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New Knowledge Hubs initiative at MACH 2024 identifies when manufacturers should adopt new technology 22/02/2024

REVERSING UK manufacturing’s poor record for adopting new technology will be tackled head on at MACH 2024 as The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) launches its new Knowledge Hubs initiative, showcasing how to adopt new technology to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing.

The programme showcases new technology that is readily available to UK manufacturers, helping them to understand the potential adopting such technology can bring to their operation, as well as when to adopt it and how to implement it to best effect.

The Knowledge Hubs initiative will have dedicated stands across the event, each focusing on a particular type of technology including Automation and Robotics, Sustainable Solutions, Additive Manufacturing, Consumable Tooling, and Data and Artificial Intelligence.

In recognition of the importance being placed on these hubs, each is being managed by one of the specialist centres from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, such as the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The Catapult network is recognised for the cutting-edge research and development work being conducted at its various centres. The network collaborates with thousands of innovative businesses across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, space, health, digital, energy, transport, telecoms, the urban environment and many others.

Promoting technology adoption

The MTA, which organises the MACH event on behalf of the engineering-based manufacturing community, has been campaigning for greater adoption of new technology for some time. It will expand upon this at MACH 2024, which opens its doors at the NEC in Birmingham on 15 April, by explaining that implementing proven, readily available techniques in manufacturing processes is the fastest way to boost the UK’s output.

"The MTA is part of a united front of UK manufacturing organisations, along with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and MACH 2024 Headline Sponsor Lloyds Bank, to increase the uptake of technologies such as automation and robotics," said James Selka, CEO of the MTA.

"Only by embracing what the hubs are trying to achieve will the UK restore its position as a sovereign manufacturer, re-establishing itself as a major player on the global stage.

"To have brand agnostic input from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network, running our Knowledge Hubs, is an indication of the importance these organisations place on our initiative. Combined with the ability to see advanced technology, live and in action, in a fully working state – MACH 2024 is a must-visit for all the UK’s manufacturing community."

The need for this approach was recently brought into sharp focus in a new report highlighting the UK’s lack of investment in technology and its poor adoption of robotics in industry. The figures, from the International Federation of Robotics, showed the UK languishing outside the top 20 developed nations in terms of the global utilisation of industrial robots in manufacturing – lagging not just behind the economic superpowers, but also the likes of Spain and Finland.

The Automation and Robotics Knowledge Hub will showcase how easily the technology can be adopted into existing manufacturing operations, automating repeatable processes, improving accuracy and consistency, and reducing repetitive and monotonous tasks.  

"Robotics and automation is key to solving the UK’s productivity puzzle," affirmed MTC chief automation officer, Mike Wilson. "This under-pinning technology will help manufacturers achieve high productivity and net zero aspirations while solving some of the UK’s labour shortage issues. It is also a significant contributor to strengthening the UK’s supply chain and securing resilient UK manufacturing capability."

The Sustainable Solutions Knowledge Hub, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, will guide manufacturers on how investing in energy efficient technology now, backed by government incentives, can help offset energy cost increases, improve business fitness for the future and help balance the ‘cost of doing business’.

"Understanding how to get to Net Zero is one of the biggest hurdles for UK manufacturers," stated Dave Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing SME and mid corporates at Lloyds Bank.  

"Many are looking for help and advice with the challenge they’ve been set by their supply chain and customers to improve sustainability and reduce their carbon emissions. Lloyds Bank are delighted to be partnering with the MTC to deliver the Sustainable Solutions Knowledge Hub at MACH 2024, providing impartial guidance on how small and medium sized businesses can accelerate their journey to Net Zero."

The Additive Manufacturing Knowledge Hub is designed to help visitors looking to learn how to develop, adopt and use additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology in their manufacturing processes. Expert advice and wayfinding will be on offer from AM-UK on how to utilise the technology for making production parts and products directly from design data - building accurate components by adding layers of material to obtain the final shape with minimal waste.

The Consumable Tooling Knowledge Hub is where visitors should head to receive impartial advice on how to optimise their machining processes and how to deal with real-life machining challenges. The Hub will offer advice on matching the most suitable cutting tool material and insert geometry with the workpiece material to be machined, through to key considerations such as tool paths and cutting data.  Visitors can meet experts from the AMRC who will be on-hand to help visitors with the complexities of metal cutting.

The Data and AI Knowledge Hub will explore how SME’s can use this technology to drive growth and innovation in manufacturing by measuring the output of their current operation, looking for opportunities to improve and ensuring supply meets demand. The aim of the Knowledge Hub is to provide advice and wayfinding, addressing the manufacturing applications that can be supported by data, technology and automated processes.  

Additional funding for advanced manufacturing

The Knowledge Hub initiative was handed a major shot-in-the-arm with the recent announcement by chancellor Jeremy Hunt of £4.5bn of funding to support advanced manufacturing. The funding will directly benefit several of the exhibition’s key themes, especially Sustainable Solutions, where £960m has been earmarked for clean energy manufacturing through a Green Industries Growth Accelerator.

"The UK must adapt to the global environment, accepting there will be partial de-globalisation. Greater adoption of the latest, most powerful technologies will therefore be vital to achieving this, helping improve manufacturing efficiency and optimising productivity," Selka continued. "Through our Knowledge Hubs at MACH 2024, the MTA are doing everything we can to help UK manufacturers focus on the new technology, explain when to adopt it and how to implement it to best effect."

MACH is the UK’s only live, national event showcasing sustainable, innovative technologies used across the manufacturing spectrum and is the destination of choice for companies looking to adopt and invest in the digital revolution.

The exhibition is more than 90% sold but prime locations within the show halls are still available for businesses looking to exhibit. Nevertheless, the MTA has said companies still considering exhibiting should not delay their decisions so they can secure the locations of their choice.

For more information:

www.machexhibition.com

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Sandvik Coromant headline sponsor of the MACH 2024 Education and Development Zone 26/01/2024

THE EDUCATION and Development (E&D) Zone at MACH 2024 is once again being sponsored by global metalcutting specialist, Sandvik Coromant.

Having sponsored the Zone since its introduction at MACH 2012, Sandvik Coromant ‘s continued support demonstrates their commitment to inspiring the next generation of engineers to join the manufacturing technologies sector

The E&D Zone is the educational hub at MACH 2024 and is designed for students keen to explore what engineering-based manufacturing can offer them as a future career.

"The shortage of skilled engineers joining the manufacturing sector is still a major issue for many companies who will visit and exhibit at MACH 2024. The E&D Zone is designed to challenge the next generation to consider engineering-based manufacturing as a career, through thought-provoking interactive displays, hands on activities and interaction with apprentices who’ve already been inspired to choose this as a career path," said Sophie Laurent, marketing manager - sales area South and West Europe for Sandvik Coromant.

A crucial part of the E&D zone is guided tours of the exhibition. As part of these tours, students learn more about the latest manufacturing technologies being developed and deployed in UK industry and get to learn about potential career paths and opportunities - even providing guidance on the manufacturing and engineering companies that are recruiting UK apprentices.

"Attracting new talent into the engineering-based manufacturing sector is a key driver for the MTA. The dedicated E&D zone at MACH continues to be our biggest opportunity to inspire a future generation into engineering as an exciting career," affirmed James Selka, CEO at the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), who own and organise MACH 2024.

With over 3,000 students in the key age range of 11-18 expected to attend the event this year, MACH 2024 promises to provide lots for them to see and experience with interactive activities organised by key contributors including F1 in Schools, University of Wolverhampton Racing, VeRobotics and the National Physical Laboratory.

"At the MTA we are very grateful to Sandvik Cormorant for their continued support - both in the sponsorship of the Zone but also in helping to provide students with a unique opportunity to interact with role models from industry, whilst finding out valuable careers advice," Selka continued.

Schools and students are encouraged to register their interest in attending the E&D Zone in advance of the event by visiting the MACH website. Likewise, parents and guardians are welcome to register interest to attend the show – students aged between 11 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

www.machexhibition.com

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The Children's Hospital Charity chosen as new MTA President's Charity 17/01/2024

THE MANUFACTURING Technologies Association (MTA) traditionally supports two charities during the year and for the first time, the President’s Charity has been chosen as the Children’s Hospital Charity, supporting Sheffield Children's Hospital to provide world-class care to children from all over the world.

One of three standalone children's hospital in the UK, Sheffield Children's Hospital provides world- class care to 260,000 children who rely on it each year. The charity, chosen by MTA president Tony Bowkett, works to enhance Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and its reputation as a world- renowned centre of excellence for the care, prevention and cure of illness in children.

The Children’s Hospital Charity recently announced an appeal to raise £2million towards the build of a new £20m world-class research and technology centre - the National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT).

Plans for the NCCHT include workshops and clinical spaces, with work focusing on developing technologies to address key national strategic priorities in child health including prevention and health inequalities, children’s mental health, obesity, long term conditions, children’s cancer, and children’s disability.

The new 42,000 sq ft facility will incorporate the Creativity and Manufacturing Zone, designed to develop the most advanced child health technologies in the world. In addition, the Advanced Rehabilitation Centre will become a centre for immersive technologies and robotics, a state-of-the-art test bed facility for rapid technology assessment in real-word settings.

The Centre will accelerate the research, development and evaluation of child health technologies, joining an impressive portfolio of health and wellbeing research facilities at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

"Sheffield Children’s Hospital is an inspiring place, helping to change children’s lives every day," said Bowkett. "The Children’s Hospital Charity works hard to raise money to fund research into children’s illnesses while providing specialist medical equipment and new facilities to extend the range of treatment being provided. I am delighted that money raised at MTA events this year will go towards supporting pioneering, ground-breaking medical treatment and creating a comfortable and engaging environment for patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the NCCHT."

The MTA continue to support Mission Motorsport as their second nominated charity running alongside The Presidents Charity for a two-year period. Both charities will be promoted at all MTA events including the AGM, Forecasting Seminars, the Annual Dinner and at the forthcoming MACH exhibition, taking place from 15-19 April 2024 at the NEC, Birmingham.

www.mta.org.uk

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2024 set to be a transformational year for UK manufacturing 01/03/2024

As part of its mission to promote UK manufacturing growth, the MTA will use its flagship MACH 2024 exhibition to launch its new Knowledge Hubs initiative, which highlights the benefits of new technologies such as AI, Big Data, robotics and automation, explains James Selka

IT'S BEEN a busy few months for UK manufacturing – and The Manufacturing Technologies Association – but with the spadework now completed we have greenlit strategies for what promises to be a busy - and important - 2024 for the industry.

The shot-in-the-arm to the industry from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will transform the climate for UK manufacturers and hopefully spearhead the new growth initiatives which will be so important to the future of the industry.

We were doubly pleased because many of the measures announced by Jeremy Hunt align with our own objectives, especially those announced as key themes for the MACH 2024 exhibition, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham next April.

Promoting UK manufacturing growth

The MTA has made it its mission to spearhead growth in UK manufacturing and we will use the flagship exhibition to launch our new Knowledge Hubs initiative. This is a programme focusing on the benefits new technologies such as AI, Big Data, robotics and automation can deliver for manufacturers.

We will also outline to visitors how easy it is to adopt such technology, much of which can be retrofitted to existing machines, and how to implement the systems to best effect. Visitors to MACH will also be able to view the latest technology live and in action, helping to inform their investment decisions.

These technologies are truly transformational and offer the best hope to stimulate manufacturing growth across the next decade. We were therefore delighted the Chancellor has heeded what we and other manufacturing bodies have been saying about the need to invest in these technologies for the benefits they offer. 

We now need the manufacturing community to get behind these proposals and invest in the machines and technology that can fulfil the UK’s potential as a key manufacturer on the global stage.

The MTA was one of the signatories of an open letter to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement in which 200 leading manufacturers and industry associations urged the Chancellor to make Full Expensing a permanent feature of the UK tax system.

We agree with him that if the UK is to raise its productivity levels so it can compete on the global stage, then business investment needs to grow. To this end, his decision to make the Full Expensing scheme permanent is a step in the right direction and will hopefully serve as the incentive the industry needs to transform itself.

The Full Expensing scheme

The scheme, which incentivises growth by ensuring so that for every million pounds a company invests, it gets £250,000 off its tax bill for the year the investment is made, is a very attractive one for manufacturers as they are among the biggest investors in new equipment. 

The Chancellor said his aim was to provide surety for manufacturers by offering a long-term strategy for the industry. This is welcome news for the advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, which are constantly looking to attract support from investors, especially those overseas.

The £4.5bn package of measures which were announced will hopefully leverage further investment in decarbonising key sectors such as automotive, aerospace, life sciences and green energy.

This kind of investment will ensure the UK remains competitive in the sectors which will increasingly shape the future of UK manufacturing. The commitment to support disruptive technologies is vital as we look to make the UK a place where manufacturers can invest and grow for the future.

James Selka is CEO of The Manufacturing Technologies Association

For more information: 

www.mta.org.uk

Tel: 020 7298 6400

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Cost pressures dictate the need for smart solutions 21/08/2023

THE MACH 2024 exhibition, which is once again being organised by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), will take place against the backdrop of continued disruption from the war in Ukraine, the lingering effects of the pandemic, Brexit fallout and a whole host of issues by no means unique to the manufacturing technologies sector.

These are challenging times for manufacturers but the MTA stands ready to do all it can to support its members. Its MACH 2024 exhibition will be dedicated to finding solutions to issues including ongoing supply chain disruption mounting energy costs and the desire for green manufacturing and improved skills levels.

Investing in the latest machinery has the benefit of maximising efficiency by improving productivity and reducing downtime. Improved functionality on next-generation equipment also offers the benefit of predictive maintenance schedules, thereby helping businesses plan more accurately how to manage maintenance cycles. Such benefits will be felt on a business’s bottom line and softens the return-on-investment equation. 

Maintenance concepts for businesses of all sizes 

However, such options are not available to every business. Investment decisions have to be weighed carefully against the benefits they offer a business. For such businesses therefore, prolonging the life of current machinery is more beneficial in helping to mitigate costs and sustain productivity. In this scenario, accurate and effective maintenance cycles grow in importance.

The increasing use of digitalisation and its associated technology continues to characterise today’s manufacturing sector. Down the years, the MACH exhibition has shown how data generated by machine learning is having a hugely beneficial effect on the ability to accurately interpret maintenance cycles. Being able to predict when maintenance is required rather than having to react to breakdowns has helped sustain many businesses at a time when security is needed most    .

There are many practical steps businesses can take to improve performance. For example, optimising the layout of a machine shop prior to equipment being installed can improve workflow, as can identifying where raw materials are being introduced into the production process. The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line so making workflows as linear as possible will invariably help speed up production processes, with a subsequent impact on costs.

Efficiency will also be improved by identifying which processes can be automated and which cannot. Automation invariably decreases the number of workers on the shopfloor, in turn freeing them up for upskilling and added value tasks.

Ensuring full connectivity is available will also improve cycle times. Digital manufacturing technologies rely on connected systems and processes. This helps create an integrated manufacturing operation, incorporating everything from design to production, as well as predictive maintenance scheduling. 

Temperature control is an essential part of any production operation, therefore effective heating and cooling systems must be in place to ensure optimal production efficiency can be maintained. Businesses need to consider what sustainable solutions might be available as these could be more cost efficient. 

Identifying smart solutions 

Sustainability and green manufacturing techniques will be key themes of MACH 2024, as will establishing cost-effective smart solutions to ongoing work cycles. These solutions can be as simple as identifying the best location for power and data points so they are easily accessible and to ensure that equipment can easily be added at a later stage should this prove necessary. Having to relocate power and data points at a later stage will incur additional costs, often at the most inconvenient times. 

Determining in advance product life cycles will help with retooling costs and component compatibility. Data extracted from connected systems will be useful here, enabling revisions to design specifications and, future maintenance cycles.

Creating a digital twin of the production operation based on expected workflows will help to identify the best way of maximising production efficiency. Flexibility is key to ensure any changes can be implemented without disruption to work cycles.

Effective modelling and process simulations will improve the quality of production process. Big Data is useful in helping to improve decision making, while generating cost savings, reducing the time a product takes to reach market and creating an efficient, connected process capable of anticipating a range of variables, especially when it comes to maintenance cycles.

Reducing costs via digitisation 

The array of technical solutions available to help manufacturers achieve optimal and cost-effective production operations is today broader than ever. The emergence of new technologies such as Robotics, 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity are all important aspects of Advanced Manufacturing and key to optimising modern manufacturing processes.

All these technologies will be evident when the doors of MACH 2024 open at the National Exhibition Centre next April. As show organiser, the MTA is keen to see the wider adoption of these new technologies and in the case of Additive Manufacturing, has taken major strides to advocate the use of the methodology by bringing the only trade association dedicated to the technology under its wing.

AMUK is specifically designed for companies working with Additive and 3D printing technology - such as materials suppliers, design services, machine suppliers or post processing services. The association is actively promoting the transformational technologies that are increasingly having a disruptive impact on traditional methods of production, enabling businesses to develop new and better products at lower cost and with greater sustainability. 

The Engineering Supply Chain Show

Maximising the capabilities of the UK’s manufacturing supply chain and its highly skilled sub-contractors is also a key issue for the MTA and fellow cluster member, the Engineering Industries Association (EIA). So much so, that MACH 2024 will the launch of a new dedicated exhibition, the Engineering Supply Chain Show, which will be co-located with the more established event.

This new exhibition is for the main part, a response to the immediate needs of UK manufacturers and engineers to source new business. It also brings together a wider audience focused on capacity in the UK subcontracting and supply chain sectors.

It is the event where world-class suppliers, exclusively in the UK engineering and manufacturing supply chain, exhibit and is dedicated to helping buyers looking to source precision sub-contracting products and services from UK-based suppliers and has grown due to the need to expand the UK Supply Chain Zone, which was always a key part of the main MACH exhibition.

For 2024, the ESC show will include new specialist zones, with a strong focus on energy efficiency in the engineering supply chain, machine and equipment safety, motion control and sensors used in manufacturing.

The business case for sustainability 

It will feature a strong message around greener manufacturing, with UK-sourced goods and services helping to reduce goods miles. It is by no means the only initiative being promoted by the MTA for the MACH event. In addition to bringing the EIA into its trade association cluster, it has done the same for AMUK, the only UK association dedicated to the advanced technology of Additive Manufacturing. 

It is no coincidence that the most efficient and sustainable production operations will be the ones producing the least amount of scrappage. The cost-effective technology facilitates short production runs and prototyping, offering many sub-contractors the opportunity to add a further string to their bow and increase their range of services at minimal cost.

"Being owned by the industry, for the benefit of the industry, the MTA’s primary aim is to help and support the sector we represent to do business, boosting the UK’s manufacturing performance and enabling UK PLC to compete at a global level. Manufacturing is the heartbeat of the UK economy and growing a resilient manufacturing industry has never been more important," said James Selka, CEO at the Manufacturing Technologies Association. 

"By 2024 we must all hope brighter times are ahead and as the industry looks to shape its own destiny, the MTA and EIA stand ready to assist manufacturers in any way they can. We expect MACH 2024 to make a positive contribution to future prosperity and we urge the engineering and manufacturing community to embrace opportunity and support the event by signing up to exhibit now."

The Manufacturing Technologies Association

Tel: 020 7298 6400

Email: info@mta.org.uk

Web: www.mta.org.uk

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Manufacturers look to invest for the future 09/01/2023

Despite the ongoing headwinds facing the sector, the MTA encourages UK manufacturers to take a mid-to-long-term view and to continue investing in the latest machines and technology, says James Selka

IT IS inherent in the DNA of manufacturers that they must have the ability to quickly adapt to changes in circumstance. Technology evolves so fast these days that new developments can quickly become outdated. But it is not the advance of technology that has kept the manufacturing industry on its toes this year, but the shifting political landscape.

As I write this column, we are into our third administration of the year and looking at a tough period ahead, with Bank of England forecasts suggesting a deep recession.

Adapting to a changing landscape

Recession is nothing new to manufacturers, although the circumstances of this dip are unusual. The ongoing disruption from the pandemic, economic headwinds due to a war on the Eastern European mainland and an unprecedented hike in energy and food costs have significantly heightened anxiety.

Despite this, the MTA encourages UK manufacturers to take a mid-to-long-term view on things and to continue investing in the latest machines and technology. By doing so, they will enable themselves to make step-change improvements in productivity and competitiveness and in turn, hasten their return on investment.

Empty platitudes? Not a bit of it. Evidence shows a strong desire amongst manufacturers to invest and the MTA can point to its own MACH exhibition as proof of the positivity of the UK’s engineering and manufacturing community.

Despite the doors of MACH 2024 not opening for another eighteen months, the exhibition has already received strong support from MTA members, with almost two-thirds of the exhibition space already sold. A ballot of non-members has just been completed and there is a strong likelihood that more space will go.

In the current climate, such a show of support for the UK’s national manufacturing show is extremely positive and suggests there are many reasons to remain optimistic. We had expected MACH 2022 to be a pivotal event as the industry looked to emerge from the pandemic in a strong position, but there is now a strong argument for saying that MACH 2024 is even more critical to the future of UK manufacturing.

Shaping the future of manufacturing 

MACH has - and always will - play a pivotal role in helping to shape the future of the manufacturing industry. Its ability to connect manufacturing engineers, decision makers, buyers and specifiers with suppliers of new technology, equipment, services and processes is unrivalled and is why we are already implementing steps that will ensure MACH 2024 is our best ever exhibition.

Co-locating with MACH 2024 will be the Engineering Supply Chain Show, sponsored by The Engineering Industries Association (EIA). This new exhibition is for the main part, a response to the immediate needs of UK manufacturers and engineers to capitalise on new opportunities. It also brings together a wider audience focused on capacity in the UK subcontracting and supply chain sectors.

The ESC show will include new specialist zones, with a strong focus on energy efficiency in the engineering supply chain, machine and equipment safety, motion control and sensors used in manufacturing. It will also feature a strong message around greener manufacturing, with UK-sourced goods and services helping to reduce goods miles.

Energy efficient technology and decarbonisation were major themes at MACH 2022 and I expect this to continue for MACH 2024 and beyond, partly as a response to current circumstances but mainly because of the huge opportunities these offer. So, if the advance bookings for 2024 are anything to go by, then there is no shortage of interest amongst manufacturers for investment - and long may this continue.

James Selka is CEO of the Manufacturing Technologies Association

For more information:

www.mta.org.uk

Tel: 020 7298 6400

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MACH 2024 "a must-attend event" for UK's engineering and manufacturing communities 27/10/2022

The UK's engineering and manufacturing technologies community is remaining bullish in the face of mounting economic headwinds by pledging its support for the sector’s largest shop window, the biennial MACH exhibition.

DESPITE THE doors of MACH 2024 not opening for another eighteen months, the exhibition has already received strong support from members of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) with almost two-thirds of the exhibition space already sold.

MTA member ballots

The MTA, which owns and organises the exhibition, has so far held two ballots of MTA members, with interest in exhibiting proving positive in both instances. A third will be taking place on 3 November for non-member companies and the trade association is expecting strong bidding.

"In the current circumstances it is beyond encouraging to see so many companies pledging support for MACH 2024. We had expected MACH 2022 to be a pivotal event as the industry looked to emerge from the pandemic in a strong position, but there is a strong argument for saying that MACH 2024 is even more critical to the future of UK manufacturing," said James Selka, CEO at the MTA . 

"With inflation continuing to rise, UK manufacturers need to implement the improvements to productivity that will yield greater rewards in the future. This is where MACH plays an important role as its ability to connect manufacturing engineers, decision makers, buyers and specifiers with suppliers of new technology, equipment, services and processes is unrivalled and we are already implementing steps that will ensure MACH 2024 is our best ever exhibition.

"With the non-member ballot fast approaching we are expecting strong interest in exhibiting at the show and taking in the success of this year’s event, it’s not hard to see why," he added. 

More than 20,000 visitors expected

MACH 2024 opens its doors at the NEC in Birmingham on 15 April 2024. The five-day event will feature the largest display of new machinery and manufacturing technologies under one roof in the UK. If, as expected, it follows the trend of previous exhibitions then transactions worth hundreds of millions of pounds are likely to be agreed.

An audience of more than 20,000 engineering and manufacturing sector visitors are already expected, with an overall attendance figure of circa 30,000 people. Results from MACH 2022 showed: 

  • 95% of exhibitors generated leads
  • Deals worth in excess of £180m were concluded (with many leads still being followed up)
  • 80% of exhibitors considered they had raised their profile
  • 77% of exhibitors considered they had improved relationships with their customers
  • 68% of visitors came to see view new products
  • 99% of visitors reported meeting their objectives
  • 44% of visitors did not attend any comparable trade exhibition

A pipeline of high-quality leads

The beauty of the MACH event is that it is not just a five-day exhibition; it generates a strong pipeline of high-quality leads and opportunities that help generate sales long after the show has ended.

"In order to make the step change improvements in productivity and therefore competitiveness, manufacturers need only three things - technologies, the skill to acquire and deploy those technologies, and the finance to make it happen," Selka continued. 

"Technologies have never been more powerful and affordable, the UK has an incredible reputation for its innovative and flexible workforce, and while financial incentives such as Super Deduction end next Spring, there is always the hope that new schemes will emerge."

Companies interested in exhibiting in 2024 will find there is some great space still available, especially within focused zones, which are designed to improve wayfinding and the visitor experience.

The Engineering Supply Chain Show

Co-locating with MACH 2024 is the Engineering Supply Chain Show, sponsored by The Engineering Industries Association (EIA). Based in Hall 7, this new exhibition is for the main part, a response to the immediate needs of UK manufacturers and engineers for new opportunities. It also brings together a wider audience focused on capacity in the UK subcontracting and supply chain sectors.

It is the event where world-class suppliers, exclusively in the UK engineering and manufacturing supply chain, exhibit and is dedicated to helping buyers looking to source precision sub-contracting products and services from UK-based suppliers and has grown due to the need to expand the UK Supply Chain Zone, which was always a key part of the main MACH exhibition.

For 2024, the ESC show will include new specialist zones, with a strong focus on energy efficiency in the engineering supply chain, machine and equipment safety, motion control and sensors used in manufacturing.

It will feature a strong message around greener manufacturing, with UK-sourced goods and services helping to reduce goods miles.

"By 2024 we must all hope brighter times are ahead and as the industry looks to shape its own destiny, the MTA and EIA stand ready to assist manufacturers in any way they can," Selka stated. "We expect MACH 2024 to make a positive contribution to future prosperity and we urge the engineering and manufacturing community to embrace opportunity and support the event by signing up to exhibit now."

www.machexhibition.com

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Manufacturers must summon the true spirit of MACH 2022 15/08/2022

Given that the current economic panorama makes long-term planning a challenge, futureproofing a business is more important than ever, says James Selka

THREE MONTHS on from the MTA’s successful MACH 2022 exhibition, the UK’s economic and political landscape has undergone a seismic shift. 

Manufacturers are historically susceptible to economic headwinds and the disruption seen over the past decade has tested their mettle on many occasions and it now appears their resolve is set to be tested even further. Nevertheless, manufacturers are a resilient lot and despite the current challenges, planning for the future now will reap long term rewards.

Riding out challenging trading conditions 

Under the conditions we presently have to endure, many could be forgiven for thinking the picture exceptionally bleak. However, looking back just a few short months to MACH 2022, the levels of optimism I detected walking around the halls of the National Exhibition Centre were completely at odds with the current picture and I choose to believe the spirits of those I spoke to have not evaporated, despite what many analysts are saying.

MACH 2022 showed that many manufacturers were confident enough to plan for the future with strong orders for new machines being taken throughout the five days of the show. Futureproofing a business now is perhaps more important than it has been. Investing in more productive and efficient machinery now will not only insulate businesses from the worst effects of recession but it will ensure that companies are better placed to take advantage of the upswing when growth conditions return.

Incentives to investment remain. The super-deduction scheme introduced by the government to help businesses rebound from the pandemic remains in force and runs until the end of March next year. Many manufacturers looking to purchase new equipment at MACH 2022 did so with the help of the scheme. 

The scheme ensures companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets can claim a 130% super-deduction capital allowance on their plant and machinery investment, plus a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets. The scheme will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest.

What the fate of the scheme is remains to be seen. Whether it is extended or replaced by a new incentive will be a matter for the new chancellor of the exchequer, perhaps the new prime minister as well – whoever they may be.

Leading the way on decarbonisation

The MTA has been – and continues to be – a major advocate of the potential of decarbonisation to expand growth opportunities. Harnessing the advantages of digital technology will be key to achieving the targets associated with a net zero economy. 

Achieving net-zero targets will be done by decarbonising processes and products right along the supply chain. This is where manufacturing technologies come in. By harnessing innovative technologies, from 3D Printing to automation, manufacturers will be able to reduce the carbon intensity of the production process and create products that are better for the environment.

The MTA is actively encouraging manufacturers to support the net zero agenda and is willing to collaborate with any businesses and organisations looking to do the same. 

One thing can be sure – the government cannot afford to abandon manufacturers to the worst effects of the current situation. The added value manufacturing delivers to the UK economy cannot be overlooked and traditionally, a healthy manufacturing industry means a healthy economy.

So, as inflationary pressures grow, raw materials continue to be in short supply and energy costs mount, it is worth remembering that the MTA will be there to help in any way it can

James Selka is CEO of the MTA

For more information: 

www.mta.org.uk

Tel: 020 7298 6400

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Confidence high as manufacturers prepare for prosperous future 17/05/2022

MACH 2022, the most significant gathering of manufacturers in the UK post-pandemic, lived up to its billing by proving to be a major stimulus to investment, writes James Selka

ARRIVING AGAINST a backdrop of growing cost pressures on manufacturers, MACH 2022 proved businesses were prepared to see the value in acquiring the new plant and machinery capable of delivering much-needed gains in productivity.

This bore out much of what show organiser, the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) had been saying in the months leading up to the event. The association had predicted the show would be the manifestation of the growing appetite amongst manufacturers to invest in new machinery, and so it proved.

Walking around the halls of the National Exhibition Centre and talking to the various exhibitors, the confidence being expressed was palpable. Hearing what they had to say about the levels of interest and the business being transacted was very welcome and bodes well for the next few years.

Such optimism is best expressed by the exhibitors themselves, for example, Nigel Atherton, managing director of XYZ Machine Tools said: "From day one of MACH our stand was busy and the level of enquiries, and new orders resulting from the week are very encouraging. Our current levels of business are exceeding pre-Covid levels and there is little sign of buying confidence slowing down." XYZ generated sales in excess of £2.4 million during the exhibition.

Alan Pickering, joint managing director of Unison, was equally enthusiastic. He said: "Talking to prospective customers during the show, we gained the clear impression that confidence is back in manufacturing and that companies of all sizes are ready to invest in the machine tools and technologies that will help them achieve their goals."

Such was Unison’s success at MACH 2022 that it has already booked its space at MACH 2024, and rather than having two stands - one for Unison and one for Ingenium Integration with Nukon - as it did this year, in two years’ time the businesses will amalgamate their displays on one much larger stand.

Other manufacturers tell a similar story and a further indication of the newfound confidence surrounding the manufacturing technologies sector is evident from the fact that the MTA has sold more advance exhibition space for 2024 than for any preceding MACH event. Such a display of optimism, coming at a time when cost pressures on business are significant, sends out a very positive message, both to the manufacturing industry and the wider economy as a whole.

The Government said in its Spring Statement that investment remains a key driver of productivity growth and that by adding to the economy’s capital stock and improving the skills of the workforce, the economy can produce more with the same input from workers. 

Manufacturers appear to have embraced this ethos and while much of the optimism may be driven by the fiscal incentives currently available to the industry, there can be little doubt that investment in transformative manufacturing technologies and improved skills have consistently delivered higher productivity levels down the years and will continue to do so. 

With inflation continuing to rise, UK manufacturers must implement productivity improvements now in order to avoid having margins squeezed to an unsustainable degree. Now is the time to be brave and build on the impetus created by MACH 2022 to make the investments that will reap greater rewards further down the line. 

As we keep one eye on the future, another gratifying aspect of MACH 2022 was the growth in the number of students visiting the show, many of them attracted to the displays in the Education & Development Zone. These were specifically designed to attract young people and to show them how rewarding a career in manufacturing can be.

The zone, sponsored by Sandvik Coromant, featured stands from Airbus Defence & Space, University of Wolverhampton Formula 3 Race Team, Vex Robotics, the Bowers Group Mobile Metrology Centre, F1 in Schools and the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), a nationwide educational charity which offers young people (9-21 years) active learning experiences in STEM-related careers.

Just as with investment, we must build on this interest to ensure we secure the next generation of young engineers to the industry. In this way, we can help to sustain the future of the industry and make UK manufacturing into a major force on the global stage.

So, as we bid farewell to MACH 2022, we look forward to MACH 2024, which takes place between 15-19 April at its longstanding home, Birmingham’s magnificent NEC. It’s never too early to plan, so save the date now. I look forward to seeing you there.

James Selka is CEO of the MTA 

For more information: 

www.mta.org.uk

Tel: 020 7298 6400

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MACH – just one month to go 04/03/2022

MACH 2022 is set to be the most significant gathering of manufacturers in the UK this year. And will feature the largest display of new machinery and manufacturing technologies under one roof in the UK for four years. 

The revival of the manufacturing industry post-pandemic, the drive to Net Zero and exploiting the opportunities offered by decarbonisation, the development of innovative technologies shaping advanced manufacturing, a special focus on Additive Manufacturing, together with a unique showcase highlighting the skills and expertise contained within the UK manufacturing supply chain are all key themes for the five-day show.

The arrival of the exhibition, which opens its doors at the NEC in Birmingham between 4-8th April, could not be timelier for the manufacturing sector. The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), which organises the show, believes the growing optimism surrounding the sector will see bumper levels of business transacted during the show. Exhibitors too, are excited at the prospect of showcasing their latest products to an eager array of buyers ready to capitalise on the current financial incentives such as Super Deduction and AIA available to businesses prepared to invest in capital assets.

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, said: “With the UK economy growing above forecasts for 2021 and the CBI predicting that plans for spending on plant and machinery over the coming twelve months have improved considerably, the timing of MACH 2022 could not be better.

“In order to make step change improvements in productivity and therefore competitiveness, you only need three things – Technologies, the skill to acquire and deploy those technologies and the finance to make it happen. Technologies have never been more powerful and affordable, the UK has an incredible reputation for its innovative and flexible workforce, and finance assisted by government incentives is incredibly good value and hugely available.

“There has never been a better time to accelerate investment in UK manufacturing and with MACH 2022 bringing together the latest advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies in operation all under one roof, it will be perfect place for manufacturers to come and view the best new machines on the market.”

The CBI’s latest survey, which reflects the MTA’s own data, indicates that plans for spending on plant and machinery over the coming twelve months have improved, with the percentage balance (+26) standing at its highest level since April 1988. Four consecutive double-digit positive balances in a row is exceptionally rare and represents a stronger recovery than seen after the global financial crisis.

Crucially, the improvement has been seen in some of the most important sectors within the manufacturing industry, such as Transport Equipment (automotive and aerospace) and Metal Products sub-sectors.

MACH is the longest-running manufacturing and engineering exhibition in the UK and its distinctive ability to showcase the largest variety of manufacturing technology solutions in the country, makes it unique and therefore, of such critical importance to the industry.

This year’s show will focus on the best of the manufacturing technologies sector - the development of the digital factory, Additive Manufacturing, new automation solutions and connected manufacturing processes, power by the hour and the cost efficiency solutions that will dramatically improve production processes and help shape the industry over the next decade.

Resolving the current challenges to the industry – soaring energy prices, rising labour costs, skills shortages, the escalating price of raw materials, supply chain disruption and the need to effectively tackle the green agenda by seizing the opportunities posed by decarbonisation, will also receive special focus. 

Engineering Supply Chain Show

There is also a new exhibition, launching for the first time at MACH 2022, which highlights another of the show’s core themes - the opportunities that can be found within the UK supply chain. Sponsored by Lloyds Bank and the Engineering Industries Association, The Engineering Supply Chain Show is where engineering and manufacturing buyers can go to source world-class suppliers, exclusively in the UK engineering and manufacturing supply chain.

“The UK Supply Chain Zone has always been one of the busiest areas of the MACH show and given the abilities inherent in the UK SME manufacturing sector, it makes sense to expand the zone into a show-within-a-show,” said Mr Selka.

“The levels of skill and expertise which can be found in UK supply chains are amongst the best in the world. This is why there has never been a better time for buyers looking for precision engineering and sub-contracting solutions to examine the opportunities available in the UK.”

He adds: “With more and more OEMs and Tier 1 companies looking to reshore operations and source component supply from within the UK, then the ability of the various UK supply chains to facilitate this has never been more important. It is why this new exhibition will provide a focused showcase for these in-demand products and services.”

AMRC Tooling Clinic

Also debuting at the show this year will be a special Tooling Clinic run by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). 

The Tooling Clinic will enable visitors to identify the solutions right for them through open discussion of the manufacturing challenges within their tooling applications, cutting strategies, parameter optimisation, virtual machining and other high value manufacturing methodologies and technologies. 

AMRC engineers will draw on their experience and expertise, provide presentations on key discussion areas and signpost visitors to the technology exhibitors who can best address their requirements. 

Discussion topics include: 

  • Process costing and parameter optimisation
  • Virtual machining for CAM iteration and process optimisation
  • Cutting strategy for thin parts
  • Aluminium, titanium and Inconel best practice
  • Down selection of tooling geometry using virtual machining
  • Use of non-traditional substrates
  • Solutions for aerofoil components - blades, blisks and impellers
  • Focused support for SMEs
  • Tool holding technologies
  • Micro machining
  • Machine tool dynamics
  • Other relevant topics

Visitors can make an appointment to the clinic in advance, highlighting their specific challenges or identifying options from the list of discussion topics. Appointments can be booked at www.machexhibition.com/tooling-clinic

Seminar Programme

As with previous exhibitions, MACH 2022 will feature a strong seminar programme, with sessions spanning the whole spectrum of the manufacturing technologies sector, with speakers focused on delivering intuitive and engaging presentations reflecting the themes of the show.

“The global shift towards greater sustainability has gathered significant momentum during the past four years and the drive to Net Zero and the opportunities offered by decarbonisation will be a core theme of MACH 2022,” said Mr Selka. 

“This will be reflected in the speaker programme, with several speakers basing their presentations on this important subject. Hopefully, this will encourage visitors to the show to discover more about the opportunities provided by these new technologies and to implement them into their own operations.”

Speakers will also address other important topics relating to the sector including the development of digital manufacturing technologies, the emerging role of Additive Manufacturing, the importance of Cyber Security and investment strategies.

The programme begins at midday on Monday 4th April, with Katherine Bennett CBE, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, delivering the keynote speech in which she will address two of the key themes of the show - the importance of sustainability in manufacturing and the drive to net zero, alongside the importance of the advanced engineering sector.

Professor Juergen Maier, Co-Chair of Made Smarter, will be picking up on this theme when he delivers his presentation 'Delivering a Responsible and Decarbonising Made Smarter' on Wednesday 6th April.

On the following day, John Pearce, CEO of Made in Britain will be chairing a panel discussion entitled 'Race to Net Zero - Destination or Dream' which focuses on the importance of sustainability in manufacturing. 

Key market intelligence will be provided by Rhys Herbert, Senior Economist at headline sponsor Lloyds Bank, who will deliver 'UK Manufacturing - Better Times Ahead' on Thursday 7th April. In this presentation he will provide an overview of the current state of the UK manufacturing sector and the economic opportunities that lie ahead for manufacturers. Mr Herbert is responsible for analysing and forecasting trends in the UK and other major economies, with a special interest in the manufacturing sector.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) will be the subject of several presentations. On the Wednesday of the show, Kieron Salter, CEO at the Digital Manufacturing Centre, will discuss how to utilise the opportunities posed by AM to develop cost-effective component production. This will be followed by a presentation from Ed Cant, Advanced Research Engineer at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, who will discuss The Future of Tooling and Fixturing in Additive Manufacturing. 

Stuart Watt, Advanced Research Engineer at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, will round off the AM discussions by outlining where those looking to utilise the disruptive technology of 3D Printing within their business should begin.

On Thursday, a familiar face to MACH, David Holmes, Director of Operations and Technology for Air BAE Systems, will be talking about the manufacturing technology requirements BAE needs in order to remain competitive in a global market. Mr Holmes, along with Mr Herbert and Professor Maier were all presenters at the virtual MACH preview event in 2021.

To mark the debut of The Engineering Supply Chain Show, which runs alongside the main MACH exhibition, presentations are being aimed at the network of companies comprising the UK’s manufacturing supply chain.

In line with one of the key themes of the show, Lugano Kapembwa, Co-Founder and CEO of Loopcycle, will use his presentation to help steer the B2B manufacturing sector through the unlocking of the circular economy through digitisation. 

Mr Selka added: “The MTA is constantly communicating with the top tiers of the UK manufacturing community so it can target the issues that directly affect manufacturers. One of the MTA’s aims when drawing up the programme was to select speakers that could engage and inspire their audience, as well as directly address the issues of concern to today’s manufacturers. 

“We believe we have achieved this, and we are urging visitors to MACH 2022 to check out the full program in advance so they can identify the presentations they want to attend and not miss out.”

Spaces for each session will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors should go to the MACH 2022 Map Your Show website to choose the seminars they want to attend and secure their place.

Education & Development Zone

As with previous MACH exhibitions, MACH 2022 will have a strong focus on encouraging more young people into the industry, with special displays and a dedicated exhibition zone showcasing the changes that are taking place within manufacturing and highlighting what makes it one of the most exciting industries to be involved in.

The Education & Development (E&D) Zone, sponsored by Sandvik Coromant, will feature special displays from Airbus Defence & Space, University of Wolverhampton Formula 3 Race Team, Vex Robotics, the Bowers Group Mobile Metrology Centre, F1 in Schools and the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), a nationwide educational charity which offers young people (9-21 years) active learning experiences in STEM-related careers.

  • Airbus Defence & Space will be displaying its ExoMars Rover ground demonstration model, ‘Bruno’. Bruno is the Earth-based testing model of its counterpart the ‘Rosalind Franklin’ Rover, which will search for life on Mars. The ExoMars will be demonstrating how it can navigate the surface of Mars, while staff from Airbus will be showing how they communicate remotely with the rover and will be answering questions from young people keen to learn more about engineering in the Air and Space sectors.
  • The University of Wolverhampton Formula 3 Race Team is an initiative to provide university students with industry experience by working as part of a professional team in a competitive Motorsport environment. They will be displaying a selection of cars from their race team, which includes a Formula 3 Dallara F308 with a Honda Mugen engine run in the F3 Cup, two Plus 4 Clubsports run in the AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge, a Formula Renault 2.0 previously run at the 2015 Monoposto 2000 Championship and their IMechE Formula Student car.
  • VEX Robotics is the world's leading educational robotics company and the only one with significant presence from Early Years, right through every Key Stage and into University, both for classroom use and extra-curricular competitions. Its VEX IQ and VEX V5 are also used in two of the world's largest robotics competitions with 10,000s of teams competing in thousands of events every year. At MACH 2022 it will be running workshops using its VEX V5 Workcell Factory Automation solution. Attendees can learn about this 5-axis robot arm, industrial robots, throughput and end effectors and program the Workcell to pick and place.
  • The Bowers Group Mobile Metrology Centre is a fully equipped metrology lab on wheels, featuring a range of measuring solutions.
  • F1 in Schools is a STEM competition with a difference. Aimed at students aged nine to 19, participants are presented with the chance to work in a close-knit team, where everyone takes on a role to suit their skills. Teams are challenged to create and race their vision of the F1 car of the future, to official Technical Regulations, set out by a rule committee led by legendary F1 Engineer Gary Anderson. The multi-discipline programme encompasses research, planning, managing, designing, marketing, manufacturing and team promotion.
  • The Engineering Development Trust aims to give young people the opportunity to gain knowledge and exposure that will help them make decisions about their future. experiences designed to raise awareness, and inform young people how STEM is relevant, interesting and leads to a rewarding career. Participants undertake hands-on challenges and work towards the nationally recognised Industrial Cadets accreditation, whilst interacting with STEM professionals and educators. 

Metalworking Village

The Metalforming Machinery Makers’ Association (MMMA) is capping another major year of growth by taking over 650m² of space at MACH, allowing more than 23 members to showcase their services and technology. 

Visitors will be able to enjoy live demonstrations of machinery and take part in technical discussions that will help them improve production processes, remove bottlenecks, whilst also increasing orders and profitability. 

The full list of MMMA members exhibiting in the Metalworking Village is: 

  • Aida 
  • Bruderer 
  • Cidan Machine Tools
  • Cotswold Machinery 
  • Decade 
  • Esprit Automation 
  • Formit 
  • Group Rhodes 
  • Helm 
  • Industrial Clutch 
  • Kaller Springs 
  • Oerlikon Balzers 
  • Ortlinghaus 
  • OSA Systems 
  • Presscare 
  • Pressform Machinery 
  • Press Techniques 
  • QualiMach 
  • Raybould Machine Tools 
  • Roemheld UK 
  • Schuler 
  • TMA 
  • Worcester Presses 

Focused Zones

As with previous shows, the exhibition will be laid out in a series of interconnected zones covering virtually every facet of the manufacturing technologies industry. 

These include:

  • 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing
  • Automation for Manufacturing
  • Digital Solutions for Manufacturing
  • Grinding & Adhesives
  • Lasers for Manufacturing
  • Logistics for Manufacturing
  • Measurement & Inspection
  • Surface Finishing & Component Cleaning
  • Welding 

“MACH is such a fantastic event for both exhibitors and visitors. Showcasing live, digital production systems in one space, it is not to be missed. Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of business is discussed, secured and completed at the exhibition, making it the must-attend event in the UK manufacturing calendar,” added Selka.

“We also strive to provide meaningful engagement points for our visitors and exhibitors alike, so with the focus on future technologies, we also have the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre and the Made Smarter programme, both showing what they can offer and how they can assist companies with the transition into the digital future.”

www.machexhibition.com

Attracting 25,000 visitors and more than 600 exhibitors, MACH is the platform to connect UK manufacturing engineers, decision makers, buyers and specifiers with suppliers of new technology, equipment, services and processes.

MACH is owned and organised by The Manufacturing Technologies Association, the voice for the manufacturing technologies industry, committed to driving innovation, creating value and helping UK manufacturing to thrive. 

MACH 2022 is not just a five-day exhibition. It creates a large pipeline of high-quality leads and opportunities that will help generate sales long after the show has ended.

At MACH 2018:

  • 95% of exhibitors generated leads
  • 80% of exhibitors raised their profile
  • 38% of exhibitors launched new product
  • 51% of exhibitors received tenders/ quotation requests

Co-located at MACH 2022 will be subsidiary exhibitions Air Tech, Fluid Power & Systems, Drives & Controls, Plant & Asset Management and the Smart Industry Expo.

www.machexhibition.com

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