SHAPA are the UK's leading specialist association for the solids handling and processing industry

All our members are established specialists within their fields, and have the experience and commercial standing to provide quality, cost-effective solutions for all aspects of mechanisation for bulk materials handling and storage, conveyors, dust collection and control, instrumentation, mixers, big bag handling, sampling systems, sieves, valves and weighing systems and equipment.

Celebrating Change



The Solids Handling & Processing Association is now well into its fifth decade of continuous progress. From its initial start in 1981, with only  seven member companies,  it has  become the premier trade association for the solids and bulk handling industry.

From its early beginnings, looking to represent member companies in trade shows,  SHAPA has developed into a portal for technical information, training, governmental interaction, health and safety initiatives, networking forums and of course the hosting of the Annual Solids Handling Awards.  Although the members change due to retirements, acquisitions, and mergers - new members continue to join, keeping the membership well above one hundred members.

Back in April  2014 when I became the General Secretary of SHAPA, taking over from John Whitehead  who had held the role for a decade before me, it was very daunting but also an honour to be allowed to be the latest custodian. Throughout my time in office we have embraced new technology within the SHAPA membership and come to terms with the ever changing way in which to market ourselves as the digital revolution has taken hold. We also started the Solids Handling Awards  with an  initial five awards in 2015 This has grown to nine award categories this year, as well as recognising those individuals who have made a major contribution to the Industry.

As we enter April 2024 it’s  time to hand over the custodianship of SHAPA to Louise Smallwood as General Secretary of the Association so that they can steer the association and its members into the future.

Louise is already well known to many of the association’s members having been a stalwart of the SHAPA marketing committee for the last eight years in which time she has been influential not only marketing the association but in assisting fellow members with their own marketing challenges.

As I step back from the role of General Secretary it has been a real pleasure assisting you the members, and also the wider solids handling  community in moving the industry forward over the last ten years. Together, SHAPA and its members have ensured that collectively we meet the needs of the industry at large. The Association moves forward in safe hands and I look forward to the continued developments in the field of Solids and Bulk Handling.

Ian Birkinshaw


Louise and Ian, planning the handover at RHS Bridgewater May 2024 


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