Show Review: MECHANEX Sandown Park 2023

Show Review: MECHANEX Sandown Park 2023

Mechanex PMM Live took place last November at Sandown Park in Surrey. Missed out on the show or simply want to relive it? Here, PMM ’s Freya Coleman takes readers through the show’s highlights, including some exciting news…

Stepping away from your garage for the day can seem like a daunting prospect and I know the feeling, having to stop myself from refreshing my emails on my days off. But trade shows, if nothing else, are the perfect excuse to put your old tools down and get your hands on some new ones. In the words of Pasquale Vaira, sales manager at Opus IVS: “You get to see equipment, you can touch it and have a proper, honest conversation about it. Beats a day in the workshop, doesn’t it?”

Now, I’ll be honest, a level of apprehension was felt amongst the PMM team leading up to the show: Would all the hard work we’d put in over the past year pay off? Will our new PMM Live Learning Lounge be a success? But, for me, this was quickly quelled when I stepped into the exhibition hall for the first time. Right by the door, visitors were faced with the impressive stand by Pichler Tools, the walls packed 6 foot high with every tool you could ever need to run a successful workshop, right there to get your hands on.

Show Review: MECHANEX Sandown Park 2023

As the hum of excitement brought visitors further into the hall, they found Reco Turbo boasting an impressive, branded race car, drawing visitors into the stand and sparking conversations surrounding turbo reconditioning and remanufacturing. Then, in the very depths of the hall and sitting pride of place next to our PMM Live Lounge seminar area, eyes were drawn to the bright yellow Mann+Hummel stand, drawing visitors in to discuss the role of filters as the industry moves to an electric future. All the exploring and conversing taking place after visitors had claimed their free bacon roll and PMM branded t-shirt, of course.

It also helped that the sun was shining over Sandown Park that day. And, despite the weather attempting to dampen our moods, the second day also went off without a hitch, a new cohort of visitors swarming the stands to see what different exhibitors had on offer. This not only included free pens and mugs (helpful to technicians and editors alike) but show offers, such as from diagnostics specialists ThinkCar. A special shoutout also goes to the team over at GroupTyre who had crowds gathered round its stand to watch as brave visitors had their strength tested by their attempts to hold up two tyres with outstretched arms for the longest amount of time.

After the relatively restrained shows of the previous two years (the first dampened by the lingering pandemic and the second by gantry-dangling protesters blocking the M25), it was a relief to many in the hall to see it fully packed once more; exhibitor numbers were up, visitors likewise. After PMM ’s turn at Automechanika earlier in the year, it’s fair to say show season is back on the calendar.

Don’t miss out

If you feel like you’ve missed out by not attending Mechanex PMM Live, or you’re reading this article and thinking ‘Surrey is too far away…’ then I have some amazing news for you. Due to the success of the show, Mechanex PMM Live will be heading to the Yorkshire Events Centre in Harrogate on the 16th and 17th of May 2024, as well as returning to Sandown Park in Surrey on the 12th and 13th of November.

The importance of trade shows cannot be emphasised enough, and believe me, I’ve tried. The automotive aftermarket can be a very turbulent place so it’s important not to be complacent and Mechanex is a great place to educate yourself and be able to thrive moving forward. So, whether it’s Surrey or Harrogate, get yourself down to Mechanex PMM Live 2024!

Show Review: MECHANEX Sandown Park 2023

PMM Live Learning Lounge

One change for the show in 2023 was the introduction of the PMM Live Learning Lounge, featuring a programme full of CPD-accredited seminars. Kicking off the day was the IGA’s Steve Coles’ unmissable annual MOT update. This was followed by talks from Ken Clark from Rotronics, regarding the ongoing role 12 V batteries have to play in EVs and UK AFCAR’s Neil Pattemore updated the room on MVBEO and access to data.

One seminar I had to stand at the back for as the seated area was ram packed with not a spare seat in sight was the DPF Doctor Darren Darling’s. This was an especially impressive feat as he occupied the post-lunch spot. His talk was about how having good processes in place makes us work efficiently. One top tip he offered was “spending lots and lots and lots of time on vehicles that aren’t broken. So when a problem vehicle comes in, the issue is waving at you.” This process of collecting data and good examples from vehicles in your workshop will sound familiar to anyone who read last month’s troubleshooter from Ben Johnson.

Show Review: MECHANEX Sandown Park 2023

Quality visitors

One of my favourite things about trade shows is being able to talk to you, face to face, about all the latest going on at PMM and in the wider industry. I’ve always known our readers were switched on, but I was proven right throughout the two days of the show, catching up with faces old and new. This feeling was corroborated by a range of exhibitors I manged to corner into sharing their thoughts with me in between answering questions from visitors and chugging coffee:

“I’m at 38 shows a year, so I see a lot” Bilstein’s Aaron Quilter told me, “we get a lot of shows full of sticker hunters who come in just for freebies. But here, we’re getting sensible, technically based questions. It’s so nice to come to show and actually talk about the product.”

Julia Blake, marketing director at Supertracker, was also impressed: “In terms of the type of people that have come to the stand and the footfall we’ve had; we’ve been really happy with it. There have been a lot of impressive technical questions about tracking and wheel alignment that we’ve been more than happy to answer.” It’s no wonder the Supertracker team were receiving quality questions and conversations given how they were proudly displaying their four-wheel aligner on their stand.

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