Nuclear sector gives fillip to global festival with 100-days to go

Posted on 7 Jan 2013
Visitors to the Global Manufacturing Festival 2012 in Sheffield make a new friend. The robot 'danced' at the opening event to showcase high technology capability in the Sheffield City Region

There are 100-days until the start of the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield, a three-day event showcasing high tech manufacturing capability in the South Yorkshire region that networks SMEs to big company projects.

News in November that Hitachi had bought Horizon Nuclear Power from RWE npower and E.ON UK and stated its plans to build four further nuclear power stations in the UK has given the Global Manufacturing Festival, which begins in 100-days, new impetus for engineering companies.

Now in its third year, the Sheffield-based Festival links small and medium sized companies to large, multinational manufacturers in four core sectors of industry: aerospace, offshore wind and renewable energy, medical components and nuclear components.

Keynote speeches from steel component maker Firth Rixson and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC) have been confirmed, with talks from several large OEMs such as Rolls-Royce Nuclear awaiting final confirmation.

A senior cabinet minister will speak on manufacturing policy and field questions at the main event, hosted at the AMRC on April 18.

Exhibitions for schools will he held at Ekspan’s Blue Shed in Sheffield, where school children can see working demonstrations of engineering. Factory visits in the South Yorkshire region are being arranged for April 19th – Tata Steel in Stocksbridge and The Welding Institute at the Advanced Manufacturing Park have confirmed, while tours at more of the region’s famous industrial sons are in the pipeline.

Why go to the Festival? Richard Wright, CEO of the event organisers the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The supply of high integrity manufactured components to the world will be critical to the UK’s future. These components are produced in complex supply chains which transcend the UK but are built on the high performance materials of which Sheffield City Region is one of the premier locations in the world at producing.

“This is the third manufacturing festival to be attended by delegates from across the world but very much focused on the small and medium-sized enterprises which support those supply chains across all the strategic sectors like energy, aerospace and medical. All SMEs should attend.”

Jon Stewart, VAI director of metallurgical services and Sheffield site director of sponsor Siemens, said of the reasons for supporting the event: “As long as a business is wholly self-contained, there is a limit to its growth. To maximise potential, there has to be a chain of businesses, each adding value to an extended product.”

The key is the “community of business”, he said, adding, “Co-operation leads to a better outcome than a zero-sum game and so everyone wins when knowledge and best practice is shared. That’s what makes events like the Global Manufacturing Festival vibrant and vital. The best practioners of manufacturing management are keen to meet you, because they need partners who’ll grow with them and share their challenge.”

Martin McKervey, parter at law firm Nabarro which is also a third time sponsor in as many years, commented, “It is 100 days to the GMF 2013, when the Sheffield City Region will again be centre stage for all that is excellent in manufacturing.

“We are very pleased to again be headline sponsor of the festival, which will bring together businesses from across the globe where the focus and emphasis will be on the continuing importance of manufacturing as a driver for economic recovery in what remains a challenging global economy and where businesses in the city region continue to lead in international supply chains and in particular in relation to product innovation, excellence and skills.”