Building on a reputation

Written by: Tim Fryer | Published:

Reputations are built on performance, and the Engineering Design Show's performance over the past three years has earned it the reputation of being the engineering industry's 'must attend' event.

Since its launch in 2012, the Engineering Design Show (EDS) has tripled in size and continued to exceed expectations; not only in terms of visitor numbers, but also in the quality of the conference and workshop sessions.

"We have built our reputation on providing engineers with the information and inspiration to be able to do their jobs better when they return to their workplaces." That is the view of Ed Tranter, executive director of Findlay Media, who has been the driving force behind the event since its inception.

"Our goal was always to provide a comprehensive event so that engineers could guarantee that time with us at the Ricoh Arena was far more valuable than the time lost being away from their offices and factories," continued Tranter. "If engineers want to talk to the leading suppliers in industry then we have 200 of them each looking to discuss innovative solutions. If engineers want practical, technical information, we have a full schedule in our four workshop theatres. Or if the focus is on broader issues and bigger projects we have a conference programme that will intrigue and entertain."

Co-location with the Electronics and Embedded Design Shows adds that further lure for those exploring the integration of electronics within their designs and projects.

It is a formula that has worked well: 1500 visitors in the inaugural year became 3000 in 2013. Last year that number had risen to 4200 as a reputation for 'time well spent' grew. However, while more visitors are expected, the focus for the organisers is fine tuning the event to maximise its impact.

Certainly the Ricoh Arena will, like the year before, be filled to capacity in terms of exhibitor space, but Tranter emphasised that this demand would not compromise the focus for the event.

"We could have taken out the workshop theatres to make more room for paying exhibitors," he said, "but right from the beginning our core philosophy has been to provide the content. And that means getting the right balance between exhibitors, conference and workshops."

In fact, in recognition of the value of the workshops, the Institute of Engineering Designers has CPD Certified these sessions, so delegates can be issued with certificates that can be used for CPD assessment.

Innovation Zone

Of course there also needs to be progress and this year will see further development of the Innovation Zone. This Zone, introduced in 2013, was a display of innovative products that often utilised components, tools and techniques being discussed in the exhibition workshops and stands.

Last year these included flexible electronic displays, the bebionic prosthetic hand, a 3D printed bicycle and the Williams Advanced Technology battery that powered this year's inaugural Formula E cars.

This year's collection will be equally eclectic – airships, robotic arms, unusual ceramic coatings and even a sub-sea cabling laying machine (a scaled down version of an awe-inspiring giant). Moreover the Innovation Zone is evolving into an Innovation Trail, linking interesting exhibits around the whole event. Details of this will be announced nearer the time.


Once more the conference will take centre stage. At the time of writing the full conference programme is being finalised, with full details announced in the September issue of Eureka. However, to whet the appetite, one fascinating presentation will look at Britain's bid to win the America's Cup for the first.

Andy Claughton, technical director of the Ben Ainslie Racing team, will lead the session and describe how his design team are creating the boat and also validate his claim that the America's Cup is as much an engineering competition as a sailing one.

Another intriguing session will reveal how a British company is completing the renaissance of the airship. Hybrid Air Vehicles have a vessel that is not just a novelty but a genuine workhorse that offers advantages over both planes and helicopters.

And with our tantalising recent glimpse of the surface of Pluto has there ever been a better time look at the space industry - not so much boldly going where no man has gone before, but more the technical and practical challenges of near earth satellites and their applications.

"It will be a great two days once again," concluded Tranter. "Working along with all of our industry partners and using visitor feedback, the Engineering Design Show has evolved into the best event for design engineers in the UK. We have moved on from the old argument of 'why should I be there?' and onto 'why would I not be there?' And there are not many answers left to the latter question."

Fact file

When: 21 – 22 October 2015
Where: Ricoh Arena, Coventry(2 minutes off the M6 jnc 3)
Parking: Free
No of conference sessions: 13 (Eureka conference)13 (New Electronics conference)
No of workshop sessions: 40
No of exhibitors: 210
Pre-registration: Now !

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