BIRMINGHAM, England -- The National Exhibition Centre here was the setting for the biennial AVEX convention and trade show, sponsored by the Automatic Vending Association (Great Britain and Ireland) and the European Drinking Water Cooler Association (formerly European Point-of-Use Drinking Water Association).
AVA reports that the show was a sellout, with exhibitors from all over the world including first-time participants from Hungary, Italy, Korea, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.
Birmingham, which hosted the show for the second time in mid-June, proved popular with international visitors. The NEC is adjacent to Birmingham Airport, and some participants were able to fly in and out on the same day.
The show organizer congratulated the exhibitors on the quality of their displays, and frugality. "They used creativity and imagination rather than large budgets to achieve great-looking stands," AVA reported. Shoulder massages for the weary, table games for the lively, tweets, prizes and competitions (including a simulated driving experience in a Formula One car) all contributed to the energetic atmosphere.
The industry continues to break new ground, the sponsors noted, and that was evident at the show. Eleanor Bane of Safer Systems said, "AVEX has been brilliant for our concept products. It's given us a showcase and is superb at bringing people to one spot, so together we can create best practice."
New technology has increased efficiency, AVA pointed out, and has boosted the industry's reputation; one manufacturer, for example, achieved a carbon-neutral stand. On display were machines with selection panels to rival the latest mobile phones, as well as gesture-recognition capabilities. Remote monitoring moved to a whole new level, the show's sponsors said.
EDWCA members also applauded the show. Hans Krohn of water cooler producer AA First summed up: "Excellent show, even better than last time."
Every element of the industry was represented, and the show attracted some new companies outside mainstream refreshment vending including purveyors of electronic cigarettes, an innovative recycling company and even suppliers of herbal products. The seminar program added to the variety, with several educational events drawing crowds.
A short video clip and review of the show is available on YouTube.
AVA is headquartered at 1 Villiers Court, 40 Upper Mulgrave Rd., Cheam, Surrey, SM2 7AJ, England, and is online at ava-vending.co.uk. EDWCA is based at Washoe, Brimpton Lane, Brimpton, Reading, Berkshire RG7 4TL, England, and maintains the former EPDWA website at epdwa.org. Both are members of the European Vending Association (Brussels).
The next AVEX will take place in 2013.