As one of the leading metrology institutes in the world, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington provided a fitting backdrop for the official MACH 2020 launch at the end of last year. Dave Tudor reports.
The NPL is quite a place. It’s similar to establishments like the AMRC in that its services straddle and engage with individuals, companies, governments and academia, as well as other NMIs (National Metrology Institutes) around the world. There are around 1,000 employees on site at Teddington.
From bespoke equipment to routine calibration, the NPL provides measurement services, instruments, consultancy, research and training on a global basis. It serves a vast range of industries – from aerospace, automotive and defence, through to healthcare, life sciences and manufacturing. It will also be exhibiting at MACH 2020.
Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) CEO James Selka kicked off proceedings by emphasising a somewhat overlooked but vitally important fact that seems to have largely gone under the radar. And that’s the current Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) – which has been temporarily raised to £1 million until 31st December 2020 – meaning now is an ideal time to make plant and machinery investments.
“The MTA lobbied hard to raise the allowance and with MACH taking place in April, it’s a great time to take advantage and invest in new equipment and technology,” he asserted.
And indeed it is. The AIA offers tax relief to companies that need to purchase plant and equipment. It allows businesses to deduct the total amount spent on qualifying equipment from taxable profits in the same tax year.
Timing-wise, MACH 2020 couldn’t be better placed. I understand that from 21st January 2021, the Annual Investment Allowance will revert back to its original level of £200,000. If you’re looking to invest, now is definitely the time.
“Our tagline this year is ‘Inspiring, Innovating and Connecting’ and we’ve made a number of improvements. For example, we know that often visitors come to the show looking for specific products so we’ve introduced 12 dedicated technology zones to make navigation simpler. These include designated areas such as additive manufacturing, UK supply chain, automation, digital solutions, grinding, lasers, measurement and inspection, and education and development. They’ll be well signposted so visitors can target the areas they want to visit.
“MACH’s USP remains the fact that as the UK’s premier manufacturing show, it’s the best place to be to see live, working machines actually cutting metal. Following our research, we can report that over £200 million of business resulted from MACH 2018 and more than 25,000 visitors attended. Of that figure, 38% were new to the show. So far, 95% of stand space has already been sold.”
He continued: “For 2020, we’re also collaborating more closely with trade associations. The MMMA (Metalforming Machinery Makers’ Association); the GTMA; AILU (Association of Industrial Laser Users); BAF (British Abrasives Federation); CBM (Confederation of British Metalformers); BARA (British Automation and Robot Association); the Aluminium Federation; and the Cast Metals Federation will all be out in force at the show.
“I’m also delighted that Lloyds Bank are returning as the headline sponsor. MACH 2020 will be the fifth show Lloyds has sponsored which signifies a partnership that spans an entire decade.”
“We remain the ninth largest manufacturing economy in the world and the sector is absolutely crucial to the overall UK economy,” she explained. “It directly contributes around 10% of GDP and 2.6 million jobs – but in real terms it’s much higher than that.
“Recent research carried out by the MTA, Lloyds Bank and Oxford Economics revealed that the true impact of manufacturing – when you take the indirect and induced impact into account – is close to 7.5 million jobs and 23% of GDP.
“The bottom line – a successful manufacturing sector is a major contributor to a successful UK economy – but it’s not just a domestic priority. Manufacturing accounts for 45% of all UK exports and in what is an ever-increasing global market, competitiveness is being driven by investment in technology and innovation.”
The partnership between Lloyds, MTA and indeed MACH is part and parcel of Lloyds’ commitment as a financial services provider to help Britain prosper. Since 2014, Lloyds has committed nearly £6 billion in new lending to the manufacturing sector. From 2018-2020, it has pledged a further £3 billion. But that’s not all.
The skills gap is something that affects everyone and in manufacturing it’s nothing short of a crisis. Lloyds Banking Group has continued to support the UK manufacturing sector with a £10 million sponsorship of the Lloyds Bank Manufacturing Training Centre at the MTC in Coventry through to 2024. Alongside this, the group is also supporting the training and upskilling of 3,500 graduates, engineers and apprentices.
“MACH is a truly inspiring exhibition which is why we’re delighted and privileged to be headline sponsor of MACH 2020 – a signature event in the UK manufacturing calendar,” Ms Wicks enthused. “We’ll be exhibiting at the show in our own right and look forward to helping visitors support their future growth ambitions and aspirations.”
“MACH 2018 provided the platform for 600UK to relaunch as Colchester Machine Tool Solutions,” he recalled. “It was a great success for us with orders taken on the stand along with a wealth of really strong leads. We were able to showcase new products such as the Typhoon turning centre series and service packages incorporating Industry 4.0 technology.
“For MACH 2020, we’re increasing our stand size threefold to 255m² and will be introducing even more new products and innovations.”
Another glowing MACH endorsement was provided by Bill Neal representing the MMMA (Metalforming Machinery Makers’ Association). Founded in 1949, the MMMA Village at MACH 2020 will occupy 650m² of exhibition space and feature 25 member companies.
The Association has 46 members in total – including a number of associated technology companies like automation specialist KUKA which signed up last year.
“Today the MMMA encompasses a wide range of technologies – from press machines and tool and mould design through to automation, tapping machines and roll forming,” Bill Neal advised.
“At MACH 2020, attendees can visit the MMMA Village and access all this innovation under one roof.”
“The E&D Zone is always popular at MACH,” Mr Fudge reveals. “Statistically it attracts around 3,500 students which represents about 15% of the total attendance figure. This year we’re encouraging more teachers to attend as well as students so it should be a really positive part of the overall event.”
The seminar programme at MACH is traditionally both topical and informative and MACH 2020 will mirror that trend. Throughout the duration of the show, there will be an economic update from Lloyds Bank, presentations from HS2 and Made Smarter, plus morning sessions dedicated to additive manufacturing (Wednesday 22nd April) and Industry 4.0 (Thursday 23rd April).
DRAMA is an acronym for Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace, which is a three-year, £14.3 million collaborative research project that aims to build a stronger additive manufacturing supply chain for the UK aerospace industry by developing a digital learning factory.
The whole thing will be digitally twinned – which means development can be carried out in a virtual environment. Fascinating stuff – and it’ll be on show at MACH.
“More than 25,000 visitors attended MACH 2018 and when we analysed the demographic we found that a number of new job titles – like chief information officers and chief data officers – attended the show as well as the more traditional roles such as manufacturing engineers, CEOs, managing directors and company owners,” he explained.
“This clearly demonstrates how MACH is evolving. People are attending looking for solutions rather than just products and the industry is becoming more and more digitally orientated. Also encouraging was the cross-section of industries represented by those visitors which included aerospace, defence, yellow goods, telecommunications and power generation.
“It also signifies how people are connecting and communicating with each other in 2020 – social media plays a major part and MACH is no exception. Register now and start planning your visit.”