Challenge Challen

The UK's largest annual exhibition and conference for advanced manufacturers & supply chain professionals

I'd like to exhibit Subscribe to the newsletter

#AEUK19

Challen's view on... why exhibitions cannot be replaced by online research and shopping

The online world has changed so many aspects of our daily lives for the better. We can browse websites for a particular item, choose the best (cheapest) one, order it and receive it the next day. We also have access to a wealth of information at the touch of a button – information that would previously only been discovered after trawling through endless books in a library. Then there are the efficiency, cost and time savings that have been gained by working and – to an extent – living online.


However, where the whole thing falls down is the lack of tactility. The inability to see, feel and touch the items we are researching; making do with indirect contact with the people we are talking to. Events such as Advanced Engineering UK offer that opportunity. In my earlier years, I loved to go to motor shows and see the cars that I’d seen pictures of in magazines. Getting underneath and inside the vehicles to check out the engine, driveline, interior – and get an idea of how it all worked – was a real thrill.


With a variety of current and next-generation vehicles, materials and engineering solutions, Advanced Engineering UK visitors will have a ideal chance to get a real feel for the technology of the future. From the main exhibits to the on-stand tooling and componentry, there is a lot to see over the course of the two days! 

Challen's view on...the latest innovations coming your way

I’m a big fan of technology but still use a physical dictionary, sometimes struggle to search the internet on my phone and don’t own a ‘home assistant’. So I was surprised recently at how I let machines and technology take over my life. I drove to the shop without touching my car key, then paid for my shopping despite having no wallet, card or cash.


Many people will be thinking ‘so what?’, but others will be truly amazed. Some folk are oblivious to the power of technology and innovation. They don’t believe flying and autonomous cars are coming, or that cash will cease to exist one day.


But you only have to go back 20 years to look how things are changed. In 1999, no-one spoke to their phones for information, or told an inanimate object to play their favourite song. Two decades ago, people were far too concerned about Y2K – ironically fearing the worst because of technology!


Artificial intelligence and machine learning are exciting and the advances in technology should be fully embraced. As such, make sure you head to the ‘Enabling Innovation’ zone at Advanced Engineering 2019. Ten startups and innovators will be demonstrating their engineering and technology breakthroughs and you could get an early glimpse at the next ‘Alexa’, 3D printer or tablet.


Challen's view on... the future and survival of the engineering and manufacturing industry

The past few years – when looking at the political, economical and technological landscape – have shown that we can be only certain of uncertainty in the future. The engineering industry – in fact, the wider world – faces major challenges, with the UK’s headaches somewhat compounded over the drawn-out saga of leaving (or not) the EU and the subsequent (known and unknown) issues arising from that departure.

The 29th March deadline came and went and now the country waits to see what will happen on 31st October. All aspects of life – including manufacturing, engineering and production – are, to a certain extent, in limbo, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for customers or consumers. For engineering businesses of all sizes, challenges have be overcome and clear plans and strategies are needed to have any chances of success.

Some help for businesses can be found in ‘Voice of Industry Report – Overcoming Uncertainty in UK Manufacturing’, a publication commissioned by Easyfairs – organiser of Advanced Engineering 2019. The report contains interviews with Xi Engineering, Renishaw, Kawasaki, Atlas Copco and Novotek about how each company has overcome challenges, embraced innovation and prepared for the future.

 

 

Challen's view on... a future where robots complete surgical procedures

then-boss of a vehicle manufacturer who began his working life with an apprenticeship at that company. He rose through the ranks – proving that apprenticeships really work – and was, understandably, very proud of his company’s apprentice programme.

The industry is aware that more work is needed, so at Advanced Engineering 2019, expect plenty of discussions about plugging the gap to ensure the creative lights within the UK keep shining bright.

Challen's view on... the threat to innovation due to the lack of skilled staff in the UK

The world is rightly impressed when advances in engineering are made public. Partly because behind the final product are talented individuals who’ve spent years honing their skills to be able to create these wonders.

But engineering has a recognised skills gap, with staff shortages potentially putting future such innovations at risk. A number of studies have indicated that that these deficiencies will also harm businesses. One such review, published in May 2018, suggested that a skills shortage could cost science, technology, engineering and technology (STEM) businesses as much as £1.5 billion a year in costs relating to recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs.

One potential solution is more apprenticeships – a great opportunity for young people to start their journey in engineering. I remember a conversation with the then-boss of a vehicle manufacturer who began his working life with an apprenticeship at that company. He rose through the ranks – proving that apprenticeships really work – and was, understandably, very proud of his company’s apprentice programme.

The industry is aware that more work is needed, so at Advanced Engineering 2019, expect plenty of discussions about plugging the gap to ensure the creative lights within the UK keep shining bright.