The success of Digital Manufacturing Week 2017 - Europe’s biggest show of its kind - demonstrates a sector currently thriving and eager for future growth, as business development director, Henry Anson explains.
When the counting was finished, Digital Manufacturing Week attracted : 3,968 manufacturing technology professionals, 613 delegates, 118 exhibitors and 60 minutes of live broadcast to an average audience of 1.5 million people.
The facts about Digital Manufacturing Week speak for themselves – but then, so do the people who spent time and money to be there.
Looked at from the perspective of an event organiser, Digital Manufacturing Week was a Venn diagram of overlapping experiences – each designed to enable different subsets of The Manufacturer magazine’s reader community to find the best level of participation, according to their business priorities.
Some manufacturers were still looking to discuss the conceptual building blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and what it meant for their operations. Others were looking to educate their team.
Certainly, I heard a lot more informed conversations among manufacturers from the previous year, and many of these were looking to explore investment options against a backdrop of extremely buoyant order books.
Because there were more than 4,500 different reasons for attending Digital Manufacturing Week, it was engineered to enable people to reach out and find the ideas, people and solutions they were looking for.
A single format can never meet everyone’s needs – which is why we embraced diversity. Digital Manufacturing Week ran across 16 different formats.
From intimate director-level roundtable discussions at the Leaders Conference, behind-the-scenes factory tours, free-view theatres on the exhibition floor, coaching clinics, hack and pitch competitions, dedicated programmes for women in manufacturing, start-ups and STEM students, to face-to-face meetings with exhibitors: each activity organised as part of Digital Manufacturing Week neatly slotted into, and reinforced, the next.
In essence, the entire advanced manufacturing ecosystem was present.
Looking ahead to 2018, we’ll continue to expand the opportunities for purposeful conversations. We’ll supercharge the over-subscribed ‘Innovation Alley’ in to a genuine ‘Manufacturing Innovation District’ bringing together ideas, money and manufacturing smarts.
We will expand the free-to-attend technology presentations for expo attendees with two more ‘Solutions Theatres’. We will increase the number of zones for growth-minded manufacturers to spend time visiting.
Last, but not least, we will carve out more time for ‘Roundtable Discussions’, getting buyers and sellers around the same table.
I take particular heart from the fact that the crowds attending the Leaders Conference, Smart Factory Expo, The Manufacturer Top 100 and The Manufacturer MX Awards reveal a more important truth than the numbers and testimonials.
That UK manufacturers are alive to the challenge presented by integrating disruptive new technologies, and alive also to the incredible opportunity for their businesses.
Digital Manufacturing Week 2018
Digital Manufacturing Week returns next year on 14-15 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool.
Visit the website and register for free today – https://www.tmsmartfactoryexpo.com/