Plant & Works Engineering
Manufacturing exhibitions display innovation and confidence
Published:  17 May, 2022

The manufacturing and engineering sectors made a strong display of its innovation and confidence at the recent co-located events; Drives & Control, Smart Industry Expo, Plant and Asset Management, Fluid Power & Systems, and Air-Tech Exhibitions – held at Birmingham’s NEC from 5 to 7 April. PWE reports.

Drives & Controls Exhibition 2022 once again brought together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multitasking culture of today’s design engineer, covering critical areas such as energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, robotics, and automation plus much more, all under one roof. With the advent of the smart factory, Drives & Controls Exhibition 2022 was an essential source of technological and engineering information and was fully supported by GAMBICA and EPTDA.

Returning exhibitors included Schneider Electric, Beckhoff, Rittal, Weidmuller, Mitsubishi Electric, Radwell, Bosch Rexroth, Elmo Motion Control, Binder, Carlo Gavazzi, Eaton Electric, Finder, Hepco, HMS Industrial, Leuze Electronic, Control Techniques/ Nidec Industrial Automation, Omron, Pilz Automation Technology, Renold. Other exhibitors included: EAO, EMAS Electric UK, M Buttkereit Ltd, WEG (UK) Ltd, IDEM Safety, Applied Integration UK Ltd, and Trio Motion Technology, whose President, Tom Alexander, commented: “We’re very happy to return to Drives & Controls Exhibition because it’s an important event to present our growing automation control package to UK machine builders.” Rachael Duckworth, Marketing Manager at Beckhoff Automation, added that it had been a “really great show with really good quality visitors onto the stand”.

To complement Drives & Controls Exhibition the now firmly established Smart Industry Expo, gave visitors the ideal opportunity to learn about digitalisation and how to prepare and implement a strategy in this smart era as well as being able to discuss a wide range of issues from components to Predictive Maintenance 4.0, Logistics 4.0, and smart grid technologies amongst others. Other areas covered included: components for IT-based automation solutions that will bring fundamental change to all infactory processes, IT security, as well as smart technologies that manage and coordinate power, gas and heat networks so that capacity can be balanced and optimally deployed across the entire energy system – integrated energy. Schneider Electric’s Distribution Product Manager, David Barrett-Hague, said Smart Industry Expo had been a good show with lots of interesting people visiting its stand for help about digital transformation.

Manufacturing Technology Centre

The 100m2 Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) pavilion was joined by its members to encourage new innovation, and its presence at Smart Industry Expo and Drives & Controls highlighted the importance that the MTC attributes to these key sectors. Professor Ken Young, MTC Technology Director, commented on the MTC’s presence by stating that the reason why the organisation was at the show was to inspire UK Manufacturing to help improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Alongside Drives & Controls Exhibition and Smart Industry Expo, the co-location also saw the return of Plant & Asset Management Exhibition 2022 – the UK’s premier event for plant, asset, maintenance and works management engineers and directors.Exhibitors currently included: SPM Instrument UK, Fixturlaser, Fluke, EA Technology, Keytracker, Pragmatic Maintenance & Reliability, Lee Spring, Maintmaster, Pruftechnik, SEAM Group, Senseye, Sensata, T Cards Direct, Ultimo, plus many more. Will Batchellor, Ultimo Software Solution’s Account, Manager, said it had been a good event, and was good to be back exhibiting and seeing people again.

Running alongside Plant & Asset Management 2022, Drives & Controls Exhibition and Smart Industry Expo, was also Air-Tech 2022, which highlighted current key themes related to the very latest in air compressor and related technology from companies from around the globe. The event was supported by the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), and is the UK’s only dedicated
event for the compressed air and generators market.

Visitors to Air-Tech were able to see a wide range of equipment and solutions, including:

  • Accumulators, actuators, air delivery systems and air motors.
  • Compressors, cooler tools and cylinders.
  • Vacuum systems and generators.
  • Displays & meters.
  • Filters, fittings, heat exchangers and hoses.
  • Instruments, lubricators, manifolds and mobile compressors.
  • Pumps, regulators, sensors, software and valves

In addition, Fluid Power & Systems 2022, also part of the co-location, focused on a comprehensive range of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, together with products that facilitate better electro-mechanic system design and application for improved process automation, control, monitoring and analytics.

Fully supported by the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), Fluid Power & Systems comprised the largest gathering of world-class companies displaying and demonstrating the latest in mechanical and electro-mechanical equipment.

Paul Cooke, Interim CEO of the British Fluid Power Association, commented that “The British Fluid Power Association is proud to be part of this important event for Fluid Power and Systems.”

Fluid Power & Systems offered a convenient one-stop shop event for all your fluid power and system requirements. Technology on show included:

Hydraulics: industrial and mobile, including pumps and power packs, cylinders, valves, motors, heat exchangers, and accumulators. Filters and sealing technologies.
Pneumatics: valve and valve islands, linear and rotary actuators, air motors, FRLs and other treatment technologies.
Systems: Electro-hydraulic & pneumatic systems design; CAN bus technology; process automation; monitoring & control; modelling & simulation.
Instrumentation: Sensors, switches and controls as applied to fluid power: Temperature, flow, pressure, liquid level, position.

Martin Costin, Drives & Networks Specialist at SMC, said his company’s wireless remote I/O kit had been a particular draw for visitors, and he was really pleased with how the show had gone over the three days

Talking Industry Live & The Knowledge Hub

Talking Industry Live, as a CPD member, included accredited panel discussions that fully reflected the ongoing global transformation to the smart manufacturing era and provided fascinating panel discussions and insight into the potential plants of the future, covering all aspects of the digital transformation across the manufacturing spectrum, as well as looking at how digitalisation has helped during the Coronavirus pandemic and its importance in any future outbreak. Leading experts addressed the vast array of information around 4IR, discussing the practicalities, technologies and issues surrounding transition and implementation of digitalisation in UK manufacturing.

In addition, as part of the Manufacturing Technology Centre’s (MTC) significant presence at the co-location of events, the organisation led the discussion on the changing manufacturing landscape, including the challenges and opportunities that will help provide practical steps, which manufacturers can take on the journey to embrace digitalisation in the post COVID-19 era. It also participated in a debate on the topic of Industrial Networks, IIOT, 5G and Communications, as well a panel discussion with the MTC’s Chief Automation Officer, Mike Wilson who led the discussion on Robotics and Advanced Automation. In addition, Charlotte Swain, Deputy Director for Delivery at the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, participated in the Bridging the Engineering Skills Gap for Factories of the Future panel discussion alongside Dr Susan Scurlock, Founder of Primary Engineers, and Wg Cdr Russ Barnes, Youth and STEM for the Royal Air Force.

Other Talking Industry Live panel discussions focused on The Future of Additive Manufacturing – speakers included: Dr Alberto Bordin, ASTM International, Head of Additive Manufacturing Programmes – Europe, Prof Chris Tuck - Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange (Also Director of Added Scientific Ltd), University of Nottingham, and Simon Jones, Chief Technology Officer, Domin Fluid Power; Fluid Power and Factories of the Future, chaired by Paul Cooke, the Interim CEO at The British Fluid Power Association; The Hidden Menace: Strategies to avoid Cybercrime; Maintenance 4.0: The Future of Asset Management including Dean Whittle, Senior Reliability Engineer, RMS Reliability, Matt Grogan, Technical Sales Engineer, SPM Instrument UK, Daniel PhillipsFern, IXON UK & Ireland Country Manager and chaired by Prof John Ahmet Erkoyuncu, Cranfield University; Adapting to a Smart Era featuring Phil Lewis, Senior Vice President, Solution Consulting International (EMEA & APJ), infor, Nikesh Mistry, sector head – Industrial Automation, GAMBICA and Made Smarter 

While The Knowledge Hub had a strong emphasis on technology that brought 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.

Nikesh Mistry, sector head – Industrial Automation, GAMBICA, explored 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.

Other seminars and case studies included presentations from infor’s Andrew Kinder SVP, Industry & Solution Strategy Sales, and David Threlfall, CIO of Britishvolt who discussed bringing intelligence to manufacturing from SMB to Gigaplants, plus many others including: The MTC, CSA Catapult, Made Smarter, UKRI, BPMA, BFPA, BCAS, Pilz, Sensata, SEAM Group, Copia Automation, Senseye, Primary Engineer.

Over the course of the three-day co-located events, both Talking Industry Live and The Knowledge Hub seminar programmes, offered visitors the opportunity to learn how they can seize the opportunities that exist and promote the benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies as well as a range of technical and practical case studies and seminars covering the wide range of topics areas of the co-location of events.

The variety and scope of both the Talking Industry Live and Knowledge Hub programmes were extremely well received, adding real value, and gave visitors a genuine opportunity to keep abreast of the latest industry developments.

Organiser of the co-location of event, DFA Media managing director, Ryan Fuller, concluded: “We were delighted both with so many aspects of this year’s event after an absence of four years because of the Covid-19 pandemic; including the extremely positive response received from many of the visitors, exhibitors and organisations, as well as the well-organised layout, and the general visual appeal throughout. The positive sentiment is a strong reflection of the growing economic optimism within the UK. We would like to extend our thanks to the exhibitors, seminar speakers, and visitors for turning this year’s event into a success. We are now already gearing-up for the 2024 shows.”

The next co-location of events takes place between 16-18 April 2024.