01 May 2008

The timing for this year's APEX event is good on two counts. First, the access market is seeing an upturn in demand that will mean many visitors will travel to Maastricht with buying plans in their back pockets; and second, the new European directive on working at height provides a great backdrop for the APEX conference to focus on safe work practices.

The exhibition is already almost fully booked, with more than 70 companies-including 10 first time attendees-ensuring that visitors will be able to see all the latest machines, including important new launches. All the major manufacturers have booked space at the show.

Quite apart from the machines on show, however, visitors can benefit from attending the free APEX conference on Thursday 22 September and also the free RentEX conference on the Friday. (RentEX is the sister exhibition to APEX for general rental companies, taking place at the same venue and on the same three days. Visitors to Apex will have free access to both the RentEX show and conference.)

As in previous years AI has prepared a conference line-up that will appeal to a wide range of visitors (see box story). The morning session will focus on safety and the new European Work at Height Directive, providing end users and rental companies with an insider's guide to the way that the directive is being enforced in Europe; giving an insight into the types of equipment that will become more important in the coming years; and offering a beginner's guide to what access equipment can offer.

The afternoon will concentrate on aerial platform rental, including a presentation from the US insurance company St Paul Travelers on how to minimise the risks associated with renting aerial platforms, and Alexandre Saubot, president of Pinguely-Haulotte, will report on the further growth potential of the European access rental business. Peter Verhelst of Alimak Hek in the Netherlands-an authority on the rental of mast climbing work platforms-will describe how to rent mast climbers profitably and safely.

The next day's RentEX conference, on the Friday, will prove of almost equal interest, and focuses on Europe's general rental market. The keynote address will be given by Gerard Deprez, president of Loxam in France (which is the second largest owner of aerial platforms in Europe), and there will be presentations by Freek Nijdam, chairman of Rental Service Corporation (RSC) in the US (the world's second largest equipment rental company); and Dan Kaplan, the renowned US rental consultant and former president of Hertz Equipment Rental Corp.

AI will carry further details of the APEX and RentEX events in future issues. In the meantime, try to keep the dates clear.

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