Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2013 has been hailed as the most successful ever staged, with record numbers of visitors and exhibitors converging on FIVE, Farnborough for the two-day celebration of UK manufacturing expertise.
The Southern Manufacturing Show is one of the longest-running and best supported industrial technology shows in the UK. Since moving to its present venue at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire in 2008, the show has enjoyed consistent double-digit growth, which this year saw exhibitor numbers swell to well over 700 companies. Housed in a purpose-built venue, the event draws visitors from all over Europe in their thousands to see the latest manufacturing technologies from some of the world's leading suppliers gathered under one roof.
The sheer scale and diversity of the show made a deep impression on many first-time visitors. Dr Pavel Shashkov from Cambridge-Nanotherm commented: "This was our first visit and we were overwhelmed by the size of the event - we were expecting something much smaller." Dr Shashkov visited the show to finalise a landmark distribution agreement with circuit board manufacturer Spirit Circuits, who were exhibiting. He continued: "We often hear talk that manufacturing is slowly dying; clearly, it's not dying. People need to come here and see the amazing things UK manufacturers are doing."
There was certainly no shortage of amazing technologies on display; from sub-miniature electronics that will enable the next stage of internet connectivity, to the UK-built mechanical devices that helped land Curiosity on the surface of Mars, the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Show is both a showcase for UK manufacturing expertise and an effective marketplace for companies to develop and strengthen customer relationships. Michael Kitchen of Cygnet Group, exhibiting for the first time, said: "It's been fantastic - really well attended, and the amount of interest we've had has been phenomenal." John Penman of Fife Fabrications commented: "For the last ten years, we've travelled from just north of Edinburgh to exhibit here. The breadth of visitors means lots of opportunities for us." Steve Read of TDK-Lambda said: "It's been very busy - probably the busiest we've ever been. We're very impressed with the growth of the show; although it's called "˜Southern' it is very much a UK manufacturing event."
Visitors to the show were similarly upbeat. One noted: "The show's been very interesting, very busy and well put together." Another commented: "The seminars were excellent; the event is much bigger than previous years with lots going on." His colleague noted: "It's been very worthwhile to make new contacts and really see what's going on in manufacturing. I don't know of another event where I could gain so much from a single visit."
Visitor numbers are still to be finalised, but they are expected to show a sharp uptick. Show Director Phil Valentine says: "We are really pleased with the success of Southern Manufacturing 2013, and we are delighted that so many companies have found it worthwhile. We look forward to welcoming them back next year." Stand space for Southern Manufacturing 2014 is already selling fast as companies race to ensure they will not lose their place next year.
Meanwhile, attention now moves to the new Northern Manufacturing & Electronics 2013 event, which launches at Event City in Manchester on October 2nd and 3rd. Northern Manufacturing & Electronics 2013 has already secured the support of many of the big-name exhibitors who have helped build the success of its southerly sibling event. For more information please go to www.industry.co.uk.