "IMHX 2016 will take place from 13-16 September in halls 9 to 12 of the NEC. Pre-bookings of stands by exhibitors at this year's show were excellent, so any companies wishing to exhibit in 2016 are advised to reserve their desired stand as soon as possible."

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