25 Jun 2024

Southern Manufacturing is back!

Southern Manufacturing

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2024 will open its doors again from 6-8 February. Smart Machines & Factories takes a closer look at the forthcoming show.

Southern is an ideal event to see all the latest in machine tools, tooling, work-holding, 3D printing equipment, PCB design, contract electronics manufacture and box build, electro-mechanical systems, components and assemblies, automation and robotics, test, measurement, inspection and metrology equipment, materials, consumables, and engineering and business software. Additional technologies serving a wide range of industries will include controls, displays, HMIs, data acquisition systems, and augmented, mixed and virtual reality.

Other diverse and no less essential products and services on offer will encompass oil and coolant supply, workshop equipment, labelling systems, dust and fume extraction, humidity control, workplace storage systems, bespoke case and foam manufacture, plastic packaging and injection moulding, hand tools, adhesives, waste removal and recycling, freight services and training.

The event is also an important destination for sourcing subcontract services. Leading practitioners will show examples of parts they have machined from a vast array of materials, from metal billets and castings to engineering plastics. Traditional subtractive machining specialists will be joined by firms specialising in additive manufacturing and all will be available to discuss the broad range of skills they offer. Providers of business consultancy and financial services will similarly be able to outline how they can help industrial companies to prosper in these difficult times.

Having moved to its present location in 2008, Southern was the first event to be held in the world-class Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre when the complex was completed in 2018. It is a show that is important enough to attract big-name manufacturers, but it is also extremely accessible to the rich ecosystem of engineering SMEs. The show operates a policy of open access, discouraging larger firms from dominating the space to the detriment of smaller vendors.

A large percentage of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics participants are regular returnees, and many have been loyal since the very start. Hosting so many exhibitors operating at the forefront of technology and innovating across a huge number of sectors also makes the show an ideal place to source multiple products and services quickly and efficiently.

Automation, especially robot and cobot handling, and Industry 4.0 solutions on both the mechanical engineering and electronics sides will also feature strongly, driven by a skills shortage in Britain and across Europe. Manufacturing industry is facing a battle to recover from the impacts of Brexit, supply chain disruption, soaring energy costs and higher taxation. Therefore, reshoring of production as well as new technologies such as green energy and power-saving machinery are emerging strongly as themes among the exhibitors at this year’s show.

In addition, health, safety and sustainability guidance will be a feature and there will be a wide range of expertise on hand to propose tailored packaging solutions to ensure that products are damage-free on delivery. Effective storage of goods on arrival traditionally forms an important part of the show, with companies promoting automated stocking and retrieval systems having a large capacity in a small footprint.

Likewise, software will be demonstrated on numerous stands. CAD/CAM and machining simulation packages will be joined by enterprise resource planning (ERP) products for reorganising manufacturers into paperless operations, cutting lead-times, raising efficiency and reducing waste. Users benefit by being able to take more informed decisions and optimise production planning, whilst accurately tracking resources and raw materials.

In addition to the exhibition, a free technical seminar programme will give visitors and exhibitors alike valuable learning opportunities, with a particular focus on the technical, managerial and environmental issues facing manufacturers today. Topics to be covered will include how to optimise resource usage, minimise waste and decrease pollution during PCB manufacture, thereby improving brand reputation while at the same time saving costs, increasing efficiency and making the whole exercise economically viable.

Other presentations will focus on further sustainable practices in manufacturing, advising manufacturers looking to improve their relationship with customers, how to enhance a sales team’s performance, CE and UKCA marking compliance, the importance of brand awareness and creative campaigns, management skills coaching including how to address the challenges of hybrid working, digital process management, and opportunities for those seeking financial support.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Exhibition 2024 will co-locate with AutoAero, a specialised theme within the show for those working in and supplying to the aerospace and automotive engineering sectors.

For further information and free tickets please visit its website.