As one of the UK's largest shows dedicated to manufacturing and engineering, Advanced Engineering is always an extremely popular choice amongst exhibitors and visitors alike. After 2020's event was unfortunately - but not unsurprisingly - cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry welcomed its return this week in large numbers, with visitors eager to connect with new suppliers and sample the latest industry innovations.
From subcontract engineering through to equipment, materials and software, Advanced Engineering really does cater for the length and breadth of the industry. In order to provide visitors with an easy-to-navigate floorplan in spite of the show's size, Advanced Engineering follows a unique approach by organising exhibitors into dedicated zones, each catering for a different vertical or service.
With the exception of 2020, this was Qimtek's third consecutive year exhibiting at Advanced Engineering. Our Drag, Drop, Source! service is designed for busy buyers who are actively looking for new suppliers, meaning that Advanced Engineering delivers a worthy target audience for us to be able to promote both our free sourcing tools and our supplier membership services.
Having taken place at the NEC in Birmingham from 3rd-4th November, Advanced Engineering 2021 was a truly worthwhile event for exhibitors and visitors. Read on to find out more:
Advanced Engineering 2021 - Show Overview:
2021's show was comparable to previous events in terms of sheer magnitude.
As Advanced Engineering's first offering this side of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wondered whether it would be a smaller-scale event than seen in previous years. However, I realised as I arrived at Hall 3 of the NEC that this suspicion was unfounded - 2021's show was comparable to previous events in terms of sheer magnitude. Thanks to its co-location with Lab Innovations, the entire show spanned three halls, giving visitors access to an unrivalled level of services and leading technology.
The popularity of Advanced Engineering has certainly not faltered in the past couple of years; in fact, the show seemed busier than ever - the various corridors teeming with visitors exploring the different stands on offer. The energy of the show was extremely high from the moment I arrived, which proved to be a good indicator of the day ahead. Apart from a small dip at lunchtime, when lots of visitors retreated to the many lounges and cafes scattered throughout the show for a bit of respite, the show received an extremely consistent footfall on its first day, giving exhibitors the very best opportunity to showcase their services.
Over at the Qimtek stand, it was all hands on deck to assist visitors with their enquiries. Copies of our Interactive Manufacturing Directory were flying off of the shelves, which is great news for our listed members - in addition, the surge of interest in our Drag, Drop, Source! service should lead to plenty of exciting new manufacturing partnership opportunities within our network. With the team busy and so much waiting for me to explore, I decided not to stay too long and instead set about navigating the endless maze of corridors and stands before me.
Over at the Qimtek stand, it was all hands on deck to assist visitors with their enquiries.
I stopped to chat with one of Qimtek's newest members, Con Mech Group Ltd, whose stand was positioned very close to our own. Con Mech Group, as well as subsidiary Henry Williams, have a solid presence within the rail and highway sectors and provide a number of key services including mechanical testing, forging, fabrication and control systems.
Sales & commercial director Mike Wilson explained that they had decided to exhibit at Advanced Engineering for two key reasons. "Con Mech and Henry Williams's core business is supplying the rail and highway sectors, but we're keen to bring that expertise into other industries as well," he told me. "Advanced Engineering provides us with a perfect opportunity to get in front of other sectors and show them what we can offer.
"It also gives us the chance to see the innovation amongst other companies - we're always keen to see how we can improve our processes, so Advanced Engineering allows us to address both requirements at the same time."
This was Con Mech Group's first time exhibiting at Advanced Engineering and as such, they weren't too sure what to expect in terms of visitor numbers. However, this had surpassed their expectations.
"The footfall so far has been very impressive," Mike said. "Given that we're still in the pandemic, we thought that the visitor numbers would have reflected that, but it seems to be quite strong so far."
Although newcomers to Advanced Engineering, Con Mech Group are no stranger to exhibiting. "Our focus usually tends to be on rail and highway shows, as well as Offshore Europe in Aberdeen - we're actually exhibiting at Offshore Wind NorthEast in Sunderland next month from 1st-2nd December and will be exhibiting at Railtex in London next year, in May 2022."
Click here to visit Henry Williams' website
Advanced Engineering is divided into 'zones', grouping together exhibitors whose business is centred on a particular vertical market or service.
Continuing on my way, it was great to see so many conversations taking place and feeling the 'buzz' of the show's atmosphere. So is the size of Advanced Engineering that I have to admit that I got a little lost, despite the very detailed floor map included within the show guide. As previously mentioned, Advanced Engineering is divided into 'zones', grouping together exhibitors whose business is centred on a particular vertical market or service. With zones including aero engineering, space and satellite, compositives, connected manufacturing, automotive and performance metals, there was certainly an abundance of interesting displays on offer, from components through to cars and even the ExoMars Rover prototype!
Within the automotive zone, I got talking to Dave Roche from Coventry-based Penso. Their enormous stand was certainly an eye-catching affair and as a provider of turnkey services to the transportation industry, was certainly well-placed to receive optimal traffic from visitors within their target market.
"Advanced Engineering has been a very successful show for us in the past, so we decided to return again this year," Dave informed me. "We normally do two shows a year - Advanced Engineering as our UK event, as well as the JEC Show in Paris, which focuses on composite materials.
"Composites and carbon fibre are a huge part of what we do, but we come to Advanced Engineering to promote the consultancy side of our business. We find it's a great place to get in front of UK OEMs and tier one suppliers, who come to us for design engineering and low-volume manufacturing."
"The footfall has been incredible - the volume of visitors has actually been a bit of a shock."
And what about the footfall on the first day?
"It's been incredible," Dave said. "We weren't really sure what we were going to get because of the pandemic, but the volume of visitors has actually been a bit of a shock. We were worried beforehand that we'd overstaffed our stand but that certainly hasn't been the case!
"It's not just the number of visitors that's standing out to me at the moment - it's also the quality of the conversations we're having. A lot of the conversations so far have been very meaningful and there's been a very strong interest."
Dave also thought that this year's event was perhaps busier than previous years, which bodes well for the industry as it returns to normality. "I don't know whether it's because everyone's allowed out, or just very excited to come here again, but we definitely think that the footfall this year is higher than previous shows!"
Click here to visit Penso's website
I would actually be very much inclined to agree with Dave's viewpoint on the activity levels at Advanced Engineering 2021. The show seemed absolutely packed at times and it was extremely refreshing to see so much activity after such a difficult period for the industry. It's certainly a great precursor for the abundance of industry events scheduled to resume in 2022 and will no doubt bring about plenty of lucrative and mutually-beneficial partnerships for both the show's exhibitors and visitors.
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 7 A4 pages within the show guide.
Here are my seminar highlights from day one:
FlyZero: The UK's Revolution in Zero-Carbon Aviation - Dave Debney, Chief Engineer, Whole Airframe Integration, ATI:
FlyZero is a research project funded by the UK government, which is aiming to reach zero-carbon aviation by the end of the decade.
The issue of sustainability has never been more poignant than the present day and as the aviation industry contributes approximately 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is currently tackling the issue head-on by developing new and more environmentally-friendly strategies. FlyZero is a research project funded by the UK government, which is aiming to reach zero-carbon aviation by the end of the decade. With a team of 100 people, it focuses on the vision of sustainable flight and identifies questions and issues that need to be addressed by the industry at large. Dave Debney's fascinating seminar walked the audience through the key features of the FlyZero project and explained the different options available to the aviation industry as it strives for zero emissions. At this time, Dave explained, liquid hydrogen is the only feasible option within the specified timescales; however, this comes with its own set of issues that need addressing, such as the increased volume of liquid hydrogen in comparison to kerosene, as well as regulations surrounding refuelling exclusion zones. Nonetheless, this is just part and parcel of FlyZero's work in establishing the great unknowns of UK aviation's sustainability strategy - indeed, their project outputs will be invaluable to the aerospace sector as it enters a newer, greener chapter.
Non-Oilen: Biodegradable Filament For 3D Printing - Josef Dolocek, CEO, Fillamentum:
The use of plastics is another key factor within the issue of sustainability.
The use of plastics is another key factor within the issue of sustainability, and Fillamentum - the number one company in the production of high-tech 3D printing filaments worldwide - have made huge strides in ensuring that additive manufacturing does not further contribute towards the plastics dilemma. With a range of bioplastics in their portfolio, Fillamentum are an award-winning company who are trying to be as green as they possibly can. Based in the Czech Republic, their cutting-edge Non-Oilen filament is 100% biodegradable, recyclable without the loss of functional properties and 100% made of polymers from renewable resources. What's more, the use of Non-Oilen means that there are no microplastics polluting the environment and allows companies to recycle and reuse the filament. This short, but incredibly interesting seminar delivered by Fillamentum's CEO Josef Dolocek cast new light on the developments and sustainability of additive manufacturing as an ever-growing technology.
Airbus Overview & Aircraft of Tomorrow - Andrew Moran, Head of Supplier Development Support UK, Airbus UK:
This seminar provided unrivalled insight into the cruciality of a watertight supply chain for such a prestigious OEM.
As one of the world's leading aerospace and aviation OEMs, Airbus is without a doubt one of the most prestigious companies for suppliers within the sector to partner with. As head of supplier development support for Airbus UK, Andrew Moran shed plenty of light on the expectations that are placed upon their suppliers - both in terms of quality and transparency, as well as sustainability. This key area of focus is such as a drive for the aviation industry as it looks to progress to the use of liquid hydrogen fuels. Airbus, as one of the top aerospace manufacturers, is aiming to lead decarbonisation and as such, it is crucial that their suppliers are able to support this development, as well as adopting sustainable practices themselves. This seminar provided unrivalled insight into the cruciality of a watertight supply chain for such an OEM and would have no doubt been of exceptional interest to suppliers who operate within the aerospace and aviation sphere.
Advanced Engineering 2022 - What Do I Need To Know?
Companies within the engineering and manufacturing industries should definitely consider attending Advanced Engineering 2022.
The size of Advanced Engineering means that it has a lot of pulling power amongst purchasing decision makers within key vertical industries. Therefore, companies within the engineering and manufacturing industries should definitely consider Advanced Engineering 2022 as a key opportunity to network and establish meaningful business connections. Suppliers will find it a great event to grow their brand awareness and expand their business outreach, whilst purchasers are almost guaranteed to find what they are looking for amongst the plethora of companies and services that Advanced Engineering plays host to.
In addition, the range of conferences on offer delve into some of the most current and core issues affecting both the industry at large, as well as the vertical markets that engineering and manufacturing serve. As Advanced Engineering is free to attend, you'd be hard-pressed to find access to such a level of expertise anywhere else for absolutely no cost. Exhibitors too will benefit from these seminars, which provide exclusive insight into upcoming developments as well as cutting-edge technology.
Advanced Engineering is a highly worthwhile event which is guaranteed to impress all types of visitors, so be sure to mark 2nd-3rd November 2022 in your calendar to avoid disappointment!
Advanced Engineering 2022 will take place from 2nd-3rd November 2022 at the NEC in Birmingham. For more information, please visit www.advancedengineeringuk.com.