Digital Manufacturing Week: The UK’s festival of advanced manufacturing

Posted on 17 Oct 2018 by The Manufacturer

James Smith, director of events at The Manufacturer, looks ahead at the biggest collection of events in the advanced manufacturing calendar.

So much business success is a case of being in the right place at the right time – whether it’s a case of chance feedback from a customer, the opportunity to invest early in an innovative idea, accessing finance, or finding a business partner that enables you to scale-up to meet demand.

This is why, if you’re a growth-oriented manufacturer, it pays to be in Liverpool this November, as the UK’s biggest industrial region plays host to the third annual Digital Manufacturing Week (13-16 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool).

Over the past three years, The Manufacturer has built up a kaleidoscope of events, each focused on a key management competence, including: innovation, automation, technology, business process, R&D, intellectual property, entrepreneurialism, finance, skills, diversity, access to talent and export success.

When viewed side-by-side, the many different learning and networking events at Digital Manufacturing Week create a composite opportunity, enabling you to be in the right place, at the right time.

Opportunity knocks

Digital Manufacturing Week - The Manufacturer Smart Factory Expo 2017 - image courtesy of The ManufacturerI know that one of the challenges of attending any large event is to find the needle in the haystack – those people best placed to help you address your biggest challenge, or seize your biggest opportunity.

This is something Digital Manufacturing Week has paid considerable attention to – and we believe the results are genuinely transformational for all our visitors.

Instead of letting you fend for yourself, bumping into people that may or may not be relevant, we’ve created a series of itineraries – or ‘Visitor Trails’ – to help you navigate your way through crowded conference rooms and exhibition halls to find the speakers, advisors, exhibitors, consultants and mentors who share the same manufacturing focus.

Digital Manufacturing Week has created Visitor Trails that focus on key manufacturing verticals – such as Automotive, Aerospace, Defence or Process Manufacturing.

These feature some of each sector’s leading industry voices talking about the direction of travel of their own business, along with the broader ecosystem – and signpost those exhibitors with the greatest focus on that industry vertical. These exhibitors range from world-class solutions providers, to innovative industrial start-ups from across the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe.

Likewise, we also have Visitor Trails that tackle some of the business issues common to all manufacturers – including Skills, Finance, Talent, and Digital Manufacturing itself (for both ‘Beginners’ and ‘Advanced’).

These Visitor Trails not only point you in the direction of speakers and exhibiting companies – but also to an array of free advisory sessions, informal meet-and-greets, and industrial mentorship (apprenticeships, but for companies).

No matter where you are on your journey into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we help you make the connections that matter most. I hope you will join me (I’ll be wearing batik and tweed – you can’t miss me) and more than 6,000 of your peers in Liverpool, and get ready for whatever 2019 holds in store.

Digital Manufacturing Week 2018 consists of: 

Smart Factory Expo – 15-16 November

  • Six visitor zones – Smart Factory, Industrial Automation, Digital Transformation, Internet of Things, Manufacturing Innovation and Manufacturing Finance;
  • Six Solutions Theatres mirroring the focus of the visitor zones, with presentations running every 20 minutes across the two days, combining to create the largest free-to-attend manufacturing conference in Europe;
  • Consultancy Clinics offering drop-in access to 15-minute advisory meetings with specialists on business transformation, IP protection, HR, growth consultancy and financing;
  • VIP lounge for senior-level visitors to grab a drink, sit down and connect with their peers;
  • Innovation Alley, a shop window for UK start-ups to demonstrate how they can help manufacturers;
  • Speakers Corner with a full schedule of speakers sharing their manufacturing passion across two days;
  • Women in Digital Manufacturing – the industry-leading event for everyone looking to redress the gender imbalance, and ensure that manufacturers do not cut themselves off from half the available talent.

The list of new features is long – but clearly the most enjoyable time you’ll ever spend in an exhibition hall, or your money back. (It’s free).

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit – 15-16 November

The UK’s largest manufacturing conference – bar none – and for good reason: 1,000 manufacturing leaders, split across 10 streams, across two days, adjacent to all the bells and whistles of Smart Factory Expo.

Combining industry keynotes from the biggest names in UK manufacturing – along with deep-dive sessions tailored to Industrial Leadership, Finance, Exports, Innovation, Future Factory, Digital Transformation, Industrial Automation, Big Data, Talent and Logistics – a manufacturer-to-manufacturer conference for movers, shakers and makers.

The Manufacturer Top 100 – 15 November (evening) 

Amid all the attention paid to the role of technology, it is people that power the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For the past five years, The Manufacturer Top 100 has celebrated the individuals that make the biggest difference in UK manufacturing – from senior leaders to rising stars.

This year we pay particular attention, along with our Top 100 partner Salesforce, to all the winners of the past half-decade – with an exhibition of all 500 Top 100 winners in the foyer of Smart Factory Expo. Come celebrate with us, and be inspired by the role models that make British industry Great.

The Manufacturer MX Awards – 16 November (evening) 

The Manufacturer Manufacturing Excellence (TMMX) Awards, run by The Manufacturer and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers is the most rigorous, prestigious awards programme, taking place during Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool.

Grab your (preferably velveteen) dinner jacket or frock, and join almost 1,000 other guests as history is made. See you there!