11 August, 2022

25 years on and still going strong

13 December, 2021

This edition of Hydraulics & Pneumatics marks the publication’s 25th anniversary. As editor, I first settled into the hotseat in 2005. From the outset, I realised the magazine had considerable value as the only true publication dedicated to the fluid power industry in the UK. Looking back over the years, it is gratifying to remember many highlights – including forming ever stronger links with industry trade bodies such as the British Fluid Power Association and the British Compressed Air Society, and launching exhibitions complementary to the journal – Air-Tech in 2006 and Fluid Power & Systems in 2014, shows that remain firm calendar fixtures for our industry.

Of course, there has been much to report on over the years, and I’m delighted that many topics important to our industry are addressed in detail within our special Anniversary Focus, which you can find in this celebratory edition. Sincere thanks from myself and the publishing team go to all those who contributed to this feature. And as this edition has reached such a milestone, I thought it appropriate and timely to revisit some thoughts from the magazine’s launch editor, Bob Dobson. So, I am delighted to hand over to Bob who reflects on events leading up to and directly following the unleashing of Hydraulics & Pneumatics onto the market back in 1996:

“I felt like a great she-elephant at the launch of Hydraulics & Pneumatics – the gestation period was that long. We had had the idea for the magazine several years earlier but could never get enough time together to develop a proper business plan and put the necessary wheels into motion. My colleagues and I were actually on the point of launching another magazine to complement our existing title Drives & Controls in about 1990, and fluid power, hydraulics and pneumatics, seem like the best field to address. At this time, the economy had turned very sour after the oh-so brief Thatcherite boom and the engineering industries were looking very sad. Most publishers were pulling in their horns, but we took the view that a low-key launch and tight financial management would put us in pole position for when the economy picked up again

 “But then, a big-time publisher named Robert Maxwell disembarked from the back of his luxury yacht in the mid-Atlantic. This affected us because one very small corner of his business empire was an exhibition called Drives Motors & Controls (DMC). We had worked in close cooperation with this show for the best part of 10 years and when its closure was announced we had some serious and immediate thinking to do. With DMC gone, we had no choice but to launch our own show, Drives & Controls, to protect our market from competitors. We knew nothing about running exhibitions, but it was sink or swim for us – and there were plenty of sharks circling. Almost unbelievably, the show was a rip-roaring success from day one and we found ourselves on a rollercoaster learning curve that didn’t slow down for about five years as the show grew and grew.

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