Smart Factory Expo 2022: the future of manufacturing event

Smart Factory Expo is back for the seventh year running and will take place at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool from 16-17 November 2022. PES takes a look at what visitors can expect to see.

Part of Digital Manufacturing Week, one of industry’s premier advanced manufacturing events, the Expo is free-to-attend for manufacturers and brings together all the technologies enabling the digital manufacturing revolution under one roof.

The result is a carefully-curated shop window for manufacturers at all stages of their digital journey. Smart Factory Expo features five distinct visitor zones including: Automation & Robotics; Digital Transformation; IoT & Connectivity; Industrial Data & AI; and Smart Infrastructure

Manufacturers can discover and learn more about the best digital manufacturing solutions on offer with over 150 leading technology companies exhibiting across the five technology zones. Visitors to Smart Factory Expo can also benefit from a range of Solutions Theatres, each offering free-to-attend presentations delivered by manufacturing and technology experts.

Taking place within Smart Factory Expo are the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge Masterclasses, which are designed to help manufacturers tackle some of the most significant challenges facing their organisations. IfM uses research and frameworks developed at the University of Cambridge to provide practical insights and recommendations that manufacturers can take back to their businesses.

Plus, there is also the Made Smarter Innovation Alley and Emerging Tech Pavilion, located at the very heart of the show floor. This start-up technology focal point is designed to showcase all the new and developing technologies that will change the manufacturing landscape over the next 5-10 years.

Organised by The Manufacturer, Smart Factory Expo sponsors comprise: Deloitte; the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) - University of Cambridge; Innovate UK and Made Smarter.

What’s new at Smart Factory Expo in 2022?

At this year’s Smart Factory Expo, one of the newest additions to the show will be the Innovation Village.

Richard Watkins, group marketing director at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – which is one of seven world-leading research, development and innovation centres that make up the High Value Manufacturing Catapults – provides some insights into what visitors can expect from the centre’s Innovation Village.

“Smart Factory Expo 2022 will see all seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) research and technology centres coming together to form a 425m² Innovation Village,” he explains. “The aim will be to provide manufacturers with an immersive experience covering a wide array of technologies, with the underlying themes of digital transformation and sustainability on display throughout.

“It will be an opportunity for manufacturers to get a better understanding of what the HVMC and its research centres do to help businesses progress along their industrial transformation journeys. One of the key messages will be that businesses do not need to navigate these journeys alone and there is significant support available if they want to take advantage of it. This is particularly important for SME manufacturers who can really benefit from that extra help and guidance.”

The seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) – University of Sheffield
  • Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – Redcar, Sedgefield and Darlington
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – near Coventry
  • National Composites Centre (NCC) – at Bristol and Bath Science Park
  • National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) – Renfrewshire and Sheffield
  • Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre – University of Sheffield
  • Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – University of Warwick

“Here at HVMC, we’re all really excited about this year’s Smart Factory Expo,” Mr Watkins adds, “and not just because of the sheer scale of it. It's about the outreach, the messaging and the potential impact it can have and the good it can do. By raising awareness about not just what the Catapult centres do, but also how they collaborate frequently on projects, manufacturers will be able to see how it can all fit together for them.”

This will be the MTC’s third Smart Factory Expo, each bigger and better than the previous one – and this year is certainly no exception.

“Smart Factory Expo is such an important event for us, particularly from a regional perspective,” says Mr Watkins. “When you consider that a large percentage of our members and industrial partners will be exhibiting in the wider event, HVMC is almost acting as the glue that joins everything together.”

HVMC at Smart Factory Expo

Upon entering the village – the start of the journey, so to speak – visitors will discover more about the workforce revolution, including the need to upskill and train both new and existing employees. A sustainable future starts with a sustainable workforce, so this is an important first step on the overall journey.

Next comes the core digital transformation elements such as robotics, automation, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and more. There will be technology and knowledge experts from a range of HVMC member organisations who will be on hand to showcase some of the products, services and technologies that fit in with the digital transformation theme.

The focus will then shift back to sustainability once more, with a specific emphasis on various industrial sectors that every HVMC research centre works with. Visitors can expect to see agritech, automotive, aerospace, construction, pharmaceuticals and more all represented.

At this point there will also be a spotlight on the crucial areas of power and energy, the aim of which will be to outline the fossil fuels to renewables journey. Visitors can expect to learn about a variety of alternative fuel sources, including solar, wind, hydrogen and nuclear, as well as electrification, battery technologies, charging solutions, small modular reactors and more.

Want to attend Smart Factory Expo?

Interested parties are invited to register at www.digital-manufacturing-week.com/expo. Admission is free for manufacturers and schools, academic institutions and press representatives can also apply to attend. Companies interested in exhibiting at Smart Factory Expo can email sales@hennigkroup.com.

For even more value and greater insights, manufacturers should consider either the Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit (from £150) or SME Growth Summit (from £119) – both of which include access to Smart Factory Expo.

Opening hours are: 09:30 to 17:00 on the 16th November and 09:00 to 16:00 on the 17th.

Smart Factory Expo
www.digital-manufacturing-week.com/expo

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