Visitor numbers rise at inspiring MACH

MACH 2024, the UK’s national event for inspiring, innovating, and connecting manufacturing, has once again been hailed as a triumph, with thousands of visitors filling the five halls at the NEC in Birmingham over the weeklong show in April.

The 2024 edition of the exhibition saw a 6% increase in the number of visitors meaning the full attendance of the event is rapidly approaching 30,000 people. The halls were abuzz with excitement and anticipation each day, with exhibitors showcasing their latest cutting-edge engineering-based manufacturing technologies and solutions, including enthralling demonstrations and product launches.

Owned and organised by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), and sponsored by Lloyds Bank, MACH is recognised as an industry leading event that brings together the very best suppliers of machine tools, cutting tools, metrology equipment, additive manufacturing (3D printing), surface engineering, robotics and automation, sheet metal, metal forming and fabrication technology, and specialist software which is both enabling and driving the digitisation of manufacturing.

Once again, MACH provided an invaluable opportunity for buyers and visitors to see the latest products and technologies from an impressive line-up of over 500 exhibitors. The show delivered impressive results with a record number of business transactions during the weeklong show.

Greg Capp, sales director at Sodi-Tech commented: “On day one we got enough enquiries to last us for the next six months. This was our best MACH ever, and we are looking to book our stand again for 2026.”

Another exhibitor, DTS (UK), sealed a multi-million deal with WEC Group Ltd at MACH. Andy Guy, operations/sales director for DTS (the UK agent for Correa) said: “MACH 2024 was one of the best yet and this deal with WEC Group was a real highlight.”

Throughout MACH 2024 the exhibition halls were vibrant with live demonstrations, product launches and inspiring seminars taking place.

Monday was a hugely successful opening day at MACH 2024. A highlight of the day one seminar programme was the launch of the MTA’s latest ‘True Impact of Manufacturing Report’ which revealed the significant positive impact that manufacturing is having on the UK economy, which is far greater than first thought. Key findings of the report included:

  • Manufacturing accounts for £518 billion of UK GDP and supports 7.3 million jobs
  • ‘Making things’ accounts for 34.5% of all UK goods and services exports
  • Median wage in manufacturing is 11% above the national average

The report provides a comprehensive overview of what the UK makes, the complex nature of the UK’s supply chains and the economic benefit gained from the spending of wages by those employed in the manufacturing sector.

Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP - Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology delivered a keynote speech on Tuesday that revealed the thinking behind current and future UK Government policy and how this aligns with both the immediate and future needs of UK manufacturing.

Her speech covered the following points:

  • The UK Government wants to build on the innovative reputation of the UK through supporting investment in advancing technologies such AI
  • The government places particular importance on skills and upskilling the workforce to ensure that individuals are not confined to a single industry.
  • The government recognises the role that apprenticeships can play in ensuring a skilled workforce. It is important that there are defined apprenticeship pathways to attract young people to take up the apprenticeships as a viable alternative to the traditional further education route.

The Minister’s speech aligned well with the MTA’s new knowledge hubs which were launched at MACH 2024. The five hubs were automation & robotics, sustainable solutions, additive manufacturing, consumable tooling and AI & data. They provided visitors opportunities to learn how to implement new technologies into existing manufacturing processes.

Michelle Donelan MP - Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology delivering her keynote speech at MACH 2024  

As part of her visit, Michelle Donelan MP also took time to speak to some apprentices at the Education and Development Zone. The MTA’s aim is to attract engineers of the future to visit MACH to discover the wide range of brilliant career opportunities the engineering sector offers. This year’s show attracted a bumper number of students and schools, so much so that registration was closed as the maximum capacity had been reached.

James Selka DL, CEO at the MTA said: “Attracting new talent into the engineering-based manufacturing sector is a key driver for the MTA. The dedicated E&D Zone at MACH continues to be our biggest opportunity to inspire a future generation into engineering as an exciting career.”

The E&D Zone was once again sponsored by global metalcutting specialist, Sandvik Coromant. The zone included a fantastic range of exhibitors from different sections of the engineering industry as well as exciting hands-on activities provided by organisations such as University of Wolverhampton Racing, F1 in schools and World Skills.

One of the exhibitors at this year’s MACH has already rebooked their stand. Matthew Aldridge, UK Managing Director at Igus commented: “This has been a fantastic show for us, even though it’s a big commitment being a weeklong show. It’s been a worthwhile investment as we’ve met new customers, developed existing business relationships, and seen the people we needed to see – and we’ve already booked the same stand for MACH 2026.”

MACH 2026 will take place between 20-24th April at NEC Birmingham. Anyone interested in booking exhibition space can find the live floorplan here:

MACH 2024

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