Trenchless Live, hosted in Melbourne, Australia on October 23rd and 24th was an exciting event yet again, and HDD Broker was very pleased to exhibit there once again this year.
Melbourne is a beautiful city located on the southeastern tip of Australia. The city itself is clean and very easy to navigate, thanks to the huge selection of taxis and comprehensive network of public transport trams that operate throughout the city.
The show took place at the Royal Melbourne show grounds, an excellent facility with modern interior areas and ample outside exhibition space. The last Trenchless Live show took place in a resort town in Australia called Coff's Harbour, a bit of a ways off the beaten track. It was, nevertheless, well attended. This year saw the show relocated to the beautiful city of Melbourne and the more central location obviously paid off as attendance appeared to be better than the show previous.
The weather cooperated well for the most part, with temperatures hovering right around the 16°C (approximately 60°F). The sun managed to make regular appearances throughout the show dates. The real star weather-wise, however, was the blustery winds that ended up becoming quite a challenge for the outdoor exhibitors, blowing over banners and threatening to topple tents. Attendees of the outdoor areas could always be picked out of the crowd through their windblown hair and the attendee badges wrapped threateningly around their necks from the wind.
The event kicked off with a mixer on the evening prior to the commencement of the show itself, hosted by GRP pipe manufacturer, Hobas International. The company was very generous in its responsibilities, allowing the attendees to keep their Hobas-branded beer steins after they were emptied by thirsty set up crews. Those steins were kept full by very diligent (and somewhat diverting) representatives that Hobas brought in especially for the event.
Our own HDD Broker booth was in a good position safely away from the wind inside the exhibition hall. Drill manufacturer Herrenknecht was right next door and provided diverting conversation during some of the slower times while classroom or demo sessions took place in other areas of the exhibition. In this photo you can see one of our good customers from Taiwan along with myself as we wrapped up discussing some opportunities in Southeast Asia.
The exhibitors did an excellent job this year. Vermeer, the event's Platinum Sponsor, took the coveted "Best Booth in Show" award, having obviously put in a significant amount of time and resources into their presence. Their booth showcased the D9x13 Series II and D36x50 Series II directional drills along with the new D36x50 Dual Rod rock drill. Vermeer also showcased the Vermeer AXIS Guided Boring Machine, which dominated the entire north side of the outdoor area. That demo culminated with the AXIS machine breaking through the plywood retaining wall of the exit pit in the last hours of the show, showering spectators with chips of wood and a healthy appreciation for the machine's capabilities.
Ditch Witch had a significant presence as well, showcasing their JT2020 Mach1, JT4020 Mach 1 and Hammerhead tooling line up.
American Auger's local representative brought in a DD-10 directional drill. Rumors about a potential change in American Auger's business model were neither confirmed nor denied, but you can mark my words that something is brewing inside the maxi-rig manufacturer's ranks. We'll keep our ears open for news!
DCI, Herrenknecht, TT Technologies and many others also put in an appearance at the show.
One thing of note that was overheard during one of the keynote speaker's sessions was that the forecasted enormous injection of infrastructure spending by the government was not going to be on the massive scale that was previously alluded to. Changes to the government as well as limited budgets have changed much of the proposed trenchless installations toward more traditional ones, and at a reduced scope. There will certainly be a positive impact for trenchless contracts, just not on the massive levels that was previously hoped for.
While we didn't see enormous crowds of people walking the show, those that were there were seriously intent on learning more about the opportunities in the industry and taking in the new offerings from all of the players in the industry. We managed to pack up on Wednesday evening with quite a few good leads for customers looking to see what we could do for them, as well as a pocket full of business cards from some great contacts that we met there.
All in all, it was a very worthwhile exhibition and we're looking forward to seeing what the coming years will bring for the exhibition.