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MACH 2021 will provide vital stimulus to manufacturing industry

12 June 2020

In my last column in this magazine I wrote about how we had had to postpone MACH 2020 until January next year due to the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the need to go into lockdown.

A lot has happened in the intervening period, with the situation seemingly shifting on an almost daily basis. Nevertheless, factories involved in essential work were able to keep going by adapting very quickly to the required safety protocols and the dedicated work conducted by the UK manufacturing technologies sector during the pandemic has shone a beacon on the innovative ability of the industry to bring about fundamental change and preserve life.

Now, as industry is returning to work after lockdown and factories resume production, we should reflect on what has been achieved.

In an amazing demonstration, the UK Ventilator Challenge showed what can be achieved when manufacturers work together at a time of national crisis and use innovative technologies to drastically improve life for everyone. Major players in the manufacturing technology industry – including many MTA members – played a vital role in the initiative and their collaborative efforts helped to drastically ramp up production of ventilators just when they were needed most.

Such were their efforts, that orders were placed for 15,000 machines, with many collaborators going above and beyond to ensure the lifesaving equipment could be pressed into service straight away.

The efforts of other manufacturers, both OEMs and those further down the supply chain, in modifying their production methods to produce much-needed PPE equipment for our hospitals should also not be overlooked.

It is through these challenges that some of the greatest innovations happen and move technology and humanity forward, and here at the Manufacturing Technologies Association, we believe this work should be recognised and applauded, and fortunately we have just the vehicle to achieve this.

MACH 2021, as the national manufacturing exhibition, was already something to look forward to but when the doors open at the NEC on 25th January next year, it will offer something even more special. It was always going to be the showcase for not just the machine tool sector but all of the manufacturing technologies, including digital solutions, power by the hour and new cost efficiency solutions that will dramatically improve production processes and help to shape the industry over the next decade. However, it will take on added significance as the platform upon which to celebrate the hard work and dedication for all those involved in the mammoth relief effort.

I am pleased to say the exhibition is really starting to take shape and we have seen inquiries for exhibition space increase in the last few weeks, demonstrating how businesses are keen to look to the future and kickstart the manufacturing economy.

Exhibitions are still the best place to view new technology, meet the people producing it and forge long lasting business partnerships, and MACH 2021 will offer all this and more.

We are constantly in discussions with our partners at the NEC in Birmingham, so exhibitors and visitors alike can be assured that MACH 2021 will adhere to the highest safety and public health standards. As a diligent trade association, the safety of our visitors and exhibitors is paramount.

MACH 2021 will provide the vital impetus UK manufacturers and engineers will need so that they can go into next year full of confidence.

The exhibition will not just be about all the amazing technology and innovations on show. We also have a packed seminar programme planned and I am pleased to report many of the top names that were to participate in the rescheduled MACH 2020, have already signed up to speak next January. The programme includes updates on major infrastructure and modernising initiatives set to get underway in the UK. Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 will be providing an update on the high-speed rail project, while Juergen Maier will be speaking on Delivering a Responsible and Decarbonising Made Smarter. Graham Malley, Principal Director of Digital Manufacturing for Accenture, will provide an update on Made Smarter as a whole and David Holmes, Manager at BAE Systems will talk about what manufacturing technology strategies his company will be implementing to remain competitive in a global market.

There is still plenty more to come, and rest assured we will be working hard to ensure MACH 2021 delivers the best possible stimulus to the manufacturing technologies industry as we move into this vital new phase in our history.

James Selka, DL, CEO MTA