Crystal clear

MACH Intro (2)
MACH Intro (2)

Reported to be one of the world's most sustainable buildings, The Crystal, located in London's Royal Visctoria Docks is a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens.

Reported to be one of the world’s most sustainable buildings, The Crystal, located in London’s Royal Victoria Docks is a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens.
The building is home to the world largest exhibition on the future of cities, the world’s most sustainable event venue, Siemens offices, and a public café. During December last year it also provided a fitting venue for the MTA’s MACH 2016 press launch.

Officially opened in September 2012, The Crystal is certainly an impressive facility visually but it’s also highly functional. Due to its innovative architecture and technology the Crystal is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings, achieving Outstanding BREEAM accreditation and Platinum LEED accreditation – the most stringent standards for sustainable design and construction.

Designed by award winning architects Wilkinson Eyre, The Crystal building draws inspiration from the many sides of a crystal. The external shape of the building creates unique internal spaces, including an auditorium, conference facilities, meeting rooms and office spaces.

The Crystal is an all-electric building that uses solar power and a ground source heat pump to generate its own energy. It showcases state-of-the-art technologies to make buildings more efficient and also profiles Siemens’ environmental portfolio. The building incorporates rainwater harvesting, black water treatment, solar heating and automated building management systems.

It’s a working showcase of building efficiency: triple glazed windows allow in 70% of natural light – but only 30% of solar energy, ensuring the building doesn’t overheat. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in a 30m³ underground storage tank. In addition, 80% of hot water is heated by solar thermal heating and ground source heat pumps and 100% of WC flushing water is taken from our non-potable sources.

No fossil fuels are used on site and through using 100% natural heat sources, the Crystal heating bill is £0. 199 ground source pipes totalling 17km in length and reaching as deep as 150m heat and cool the building and it’s SMART too – over 3,500 data points ensure all systems function as effectively as possible.

Home economics

With the venue described, the scene was set to update journalists on preparations for MACH 2016 which will take place from 11-15 April at Birmingham’s NEC. After an initial introduction from MTA CEO James Selka, head of external affairs Paul O’Donnell offered an economic overview of the advanced engineering sector.

“Whilst UK GDP growth rates aren’t perhaps as strong as in previous years, it’s important to emphasise that at around 2.5%, it’s still growth nevertheless,” he reiterated. “We’ve seen excellent levels of sustained growth in automotive and aerospace, and in particular, with the former, the UK has produced more cars in 2015 than in any other year since 1972 and is well placed to respond to growing demand from global markets – particularly the Far East.”

Mr O’Donnell presented market trend forecast data for both the machine tool and cutting tool sectors for the coming year. Despite some well-documented turbulence, Mr O’Donnell believes things are looking positive for the forthcoming MACH show.

“We forecast that the machine tool sector would contract by 5.4% during 2015 but this is offset by a growth of 3.6% in 2016. With cutting tools, we saw a decline of 2.6% in 2015 – again offset by a small predicted growth in 2016 of 1.1%. In both cases this is important growth in the run up to MACH.”

Bigger and better

In terms of the show itself, MACH 2016 is shaping up to build upon the undoubted success of MACH 2014: “You would expect us to say that MACH 2016 will be bigger and better than MACH 2014, but this really is the case,” enthused head of events at the MTA, James Fudge.

“Hall 5 is not only totally sold out but the actual exhibition space taken is up on 2014. The whole of hall 5 will be in use, unlike in 2014 where there were a few areas that remained unsold. It’s a similar story in hall 4 as we push on to sell the last few remaining stands. It’s really encouraging that over 600 exhibitors are expected and equally as gratifying is the fact that 130 companies are totally new to MACH.”

The seminar programme as always will be comprehensive and topical. Two separate seminar theatres will host presentations from a number of leading companies comprising Airbus, Messier-Dowty, McLaren, Cranfield University, the MTC, Lloyds Bank and HS2. There will also be two specific morning sessions on Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

“We honestly believe that a two day visit to MACH 2016 is a minimum to have enough time to take everything in,” Mr Fudge added. “As well as more exhibiting companies, the show’s technology zones have been enhanced this year. These include: the UK Manufacturing Zone in hall 5; the Measurement and Inspection Zone in halls 4 and 5 which is sold out; the Software and Design Solutions Zone in Hall 4 which is also sold out; and the 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Zone in Hall 4.

As in 2014, the Learning and Development Zone will feature prominently. Supported by Sandvik Coromant notable highlights this year will be a display from the MoD and also an ‘Apprentices at Work’ zone comprising apprentices and graduates from MTA member companies. The intention is that young people looking to find out more about a career in engineering can speak directly to their peers for advice and guidance.

Other dedicated zones will include Grinding and Abrasives, Engineering and Lasers and Surface Finishing and Component Cleaning.

Serious about manufacturing

For the third consecutive show Lloyds Banking Group is headline sponsor of the exhibition and it’s clear that this is an organisation that takes its commitment to manufacturing very seriously.

David Atkinson is head of Manufacturing, SME Commercial Banking at Lloyds and he attributes his earliest passions for the industry back some 30 years when he visited a sandcasting foundry with his father.

“That’s when it all started for me,” he recalled, “so imagine how proud and privileged I felt a couple of years ago when the bank decided to invest really heavily in the UK manufacturing sector. I’m proud to head up 13 teams and 106 managers across the length and breadth of the UK totally dedicated to supporting the industry. Every member of my team has completed an accredited manufacturing course at the University of Warwick delivered by the Warwick Manufacturing Group.”

He continued: “MACH is the biggest event of its kind in the UK and the hub for the nation’s advanced manufacturing sector. It provides an opportunity for Lloyds to interact with a huge number of key players in the sector as well as thousands of manufacturing businesses. Of course we’re keen to help those looking to invest but even more importantly it is an opportunity for us to learn more about the sector and those operating in it.”

Many happy returns

A highly meaningful barometer of the success of any trade show is the number of returning exhibitors and one company very much looking forward to the 2016 event is Mills CNC, the exclusive UK distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland. Tony Dale, the company’s technical director is in no doubt how vital MACH is to the UK manufacturing sector.

“We are delighted to be returning to MACH in 2016,” he explained. “As one the largest, longest standing exhibitors, MACH 2016 really is an unmissable exhibition for the UK manufacturing technologies sector.

“It’s no coincidence that Mills’ year on year growth has resulted in us taking progressively larger stands at MACH. We took the largest stand at the 2014 event and showcased 23 machines. At MACH 2016 we’ll have the joint largest stand and will exhibit 19 machines.

“Other shows simply don’t allow us to exhibit our full range of products and services,” he added. “We’re a £50 million plus turnover company and having a small stand with a single machine just doesn’t cut the mustard. The 800m² stand we’ll take at MACH this year gives visitors a much better picture of our full product portfolio. It’s the only UK show we attend and although it represents a sizeable investment for Mills, it’s certainly worth it. We’ll have a number of new machines making their debuts at the show.”

MACH 2016

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