The speaker programme for The Engineer’s annual conference – which runs from 4 – 6th June at the NEC, Birmingham – is now almost complete, and as in previous years the event looks set to provide delegates with an unrivalled opportunity to tap into industry-leading insights on the trends, technologies and opportunities that will impact UK engineering and manufacturing in the months and years ahead.
The full programme can be viewed here. But to give you a taster of what’s in store, here are five key reasons for joining us in Birmingham this June.
Hear about the technologies that are reshaping manufacturing
When it comes to manufacturing technology we are in the midst of a period profound change and the conference’s Advanced Manufacturing stream will examine the implications, challenges, benefits and practicalities of so-called industry 4.0 technologies.
This year’s content is particularly focussed on what this change means for the smaller firms at the heart of the UK’s manufacturing economy. Key presentations here include insights from MTC Chief Technologist Dr Lina Huertas on the current state of digitalisation in the UK, and – courtesy of her MTC colleague Hannah Edmonds – an in-depth look the “Factory In a Box”, a fascinating newly-launched initiative aimed at bringing Industry 4.0 technologies to the masses.
Delegates will also hear in detail about many of Industry 4.0’s component technologies: from collaborative robots (Steve Banton, ABB), to augmented reality and additive manufacturing. Indeed, we’re delighted to be welcoming two of the UK’s bona fide AM pioneers this year: Jeremy Pullin (Head of AM and Design to Manufacture at Sartorius Stedim) and Professor Neil Hopkinson, the inventor of high-speed sintering.
Supply chain opportunities
From the growing and evolving demands of emerging sectors to an increasing desire across industry to shore up domestic supply chains, there is no shortage of opportunities for ambitious suppliers and subcontractors. And this year’s stream of supply chain focussed content will help delegates learn more about where these opportunities are and how to access them. Of particular note here are presentations from WMG’s Simon Garwood, who will be talking about electric vehicle supply chain opportunities and Martin Little, from BCRRE Rail Alliance, who will highlight opportunities in the UK’s growing – but often overlooked, rail sector. We’re also delighted to welcome Julia Moore, CEO at GTMA, who will be giving some high-level insight on efforts to grow and develop UK supply chains.
Stay informed on Brexit / Economy
At the time of writing (26th March) Brexit had reached peak-confusion, and hopefully by June there will be greater clarity on the economic conditions that UK businesses will operate in. Nevertheless, whatever the result of the current parliamentary discussions, it seems inevitable that Brexit will continue to exert a huge influence over the manufacturing landscape for some considerable time. One of this year’s keynote speakers, MakeUK CEO Stephen Phipson will offer delegates some valuable insights on how Brexit (whatever form it eventually takes) will affect their businesses and the measures that they can take to ensure that they can remain competitive and productive.
Since its launch, The Engineer conference has made a point of celebrating some of the UK’s most inspiring innovations and disruptive technologies, and this year’s event is no exception. Key presenters here include Riona Armesmith, who is heading up Rolls-Royce’s hybrid electric aircraft project; Mike Lawton, the CEO of one of the UK’s most exciting space technology companies Oxford Space Systems; and Nick Hawker, CEO of First Light Fusion, an exciting UK firm with genuine ambitions to make commercial scale nuclear fusion a reality sooner rather than later.
Hear from industry’s leaders
As always, the conference also provides a fantastic opportunity to hear from some of UK industry’s biggest names about the trends that are driving change in their businesses and the wider engineering community and how this will affect everyone in industry in the months and years ahead. At this year’s conference we’re particularly delighted to be hearing from BAE Systems Technology Director Dave Short; and Bryan Holliday, managing director for Siemens Digital Factory.
The Engineer conference is free to attend and runs from 4 – 6th June at the NEC Birmingham alongside Subcon, The Engineer Expo, and The Advanced Manufacturing Show (AMS). For more information visit: www.theengineer-expo.co.uk