Smart Machines & Factories
A platform for knowledge at Smart Industry Expo
Published:  10 February, 2020

The biennial co-located events; Smart Industry Expo, Drives & Controls, Fluid Power & Systems, Plant & Asset Management, and Air-Tech Exhibitions – are once again set to return to Birmingham’s NEC between the 25th -27th January 20121, alongside MACH 2021 Located at the heart of the co-location are The Digitalisation and Engineering Forums.

At a time when engineers are under increasing pressure, and time out of the office for attending exhibitions needs to be balanced against heavy workloads, one growing justification is attending a well-balanced and focused seminar programme where gaining further industry knowledge is at the core.

Located at the heart of the 2021 co-location are The Digitalisation and Engineering Forums. With a strong emphasis on technology, The Engineering Forum will bring together all aspects of plant and asset management, hydraulics, pneumatics, robotics and automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, legislation, system strategies and technological developments. Featuring representatives from across industry including government agencies, research bodies, trade associations, and manufacturers.

Chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) Mike Wilson, will be discussing how the growth of robotics will generate better ROI and productivity. He will also explain the ongoing practical challenges, continued efforts around education, and investment in robotic technology as a means to help UK manufacturing compete with other major economies.

While Dr. John Ahmet Erkoyuncu, from the Cranfield University will take a look at the importance of condition monitoring as part of a digitalisation Strategy.

In addition, Nikesh Mistry, sector head – Industrial Automation, GAMBICA, will be exploring why demand for automation technology is set to grow throughout the coming year, and how to retain a competitive advantage in the face of these new demands as well as overall automation trends in the UK.

Panel discussions will also be a major feature of the Engineering Forum with issues such as Predictions for manufacturing: Industrial trends. In light of the changing relationship between the UK and the EU, this panel discussion will offer a lively debate around the direction UK Manufacturing is heading over the next twelve months, as well as the products and initiatives hailed as ways to help transform manufacturing businesses.

The Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) will also be discussing practical ways its members can help inspect, maintain, and manage the machinery and equipment which keeps manufacturers functioning. For example, Martin Barnes, technical engineer at Ambipar Response and SOE member, will be looking at fixed asset management and maintenance of fixed plant items, the conventions, legislation and statutory duties associated with production plant and machinery. As part of this seminar, Martin Barnes, will discuss the management system his company uses to track physical and maintain physical assets across three different UK sites and the upset incorrect data causes during audits etc.

Other seminars will include seminars and case studies from the CSA Catapult, British Fluid Power Association, BCAS, Pilz, Primary Engineer, plus many others, which will be updated on the show websites.

The Digitalisation Forum

While The Digitalisation Forum, sponsored by Pilz, will fully reflect the ongoing global transformation to the smart manufacturing era and provide a fascinating insight into the potential plants of the future, covering all aspect of the digital transformation across the manufacturing spectrum. Leading expert will address the vast array of information around 4IR, discussing the practicalities, technologies and issues surrounding transition and implementation of digitalisation in UK manufacturing. Over the course of the three-day seminar programme, visitors will have the opportunity to learn how they can seize the opportunities that exist and promote the benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies through a range of practical case studies, panel discussion and seminars.

Steve Brambley will be presenting papers on getting started on your smart manufacturing journey by discussing IT, cyber security, cloud computing and Industrial Automation and what it all means for Smart Manufacturing.

While Allen Camm, relationship manager, at Made Smarter, will explore the barriers and challenges North West Manufacturers have experienced around bringing technology into their businesses. Key representatives from the North West Pilot will share steps that manufacturers can take to help them start their digital journey and examples of businesses who have taken their first steps to successfully implement technology.

Other key issues will also be highlighted. Andrew Hodgson, Strategic Lead - Digitalisation at Siemens, and Vice President of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), for example will pose the questions, what Digital Twins really mean for the manufacturer, and how can it benefit the design, the production and the service either as a complete unbroken value chain or as a supplying SME in B2C and B2B? Hodgson will help demystify the term by breaking it down into meaningful concepts as well as giving examples of what it can do for you as the drive towards digitalisation gains momentum.

As part of the MTC’s significant presence at the co-location of events in 2020, The Manufacturing organisation will highlight the changing manufacturing landscape - challenges and opportunities as well as case studies that will help provide practical steps, which manufacturers can take on the journey to embrace digitalisation. The MTC is playing a key role in maturing the application of digital technologies for use in manufacturing and is well placed to provide insight into this vitally important area.

BCAS, executive director, Vanda Jones will also look at how Compressed air systems have a significant impact on the energy consumption and efficiency of manufacturing systems, and will discuss the energy efficiency gains in compressed air systems.

In addition David Collier from Pilz Automation Technology, will be discussing the issues surrounding maintaining safe production in a Smart Factory, and practical solutions to keep production safe in an ever-changing environment.

While Andy Sellars, strategic development director, at CSA Catapult, will present a seminar on emerging technologies to support industrial digitalisation.

The variety and scope of both Forum programmes for 2021 is extremely exciting, adding real value. The combination of leading manufacturing events, with a highly engaging seminar programme, will give visitors a genuine opportunity to keep abreast of the latest industry developments.

These are just some of the confirmed highlights within the Digitalisation and Engineering Forums. For further updates and to view the full programme please visit the official show websites: