Easter rebirth for UK manufacturing at MACH

News Editor

2008 was a pretty lousy year. Many of you lost your jobs and those that remained in work saw a pay freeze turn into a salary-related ice age that is only just showing signs of thawing.

In the past four years many of us have used our flatlining remuneration to battle rising inflation with two-for-one deals at the local supermarket.

In the same spirit, Briefing brings you two weeks’ worth of notable events, given the impending Easter Bank Holiday weekend that sees normal newsletter service suspended on Monday April 9.

We start with a plug for The Engineer’s involvement in this year’s MACH 2012 manufacturing exhibition.

Kicking off on April 16 , the MTA-organised event is a showcase for the latest developments in UK manufacturing and The Engineer’s editorial team will be there to bring you regular updates via MACH Daily.

Lyndon White, Jon Excell, Stephen Harris, Stuart Nathan and Sam Shead will scouring Birmingham’s NEC to bring you the latest news from the exhibitors.

The team would be delighted to hear from exhibitors that are revealing new technologies or who have won new business as a result of the event; you’ll be able to find us at Stand 5223.

During MACH week our sister publication MWP Advanced manufacturing will be holding its biennial awards competition. Click here to find out more about this major celebration of UK manufacturing technology and to view this year’s shortlist. The winners will be announced on the evening of Tuesday 17th April 2012 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, by the NEC.

A UK manufacturing success story will also be on display this Wednesday when Adam Ruddle, Ultra Global’s head of vehicle engineering delivers a talk about a transit system that moves travellers between Heathrow’s Terminal 5 Business Car Park and the main terminal.

The Heathrow Pod was unveiled in late 2011 and is claimed to be the first new example of transit technology in 100 years.

Designed to carry 500,000 passengers a year, it provides on demand, non-stop travel from start to destination at the touch of a computer screen.

The system was developed by Ultra and BAA and consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless vehicles capable of carrying four passengers and their luggage along a 3.8km guide way.



Each temperature-controlled Heathrow pod has been designed for privacy and comfort and allows passengers to select their own direct destination.

When waiting for a passenger, the pods recharge themselves at battery points, so are always ready to go.
The Engineer looked in depth at the technology around 3 years ago – you can read our feature here.

Many readers of The Engineer believe government would be a lot better off if it contained an engineer or two. Step forward Steve Baker, a former RAF engineering officer who became the MP for Wycombe in 2010.

His ‘Workbench to backbench – an engineer in Parliament’ talk at Buckinghamshire New University on April 10 will see him discuss his move from engineering and technical consultancy into politics.

Bajker’s publicity material asks: Is a career as an engineer a help or a hindrance when it comes to tackling issues of public interest? Attendees will be able to put that question following his 15-20 minute presentation.

Of course if engineers are to aspire to similar heights they must be prepared for all the trials and tribulations that power brings: April 11 sees IET secretary and chief executive, Nigel Fine chair an Engineers’ Question Time in London.

Based on the BBC’s Thursday night political panel show, the event’s organizers say the evening will offer a chance to probe, question and challenge industry leaders from a cross-section of the science and technology community.

The panellists are expected to answer questions on industry news, education, career development in the science and technology arena, the impact of technology on society.

Speakers include futurologist and author Dr James Bellini, Maggie Berry – managing director at Women in Technology, and Dr Hermann Hauser CBE, director, Amadeus Capital Partners, physicist, and entrepreneur.

If that event isn’t enough to convince you of the power of engineering to change society then perhaps an event at Nottingham University entitled ‘Low-cost, electricity generating heat engines for rural areas’ might.

Taking place today and tomorrow, the conference aims to have a world-wide impact in terms of the themes discussed, including the social impact of low-cost engines, the technology used, and Erikson cycle engines. Presentations will also be made by manufacturers of specialist parts.  

According to publicity material, the goal of the conference is to disseminate knowledge in order to stimulate the low-cost large-scale manufacture (>10million units per year) of sustainable electrically generating engines, for use by the 1.4 Billion people in rural areas who cook on an open fire and have no access to electricity.

Designs with the potential for low-cost high-volume electrical generating products are discussed in the 10We to 5 kWe range.

Heat sources are wood, dung and solar.

The social context of such products will also be discussed, including barriers to implementation and case studies.