Drives & Controls April 2024

42 n M&E WEEK PREVIEW April 2024 Looking forward to the joys of June Across its two halls, six exhibitions, two summits and eight education theatres, Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024 will address the key issues that concern businesses, irrespective of the market sectors they serve. The main themes that the wide-ranging event will cover are innovation, the supply chain, sustainability, digital transformation, and people and skills. New for 2024, and taking place in Hall 5 as part of Drives & Controls, is the Connect+ Live Hosted Meetings programme. This free concierge service is tailored to enhance the visitor’s experience and networking opportunities. It transcends conventional networking methods and prioritises the needs of the visitor. The programme is being run in partnership with Newbridge Events, which specialises in business matchmaking, and enables time-pressured visitors to connect with handpicked suppliers for face-to-face meetings. The Connect+ Live Hosted Meetings programme will allow visitors to make personalised matches by aligning their specific needs with those of exhibitors, and to schedule meetings in advance with the right people to answer their questions. It is only available to visitors who have preregistered at Summit’s Up To those familiar with Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week, it will come as no surprise that education and peer-to-peer learning play an important role – indeed, the Drives & Controls show will have its own educational theatre, the full programme for which will be published in the May issue of the magazine. However, for senior leaders in manufacturing businesses, there are two summits worthy of a separate mention that will run alongside the exhibition – the Industrial Data and AI Summit, and the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit. Now in its 7th year, the Industrial Data & AI Summit takes place on the 5 June and focuses on data management and insights. The structure includes four keynote presentations, a panel discussion and two 60-minute roundtable discussion sessions. The summit allows senior leaders to hear from some of the sector’s most respected experts – such as the Head of Digital and Data at BAE Systems, and the Senior Director of Data and Analytics at Mars – and to share their knowledge and experiences with their peers. The roundtable sessions offer a unique opportunity for in-depth discussions on topics ranging from data integration and management, to developing a data-driven business, and generative AI. Taking place on the 5 and 6 June is The Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit. This will include eight keynote presentations, two panel discussions and four 60-minute roundtable discussion sessions. The Summit will focus on how digitalisation is changing the way that products are designed, manufactured, used and maintained, as well as transforming the operations, processes and energy footprints of factories and supply chains. This summit is broken down into two distinct streams: the Enterprise stream, for those working in businesses with revenues above £100m; and the Growth stream, for those with revenues of less than £100m (typically classed as SMEs). While there is an entry fee for the summits, there is also an enormous amount of free-to-access education that takes place during the events, with no fewer than 144 presentations across the eight education theatres. The theatres cover: Drives & Controls; Digital Transformation; the IIoT & Connectivity; Industrial Data & AI; Innovation; Maintenance; Air-Tech Solutions; and Fluid Power & Systems Solutions. Other events As mentioned previously, while a main attraction for Drives & Controls readers will be its namesake exhibition, there are a host of other related activities and attractions taking place during Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week. A major addition for 2024 are the co-located exhibitions that are taking place alongside Drives & Controls in Hall 5. Fluid Power & Systems, endorsed by the BFPA, focuses on hydraulic and pneumatic equipment for the industrial and mobile markets, while Air-Tech is for those concerned with compressed air, generators and vacuum technology. It is partnered with City University of London’s Centre for Compressed Air Technology Taking place in Hall 4 (one registration allows access to all of the exhibitions and The live events for Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024, including the Drives & Controls Show, will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 5 and 6 June. Here, we dig a little deeper into what visitors can expect at that event, and at the other activities taking place at the same time.