Advanced Engineering leads the industry charge into 2021
The UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering professionals, Advanced Engineering, will return to the NEC, Birmingham on November 4 and 5, 2020. Here, the UK’s talented and vast engineering industry can come together again to begin generating business for the new year.
Bringing together thousands of attendees, Advanced Engineering incorporates all aspects of engineering from design, test and measurement, to inspection, materials and production, within the aerospace, automotive, marine, medical and many more industry sectors.
In 2019, over 15,000 professionals from the manufacturing sector attended Advanced Engineering. 70 percent of visitors reported that they planned to place orders resulting from the relationships formed and an impressive 93 percent of exhibitors reported that they achieved their objectives at the show.
Advanced Engineering offers a great opportunity to meet suppliers, partners and generate business leads for the first time in several months. It is clear that the engineering industry is keen to showcase its innovations before the year ends, with new exhibitors still registering at an impressive pace.
“With the current situation restricting how companies do business, we’re looking forward to maximising our time at Advanced Engineering as our chance to set ourselves up for a successful 2021,” comments Jonathan Archer, general manager Renishaw UK Sales Ltd.
The show offers a diverse range of exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their expertise to a primed audience of motivated and ready-to-buy attendees, interested in sourcing products and solutions. It is more important than ever to hit the ground running in 2021. Advanced Engineering’s exhibitors will have the opportunity to pre-load their business pipelines right from the start of the year. However, it’s not just during the show that exhibitors have the chance to increase their brand awareness.
Every exhibitor package includes access to Advanced Engineering’s extensive marketing tools to increase exposure pre, during and post event. Especially now, it is important for exhibitors to feel confident that they can reach their target audience in the lead up to the show. For this reason, Advanced Engineering exhibitors will have access to additional marketing tools, free of charge, from the moment they register, to the day of the show and beyond. This ranges from personalised postcard invites for exhibitors to send to clients or to attach to invoices or other printed communications, to personalised banners and unique links to track who has registered to visit a specific stand at the show.
Free marketing support encompasses mentions on social media and promotion in show guides. Exhibitors also have the opportunity to submit their own press releases ahead of the show, which are then made available to all key media partners.
On top of this, exhibitors get free access to AE Connect, the matchmaking service that allows you to arrange onsite meetings with potential customers. Last year, £320,000 of deals were secured through the platform.
“To fully maximise the success of every exhibiting investment, Advanced Engineering works closely with its exhibitors to ensure that their ideal visitors attend the show,” explains Jeremy Whittingham, head of Community and Content at Advanced Engineering. “Exhibitors will have access to Advanced Engineering’s expert telemarketing team, who can contact up to 100 of every exhibitors’ top clients by phone, inviting them to the show on their behalf.”
In these unprecedented times, it’s important for the engineering industry to look to the future and continue to market themselves to ensure success following the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you’ve exhibited at Advanced Engineering before, or if you think the show could be the perfect place for you to forge new relationships and build on existing ones, get in touch with our team to discuss our exhibition options.
New contract inspection service prioritises medical component manufacturers
LK Metrology has expanded and streamlined its contract inspection department to prioritise quality control services for medical equipment and component manufacturers
Coordinate measuring machine (CMM) manufacturer LK Metrology, based in Castle Donington, Derbyshire, has introduced a subcontract inspection service in support of ventilator and other medical component and equipment manufacturers in the UK and Ireland that may not have sufficient quality control resource in-house.
When the UK government launched its VentilatorChallengeUK, the consortium behind it asked multinational firms such as Rolls-Royce, BAe and GKN with robust experience in supply chain management to identify and involve OEMs and subcontract machinists in the aerospace, automotive and other industries to boost the production of medical parts. It was designed to meet the target of 30,000 extra ventilators needed by the National Health Service to cope with the surge in Covid-19 patients. They were looking for manufacturers with spare machining capacity or an ability to acquire more urgently, as well as ISO accreditation and expertise in metrology to ensure the high level of quality required when making parts for medical equipment.
Many firms had the first two prerequisites but not the third. It prompted LK Metrology to expand the existing contract inspection service run from its headquarters in Castle Donington and make it available exclusively to companies registered to supply ventilator and other medical parts. The CMM Assistance Programme can be contacted on 01332 813755 or www.lkmetrology.com/contact
Dave Robinson, marketing manager at LK Metrology comments: “We understand that manufacturers in the medical sector today are critically needed to help provide valuable components, products and systems to combat the pandemic.
“The majority typically require the use of CMMs to measure, reverse engineer and assure the quality of many complex and precision parts, including prismatic, rotational and freeform. For that reason, we are offering them a series of metrology services that we believe can be of assistance during these anxious times.”
The company’s location in Derbyshire in the Midlands means that it is conveniently placed to serve the whole of the UK and Ireland. It continues to operate under government guidelines, including in its own factory and in the field for applications, programming and service, and has put in place special transportation arrangements should manufacturers require them.
Motivational time has united manufacturing industry
Edward James, managing director, Citizen Machinery UK Ltd
In the opinion of Citizen Machinery UK’s managing director Edward James, the Covid-19 pandemic has united the whole of the manufacturing sector to an extent never seen before in terms of the levels of selfless application by huge numbers of people to boost production of much-needed medical equipment. In this article he describes how the company he runs, a turning solution provider, is contributing in the battle to deliver more ventilators to the front line in hospitals:
Citizen became involved early on when it was contacted by the UK government’s consortium for ventilator production, which became known as Ventilator Challenge UK. The committee included representatives from the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) and Renishaw, who identified Citizen as the largest supplier of bar automatics in the UK and Ireland. This type of machine tool, especially the sliding-head variety with turn-milling capability, is critical to the rapid, efficient manufacture of components in very high volumes for making the extra ventilators needed by the NHS, 30,000 being the current target.
Accordingly, Citizen was given critical supplier status for the medical as well as the aerospace and defence sectors, although priority is being given to medical applications and is the only one being serviced at the moment.
At the outset, the government was considering building a factory to make ventilators parts and assemble them. However, we and others advising them suggested that the best route would be to enlist the help of the existing pool of first-class manufacturers and their supply chains already using our lathes and production equipment from other leading machine tool suppliers.
I gave them a list of about 50 companies that use Citizen turning centres, choosing firms that operate sufficient numbers of machines, hold ISO accreditation and have the right level of expertise and metrology capability. We knew many of them already make ventilator parts as well as similar types of medical and non-medical parts out of both normal materials and special alloys.
We had told all of our customers via social media that Citizen Machinery UK was still open for business and continuing to operate under government guidelines to support customers and prioritise any request for help in producing medical components.
Nearly all of the recommended contacts were approached by multinational firms, including Rolls-Royce, GKN and BAe, appointed by Ventilator Challenge UK to oversee supply chain management from purchasing through to ventilator assembly. The manufacturers were asked to change over their production to machining medical components and they immediately agreed to do so. As many of the firms recognised that additional capacity would be needed, it triggered multiple orders for new Citizen bar automatics from several companies and from additional manufacturers that became involved in the initiative through word-of-mouth recommendation.
In just over three weeks to mid-April 2020, 17 machines were prepared and delivered from stock, all of which are devoted to the production of medical parts. Transport is provided by Citizen’s dedicated team, J Parrish & Son, and for the rest of April sliding-head lathe deliveries are running at one per day. Extraordinarily, each is commissioned and operating on a customer’s shop floor in approximately 36 hours from receipt of the order, such is the urgency. Overlaid on this already hectic workload is a significant amount of re-purposing of existing turn-mill centres in the field to manufacture medical equipment.
There are examples of Citizen lathes having been reconfigured for making metal parts that are normally produced from stampings, forgings and castings. By far the largest proportion of resetting, however, has involved writing programs and providing tooling packages for turn-milling large quantities of plastic components from bar that are normally injection moulded, such as tubing connectors for ventilators. Often they are supplied from overseas, including China, but deliveries may have either stopped or the numbers available are insufficient.
The six-week lead-time to produce a new injection mould tool is too long; the parts are needed much faster than that. Our multi-axis sliding-head bar autos are ideal for turning such components at both ends and milling and drilling them in the same cycle so they come off complete, without the need for special fixturing and with minimal material wastage.
It needs a lot of work to identify parts that can be re-engineered in this way and then re-purpose a lathe to make them. A significant amount of CAD effort is required, plus complex CAM programming and post-processing.
Our applications department has been doing a lot of this in-house and at our customers’ factories, outsourcing what it cannot handle. One of our applications engineers has been working pro bono at a customer’s site for three weeks to help out with re-engineering medical components due to staff shortage.”
There are several reasons for Citizen fortunately finding itself in a good position to ship such a large number of lathes at short notice. One was the opening last year of a new turning centre of excellence in Brierley Hill with a showroom containing many demonstration machines. These, together with those on show at the Bushey headquarters, are available on short delivery.
The company in any case has a policy of supplying its machines and accessories from UK stock and more were available than usual, as extra had been brought in due to the possibility of a hard Brexit. Additional machines were in the UK, including some of the very latest models, ready to be shown at the now-postponed MACH exhibition.
Moreover, a bull run of sales had led to a backorder book of about eight weeks, with turning centres that were nearly ready for delivery able to be re-purposed at short notice and diverted urgently to medical component manufacturers. The original machine packages are being replaced from stock.
Naturally, these activities are only possible with healthy Citizen staff to implement them. Seeing the speed with which Covid-19 was spreading, we had pre-empted government advice by putting on hold in February all overseas travel, isolating the Bushey and Brierley Hill centres to avoid movement between them, and instigating working from home where feasible. The result is that of the 56 members of staff, 20 are furloughed but the other 36 are able to work, including all of the applications engineers, half of the service staff and many back office support personnel.
I am told that most of the turned parts have already been manufactured for the 30,000 extra ventilators, which is testament to the effort put in by us, other lathe suppliers and an army of willing and capable manufacturers in Britain and Ireland.
I would like to offer a big thank you to all our staff and suppliers who are helping to make this happen. Everyone is volunteering to work tirelessly around the clock, at weekends and even through their holidays.”
When the country finally comes through the pandemic, Citizen Machinery UK will find itself in a stronger position than previously as he predicts that demand for new machines will grow. It will be due to companies that are acquiring modern sliding-head turn-mill centres now, where in normal circumstances they would not have done so for several years, recognising earlier the benefits of the tighter tolerances and better surface finishes achievable compared with using their older lathes.
Additionally, most of the new turning centres currently being supplied have Citizen’s proprietary LFV programmable chipbreaking software built into the control’s operating system. Manufacturers are seeing the productivity benefits of this technology when machining traditionally long-chipping materials such as plastics, stainless steel and titanium.
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