Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo 2019 – Show Report

The first industrial revolution took place in the cotton mills of Manchester in the 18th century. Today we are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution, a digital one often referred to as industry 4.0.

>> Our flagship event , The Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo returned in 2019 – bigger and better than ever in Manchester this April. 

For those of us who braved the snow in 2018, this year’s spring sunshine was a real treat – but even that paled by comparison with the gems of insight that came tumbling out of the conference and Expo halls this year.

April saw a gathering of global digital innovators converging in Manchester at the UK’s largest digital manufacturing event, the Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Focused on the future of manufacturing from an expert perspective, the Summit showcased the very latest technologies and solutions designed to make manufacturing smarter all set to a backdrop of compelling round table events, real-world case studies, networking and seminars delivered by a global panel of thought leaders. 

Featured topics across the two-day Summit included seminars and round tables on pressing issues such as increasing the uptake of digital technologies in manufacturing, upskilling, delivering profitability in manufacturing and supply chain with Digital Transformation and IIOT, achieving incremental improvements, Introducing factory digitalisation step by step , made smarter funding & using AR/VR in a manufacturing environment.

Manufacturers eager to gain knowledge on how to adopt new management strategies to help improve their operations gained unprecedented access to a world-class roster of Industry 4.0 experts, including representatives from government and industry associates. The two-day event will also offered deep dive into government policy, facilitate access to finance and provide guidance and support for those ready to adopt the latest business models.

Event Director Gary Gilmour commented, “Our event attracts visitors across the manufacturing spectrum eager to get a better understanding of how to adopt industry 4.0 and then put this into practice. Our event provides knowledge and solutions, and plenty of case studies from companies who have already started their digital transformation.

“We made a real effort to attract more SMEs to the show too. Over 15% of attendees have purchasing authority of more than GBP£500k, which we believe reflects that senior management will only attend a couple of important events a year, this being one.”

The Expo portion of the show included the hands-on Intel IoT workshop, designed for engineers, software developers and researchers. The expo brings together market leading companies across the areas of automation, software, big data, cloud, robotics, sensors and VR/AR. Notable exhibitors and sponsors included Bosch Rexroth, Dell Technologies, Beckhoff, Made Smarter, Innovate UK, ifm, protolabs and intel.

Industry 4.0 Expo Highlights –

  • 75+ Expo exhibitors
  • 1,900 visitors
  • 32% of attendees are from the C-Suite
  • 26% of attendees had a purchasing authority of £100,000+

Industry 4.0 Summit

  • 422 Summit delegates
  • 33 senior speakers
  • 6 round-table discussions
  • 1 unparalleled collection of insights
  • Registered attendees included include senior level management from PepsiCo, Merck, Ford, Siemens, Boeing, Asahi Breweries, RS Components, Rolls Royce & National Grid.

Meet the Innovators at Innovation Showcase –

New to the exhibition floor this year was the Innovation Showcase – a corridor of emerging talent and companies bringing their solutions to the UK for the first time.  Amongst them was Joe Handsaker, winner of last year’s Innovation challenge, who returned to the Industry 4.0 Summit 2019 having productised his winning idea.

Joe was really impressed by the new Innovation Showcase area.  “It’s been really good,” he said. “We’ve talked with some really interesting people with some really interesting problems and, most importantly, they seem really interested in us.

Digital Innovation Challenge Winner

One of the highlights of Day One of the Expo is always the presentations from new talent in the Digital Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Protolabs. 

The competition has international reach.  This year, judges assessed hundreds of entries from around the world before shortlisting the eight finalists who presented their Industry 4.0 innovations on the Expo floor.

This year’s finalists:

  • Elen Parry @ManMetUni
  • Adam Votava @alookanalytics
  • Marcin Regulski @MiddlesexUni
  • David Byrne @LimerickIT
  • Emmanuel Ayodele @UniversityLeeds
  • Dien Curtis @HiveUrbanFarms
  • Thomas Kendall @OfficialUoM
  • Emiliano Pinto @OfficialUoM

The winner of 2019’s Digital Innovation Challenge was Emmanuel Ayodele.  His winning entry is a wearable textile with the capability of using the Internet of Things (IoT) and motion capture to assist rehabilitation.

SME Clinic Answered Your Questions

Another new initiative at this year’s Industry 4.0 Expo was the SME Clinic, sponsored by Value Chain.  Here, visitors were invited to bring their challenges to the booths staffed by industry experts to access in-depth advice.

Alasdair Pettigrew, CEO of Tricorn, spent some time manning the Big Data clinic.  He said, “The conversations I’ve had today have really been about what are the implications and opportunities of Big Data in manufacturing in general.  And for me where it becomes transformational is where you can dice that data down to specifics.  Understanding the clear ownership of data is important, especially for SMEs because they can’t do it all in-house.”

Also manning the clinic was Valuechain Chief Operating Officer, Michael Schraps who agreed that many SMEs aren’t yet collecting data.

Thursday’s panel discussion on the main stage focused on the skills gap facing the industry – from identifying which skills are required, to strategies for recruiting and retaining talent.

Join us in 2020: Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo, March 30 – April 1, 2020 in Manchester.


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