Exciting futures showcased at the NEC

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Every year the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham hosts the Advanced Engineering event, and West System International (WSI) once again took a stand to be right in the thick of it.

Organised by Easyfairs, Advanced Engineering 2018 was held at the end of October and celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Across the show floor were 600 exhibiting suppliers, demonstrating the very latest innovations and applications. In the lecture theatre, leaders in their fields delivered over 200 presentations and case studies throughout the show.

The venue itself was divided into five engineering categories. These were Automotive, Aeronautical, Composites, Performance Metals and Engineering. The sixth category was ‘Connected Manufacturing’, with an emphasis on the supply chain. Once again, West System International had a stand in the Composites Engineering zone. The company has been supporting the two-day show – and its 16,000 visitors – since 2013.

“Since it began, it has been the UK’s flagship expo for composite materials and suppliers,” said WSI’s David Johnson. “We met a wide variety of customers, both old friends and new, along with a lot of our co-collaborators on various projects. Many you will have read about these in Epoxycraft, such as J-TEC’s James Newman, who makes carbon fibre car parts with PRO-SET epoxy; Rob, Harry and Tom from White Formula who make the exciting Whisper foiling catamaran. These were just some of the designers and innovators who came to our stand.”

For David and the team, it is a chance to talk to a mix of experienced specialists and new start-ups who are looking for new solutions in the manufacture of composite items. A trend WSI has seen from the other shows where it takes a stand, such as the JEC event in Paris and Composites Europe in Stuttgart, is the focus on carbon fibre and lightweight structures.

“We meet a lot of independent engineers who aren’t brand loyal,” David said. “They are simply looking for the best product for their particular project and this leads us to discover some very exciting developments in the practical application of epoxy composites.”

Although this year’s show appeared to have slightly less exhibitors than last year, despite the addition of a new sector, Nuclear Engineering, David felt that there was a greater interest amongst visitors for the technology around the supply chain. The development of new materials also saw a greater focus.

“We will definitely be back next year,” he said. “What made us smile is that some of our competitors also came to chat to us, no doubt keeping an eye on what we are doing. Although WSI has a massive heritage as a formulator of epoxy resins, we remain at the cutting edge of formulation, something that is not lost on our rivals.”

Advanced Engineering (UK) 2019 will be held at the NEC Birmingham on 30-31 October and is open from 10am to 5pm. Organisers Easyfairs will be hosting similar events throughout Europe during 2019, with Advanced Engineering Gothenburg on 27th-28th March and Advanced Engineering Ghent between 22-23 May.

More details at www.easyfairs.com

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