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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Sun sets on ‘fantastic’ ScotPlant 2024

THE sun has set on ScotPlant 2024 after two amazing days which showcased the very best of the Scottish plant industry.

Huge crowds gathered at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston for Day Two of the trade exhibition, taking the opportunity to see the latest machines and innovations from many of the world’s leading construction equipment manufacturers.

For the third ScotPlant in a row, even the Scottish weather behaved itself, offering two days of glorious sunshine!

John Sibbald, president of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) and director of Sibbald Training, described ScotPlant 2024 as ‘fantastic’. He also hailed the success of the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge qualifier, hosted on the SPOA stand, stating that around 40 operators had a go on the first day alone.

“It’s been very busy today,” John said. “I think the weather’s helped. It’s great to see so many children here as well. There will be kids who leave here today and will have careers in the plant industry in 20 years’ time.”

The Sibbald stand featured a 50-year-old JCB 3C Mark 1 backhoe, which attracted plenty of attention over the weekend. The machine was bought as a present for founder David Sibbald, John’s father, who started in business with that model, and restored to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary.

John and David Sibbald

Takeuchi’s new 3-Series machines proved a big hit at the show. Chris Bushell, UK & Ireland sales manager for Takeuchi UK, said feedback from customers to the products across the stand has been positive. “Everybody likes a Takeuchi in Scotland,” he said. “When I joined Takeuchi 18 years ago, we didn’t have any dealers at all in Scotland. One of my first tasks was to set up a dealer network in Scotland, which we’ve achieved, and all the Scottish dealers are on the stand today, hopefully getting sales for us!”

Chris Bushell

Visitors to ScotPlant 2024 will have noticed more cranes at the show than ever before. The Liebherr stand featured a telescopic mobile crane in the form of a 50-tonne LTM 1050 in the livery of Edinburgh hirer Bernard Hunter. Lyle Sibbald, sales manager for Scotland and north England at Liebherr mobile and crawler cranes, expressed his delight at having a crane on display. “It’s great to have a crane back at ScotPlant,” he said. “We noticed at the last ScotPlant how many cranes were on the stands and said there really needs to be a Liebherr. It’s fantastic how many cranes are here this year, and really good representation for Liebherr. Of the 14/15 mobile cranes here, 12 are Liebherrs. It’s brilliant for us as a brand.

“Our customers are all coming to the show. ScotPlant’s getting bigger and bigger each year. These events are vital. Our business is built on relationships and coming to these things really cements it.”

Bradleys, the UK dealer for Prinoth tracked dumpers, made its ScotPlant debut this year. Commercial manager James Buck explained the business is targeting further growth in the Scottish market. “We had a look around the show in 2022 to get an idea of how big it was, and it seems to have grown. Feedback from people who have been on our stand has been very good. We’ve had a social media push these last few years and what we’re finding at the show is people already know who we are and what machines we offer.

“Shows like this are really good because the minute we started with this venture, Covid happened and anything like this we had planned got shut down. We continued to do things on social media (but) you don’t realise the size and scale of the machines, or the quality of them, from a picture. It really excites people when they actually come and see them.”

Elsewhere, the JCB 370X – the largest model in the X Series of tracked excavators – was one of the highlights. The machine was being shown in Scotland for the first time.

Another new machine on display was the Komatsu PW198-11 wheeled excavator. This is the first model in the UK and took pride of the place on the Marubeni-Komatsu stand.

NPORS, one of the exhibitors in the Lowland Hall – the indoor element of ScotPlant – gave children as young as three their first taste of operating plant machinery. The training provider brought along its state-of-the-art Tenstar simulator, which features programmes including dumper and telehandler settings, as well as a tilting motion base for realism, and technology which sees the screen move with the user’s eyes.

“We had a young lad aged three on it and he was absolutely brilliant –  he had his dad showing him the ropes,” Scott Johnson, operations director at NPORS, said. “A lot of the parents are then asking to also have a go on the simulator!”

Explaining how the simulator will never replace actual training, Scott said what it does do is act as an ‘amazing’ engagement tool that gets users used to the hand-eye coordination needed for an excavator. “ScotPlant has been a really good event. We’ve been busy, really busy!”

Yanmar dealer Field and Forest declared ScotPlant 2024 to have been a ‘really good’ show for the business. “We’ve seen regular customers as well as plenty of new ones,” MD Tom Brown said. “People are really keen to do business.

“We offer from the small Yanmar micro machines up to your 10-tonne, plus the track dumpers. The track dumpers we’ve had quite a bit of interest in – I got one sold off the stand yesterday to a chap up north.”