245 exhibitors with 315 trademarks. These have been the key data when taking stock of steinexpo from 03.-06.09.2014 in June. Compared to the previous event at the same time, this represents an increase of 15 %.There is also not much more that the grounds available for the trade fair can offer. There are only a few remaining areas still available; then it is a case of “fully booked” for the steinexpo as the largest demonstration exhibition of the raw materials and building materials industry on the European continent.
To make it easier for trade visitors to cover the distances between the exhibition areas B and C laid out on the different stone quarry levels more quickly, the steinexpo creators have come up with a very special highlight. In a first, a 30-metre high passenger lift will connect two levels of the basalt quarry in Nieder-Ofleiden for steinexpo 2014 (Fig. 1). For 25 seconds, seven passengers per ride can enjoy a unique view over large parts of the fairgrounds.
The relevant mining authority granted a special permit for the construction of the lift system including its peripherals. The actual installation is done by the competency centre for lifts and elevators of Zeppelin Rental GmbH & Co. KG. This team of experts is facing a challenging task. Since the wall is not completely vertical, but has an inclination typical for a quarry, sophisticated special scaffolding is required first. The transition from the lift to the upper quarry level represents a further challenge Stable and sturdy anchoring of the entire unit to the quarry wall provides the necessary safety. What is certain is that it will not be possible not to gaze up in awe at the steep lift in the exhibition quarry. Not only its size will contribute to this, but also the fact that the scaffolding erected for it will double as an eye-catching advertising medium for exhibitors.
This year the MHI quarry in Nieder-Ofleiden provides 180 000 m2 of gross exhibition space for steinexpo 2014. As with every major event, the demonstration exhibition has in the meantime developed a life of its own and this has to be continuously nurtured for it to keep growing. The “growth assistants” in this endeavour are in particular the trade fair director Dr. Friedhelm Rese who, together with the general manager Andrea Friedrich, provides the right stimuli at the right time. In an interview with the Hessian Broadcasting Corporation the trade fair director gave as the lowdown on how he manages to keep the momentum to meet the steinexpo challenge every three years with new initiatives (Fig. 2).
hr: Dr. Rese, what is the progress of the preparatory work for the fair?
Dr. Friedhelm Rese: All work are running on schedule. Our planning team headed by Prof. Hossein Tudeshki and Thomas Hardebusch of the Technical University Clausthal is not missing a beat in the planning and also provides the necessary support in terms of exhibitor requests for machinery set-up and demonstration. As usual, we also receive a lot of support from the MHI quarry operator. In this regard the good cooperation with the technical director Dirk Menninger and the plant manager Dieter Weber is worthy of special mention.
hr: What are some specific features that you look forward to the most this time?
Dr. Friedhelm Rese: In general, our team is particularly driven by maximum exhibitor and visitor satisfaction, and we are focused on achieving it this time too. What is interesting is the increase in the number of new exhibitors both national and international. We are very excited to hear how they rate their participation premiere. An impressive attraction will most likely be the steep lift between quarry soles B and C. For the exhibition itself is indeed a mere footnote, but for visitors a considerable time-saving element, which in turn will benefit exhibitors when it translates into greater frequency in visits. Apart from that, through various requests we are aware that exhibitors are planning quite outstanding demonstrations to up the game on their previous presentations once more. Besides the usual sizes of the majority of machinery in Germany, there will also be some construction machinery giants that one does not get to see in action every day being put through their paces.
hr: This time you also promise the pavilion exhibitors an experience that is more a part of the game. How will you achieve this?
Dr. Friedhelm Rese: Our new pavilion concept with its stand design that promotes this concept and allows more vibrant presentations is to integrate the rather “static” range of accessory suppliers and service providers to a greater extent in the lively trade fair environment (Fig. 3). The side walls are easy to open when required and this openness has a strong pull and welcoming effect on visitors. Finally the exhibitors themselves will play their inventive parts in reinforcing this initiative.
hr: Like many others, the aggregates industry also wants to attract young professional talent. Are there any special offers also from the side of the trade fair?
Dr. Friedhelm Rese: To not use the fascination of our show to specifically address young people would be downright foolish. Through our partners at the Association of German Machinery and Plant Manufacturing (VDMA) and the Federal Association of Mineral Resources MIRO we have already received a lot of feedback. Whole vocational school classes will visit the fair, youth reporters should report on Think Big about their visit and for the first time steinexpo also has its own Facebook page (www.facebook.de/steinexpo) which has experienced a noticeable increase in visitor frequency. In short, within the network of steinexpo partners we leave no stone unturned to present our entire industry to young people as attractive as it is and to replace the spade and hammer image by the much more correct reality of a bullying-free, interesting and modern working environment.
hr: Concurrent with the exhibition, the finals of the Truck Trial Championships will again be held on the excavated sole of the quarry. Has this now turned into a solid alliance?
Dr. Friedhelm Rese: This is correct. Launched in 2008 as a trial run, the interplay between the two events has proved to be an excellent initiative. Many visitors are interested in what these drivers with nerves of steel get up to in their special ‘chariots’ and, vice versa, the same is true for the trade fair. It goes even further: some exhibitors are also active truck trialers, such as the HS Schoch winning team of 2013. In the beginning, I thought the drivers were simply crazy. Now I know there are simply robust personalities with nerves of steel that fit exactly into the steinexpo environment because ultimately the entire industry must also put the strength of its nerves to the test (Fig. 4).