Drives & Controls April 2024

43 April 2024 M&E WEEK PREVIEW n educational theatres) are the Smart Factory Expo, focusing on the supply chain, digital transformation, automation and lean manufacturing, Maintec, the UK’s longeststanding exhibition dedicated to the maintenance, reliability and asset management industry, and Design & Engineering Expo, which focuses on innovation. People and skills A major focus for Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week is people and skills. Taking place as part of Drives & Controls is the Fanuc Industrial Robots Qualifiers event, which will see teams of two 16-20-year-olds competing in dynamic challenges that will test their ability to gather and apply information, work effectively in teams, follow instructions, and create effective robot programs. Visitors can also experience the excitement for themselves during an interactive “try it yourself” session, organised by Fanuc. Another function focused on people is the “Oscars of the manufacturing sector”, The Manufacturer Top 100. Held on the evening of 5 June, the programme provides a platform and a showcase to celebrate the best of UK manufacturing – not the big businesses and the household company names – but the inspiring people who make industry tick. The Manufacturer Top 100 scours the length and breadth of the nation to find the 100 most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing, nominated by The Manufacturer’s audience, the industrial community, and judged by a panel of industry leaders, academics and manufacturing associations. As Grace Gilling, manufacturing portfolio director of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024, says: “The Manufacturer Top 100 celebrates the heroes of UK manufacturing and recognises their contribution to net-zero, digital transformation, innovation and leadership. We also shine a spotlight on Unsung Heroes, Sector Activists and the Young Pioneers making an impact in the industry disproportionate to their years.” On the fringe Apart from the exhibitions themselves, there will be a multitude of events taking place on the fringe of the exhibitions, ranging from the serious to the fun and light-hearted! On the fun side, the Guitar Legends competition, where any visitor can show off their guitar skills and win a 3Dprinted guitar, will take place once again, as well as the 5 June “after party” with The Shadow Monkeys providing live music. The event’s charity partner is again Engineers Without Borders UK, whose mission is to ensure that globally responsible engineering is embedded within the thinking of both engineers and the businesses they work for. As well as the events mentioned in this article, other relevant events that are taking place at the NEC at the same time, include: the UK Garage & Bodyshop event, run by Messe Frankfurt; the Med-Tech Innovation Expo; TCT 3Sixty; and Subcon. With so much going on during Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week, the organisers will be creating “visitor trails” to help attendees tailor their experience to their own areas of interest. To build a personal trail, visitors must be registered in advance at the address shown in the panel below.  SHOW FACTS Where: NEC, Birmingham When: M&E Week: 4–7 June, 2024 Exhibition: Wednesday, 5 June, 09.30-17.00 Thursday, 6 June, 0.930-16.00 Entry: Free (for those who register at this Web site: Web site: Twitter: LinkedIn: manufacturing-engineering-week Instagram: mandeweek2023/