Return of the MACH

Exhibitors sign up in a hurry to be a part of MACH 2014

There’s still almost a year to go until the 2014 iteration of the UK’s popular machine tools and manufacturing technologies exhibition, MACH. But although the marketing campaign for the show is only just underway, sales of exhibition space are up 25% compared to the same point before MACH 2012.

Graham Dewhurst, director general, of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), which the organises MACH, says the clamour for room on the exhibition floor is testament to a resilient UK advanced engineering sector which is committed to investing in the best technologies for future competitiveness.

With MACH now over 100 years old, there can be little doubt of its enduring popularity with manufacturers as a place to identify what those investments should be.

Over the years however, MACH has become far more than a mechanical meat market. Today, the ability to understand OEM supply specifications and nurture relationships with key customers is a critical element in the show’s value proposition. At MACH 2014, OEM stand space will be split into five sector categories of: aerospace, automotive, oil & gas, nuclear & power generation and yellow goods.

An early OEM sign up for the 2014 is Airbus who will take pride of place in the large UK Manufacturing Zone at the Birmingham NEC-based exhibition. Its decision to exhibit at MACH 2014 “recognises the importance of developing strong relationships with world class suppliers,” says Colin Sirett, head of research & technology, business development and partnerships Airbus UK.

“Described by its organisers as “the Olympics of vocational talent”, WorldSkills gives high profile and recognition to manufacturing and engineering prodigies”

Protecting world class

But how long will world class suppliers survive in the UK if a world class talent base is not guaranteed?

In 2010, MACH was among the first tranche of big trade shows to recognise the rising skills concerns of its exhibitors and delegates by launching an Education & Training Zone.

In 2014, the skills focused zone will be back and bolder than ever. Exhibits and stands in the area are designed to highlight career opportunities and skills requirements to young people and encourage better employer understanding of the UK landscape for both academic and vocational skills development.

For the first time in 2014 however, MTA will augment this already valuable proposition by hosting regional heats for the WorldSkills competition. Described by its organisers as “the Olympics of vocational talent”, WorldSkills gives high profile recognition to manufacturing and engineering prodigies. The medals are fiercely contested, and winners of the heats at MACH will go forward to compete with peers from 66 other countries in the global finals in São Paulo, Brazil in 2015.

Competitors for WorldSkills at MACH 2014 will battle it out over three days for a chance to represent excellence in CNC Milling and Turning among other disciplines.

MTA is ambitious for MACH 2014 to beat previous records for attendance and the value of deals made at the event. Early sales figures suggest a proactive crowd of exhibitors is keen to throw its weight behind this aim with some already specifying that they will require larger areas than in previous years. Industry technology providers Mills CNC, YMT and WNT are all MACH regulars who have booked increased stand space for 2014.

TM will report regular updates from MTA on the MACH 2014 build up throughout the year.