As mentioned last year, one of the most interesting events to be launched in 2017 was the Industry 4.0 Summit & Factories of the Future Expo in Manchester. With a very high level of speaker, and attendee, the event was a great launch event and the next event (28 February – 1 March) promises to be larger with lots of interesting developments taking place.

Event organiser Gary Gilmour says “The inaugural event was very well supported, particularly in the industrial automation sector. Though much talked about, Industry 4.0 is still in the nascent state in terms of adoption. More companies are understanding what it means for them, and the opportunities that adoption of advanced technologies can do for production and industrial efficiencies, but they want to make sure that the strategy they adopt is not an expensive failure further down the line.  Our inaugural event looked at the big picture and looked at how companies could implement industry 4.0. For the next summit the theme is ‘Making it Happen’ and we will be covering a lot of manufacturing case studies of companies who have implemented change and are happy to share their experiences.”

Those companies sharing their knowledge include Bosch Rexroth, IBM, INTEL, GKN, Meggitt, Babcock, Tharsus, GE Digital Europe, Accenture & Dassault Systèmes and topics range from skills, training, digital twins, getting digital for less than £1k, digitalisation of a Victorian dockyard to implementation of cobots in the automotive industry. The Summit is supported by Gambica & EEF, who will also co-chair through Steve Brambley, CEO Gambica and Richard Halstead, Membership Engagement Director of the North, EEF.

This year, the welcome address is made by Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK; a major employer in Manchester and the North West, where the company has an important facility with emphasis on Digital technologies. So, it is appropriate that this great company, with its long association with Manchester, should welcome attendees to the premier event dedicated to the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the home of the first.

Confirmed as headline sponsor again is Bosch Rexroth. Regarding their support UK Marketing Manager Sean Kilgallen said “We had a great experience of the last event where we were headline sponsor, a decision in itself that raised some eyebrows since this was a new show in a relatively new area! Post show we were very happy with the level of new business that followed the discussions we had at the event. We are looking forward to making the next event and we hope this demonstrates how much Bosch Rexroth is committed to Industry 4.0 as a key driver in boosting UK industry’s productivity and the UK Government’s plans for made smarter.”  

Joining Bosch Rexroth as Headline Sponsor in 2018 is IBM. With a keynote address at the Summit from their UK Chief Technology Officer, Paul Homan, and a showcase of their end-to-end approach to IoT at the Factories of the Future Expo.

Visitors to the free to attend Factories of the Future Expo will be able to see a range of technologies to help manufacturers digitalise their operations and make them smarter. Leading automation companies include ABB, IFM, Balluff return, and Omron, HMK, Festo & Beckhoff join for the first time. IOT will be heavily featured through the likes of sponsors Finish company Elisa and INTEL, who in addition to hosting an Open Technology Forum, will be holding a 2-day industrial IOT workshop open to manufacturers wanting to get some hands-on IOT experience.

The Factories of the Future Expo is free to visit and attendees will not only see latest technologies and solutions to make operations smarter, they’ll be able to hear presentations from experts from companies large and small in the Open Technology Forum including KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network), IBM, ABB, Zuhlke, INTEL, Tharsus & Balluff.

Visitors will also be able to engage with Innovate UK & Knowledge Transfer Network who will have a large presence at the event and are happy to engage with companies and see how they can help manufacturer’s digitalise. Ben Peace, Head of Manufacturing at KTN, comments “This initiative helps join up the innovation landscape. We engage 1-to-1 with manufacturing SMEs, understand their needs and help them take a step-by-step journey into 4th IR, making links to additional partners that can enable that journey and help them ascertain whether there is any funding”.

The organisers look forward to seeing visitors to the Industry 4.0 Summit, Factories of the Future Expo, & Industry 4.0 Academia Summit at the Manchester Central Convention Complex 28 Feb – 1 March.