The Processing and Packaging Machinery Association Group (PPMA) has unveiled plans for the 2015 PPMA Show, with a focus on the industry-wide issues of a lack of apprentices and the skills shortage in general.
In 2014 the PPMA Show re-affirmed its status as a premier free-to-attend complete production line event for processing and packaging machinery, industrial robots and machine vision systems, with 8190 visitors attending the NEC for the show's 27th year. Following a 12-year joint venture with Reed Exhibitions, the show returned to the sole management and ownership of the PPMA last year. Joining over 320 exhibitors, visitors arrived in droves to discover the latest product launches and developments, as well as benefiting from insights provided by industry leaders such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, M&S, Tesco and the newly appointed Groceries Code Adjudicator.
Commenting on the annual Show at the NEC, David Harrison, PPMA Group Exhibition Manager, said: "Innovation, new launches, live machinery demonstrations and strong seminar content debating industry issues were the keys to success of this event, with very relevant content that addresses the issues of the moment."
Paul Earnshaw, Packaging Manager at Tesco PLC, commented: "It is important for Tesco to attend exhibitions such as the PPMA Show as we want to be able to access technologies that excite consumers. It also provides us with wider access to manufacturers and a route to contact with them."
Lord Digby Jones to open 2015 PPMA Show
Preparations for the 2015 PPMA Show, which will take place from 29 September to 1 October, are well under way; it has now been confirmed that the show will be opened by Lord Digby Jones, former Director General of the CBI, who will deliver a keynote speech. Grant Jaimeson, Chairman of the PPMA, states: "Lord Jones has always been a stalwart supporter of British Industry and, with the continued upward trend in UK manufacturing, we thought it befitting for him to deliver the keynote address and visit stand holders across the 2015 exhibition."
Grant Collier, Head of Marketing and Publishing for the PPMA Group, adds: "We are also pleased to announce that Jaguar Land Rover will be speaking at one of the seminars, which will demonstrate how industrial vision systems integrate to form the perfect partnership with robot applications in the assembly of quality vehicles."
In 2014 the PPMA membership soared to over 420, with 81 new member companies joining. David Harrison comments: "This has been partly due to the show returning and the discount members obtain by exhibiting."
Recognised as one of the best places to see the very latest in innovation, visitors to the PPMA show are able to view the latest machinery from some of the world's leading packaging and processing machinery manufacturers, robot suppliers and industrial vision system integrators.
With the dramatic uptake in robotics in competing nations such as Germany, China and newly emerging economies, automation is one of the most important issues facing UK manufacturing today. Almost all of the major robot manufacturers had a presence at the PPMA show in 2014, coupled with increasing interest from industrial vision companies. Grant Collier comments: "Industrial vision is becoming an increasingly important part of automation and robot development. Most of the recent growth of the industrial vision sector can be directly attributed to the ongoing integration with robot applications. It is essential that robots and automation are embraced if UK manufacturing is to remain competitive."
The PPMA will donate some of the revenue from this major annual event to the new PPMA Business Education Skills and Training division (PPMA BEST), a charitable wing of the PPMA that has been established to address ongoing skills issues within the industry.
The new division has been announced with objectives to highlight and promote the benefits of UK apprenticeships throughout the industry, establish how some of the skills shortages can be resolved, and to engage with industry and academia to help address these industry problems. In the food sector alone it has been estimated that there are over 170,000 job vacancies in the decade leading up to 2020. Currently there are nowhere near enough young people opting for a career in this, the UK's largest sector. The PPMA will help encourage new people into the industry through sponsoring road show events such as Appetite for Skills in partnership with IML, publishers of Food Processing magazine, where presentations will be made to schools and universities up and down the country.