Spring is on the horizon—here in the northern hemisphere, at least—and with it, predictions of growth and recovery for the UK market.

That was the expectation amongst the exhibitors I spoke with at LiftEx back in November. The cautious optimism was partly inspired by increased interest and enquiries, which had the potential to turn into orders once the uncertainty over Brexit had begun to clear, and partly by the oil and gas sector which has shown signs of recovery, particularly in Aberdeen on the Scottish east coast, with its links to the industry in the North Sea.

Since the show, however, UK industry has been hit by the collapse of Carillion. While the major public construction projects that the company was involved with are slightly outside the remit of what we cover at Hoist, the company also provided a number of other services through a wide network of subcontractors, and the effects of the collapse—and the effects of how the UK government decides to deal with the issue—will no doubt have ramifications for industrial suppliers and operators throughout the British Isles.

As with how, and if, the long-term effects of Brexit finally become clearer this year, perhaps it will take a while to be able to forecast what the long-term effects of the collapse will be.

In the meantime, let’s hope that the relatively buoyant outlook many UK companies were predicting for 2018 continues unchecked. Talking of the oil and gas sector, which as mentioned is forecast to grow this year, we have an article in this month’s issue from reporter Tom Woerndl on the winch technology used in the industry.

There has been an increase in the popularity of bespoke winch systems, which echoed a comment from one of the exhibitors at LiftEx—that while companies may not yet be investing in large amounts of new equipment, they have now reached the stage in the economic recovery where they are keen to install upgraded equipment, rather than likefor- like systems when existing systems reach the end of their service life.

It’s good to see technology being encouraged to develop through investment, rather than manufacturers and operators engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ of margin-cutting and low investment. And talking of developing technology, I’ll be off to Stuttgart, Germany next month for Logimat, where I’ll be catching up with a number of crane manufacturers and manufacturers of accompanying systems and consumables.

If you’ll be at the show, feel free to drop me a line so I can be filled in on your latest news and technology.