Although keeping with the key underlying principles of collaboration, knowledge-sharing and partnership which had made ITI successful in previous years, the 2018 event did have a different format and structure. The main differences included an increase in the total number of machining demonstrations taking place, the addition of a best-practice tutorial programme that ran alongside the event’s seminar programme, and the creation of a new technical partner exhibitor zone.
Explains Richard Jelfs, Seco Tools UK’s managing director: “When you have an established and popular event there is a natural inclination not to change or tinker with its structure or content. However, from feedback gained following last year’s ITI, combined with our own commitment to continuous improvement, we decided to change the focus and put machining at the heart of the event.”
Some 16 machining demonstrations took place. Each one focused on an actual or representative customer part, and involved a number of technical partners working together and harmonising their technologies to develop the machining process. The technical partners included machine tool builders, CAD/CAM providers, and workholding, cutting fluid and metrology suppliers. Seco provided the cutting tools for all 16 demonstrations.
Mike Fleming, strategic marketing, products and services manager at Seco Tools UK, says: “In addition to the machine tools we already have at our facility, a number of machine tool specialists, such as Grob, Mills CNC, Heller, Matsuura, Mazak, Romi, Willemin-Macodel, Fanuc and CNC Robotics, also brought machines. Specific parts machined at the event included high-precision and complex aerospace, automotive, and medical components.”
Other highlights at ITI 2108 included: nine seminars, each led by an industry expert and each covering, in some depth, a relevant and topical manufacturing issue; eight best-practice tutorials focusing, in the main, on the best-practice machining of stainless steels, titanium and nickel-based alloys; and over 40 technical partners showcasing their latest products, services and technology solutions to visitors.
A number of technical partners took to social media during and immediately after the event to comment on their experience. Posted Ian Michie from Matsuura Machinery: “Thank you [Seco] for another exceptional outing to your facility, and a superb example of what can be achieved if we all work together for mutual benefit in UK manufacturing.”
Concludes Jelfs: “Our objective with ITI has always been to create an inspiring and practical event that is truly customer-focused. Although this year’s event has only recently ended we are already planning what we are going to do in 2019. We’re changing things again, so watch this space for details.”