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D&C Show brings face-to-face meetings back to the NEC

24 May, 2022

The Drives & Controls Show and its co-located manufacturing industry events – Smart Industry Expo, Plant and Asset Management, Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech – returned to the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre last month after a four-year Covid-enforced absence. 

Ryan Fuller, managing director of DFA Media and organiser of the events, is extremely pleased with many aspects of this year’s events after the four-year absence. “Looking back at the success of the event,” he says, “it was clear that our industry had been eagerly anticipating their return for some time and missed the benefits of in-person interaction as well as seeing equipment up-close – this was reflected by the high quality of the visitors who attended the co-located events.”

He believes that the positive response from many of the visitors, exhibitors and organisations, as well as the well-organised, visually-appealing layout, highlighted how the shows had risen to the occasion and proved themselves still to be highly valued.

“The positive sentiment is a strong reflection of the growing economic optimism within the UK, despite the difficult economic and geopolitical issues affecting us all,” says Fuller. “We would like to extend our thanks to the exhibitors, seminar speakers and visitors for turning this year’s event into a success. We are now already gearing up for the 2024 shows.”

Drives & Controls 2022 brought together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multi-tasking culture of today’s design engineers, covering critical areas such as energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, robotics and automation, all under one roof. With the advent of the smart factory, the exhibition was an essential source of technological and engineering information.

To complement the Drives & Controls show, the now firmly established Smart Industry Expo gave visitors an opportunity to learn about and implement digitalisation strategies for the smart era, as well as being able to discuss topics from components to Predictive Maintenance 4.0 and Logistics 4.0.

The timing of the event coincided with the increased interest in digitalisation and the need to transform to the smart era as businesses emerge from the Covid pandemic with an increasing need to automate and to solve supply chain issues.

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was a prominent exhibitor at this year’s shows as well as taking part in several seminars during the three-day event. MTC technology director Professor Ken Young says that aim of the organisation’s 100m2 pavilion was “to inspire UK manufacturing to help improve their productivity and competitiveness”.

David Barrett-Hague, distribution product manager for Schneider Electric, which took part in the Smart Industry Expo, reports that the company had “a good show with lots of interesting people visiting its stand for help about digital transformation”.

Alongside Drives & Controls Exhibition and Smart Industry Expo, the NEC event also saw the return of the Plant & Asset Management Exhibition, helping plant and maintenance professionals to understand the transition to Maintenance 4.0, as well as deploying the latest maintenance and asset management technologies to move from reactive maintenance strategies to preventive, condition-based or predictive regimes.

The 2022 Drives & Controls Show attracted crowds back to the NEC after a four-year Covid-enforced absence

Martin Costin, drives and networks specialist at SMC, says that his company’s wireless remote I/O kit was a particular draw for visitors, and he was really pleased with how the show had gone over the three days.

Complementing the exhibitions, the Talking Industry Live series of panel discussions reflected the global transformation to the smart manufacturing era. It provided fascinating insights into the potential plants of the future, and covered all aspects of the digital transformation across the manufacturing spectrum, as well as discussing how digitalisation has helped during the Coronavirus pandemic – and its potential importance in any future outbreaks. Experts addressed an array of topics involving Industry 4.0, discussing the practicalities, technologies and issues surrounding the transition and implementation of digitalisation in UK manufacturing.

In another showfloor theatre, dubbed The Knowledge Hub, there was a strong emphasis on manufacturing technologies, bringing together all aspects of plant and asset management, fluid power, robotics, automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, legislation, system strategies and technological developments.

The Drives & Controls Show and the other events will next return from 16-18 April 2024.

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