News from UK easyFairs Maintec 2010

The format of the Maintec exhibition has been expanded by easyFairs, into a set of similar trade shows across Europe. This year, events have been held in February in Zurich and Dortmund, then in March at the NEC in Birmingham, to be followed by Brussels at the end of the month. With a standard package starting from a 12m2 shell scheme, carpet and furniture, maybe the UK visitor is accustomed to the small space and narrow aisles: but this is possibly a novelty to the European visitor, since the quoted visitor comments praised the compactness and ease of covering all the stands in one visit! However because of the size, the stand costs for the exhibitor are kept reasonable, at around Euro3500 for 2 days: maybe because of the three day event at the NEC the costs there increased to GBP4260.

Maintec at the NEC did have some larger stand presentations, notably from Schaeffler, Flir Systems and Fluke. It also had the relatively continuous learnShop sessions within the exhibition hall, where the exhibitors had 30 minutes to give their latest sales presentation. Overall the main objective, of enabling new introductions between suppliers and users seeking product or service answers was met, which has to be the objective of shows these days. Most of the product news and launch information is very quickly available, through websites like Processingtalk, so the era of major product launches at trade shows is over.

The products that attracted me, as something new compared to last year, included the on-site calibration trailer from Endress+Hauser, typically equipped with two sizes of Coriolis meter. Delivered to site with fittings that can accept any existing site flowmeter, or can interface to plant pipework, this portable calibration rig can provide the on-site validation of plant instrumentation now regularly required, minimising plant downtime and disruption. More than that, the operators are fully qualified engineers, who can actually diagnose and solve many identified faults on the spot. After calibration, the meter system can be flushed clean with the chemicals preferred by the site operators, under their supervision, and the meter returned to service. Endress+Hauser also showed their systems designed for energy monitoring and targeting, a major new business area in plant efficiency monitoring

Many of the other new products seen involved laser tools and aids for belt, pulley and roll alignment. Typical of these were the units from Seiffert Industrial, supplied by C-Cubed in the UK, which are claimed to offer single person roll alignment between 4inch rolls up to 1 metre apart. While PCB Piezotronics announced the imminent launch of the European version of their wireless machine vibration analysis sensors, Holroyd Instruments prefer Bluetooth communications direct to a PC, claiming up to 100m range for their AE (acoustic emission) sensors. The Holroyd MHC (Machine Health Checker) is a simple hand-held portable unit, using several standard magnetic sensors, plus an airborne noise sensor which can be used for compressed air or vacuum leak detection.

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