Advanced Engineering is Back with a Bang in 2021


The UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering professionals, Advanced Engineering, will return to the NEC, Birmingham on November 3 and 4, 2021. Here, the UK’s talented and vast engineering industry can meet again for the first time in almost two years to do business, make new connections and discover innovation.

This year, there will be seven  show zones — aerospace, composites, automotive, performance metals, connected manufacturing, medical devices and, new for 2021, space and satellite. Also, for the first time, Advanced Engineering UK’s sister show, Lab Innovations, will take place in the same hall. Advanced Engineering UK hopes that having so many sectors under one roof will enable cross-industry collaboration and the formation of new business relationships after 18 months of limited interactions.

There will be four forums held during the two-day show, featuring some of the leading voices from engineering and manufacturing. A huge topic at the aerospace forum this year is decarbonising aviation. During the show, there will be presentations on electrification, zero-carbon aviation and hydrogen propulsion from the Aerospace Technology Institute, Rolls-Royce, Ampaire, ZeroAvia and ID TechEx. Supply chain management is a concern for many companies this year, so Advanced Engineering UK will welcome talks from Airbus UK and ADS on supplier expectations and supply chain excellence.

On day two, the forum will have a whole morning dedicated to space and satellite engineering, with talks from the UK Space Agency, Skyrora, D-Orbit UK and the Space Applications Catapult.

At the automotive forum, electrification and sustainability will also feature as major themes, with talks from JCB, Ford, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Jaguar Land Rover and many more.

On the composites stage, visitors can find out more about what digitalisation means for composite manufacturing, the 3D printing of composite parts and how composites are enabling the UK’s move towards its net-zero carbon emissions targets. Composites UK CEO, David Bailey will return along with the National Composites Centre’s Head of Digital Engineering, Marc Funnell. BAE Systems and Transport for London will also take to the stage.

During the connected manufacturing forum, Ian Gardner, Industry 4.0 and Oracle Specialist at IBM and Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, will deliver keynote speeches. They’ll be supported by speakers from the Connected Places Catapult, Brunel University London and IoT North, to name a few.

As well as its impressive speaker programme, Advanced Engineering UK will be supported by some of the world’s key industry associations, such as The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Composites UK, Make UK, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, GAMBICA, BARA and the Department for International Trade, all of whom now feature as trade body partners.

Advanced Engineering UK is the go-to show for anyone wanting to meet the world’s leading engineering companies, plus the UK’s most innovative start-ups, thanks to the return of the show’s Enabling Innovation zone, supported by Innovate UK. Here, ten chosen start-ups will have the opportunity to showcase their ground-breaking product or technology, before presenting it to a panel of esteemed judges for the chance of winning a stand at next year’s show.

The show already has several exciting features confirmed, including an original prototype of the ExoMars rover, created by Airbus Defence and Space. The rover, commonly known as Bruno, is semi-autonomous and equipped with all the same technology as the final rover, including the sensors, actuators and cameras that allow the rover to see in 3D while navigating Mars. Advanced Engineering UK’s new show zone dedicated entirely to space and satellite innovation will be Bruno’s landing site for the show, and can be found in the existing Aero Engineering floor.

Also on display will be RS Electric Boat’s Pulse 63. The boat’s power source is a battery pack derived from the automotive industry, which harnesses a RIM drive unit rather than a traditional propeller, increasing the boat’s efficiency and offering a lightweight power solution. The boat is zero emission and the most sustainable laminate of any RIB in the industry. More features will be announced in the coming weeks.

Next up is the IGAN, which has been designed and built by former nuclear engineer, John Ross. Standing for I Go Anywhere Now, the IGAN is an electric wheelchair mounted onto tank-style tracks. The chair is narrow enough to fit through household doors and small enough to load into cars. However, its tracks make it capable of climbing and descending stairs or traversing hilly terrain.

Other innovative features include a hinged plate on the underside of the chassis, which is lowered at the top of stairs to support the vehicle and prevent it from tipping forwards. The seat is also pivoted as close to the ground as possible to maintain the centre of gravity of the device, while linear actuators keep the seat horizontal.

In the composites zone, Ford will be bringing a transit van, which showcases the results of a recent weight reduction project for the front suspension crossmember, front lower control arm and rear dead beam axle. Along with Geestamp, the National Composites Centre and the University of Nottingham, Ford achieved a 40 per cent weight reduction across the components, which led to the project winning an award for innovation in design at the Composites UK 2020 awards.

Finally, on the Auto floor, the University of Warwick will showcase its TT capable electric racing motorcycle, Frontier, which has been manufactured following a donation of a sports bike frame by Norton Motorcycles. The bike has been adapted by a student team to be fitted with an electric powertrain, and batteries and control systems that were designed in-house.

The electric power train is rated with a power output of 160kW or 201bhp and delivers 400Nm of torque from a standing start. The acceleration and speed characteristics of the electric bike in motion roughly translate into a combustion-engine equivalent of around 900cc to 1,000cc, which is only slightly less than Norton’s own petrol powertrain.

The electric motor draws power from an immersion-cooled battery pack that has been designed and tested by the students and is the first of its kind for application in an electric motorcycle. With a capacity of 16kWh, the battery is designed to last longer with the application of robust thermal management strategies, while also allowing for larger short term power peaks required by a racing motorbike.

“We were delighted to be invited to display some of the light weighting projects and components at this years Advanced Engineering,” commented Alan Banks, Innovation & Industrial Engagement Supervisor at Ford Innovation. “In a world of electrification and advanced propulsion, weight reduction, especially for commercial vehicles, will become increasingly important and the work done by Ford will be a springboard to further work and innovation that we are looking forward to discussing with industry. Advanced Engineering UK is the first step in realising the collaboration potential that exists in the supply chain and I am very much looking forward to meeting everyone face to face again.”

Advanced Engineering offers a great opportunity to meet suppliers, partners and generate business leads for the first time in over a year. Already, the show’s exhibitor space is 90 per cent sold out – a sign that our industry is eager to come together again. In 2019, over 10,000 professionals from the manufacturing sector attended Advanced Engineering. 70 per cent of visitors reported that they planned to place orders as a result of the relationships formed and an impressive 93 per cent of exhibitors reported that they achieved their objectives at the show.

This year, Advanced Engineering UK is also relaunching AE Connect, a digital platform that is used to schedule meetings ahead of the show. In 2019, the platform was used to schedule 588 meetings, which generated an average order value of £200,000 per meeting held. After 18 months of limited in-person meetings, it’s understandable that businesses might not have as many connections as they usually would by this time of year. AE Connect allows both exhibitors and visitors to make the most of their time at the show by filling their diaries with valuable meetings beforehand.

The portal is designed to be very user-friendly. Registered exhibitors receive login credentials to AE Connect, where they can share information about their products and services. Exhibitors can also specify their ideal target audience, as well as their goals during the show.

The smart platform uses this data to find potential matches, allowing exhibitors to contact them to arrange meetings during the show. Meetings can take place in a dedicated lounge area, or directly at the exhibitor’s stand. Exhibitors can also use the platform as a calendar, blocking out periods when they’d like to attend conferences and therefore won’t be available for meetings.

The business development manager of Compotech Flexix, one of 2019’s exhibitors, was very impressed with AE Connect. The platform gave us a good view of potential visitors before the show,” he reported. “We got 18 connections for meetings and most of them came to talk to us. AE Connect kept us well informed through the show. It was well worthwhile!”

“It’s clear that our industry is eager to meet and do business in person once again, following 18 months of limited interactions,” added Aleiya Lonsdale, Head of Marketing at Easyfairs, the organiser of Advanced Engineering UK. “Some attendees might have a lighter calendar than previous years, due to a lack of new contacts built during 2021. AE Connect is a great tool that can help counteract that by matchmaking companies that are looking to achieve similar goals at the exhibition.”

Advanced Engineering UK marks the return to face-to-face business, which the UK has been craving since March 2020,” explained Alison Willis, Director at Easyfairs, the organizer of Advanced Engineering. “The show offers the UK’s engineering industry the chance to get together again, do business and discover the innovative technologies and products that have been created in the past year.”


Are you ready to meet some of the UK’s top innovators in engineering? Register to attend Advanced Engineering 2021 on November 3–4 via the exhibition’s website,

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