Editor's comment for November 2023

Dave Tudor, Editorial Director of PES
Dave Tudor, Editorial Director of PES

With a number of things getting in the way – not least a pandemic – the journey to EMO 2023 was the first time I’d boarded a plane since the last event in 2019.

For me, if I’m being entirely honest, EMO is one of those shows that I don’t exactly look forward to – mainly because of the ridiculous amount of walking I know I’ll have to undertake – but once I’ve been I’m always glad I went.

EMO 2023 was no different. Despite walking about 25 miles during the three-and-a-half-day duration I was there, it was a fantastic show. In terms of actual real estate, a slightly smaller footprint than 2019 – but plenty of cutting-edge technology gracing the aisles; upbeat exhibitors and visitors; and encouragingly, lots of UK representation, so a really good networking opportunity.

Not surprisingly, there was a big emphasis this year on digitalisation, automation and sustainability. Here in the UK, we’re all more than mindful of the devastating skills shortage that’s blighting our industry, but when you attend a show like EMO you realise that this is a truly global problem.

In fact, data released post-show from the event organiser reveals that over a third of visitors cited this as a key issue for their respective businesses which is why automation was such a key theme with several hundred robots doing their thing on exhibitor stands.

The future of sustainability was also high on the agenda for 68% of visitors. These are becoming very real issues that manufacturers care about passionately. Similarly, almost a quarter said that digitalisation, connectivity and networking were key priorities.

For sheer international appeal, I can’t think of a better show than EMO. Around 1,850 exhibitors set out their stalls with approximately 70% coming from 45 different countries. 92,000 visitors made the pilgrimage to Hannover with 54% doing so from 130 countries. It remains an absolutely pivotal exhibition for the entire global manufacturing community – and if you can’t wait to do it all again, you’ll need to put 22-27 September 2025 in your diary.

This one will be a bit of a milestone for EMO Hannover however as it’ll mark 50 years since the first event in 1975.

Before I sign off, a quick word about this month’s cover story. I’ve visited many, many subcontract engineering companies in the UK over the years but few as specialised as Wallwork – the largest independent heat treatment/coatings company in the UK. I always like finding out about subjects I know little about, so I really enjoyed this one.  

Despite operating across multiple sites in the UK with a turnover of £30 million, the Wallwork Group remains a family business. It’s not afraid to invest either – £20m planned over the next five years including a Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) Centre opened recently at its headquarters in Bury. 

Read all about it on pages 42-43.

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