UK Innovation to drive future of engineering into 2020 and beyond
Advanced Engineering 2019 wrapped up for another year on 31 October, after welcoming over 550 exhibitors and over 15,000 attendees, a 5% rise from the previous year, to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The largest annual gathering of manufacturing and supply chain professionals showcased more cutting edge technologies and product innovations than ever before with the introduction of its Medical Device Engineering Zone.
Taking place on October 30 & 31 2019, the event welcomed professionals spanning the engineering supply chain to both exhibit and visit a multitude of technologies and innovations. Despite the run up to the event being surrounded by political uncertainty, the show demonstrated the success of the industry and its ability to overcome challenges.
With a focus on the positive future of the engineering sector, Advanced Engineering 2019 played host to a wealth of innovation. In addition to its dedicated Enabling Innovation Zone, which saw ten start-up businesses showcase technologies such as a novel carbon fibre process and three-dimensional holographic imaging solutions, the show also supported those who are nurturing future talent in the industry.
One of the show’s feature exhibits was the Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Formula Student Team and its FSAI autonomous racing car. More than just a showstopping feature, the car is a mule vehicle that different universities can use so students can develop their own software that can be tested on the track. The team attended Advanced Engineering to demonstrate how it is supporting students to gain the engineering expertise that’s vital in industry today.
While uncertainty in the UK could cause changes to a number of regulations, B2B Compliance was there to reassure visitors that help is on hand. John Gammage, account manager at B2B Compliance, reaffirmed this as he revealed why the trade body chose to exhibit at Advanced Engineering 2019. “We identified Advanced Engineering early on as a fantastic opportunity to meet and explore the wide range of industries that are exhibiting here,” reveals Gammage.
“It’s an opportunity to reach out and try to understand how we can support manufacturers’ needs and where they see the challenges are in the year ahead, with Brexit being one of those. The industry’s needs are driving towards the circular economy, so we are trying to enable our members to think about redesign and sustainability.”
The show was also home to a host of notable speakers, who gave valuable insight into a variety of industry topics. These included a keynote speech from Alan Banks, Light Weighting innovation manager at Ford Motor Company, who shed light on how the company overcame challenges when developing a lightweight suspension system, and Ian Gardner, Industry 4.0 and Oracle Specialist at IBM, whose discussion on Industry 4.0 inspired attendees to take the leap in their own manufacturing facilities.
Also joining the show was Fiona Hitchiner, senior policy advisor for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Hitchiner was onsite to provide a series of Brexit readiness briefings to prepare businesses for the future.
Exhibitors found great business value in the show, including the new Medical Device Engineering Zone. Mike Duffield, regional sales manager at Renishaw, found the new Medical Device Engineering Zone to be particularly profitable.
Having exhibited at Advanced Engineering for a number of years, Duffield reveals that “Renishaw has exhibited at Advanced Engineering for a number of years because it has always been a great opportunity to network and get high quality business leads. The addition of the medical device engineering zone has helped us to forge new business relationships and showcase the range of potential applications that our products can help to innovate.”
Speaking on the success of this year’s show, head of Community & Content for Advanced Engineering, Jeremy Whittingham, explains how, despite uncertainty, the engineering sector is thriving. “Ahead of this year’s show, the media was dominated by British politics and the nation’s place in the wider world. This uncertainty isn’t going away any time soon, but that doesn’t mean it needs to hinder progression.
“At Advanced Engineering 2019, we launched our Voice of Industry report to demonstrate the successes of the industry in spite of uncertainty. At the show, our own work — alongside the wealth of innovation and success that it hosted — proved that manufacturing and engineering in the UK is thriving more than ever before.”
Roxanne Bennett, account manager at Make UK, summarises why Advanced Engineering is the place for manufacturers to get their voices heard. “As we’re the voice of manufacturing, Advanced Engineering is the perfect fit for us. Even though we weren’t exhibiting a product or technology, we support those that do”.
Bennett explains that “one of the questions we get the most is how can we support manufacturers, particularly in light of Brexit, and this show gives us the stage to answer this for a wealth of companies from across the engineering industry. Exhibiting has given us a platform to showcase how membership to Make UK can help them get the support they need when facing the challenges ahead.”
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