Team 05

Total Engineering and Manufacturing is a UK show held between the 4 and the 6 October.

When the UK manufacturing and engineering community gathers at the NEC for the annual three-day TEAM event — Total Engineering and Manufacturing — from 4–6 October, the main topic of conversation is likely to be the pressure that the sector is under.

Much like the manufacturing sector that it supports, TEAM has contracted slightly from the six shows that made up the event in 2004. Gone are Fastenex and CIM (Computers in Manufacturing), but the four co-located shows that remain — Tooling, Inspex, TCT (Time Compression Technologies) and DES (Design Engineering Show) — will host exhibitors that have the solutions to increased productivity and profitability.

At Tooling 2005, a special new feature area is the productivity advice centre, sponsored by Sandvik Coromant, where visitors can meet with industry specialists and receive free one-to-one consultancy on tooling, machining and production challenges.

Also available is a free education programme covering issues such as difficult-to-cut machining solutions; improved high-speed steel cutting tools; deep grinding; tool management systems; parting and grooving; small part machining; and multi-task machining.

Skills and innovation

At DES the spotlight will be on the technologies aimed at allowing the UK manufacturing sector to compete globally against low-cost economies. In today’s international economy, much of UK manufacturing can’t compete purely on price. But we more than hold our own in high-quality, highly-specialised and complex engineering where skill, innovationand design are crucial.

The case for the part that design can play is highlighted by the show’s Design in BritainSurvey. It shows that nearly three quarters of rapidly growing companies say design is important in maintaining their competitive edge. Nearly as many claim that the use of design has made them more competitive over the last three years, while nine out of 10 say design is integral or significant to their operations.

Not surprisingly, by contrast, the UK’s lowest performing, least innovative manufacturers are the ones that claim design has very little role to play in their business.

That is why UK management is so reliant on engineering design to stay in the game, and why DES 2005 is expanding to reflect that need.

Another vital tool for UK companies in offering a value-added proposition to customers is quality — and on show at Inspex are the best solutions on offer from the quality, inspection and measurement industries.

Finest degree

Today, companies that manufacture in the UK are holding their own in world markets by competing in sectors where they can still demonstrate a real advantage — with highly-innovative, highly-specialised products often engineered to the finest degree.

Quality is the weapon that’s enabling UK manufacturing to fight back. Quality processes, quality production methods and quality products.

And measurement, test and inspection equipment is what ensures that quality can be delivered. It is not just the key to maintaining the reputation of existing products; it’s vital to the creation of new products that build future growth.

This means that manufacturers are now looking to invest, with new measurement, test and inspection equipment near the top of their list of priorities.

On stand 426 in Hall 4, Mitutoyo is showcasing its 9166 CMM (co-ordinate measuring machine) that features the Revo measuring head and probe system from Renishaw. This allows highly accurate, ultra-high speed five-axis scanning measurement, and is the first in a family of measuring head and probe systems.

TCT 2005 is an event that is geared towards every company that has adapted to the realities of the global economy and moved away from price competition to a competitive advantage based around quality, technology innovation and speed to market.

It is clear that UK manufacturing needs to save time and money. It needs to get the right products to market as quickly as possible, and time-compression technologies enable that to happen — both in the development and production phases.

Community atmosphere

When TCT — which last year attracted 1,645 visitors — launched nine years ago, it offered a cosy community atmosphere for the select few in the know. It still offers the same community atmosphere — the only difference is that many more people are in the know.

Suddenly everyone’s interested. And they should be. No area of design is more exciting, right now, with constant developments — and rapid jumps — in knowledge.

Software is playing an ever more important role in reducing time to market, and Majenta Solutions will be displaying the FreeForm Concept solution version 2.1 on stand 100.

This is a touch-enabled system providing designers with a quick and easy way to develop realistic 3D conceptual designs.

It allows them to rough out models, decorate them with paint and images, and render them to test out different design directions before committing to detailed models or physical prototypes.

As part of the FreeForm product family, the system lets designers hand off designs in 3D instead of 2D to FreeForm Modeling Plus system users — reducing the amount of time spent interpreting concepts and re-working models. This gives modellers a head start on detailed 3D modelling and preparation ofdesigns for engineering and manufacturing.

TEAM 2005 may be smaller, but it still serves the needs of UK manufacturing. So make a date in your dairy.