Engineering Materials Live: Focussed success

The inaugural Engineering Materials Live Show kicked off on Thursday 11 May at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. Coupled with the long running FAST exhibition, delegates arrived early enticed by the thought of a bacon sandwich and cup of coffee, before quickly turning their attention to the packed exhibitors’ halls and content-rich technical seminar sessions.

With a bumper attendance of over 550+ visitors including attendees from prestigious engineering companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes F1, Rolls Royce and Qinetiq and a host of others from UK SMEs doing fantastic work throughout industry.

The day kicked off with a dive into the use of thermoplastics and the continually evolving application of various additives and fillers to ‘tune’ plastic materials for lighting applications. It included sample products to allow those attending to visually inspect and gets hands-on with the materials on offer to get that tactile feedback vital for automotive interiors and other surface applications.

Next up was Plastribution, making the case for PMMA and why it is fast replacing traditional materials in high abrasion application due to its highly scratch-resistance and ability to be coloured to meet aesthetic needs – piano black being the trendy colour of choice for many automotive interiors.

It was Micro-Epsilon that started to explore quality control aspects of moulded parts that are so often overlooked. UK Sales Manager, Glenn Wedgbrow (BEng) was able to talk through how it is deploying thermography to great effect with its moldCONTROL, in injection moulding applications, to improve deflect rates by instantly detecting over or under heading of the mould tool – quickly and easily checked during every cycle.

Rapid part manufacturer, Proto Labs, kicked off the afternoon with a packed session highlighting its ability to turnaround real parts rapidly, in a variety of colours, materials and processes. The company is able to 3D print in both metal and plastic as well as CNC and also injection mould, in quantities of 25 to over 10,000 in as little as 1 to 15 days.

Closing what was a fantastic set of presentations was Dr Charlie Bream from Granta Design. The company known for having one of the best material databases in the world, and material selection knowledge used by Nasa, Boeing, automotive giants and just about every major industry, is the de facto authority on material selection, designing for material properties, cost optimisation and processability to mention just a few.

See you in the Autumn

Following tremendous feedback from exhibitors and attendees alike, the organisers have already confirmed that Engineering Materials Live will return in the autumn to again be co-located with FAST Exhibition when it travels to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, on 21 September 2017.

Luke Webster, the event organiser from MA Business: “What we have demonstrated today is that there is a clear need for a focussed exhibition that is as easy to get to, quick to get around, has great seminar content, and critically provides valuable results when our design engineering visitors return to the office later in the afternoon. We believe that by focussing on materials innovations, it is invaluable for visitors to save money and deliver better products.”