Better by design: Introducing the Engineering Design Show 2012

7 min read

The increasing imperative is for engineers to operate across a variety of technological sectors and to incorporate ever more advanced technology into their designs – and this makes getting to grips with the latest products and techniques crucial.

Yet, despite the fact that there are more than 100,000 design engineers working in the electronics, electromechanical and engineering disciplines at almost 13,000 sites across the UK, there is no standalone exhibition or industry event designed specifically to meet their needs for information, advice and – above all – innovation. This seems strange, particularly at a time when it has never been more important for design engineers to have access to the latest information, advice and technological developments. Alongside this, of course, growing constraints on the time available to engineers have made it increasingly difficult for them to attend exhibitions as a whole. And, if those exhibitions focus purely on one technology or market sector, justifying that time can be even more difficult. As time becomes more precious to each design engineer, so the need for a single show that runs the technological gamut under one roof would appear to have become more pressing. This has been borne out by research undertaken by New Electronics and Eureka magazines in July 2011. A significant sample of the two magazines' audiences was surveyed to identify the potential for an event focused on engineering design. Of the 600 interviews carried out, 68% of New Electronics readers and 75% of Eureka readers said they would be interested in attending an exhibition and conference focused on design engineering. Armed with this information, New Electronics' parent company Findlay Media has decided to fill this longstanding gap and has launched The Engineering Design Show, which will take place on 10 and 11 October 2012 at the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The show will feature a high level conference, 24 practical and informative workshops and will feature the brightest and the best in UK engineering. Findlay's stable of magazines, including New Electronics, Eureka and Automotive Design Europe, demonstrate the company's commitment to excellence in engineering design and reflect its credibility in the sector. Bringing this knowledge to bear in the form of a comprehensive trade exhibition seems the logical next step. According to Ed Tranter, Findlay Media's executive director: "The research simply confirmed for us that The Engineering Design Show will offer something unique and valued in the market: an exhibition catering specifically for design engineers, regardless of the industry in which they work." The surveys of New Electronics and Eureka readers reinforced the belief that content addressing specific topics at the event is important. The Engineering Design Show will feature two workshop theatres and a conference area with up to 36 sessions across the two days. Clearly, there is no shortage of subjects to be covered and the conference will include topics of direct relevance to the modern design engineer, with sessions led by experts in their technological fields. Conference content will be guided by the results of July's reader surveys and by further research, which is already underway. Topics relevant to electronics design engineers that will be offered at the conference include: test and measurement; sensors and signal conditioning; displays and optoelectronics; embedded software development; mixed signal and analogue design; wireless communications; fpgas; and powering portable products. There will also be sessions addressing designing for the aerospace, defence, automotive and medical sectors. Tranter noted: "A good conference programme is one of the keys to a successful exhibition. We realise that we need to offer visitors more than just an exhibition; we have to give them technical content that is tailored specifically to their professional needs as design engineers." More details of the conference and workshop sessions will be provided over the coming months. Access to the conference theatre will carry a small delegate fee and tickets will need to be purchased in advance. Meanwhile, each workshop theatre will offer visitors practical, hands on content, with case study presentations by leading technology experts. This area will be free for visitors to attend and each workshop session is to be promoted individually with a full synopsis of the content and what visitors can expect to learn. The conference area and seminar theatres are deliberately located within the exhibition hall to maximise the benefit to exhibitors. When surveyed, design engineers also stated overwhelmingly that the event's location and the need to address specific topics were the most important elements to a successful show. Drive times have been carefully considered for the location in Coventry and the topics requested will be covered in the conference and workshops. The Ricoh Arena International Events Centre is based within a two hour drive for 75% of the population of England. It is yards from junction three of the M6 and is near an international airport and major railway stations. Its location and its 15,000m2 purpose built conference and exhibition centre makes it an ideal venue for the new event. Ultimately, however, the Engineering Design Show will stand or fall by the quality of its exhibitors (a selection of whose comments can be found on the following pages) and, of course, its visitors. By offering a showcase for leading names in the field such as National Instruments and TDK-Lambda – and by offering a comprehensive conference programme and technical workshops – The Engineering Design Show promises to deliver an event that design engineers can truly call their own. What the market says… Leading companies and industry bodies have responded positively to Engineering Design Show – and many have already signed up to exhibit. Here is what some of them have to say about The Engineering Design Show. Mark Gradwell, marketing communications manager, National Instruments UK & Ireland:"The UK has long suffered from a lack of viable, thriving live events and exhibitions for engineers, where they can learn about new technologies and techniques, get up close and hands on with the latest tools, hear about the amazing work their peers are doing, and interact with suppliers, customers and colleagues in an efficient, productive environment. National Instruments recognises the value of such events and is pleased to see Findlay Media, via its respected engineering publications New Electronics and Eureka, address this audience with its Engineering Design Show. A healthy show for industrial design engineers is something NI and many other engineering companies would welcome, both from an exhibitor and delegate perspective." Geoff Wilby, general manager, TDK-Lambda UK: "We believe the Engineering Design Show is an opportunity to meet with Design Engineers and discuss with them the problems they face when deciding which is the correct power architecture for their system, each application has unique requirements cooling, size constraints, power needs etc. Throughout the show we will have our team of experienced Application Engineers who have an in depth appreciation of the best practice techniques to use when designing a system power solution. These solutions will optimise the power architecture and efficiency of the end product helping it to meet the relevant legislation requirements for the world markets." Karen Preston, marketing services manager, Schaeffler (UK) Ltd: "Schaeffler is looking forward to being a headline sponsor of the Engineering Design show next October. We are delighted that Findlay Media has recognised the importance of the engineering design function to the future of UK manufacturing with a targeted showcase for innovation and engineering excellence. The Schaeffler Group – including its super precision division The Barden Corporation – has always been committed to working closely with design engineers in all industrial sectors to help them to meet their specific application requirements. "This show will give engineering designers the opportunity to meet experienced engineers from both Schaeffler UK and Barden on one spacious, purpose-built stand. Visitors can come along and meet the team to see how they can take full advantage of value-added, cost-effective and energy efficient solutions in their particular area of expertise. We are anticipating an exciting event in an ideal location." Peter Brook, chairman, UK Electronics Alliance: "The UK Electronics Alliance is delighted to support the Engineering Design Show and looks forward to this new event establishing itself as an important date in the industry calendar. Design and innovation are critical to the wellbeing of the UK electronics community, to enable the many business sectors that we support to be globally competitive and to be a key element in the revival of UK manufacturing." Marco Pisano, electronics programme manager, Intellect: "Design engineering is the vital and creative force of the technology industry. The future of British advanced manufacturing and electronics relies on this 'higher value added' service – hence we're proud to support The Engineering Design Show. Any initiative aimed to raise the profile of UK engineering and connect designers is welcomed as we need more than ever to equip this vibrant community with the tools necessary to stay ahead of global competition". Stephen Tetlow, chief executive, Institution of Mechanical Engineers: "Good design goes hand in hand with good engineering – one cannot exist without the other. The Engineering Design Show is to be applauded for offering our world class design engineers the chance to enhance their knowledge and expertise. This conference will give design engineers a unique opportunity to meet, get hands-on training in the latest techniques and share ideas, which can only be a good thing for the industry as a whole." Paul Marshall, marketing director, Henkel Technologies: "To have this opportunity to discuss new innovations and provide options for improved design processes across a multitude of industries is very appealing. Equally, with the pressure on designers' time, the fact they will have put aside time to explore new options when they attend the show, creates a great starting point for exploring potential opportunities. Henkel has been involved in the design process and technical consultancy for many years and expects the show to deliver a positive forum for both the exhibitor and visitor." Matthew Aldridge, bearings product director, igus UK Ltd: "igus UK is pleased to support the launch of the Engineering Design Show as we feel there is a demand for a high quality event that allows engineers to get hands-on with products and talk to suppliers, like us, about potential solutions and new developments in technology. We envisage demonstrating a large range of our plastic bearing and cable chain products and look forward to helping people find alternatives to traditional methods that they may be using. We feel that Findlay, through its history of publishing Eureka magazine, has the credibility to develop this event into being a must-attend for the design engineering community. We are looking forward to it already!" Stewart Goulding, sales and marketing director, EMS Ltd: "The customer base for our products and services is very diverse and covers everything from aerospace, defence and medical devices through to optical equipment and factory automation, so we need to be able to be visible to the broadest possible audience. We feel that a comprehensive, all-encompassing exhibition like the Engineering Design Show offers us that opportunity." Martin Partridge, managing director, Brownell: "An exhibition such as The Engineering Design Show is an ideal opportunity to broaden our coverage of this market by bringing us closer to the engineers who specify products and thereby bringing us new customers and leads and allowing us to introduce our technology to new markets."