19 Jul 2024

Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech return for 2024 showcase

FPS event 2024

Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech, alongside Drives & Controls, will be taking place at the NEC on June 5th and 6th as part of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024.  Readers of Hydraulics & Pneumatics will find much of interest among the new technology and educational content both in the events mentioned above and in the adjoined Smart Factory Expo, Maintec and Design Engineering Expo events. H&P takes a closer look at what visitors can expect.

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024 will address the key issues that concern manufacturing and engineering businesses currently, irrespective of the market sector they serve. The main topics that all elements of the wide-ranging events touch upon are innovation, the supply chain, sustainability, digital transformation and people and skills.

Demonstrating the importance of the event to their members The British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) has become a Strategic Partner for Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024 where, naturally, their focus is on the Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech events. Chris Butcher, Managing Director, said of the partnership, “The event is fantastic, for our members to have such a shop window to present their products, technologies and innovation is fantastic news for UK manufacturing.

“The fluid power industry has gone through a significant technology transition with the integration of electronics, robotics, mechatronics, and the high level of automation and control across many market sectors. We think there’s a great synergy between the different areas of the event to provide our members, and the visitors that come to see them, with a showcase that covers all aspects of their technical challenges, and the new innovations that are driving system efficiency, automation, sustainability and power density.”

The BFPA will have a stand at Fluid Power & Systems and representatives will be available to meet with both members and prospective members to discuss their education and training courses as well as giving presentations at the main theatres on key topics.

Educational content & summits

One of the standout attractions for readers of Hydraulics and Pneumatics will be the Manufacturing Automation & Robotics Summit which will see operations, automation and control and manufacturing professionals coming together to discuss the latest automation and robotics opportunities and find actionable solutions to industry challenges.

When talking about the summit Grace Gilling, Manufacturing Portfolio Director of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024 said: “Manufacturers in the UK are experiencing a monumental shift in the way they operate. Automation and robotics are not just buzzwords; it’s a fundamental revolution that is reshaping how goods are produced, processed, and delivered to the market. While the promises of increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved quality are enticing, the road to embracing these technologies is not without its hurdles. This summit is dedicated to exploring the rapidly evolving landscape of automation and robotics in the manufacturing industry, and more importantly, addressing the challenges that manufacturers face in this transformative era.”

Topics to be covered at the summit include Integration Complexity, Developing a Skilled Workforce, Cost and ROI Concerns and Regulatory and Safety Compliance.

Notable tech companies

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week attracted some of the biggest, most innovative industrial and tech businesses in the world to its 2023 event (Google and IBM as well as Siemens, ABB and Amazon RME) and the 2024 event will be no different. Among the biggest names in the fluid power industry Festo UK will be exhibiting and in a recent interview head of operations, Swapnil Khedekar spoke about their focuses for the year, “Simplification is a key business driver for 2024. Adding the power of electronics and software to traditional mechanics offers increased flexibility and performance, but it can also bring complexity. We need to reduce complexity for the industrial user – as smart phones have done for consumers. Simplifying the connectivity of so-called smart devices reduces the barriers for inexperienced users and accelerates the deployment of new technologies. Making things simpler is not easy but it has to be our future.”

Co-located events

Although the main attraction for Hydraulics & Pneumatics readers will be the fluid focused areas of the event, there is a whole host of other activities and attractions taking place during Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week at the NEC on 5th and 6th of June. For instance, Smart Factory Expo is where manufacturers explore digital transformation solutions to gain a competitive advantage. It’s a carefully- curated shop window for manufacturers at all stages of their digital journey and there is great synergy with those exhibiting here and the fluid power sector.

Also taking place is Maintec the UK’s longest standing event dedicated to the maintenance, reliability and asset management industry. The Design & Engineering Expo focuses on innovation so that design and engineering professionals from all tiers of the supply chain who want to reduce costs, streamline and optimise future design and engineering strategy can find what they need.

Of key importance and the traditional stablemate of both Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech is Drives & Controls. Being presented as part of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week for the first time this event obviously holds great interest for Hydraulics & Pneumatics Readers as it brings together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment covering critical areas such as energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motors, motion control, robotics and automation plus much more.

On the fringe

Aside from the exhibitions themselves there is a multitude of events taking place on the ‘fringe’ of the exhibitions that range from the serious to the fun and frivolous! The Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit, for example, is an innovative and interactive conference featuring both plenary session presentations and lively round table discussions with industry leaders. The Oscars of the manufacturing sector The Manufacturer Top 100 will be held on the evening of 5th June, and it publicly recognises the heroes of UK manufacturing, those who stand out for their contribution to changing the face of the industry. Plus, The Manufacturer Directors’ Forum will take place; a 10+ year-old professional network of senior manufacturers drawn from across the industrial spectrum who attend targeted events and roundtable discussions.

On the fun side The Guitar Legends competition, where any visitor can show off their guitar skills and win a 3D printed guitar, will take place once again as well as the Day 1 after show party with The Shadow Monkeys providing live music.

Allocating time away from the workplace to visit events at the NEC is a challenge and this is appreciated by Nineteen Group, the organisers of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week which is why they are doing everything they can to ensure there is a huge amount to see and do to maximise the Return On Investment for a visitor. As well as the events mentioned in this article taking place at the NEC at the same time are other relevant events including the UK Garage & Bodyshop event run by Messe Frankfurt; Med-Tech Innovation Expo and TCT 3Sixty from Rapid News Group and Subcon from the Mark Allen Group.

A single visitor registration to Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week provides access to all the events.

To register or for further information please click here.