Advanced Engineering 2019 took place this week, drawing in large crowds from around the country. As one of the largest shows dedicated to showcasing the best of the UK manufacturing and engineering industries, Advanced Engineering is always a comprehensive event that brings together a wide range of niches. From subcontract engineering through to software, materials and equipment, it’s hard to think of a service that isn’t represented under Advanced Manufacturing’s roof.
Its popularity is clear from the sizeable turnout of visitors; in fact, the first car park was already full by the time of my arrival at 10am. With dedicated show zones that cater for a number of verticals - as well as other areas of interest such as connected manufacturing and composites - Advanced Engineering’s floor plan is as intricate as it is encompassing, leaving nothing out of its design.
2019 saw Qimtek exhibit at Advanced Engineering for the second year running, as a result of the success of 2018. Qimtek identified Advanced Engineering as a great opportunity to promote its Drag, Drop, Source! service to increase the number of projects available to its members; last year’s event proved conducive to achieving this aim, paving the way for a follow-up to take place.
Advanced Engineering towers over many other shows in terms of sheer size, rounding off the year with plenty of fresh networking opportunities for both buyers and suppliers.
The enormity of Advanced Engineering really does have to be seen to be believed. Spanning three halls, it towers over many other shows in terms of sheer size, rounding off the year with plenty of fresh networking opportunities for both buyers and suppliers.
Making my way around the different zones, there were lots of eye-catching stands on show, decked with components, machine tools and even supercars! The atmosphere of Advanced Engineering is extremely energetic and many of the stands were already enjoying an early onset of visitors, whilst the corridors were full of people browsing and navigating the show guide.
I stopped to speak with Steve Thompson, engineering director at Fluid Maintenance Solutions, who specialise in metalworking fluid management. As newcomers to Advanced Engineering, Fluid Maintenance Solutions’ stand was situated in the Enabling Innovation Zone - one of six zones outlined in the floorplan.
‘It’s our first year exhibiting at Advanced Engineering,’ Steve told me. ‘We wanted to exhibit here as the Enabling Innovation Zone acts as a launchpad for the new technology we offer.
‘Not only do we want to use the show to meet new customers, but also to spread the word about what we do and to educate visitors.’
And what about the footfall so far?
‘Considering that it’s the first few hours of the show, it’s been a bit quieter than we’d expect, but it’s starting to get busier.’
Moving onto the Aero Engineering Zone, where my first conference of the day was due to take place, there was plenty of aerospace-related companies to browse and speak to. One of these companies was Martin’s Rubber Company where Izaak Watson was preparing to host his own conference on carbon nanotubes later that afternoon. As technical manager of a company that specialises in high quality, bespoke rubber mouldings, Izaak’s conference was sure to be informative and I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to attend due to a conflicting schedule; nonetheless, I caught up with him about his experiences at the show so far.
Advanced Engineering is held in very high regard amongst those who have returned to the show for multiple years running.
‘We’ve exhibited at Advanced Engineering for the past three years,’ Izaak said. ‘It’s a really good show to exhibit at as we get to meet a lot of our existing customers, as well as speaking to potential new ones.’
Izaak was also impressed with the volume of visitors. ‘We’ve had a lot of people coming past the stand so far and a number of visitors stopping by. I’m also hoping to have a lot of interesting conversations with people attending the conference this afternoon.’
It seems that Advanced Engineering is held in very high regard amongst those who have returned to the show, as was Qimtek’s experience also. Another company adding a second year to their roster was LabFacility, who are temperature and process technology specialists. Dropping by their stand, I had a chat with David Holcombe, who was happy to talk me through the vast array of connectors they were showcasing.
‘A lot of our sensors are used as component parts and we find that we fit in with a lot of the plastics and moulding seen at Advanced Engineering,’ David told me. ‘This year, the footfall has been very good - we’ve had six or seven good leads within a couple of hours.’
‘This show does tend to be busier than many others, so we’re optimistic that this year will be good for us once again.’
Indeed, in the five hours I spent at Advanced Engineering 2019, I’m still not sure that I managed to cover the entire floor, which serves as a testament to just how much it has to offer. Nonetheless, almost everyone I spoke to was having a positive experience at the show, from exhibitors through to visitors alike.
While most shows offer visitors access to seminars and conferences, Advanced Engineering’s programme is next to none when it comes to the range of topics covered. Each zone features its own seminar stage, meaning that there is a much wider scope for multiple subjects to be addressed - in fact, the seminar programme for both days covers six A4 pages within the show guide.
Here are my seminar highlights from day one:
Aerospace Structures & Manufacturing a Vision of the Future - Alex Hickson - Head of Technology, Structures, Manufacturing & Materials at ATI:
Alex Hickson’s seminar on the future of the aerospace industry proved popular amongst attendees - and rightly so. The aerospace industry, like many others, is undergoing a revolution that leans towards sustainability, meaning that changes need to be made to ensure that the very nature of air travel is friendlier to the planet, as well as increasing the scope for components to be recycled. As the head of technology, structures, manufacturing and materials at ATI, Alex Hickson understands the direction in which the aerospace industry is heading, as well as the opportunities available to suppliers serving this industry. He walked his audience through the sector’s aim of achieving electric air travel by 2035, whilst also highlighting the funding opportunities available within upcoming and ongoing industry projects.
The Future of the UK Composites Industry - Ken Smart - Executive Director of Business Strategy at McLaren Automotive Ltd / Chair of Composites Leadership Forum:
Ken Smart’s conference concerning the future of the UK composites industry was a fascinating session which highlighted the rapid growth of the sector. Projections put the composites industry in a place of exponential expansion, with many sectors increasing their use of composites due to their strength, reduced weight and easiness to form. Ken informed us that this has resulted in demand outweighing supply; subsequently, a number of changes - along with significant investment in the composites workforce - need to take place to ensure that the industry can keep up with the accelerated growth.
Realising the Fourth Industrial Revolution: How Digitalisation Can Change Your Business - Simon Keogh - UK Head of Factory Automation - Siemens Digital Industries:
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has been on the lips of the manufacturing industry for quite some time, with automation and digitalisation both forming key components of this new era. Simon Keogh’s talk on digitalisation delivered some effective ways in which businesses can embrace the future of manufacturing, as well as offering up a range of benefits to those who do. He explained how creating a ‘digital twin’ of a component during the design phase, as well as the use of virtual working environments, can help companies to tackle ‘what-if?’ scenarios head on before implementation takes place. As a result, installation costs and startup times are reduced, whilst the throughput of a manufacturing facility is vastly improved.
Advanced Engineering is one of the most impressive shows that the manufacturing industry has to offer and it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the market for any number of engineering-related services. 2020’s show is bound to be just as interesting and all-encompassing as its counterparts, with visitors benefitting from a huge variety of exhibitors and conferences alike.
Keep an eye out for Advanced Engineering’s 2020 dates within our upcoming exhibition guide! In the meantime, please visit www.easyfairs.com for more information.