Held between 16 and 18 February at the Durban Exhibition Centre, the KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) 2022 was the first trade show in South Africa to open its doors after an industry trade show hiatus of almost two years.

“The excitement was tangible as the 80 exhibitors awaited the arrival of the thousands of visitors and was equally evident in the long queue that had formed to register on day 1 of the Expo. This clearly underlined that an event which allows visitors and suppliers to interact on a more personal level was sorely overdue and we are thrilled to have initiated the reopening of trade shows in a controlled manner, with all Covid-19 safety regulations in place,” said Gary Corin, MD of Specialised Exhibitions.

“Specialised Exhibitions is characterised by its pioneering spirit and the hosting of KITE in KwaZulu-Natal was the culmination of many months of behind-the-scenes work which began with the launch of the Restart Expo in November 2020. We have had extremely positive feedback from both our exhibitors and visitors, who unanimously agreed that the Expo provided them with the unique opportunity to cement existing relationships, develop new relationships and network with peers,” explained Charlene Hefer, portfolio director at Specialised Exhibitions.

Positive exhibitor feedback

The global Covid-19 pandemic saw many events cancelled or postponed. It was no different for trade shows in South Africa. Exhibitors were therefore very eager to return to their exhibition stands and take advantage of the visitors keen to see what’s on display.

After almost two years with no trade shows and expos, there was no telling what exhibitors could expect from KITE 2022. Those who exhibited at the expo had mostly positive feedback to share. Here’s what some exhibitors had to say:

Switch Technique

“KITE gives the public the opportunity to see new products to the market in an easy to access manner. The long-term benefits of the momentum created by being at KITE are immeasurable. There is a lot of competition in Durban and because we can showcase our current and new product lines, KITE provides us with a definite edge. We had a brilliant response to our PV/solar systems and fire detection products,” said Stevan Elion.

Omron

“We were very impressed by the qualified leads we have received at KITE 2022. Some of the larger, blue-chip companies have shown great interest in our technology, with specific emphasis on the robotics, the vision camera and our quality control products. The latter is of specific importance to companies like the large automotive manufacturers, where each component has to be correct and accounted for. Automation complements the human factor in all of our solutions and KITE has allowed us to demonstrate this to visitors. It’s refreshing to see a number of educators at the show this year – they are the conduits for our future engineers and technicians and KITE is helping to introduce them to the suppliers who can equip them and their students through knowledge sharing,” said Werner Das and Peter Thomson.

RS Components

“This is our fourth, consecutive KITE show. Many companies have had to reconsider how their businesses operate and are starting to fast track their digitisation adoption. KITE is contributing to these decisions by offering suppliers and partners a platform to showcase their solutions so that companies can choose from the best technologies and innovations to help move their businesses forward and mitigate future challenges. KITE has always been a premier event for RS and we’re glad that it finally had the chance to take place. It has allowed us to finally reconnect with many customers in Durban and discuss how we can help them improve their businesses and achieve their design, production and maintenance goals. As always it’s also a great opportunity to catch up with other industry players and share information about new products and solutions. We’re already looking forward to the next one,” said Melissa Govender.

“There was such an excited and contagious vibe at KITE 2022 and it was great to be back at a trade expo. Nothing beats the personal, direct contact with consumers of our products that expos like KITE offer. We introduced a new safety boot and our formal corporate wear range to the market at the expo and the response was extremely favourable,” said Lyndall Farrer – Dromex (Platinum Sponsor).

Satisfied visitors

“We are regular visitors to KITE, so it’s really refreshing to have trade shows open again. Well done to KITE for taking this initiative,” said Andre Jansen – Compunet Automation.

“What a worthwhile visit. The condition monitoring equipment was very sophisticated. What an eye opener!” said Alan Bartholomew – llovo.

“The willingness of the exhibitors to be at KITE is extremely positive and I am very impressed with the operational procedures followed by the suppliers I visited,” said Pranesh Haripersad – Toyota Tsusito SA Processing.

“The products and service on show are excellent for growing businesses like mine and I’ve made some great contacts here.” Nhlanhla Tembe – NWT Construction Services

“KITE gave me a great opportunity to reconnect and network with my current suppliers,” said Richard Davies – Dizonet.

“We find that we often feel excluded from current trends in technology in Durban, but KITE proved that we can be kept in the loop just by attending. We were tasked with finding solutions that will make things much easier at the DoPW, and KITE has provided us with many of the answers we need,” said Martie Barrett and Phumlani Mdlalose from the Department of Public Works (DoPW).

In addition to a diverse array of industrial technology products and services, visitors were able to expand their knowledge base at the free-to-attend SAIMechE (The South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering) Seminar Theatre sessions and the well-attended, paid-for LEEASA (Lifting Equipment Engineering Association of South Africa) conference.

“We are thrilled with the success of KITE 2022 and we are already well into the throes of preparing for KITE 2023, which will take place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from 19 to 21 July 2023. A number of current exhibitors have already signed up for the next Expo so we encourage suppliers of industrial technology products and services to reserve their exhibition stands as soon as possible,” concluded Hefer.

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