Plenty to learn at Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2023


Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, one of the most important engineering shows in the UK calendar, will be held in early February next year at the £35 million Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre, a 20,000 square metre complex offering world-class facilities.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics started out 25 years ago as a regional exhibition but now attracts exhibitors and visitors from throughout Britain, Ireland, continental Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Visitors can expect to see automation equipment, plant for electronics production and assembly, mechanical systems, hydraulic, pneumatic and other components, business and engineering software and workshop equipment. Providers of subcontracting services from across the UK and beyond specialising in the production of metal and plastic machined parts and sheet metalworking will promote their businesses alongside others offering electrical engineering services, electronics assembly, finishing, test and inspection, and other services. All will explain how they can help industrial companies maintain momentum and profitability throughout 2023, despite the well-publicised headwinds they are encountering.

As usual, suppliers of machine tools, cutting tools, workholding systems, automation, metrology equipment, finishing machines, laser cutting and marking equipment, components, software and engineering services will be taking stands to promote their latest offerings. Industry 4.0 and workplace technology, such as collaborative robots, will be in evidence, and many stands will reflect a renewed interest in the reshoring of production and new technologies in green energy.

Machine tool firms whose attendance is already confirmed include many well-known names such as Ajax Machine Tools International, Citizen Machinery, Haas Automation, Hurco Europe, Matsuura Machinery, Mills CNC, NCMT, Yamazaki Mazak UK, XYZ Machine Tools and YMT Technologies. Among the cutting tool companies taking stands are Guhring and Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC), while the latest workholding equipment will be demonstrated by 1st Machine Tool Accessories, Lang Technik UK and Thame.

Participating in the inspection, measuring, testing and quality control sector are Blum Novotest, a developer of in-process metrology solutions for the machine tool industry, Carfulan Group companies OGP UK and VICIVISION UK, Central Scanning UK (part of the Zeiss/GOM “HandsOnMetrology” network) and Status Metrology Solutions. They will bring visitors up to date with the latest quality control technologies on offer. In attendance also will be tooling supplier and manufacturer Industrial Tooling Corporation, Lehmann Rotary Tables from Switzerland and Walther Trowal, a global supplier to the manufacturing industry of metal surface treatment and finishing technology.

Many of these companies offer their own automation and process control solutions, but other platform-independent exhibitors will promote their expertise. For example, since 1952, APEM has become a leading manufacturer of human-machine interfaces. It develops and manufactures products for diversified markets, including instrumentation, medical, communications, industrial automation, defence and transport. INDUS Engineering offers electrical, mechanical and automation services to industrial clients, specialising in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke factory automation and control systems.

Additive manufacturing equipment suppliers, service bureaux and subcontractors specialising in the area will be very much in evidence next year, as befits a technology that is being increasingly adopted by industry. Other established names in the field include Advent 3D, Bowman Additive Production, Boxford, CDG 3D Printers, CREAT3D, Central Scanning UK, Europac3D, GTX Europe, IPFL, Laser Lines, Matsuura Machinery, MHP Industries and Rowan Precision. Their messages will be enhanced by one of the free seminars to be presented by Kevin Askew of Additive-X entitled “How to implement cost-effective additive manufacturing, determine the right solution for your application and reduce the barriers to entry”.

Other seminar sessions will cover strategy development for ensuring employee engagement; lean continuous improvement featuring team assurance and ERP/MRP push & pull; design for test with tips on the use of test jigs; environmental simulation testing and verification; green principles in PCB production; the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff; modern management techniques particularly in a hybrid working environment; CE and UKCA marking in 2023 and beyond; the use of LinkedIn to generate leads and online sales; how to increase business efficiency; maximising business value in a changing landscape of intellectual property; and B2B marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Hundreds of companies will be participating at the show, which is expected to be a sell-out again due to the pace at which stand bookings are currently being received by the organisers. As in previous years, the show is split roughly equally between electronics and mechanical engineering. A strong feature of the event is the huge variety of participants, making it easy for people to find exactly what they are looking for and to complete multiple procurements in a single visit.

Interestingly, although the industries and technologies are diverse, there are no barriers between the areas, allowing cross-over between the different disciplines. Many of the thousands of visitors canvassed say it is a facet of the show that is especially useful, as it encourages a wider ranging itinerary through the exhibition halls, leading to the discovery of firms specialising in related technologies that would otherwise probably not be encountered. Technology Trails guide visitors around the event, grouping firms having expertise in particular areas.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2023 co-locates with AutoAero, which focuses on the automotive and aerospace sectors. Both are open from 7th to 9th February. There is a free bus service between Farnborough’s train stations directly to the showground. Admission to the exhibitions and parking are also free of charge. More information and tickets are available from the event website.


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