Reversing UK manufacturing’s poor record for adopting new technology will be tackled head on at MACH 2024. The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has made it its mission to spearhead growth by using its flagship event to launch its new Knowledge Hubs initiative.

The programme showcases the latest technology to exhibitors, helping manufacturers learn more about the potential offered by such technology, as well as when to adopt it and how to implement it to best effect.

The initiative has been handed a major shot-in-the-arm with the announcement by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt of £4.5bn of funding to support advanced manufacturing. The funding will directly benefit several of the exhibition’s key themes, especially Energy Efficiency, where £960m has been earmarked for clean energy manufacturing through a Green Industries Growth Accelerator.

The MTA, which organises the MACH event on behalf of the engineering-based manufacturing industry, has been campaigning for greater adoption of new technology for some time.

It will expand upon this at MACH 2024, which opens its doors at the NEC in Birmingham on 15 April, by explaining that implementing latest techniques in manufacturing processes is the fastest way to boost the UK’s output.

The focus for this will be a series of new Knowledge Hubs. These will focus on educating manufacturers on when and how to adopt new technologies.

The hubs, which will have dedicated stands within the various exhibition zones, will each focus on a particular type of technology:

  • Automation and Robotics
  • Data and Artificial Intelligence
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Tooling

In recognition of the importance being placed on these hubs, each is being managed by one of the specialist centres from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, such as the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The Catapult network is recognised for the cutting-edge research and development work being conducted at its various centres.

The network collaborates with thousands of innovative businesses across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, space, health, digital, energy, transport, telecoms, the urban environment and many others. 

The MTC at Ansty Park, Coventry, is one of the largest public-sector investments in UK manufacturing, with impressive facilities proving innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment.

The AMRC, which is spread across several sites in Yorkshire, works with companies of all sizes, including SMEs, start-ups and large-scale manufacturers to help them improve their productivity and save time, money and energy. The Factory 2050 facility in Sheffield combines a range of technologies including advanced robotics and automation.

James Selka DL, CEO of the MTA, said: “The MTA is part of a united front of UK manufacturing organisations, along with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and MACH 2024 Headline Sponsor Lloyds Bank, to increase the uptake of technologies such as automation and robotics.

“Only by embracing what the hubs are trying to achieve will the UK restore its position as a sovereign manufacturer, re-establishing itself as a major player on the global stage.

“To have the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre running our Knowledge Hubs is an indication of the importance these organisations place on our initiative, and with MACH 2024 providing the showcase and the opportunity to see the latest technology live and in action, we couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The need for this approach was recently brought into sharp focus in a new report highlighting the UK’s lack of investment in technology and its poor adoption of robotics in industry. The figures, from the International Federation of Robotics, showed the UK languishing outside the top 20 developed nations in terms of the global utilisation of industrial robots in manufacturing – lagging not just behind the economic superpowers, but also the likes of Spain and Finland.

“The UK must re-establish itself as a sovereign manufacturer. Greater adoption of the latest technologies will be vital to achieving this, helping improve manufacturing efficiency and optimising productivity. We will do everything we can to help UK manufacturers focus on the new technology, explain when to adopt it and how to implement it to best effect,” said Mr Selka.

MACH is the UK’s only live, national event showcasing sustainable, innovative technologies used across the manufacturing spectrum and is the destination of choice for companies looking to adopt and invest in the digital revolution.

The exhibition is more than 85% sold but prime locations within the show halls are still available for businesses looking to exhibit. Nevertheless, the MTA has said companies still considering exhibiting should not delay their decisions so they can secure the locations of their choice.

For more information on MACH 2024, visit www.machexhibition.com