MTA events: Supporting manufacturing innovation

Posted on 5 Apr 2013 by The Manufacturer

The Manufacturing Technologies Association runs an ambitious seminar and networking event programme for members. It’s all in the cause of best practice, opening up supply chain opportunities and exploring new innovations.

Graham Dewhurst, director general of MTA
Graham Dewhurst, director general of MTA

As the business organisation representing core engineering based manufacturers the MTA strives to organise a programme of seminars directly relevant to the needs of its members and their need for manufacturing innovation.

An on-going dialogue with OEMs is the keystone to the programme. The MTA’s supply chain seminar held at the Messier-Bugatti-Dowty manufacturing plant at Gloucester last autumn demonstrates this. This sought to foster understanding by bringing members together with a major aerospace manufacturer and, following the event, Chris Wilson, managing director of Messier-Bugatti- Dowty, said, “It allowed an ideal opportunity for members of the wider supply chain to meet, network and understand the requirements we have as a relatively large manufacturer of complex high value structures and the importance of the support of a flexible, pro-active supply chain.”

The supply chain seminar was a resounding success which built on lessons from an earlier MTA event at earth excavation equipment manufacturer JCB.

Aligning industry development

Going forward, the MTA plans to align its seminars with the capabilities and development of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Matching the diverse disciplines nurtured in the Catapult centres, the programme will cover topics from the latest aerospace advances, through developments in composites and exotic materials, to disruptive technologies.

The first event in this new programme was held in February at the AMRC, Rotherham, and coincided with the launch of the new MTA/AMRC apprenticeship pathways for Technical Sales and Commercial Apprentices for the advanced engineering sector.

Attended by over 150 MTA members and their customers, the event was supported by a visit from deputy prime minister Nick Clegg who applauded the invention of the new apprentice pathways. These are designed to deliver world class qualifications for young, bright people in engineering. The audience also heard presentations about the advances in the aerospace industry from high profile speakers in the sector. For example, Dr Gareth Williams, vice president R&T Business Development and Partnerships at Airbus, provided an insight into the projected requirements for aircraft in the future.

This year the MTA has also changed the format of its traditional quarterly meeting into an interactive, half day event open to all members.

The new format comprises a best practice presentation on a relevant topic by an external speaker, supported by two member experience presentations outlining how the speakers have personally addressed issues arising from the topic. An interactive voting system for meeting attendees augments feedback and opinion sharing. The event rounds off with a session of group syndicate work.

The first Members’ Quarterly Meeting to adopt this new format took place at the premises of Trumpf UK in Luton on March 20. The topic was Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve and the guest speaker was Professor Mark Jolly, chair of Sustainable Manufacturing at Cranfield University, with supporting presentations from Dr Tony Bannan of Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd Precision) and Colin Price of Renishaw. The new meeting format was greeted with universal approval from the participants and everyone is looking forward to the next meeting in June.

Coming soon

In the meantime, the MTA’s next event will be a joint seminar with the Warwick Manufacturing Group on April 23 at the University of Warwick.

This half day seminar will review how SME’s with expertise in 3D printing can contribute to the automotive manufacturing supply chain. The event is entitled Physical to Digital and will feature a presentation by Mark Barrington, head of rapid prototyping, at Jaguar Land Rover.