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A new era for Southern Manufacturing - the UK’s favourite engineering show

ems dec 17 14A new era for Southern Manufacturing - the UK’s favourite engineering show

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics returns to Farnborough from February 6th to 8th 2018 for its 20th anniversary show; an event which coincides with the show’s move into a new permanent venue, which now stands on its former site at Farnborough. (Read More)

The £30m Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre development is the largest exhibition venue to be built in the UK for 20 years. The 20,000m² Hall 1 complex, designed by award-winning architects Terence O’Rourke, offers world-class facilities, easy access and free onsite parking for 3000 cars.

While the impressive new surroundings will no doubt draw many admiring comments from visitors and exhibitors alike, for the show itself it’s very much  business as usual for 2018. The show will follow its tried-and-trusted formula, delivering a huge variety of vendors and thousands of products and services to an expected 9,000 visitors over the three days. With the show all but sold out, visitors can expect to meet around 800 participating firms from all over the UK, continental Europe and the Far East. Southern has grown to be a progressively more significant event with each passing year, particularly following its move to Farnborough in 2008 and the switch to a three day format three years ago. Consequently it attracts an ever-wider selection of participating firms, giving visitors a rare opportunity to meet companies that rarely, if ever, take part in domestic exhibitions.
The selection of products on show at Southern is simply vast and covers just about every conceivable requirement from production to raw materials. As usual, the show features live machinery demonstration from numerous well-known vendors, among them Yamazaki Mazak, Matsuura, Unison, Bystronic, Duggard, XYZ Machine Tools and others. New exhibitor, Rösler, is a leading brand in surface finishing and preparation equipment. On the stand, visitors can see a centrifugal (high energy disc) mass finishing machine in operation. This technology allows rapid finishing of smaller, robust parts. Metal removal rates can be 8-10 times higher than in vibratory machines and therefore process times can be 8-10 times shorter, lending itself to applications where fast, high volume component finishing is required.

Components and sub-assemblies are also a big part of the show, and here too the selection is broad. First time exhibitor Fuji Electric Europe GmbH is one of the big names in inverter and energy management for industrial applications. At the show, Fuji Electric will display high performance inverters that offer automatically controlled motor operations, aimed at reducing overall energy consumption and minimising operating costs in a wide variety of AC drive applications including conveyor systems, pumps, fans, HVAC and lift applications.

DMS Technologies, an established UK battery manufacturer, will be exhibiting for the seventh consecutive year. The firm produces battery products for markets that demand cost effective quality and reliability. At Southern 2018 DMS will be displaying a range of its small battery packs covering chemistries including NiMH, Li-Ion and LiFePO4. Also on the stand will be a new range of portable power products; rugged DC battery supplies for remote operating using both lithium and lead acid batteries. Alongside the UK-built products will also be a range of distributed products including 12.8V Ultralife Lithium battery blocks. These offer a direct replacement to standard lead acid products, with an internal BMS meaning that they are compatible with lead acid charging systems.

Kabelschepp Metool will be highlighting its recently launched Master drag chains, the LE0 and LE80, designed to meet the demands of Industry 4.0 applications. The Master drag chains feature the TS3 divider system; its reduced wall thickness allows more interior-space, achieving a vertical space saving of 50% and 37.5% in the horizontal.

Predictive maintenance is the cornerstone of Industry 4.0 and the factory of tomorrow. Igus returns to Southern 2018, showcasing a range of solutions to help improve uptime and reduce maintenance costs. Its smart plastics warn of potential failure in good time before unplanned and costly downtimes occur. At Southern, Igus will be highlighting new and improved smart plastics products, including the isense EC.RC, a new system for monitoring e-chains, the optimised CF.Q module for its intelligent chainflex cables and the intelligent iglidur PRT slewing ring bearings. Gears or plain bearings can be injection-moulded, 3D-printed or machined from bar stock to enable self-lubricating parts to be obtained quickly and cost-effectively. Igus recently introduced a new process for the production of 3D printed injection mould tools that allows engineers to solve difficult technical challenges quickly. The entire range of 50 iglidur high-performance plastics are available using this new process, including specialists for high load, food contact, underwater or high temperature applications.

For those wishing to see some other examples of 3D Print, GoPrint3D will be exhibiting a range of 3D printers from a number of manufacturers including Formlabs, Markforged, Ultimaker and more. On the stand will also be metal parts printed on a Markforged Metal X. The Metal X uses a revolutionary technique to produce functional, pure metal parts at a fraction of the cost of traditional machining methods.

Industry 4.0 and some of the amazing possibilities of 3D Print are also two subjects that will be covered in greater detail as part of the show’s excellent free technical seminar programme, which is open to all visitors. Colin Cater of Tri-Tech 3D, which is also exhibiting at Southern 2018, offers case study examples of the seemingly limitless applications that this new technology brings across all sectors of engineering and the new opportunities it could open. Another session with Dr John Loftus, of fellow exhibitors HMK Automation & Drives, looks at the latest developments in the field of collaborative robots, with thought-provoking examples of industrial applications.

The seminar programme also examines topical business management issues, such as implementing Lean in the workplace, manufacturing best practice, CE marking and identifying value from intellectual property protection. There is also a compelling look at the implications of the forthcoming GDPR regulations for manufacturers and the latest outlook for manufacturers post-Brexit. Many other technical subjects are tackled in the 34 session programme that runs in two theatres over all three days of the show, including a look at the benefits and drawbacks of lithium ion batteries, implementing ERP and automated storage and retrieval systems.  A full list of sessions and the all-important pre-registration form are available at

Plant equipment is another well-represented aspect of the event. Alongside a range of compressors and vacuum pumps, compressed air specialists BCAS, will be demonstrating the benefits of creating nitrogen in-house. Nitrogen generators allow users to produce a reliable, secure and safe source of nitrogen from an existing compressed air supply, thereby making significant cost savings. Kardex is a leading supplier of dynamic and flexible storage solutions for items from the size of a fastener to a 6m long RSJ.  The firm will be highlighting its tailored solutions, designed to meet specific workflows. Goods with a total weight of up to 6,000 kgs per location can be efficiently integrated into storage logistic processes. Rebo Systems from The Netherlands will be demonstrating its new SMS R1 colour and cut sign and labelling system. Ideally suited for low to mid-range volume production of technical and electrical labelling, the SMS R1 can produce customised label shapes and sizes with up to 9 colours on-demand and in-house. RF Solutions will be showcasing its brand new battery-less remote control systems– capable of up to 300 metres range with no additional power source -  distances, the firm claims, are yet to be approached by other companies using similar methods. Utilising a secure, high-speed RF protocol, the KAPBOX and KAPTRAP systems have a myriad of possible applications.

These are of course just a small selection of the thousands of products on show at Southern 2018. A full listing of exhibitors and a searchable database of solutions can be found at Pre-registered visitors will also receive a free copy of the show’s Preview magazine profiling over 100 exhibitors, plus a free copy of the detailed Show Guide.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2018 opens from February 6th to 8th. Admission to the show is free. More information and tickets are available from Farnborough Exhibition and Conference Centre offers free on-site car parking and is easily reached by road, air or public transport.

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