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Buzz builds as MACH countdown begins

24 January 2014

For many in manufacturing the biennial MACH exhibition is a bellwether for the state of the industry. It provides the opportunity to see and buy the technology that gets things made – from the mightiest machine tools to the most precise metrology equipment. Graham Dewhurst, director general of the MTA (Manufacturing Technologies Association), explains more about the 2014 event.

MACH 2014 takes place from 7-11 April at the NEC, Birmingham. MACH 2012 played host to 21,500 visitors and hopes are high that this year's event will eclipse that number.

Hall 5 at the NEC is sold out and Hall 4 is almost at capacity. There are 15% more exhibitors this year than at the last exhibition, in 2012, and early registrations to attend are running ahead of where they were two years ago.

The significance of MACH in the UK’s manufacturing landscape means that it is tremendous news for UK manufacturing that the exhibition is set to be such a success. There is a buzz around UK manufacturing that we haven’t felt for a long time and MACH 2014 will be the place to feel part of that.

It’s telling that of more than 500 exhibitors, 150 were not at MACH 2012. Some established industry names took a break from exhibiting after the recession, but now realise that the opportunities are too good to miss, and the number of companies taking their places in the Halls for the first time is really encouraging.

As well as the new entrants lots of companies have taken more space this year than previously – overall we think we’re going to see something like 6500t of machinery at the show. With MACH being a working show, visitors will be able to see those 6500t machines in action.

It’s not just the size that sets MACH 2014 apart. The show is cutting new ground. For the first time major OEMs, including Airbus and Rolls Royce, are exhibiting alongside their supply chain partners, enabling visitors to get a sense of the scope of the UK’s manufacturing sector. That’s really important because we have to build the supply chain’s strengths in order to take advantage of the potential for growth that exists as the economy picks up pace. Schemes like the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative are aiming to do just that and MACH 2014 offers a fantastic opportunity to build those links organically by engaging with the vast network of manufacturers who will exhibit and visit.  

2014 is a breakthrough year for new technologies at MACH too. Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is one of the hottest manufacturing stories of the year and some of the leading companies will be at MACH 2014 showing how the technology could change manufacturing although maybe not in the ways you might think… 

The Education and Training Zone is a key part of what the exhibition is about and MACH 2014 will be no exception. There will be inspiration from the Bloodhound SSC project which is building a car that is aiming to travel at 1000mph, competitions for the best young engineers staged by Worldskills UK and state of the art interactivity from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s MANTRA virtual reality manufacturing unit and VirtUweld simulators.

MACH 2014 is set to be a terrific shop window for manufacturing technology and a great place to meet the people who make and use it. I look forward to seeing you there.