Southern Manufacturing & Electronics returns to Farnborough from 11-13 February 2020. Now in its 22nd year, the show is something of an institution and certainly the most important annual engineering and industrial technology show for many of the hundreds of exhibitors taking part and the 9,000 visitors that pass through the doors every year. Once again for 2020 firms from around the UK will be participating, together with a significant – and growing – number of off-shore exhibitors from across Europe, Asia and the Far East. All in all, the show is an excellent opportunity to see all the latest manufacturing technologies in action and meet a lot of companies that you wouldn’t expect to encounter at a domestic show.

Given the scale of the event and its location right in the centre of one of the most important regions for aerospace manufacture in the UK, it will come as no surprise that advanced manufacturing and materials is one of the fastest growing aspects of the event, further boosted by the show’s collaboration with the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium, Composites UK and NetComposites along with national organisations including the SMMT, the Confederation of British Metalforming, the GTMA and the British Gear Association.

CDG 3D Systems demonstrates the Figure-4 3D printer. The rapid, high-resolution DLP 3D printer uses a nano-micro film for virtual continuous printing in a dozen different materials, covering most of the most important prototyping and production applications including strong, flexible and textured black plastics, black rubber, bio-compatible white together with amber, high temperature amber (300°C) and eggshell moulding resin used for silicone parts. New products being presented by Laser Lines this year include the XM200C metal powder-bed fusion 3D printer from Xact Metal. The XM200C is a compact and affordable system that can produce quality metal parts from a variety of metal powders at a low cost. Also demonstrated will be the new Method 3D printer from MakerBot that combines the speed and accuracy of an industrial 3D printer with the space-saving design of a desktop unit, plus the latest Form 3 3D printer from Formlabs. CREAT3D will be showing the latest additive manufacturing technology from Nexa3D. One of the printer’s key features is its print speed, printing up to 1 Z cm per minute. Rapid 3D print technology enables tool-less low volume batch production, the ability to iterate a dozen designs in a single day, produce a revised prototype during a design meeting, make multiple products in a single day or offer same day turnaround to customers.

Another interesting example of additive manufacturing will be found in the show’s very popular Production, Tooling & Machinery area, where many of the biggest names in machining centres will be running live demonstrations. Among them, Matsuura Machinery will exhibit the single table five-axis MX-520 CNC machine tool and HP Multi-Jet Fusion 580 3D printer. Machining live, the MX-520 will use fixtures and work-holding printed on the HP Multi-Jet Fusion 4200 3D printer, as a demonstration of the hybrid additive and subtractive production strategies now available to UK manufacturers. Visitors can also see live 3D colour printing on the HP Jet Fusion 580 and discuss its capabilities with a team of 3D experts.

Other manufacturers demonstrating include Hurco, with its versatile and compact Hurco VM10i machining centre and TM8i 2-axis CNC lathe. Trumpf returns for 2020, introducing its wide selection of sheet metal fabrication tools and industrial lasers, alongside 3D printing systems, power tools and electronics. XYZ Machine Tools will show its Robo-Tend robot-based automation cell, demonstrated attached to an XYZ 750 LR VMC. Also on show will be a demonstration of simultaneous 5-axis machining on the XYZ UMC-5X, and the latest ProtoTrak control system being demonstrated on an RMX 3500 bed mill and an RLX 355 ProTurn lathe. Other major machinery manufacturers exhibiting include Yamazaki Mazak, Bystronic, C. Dugard and Haas Automation, amongst others.

As a marketplace for components and sub-assemblies, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics probably has no equal in the UK’s annual diary of events. Particularly so as its SME-friendly format encourages participation from smaller but highly innovative specialist firms. Ineltek will exhibit a family of low-cost and simple-to-use add-on boards designed for the Microchip Xplained Pro prototyping and evaluation platform to support the development of E-Ink displays. Currently available with 1.5-, 2.9- and 5.7-inch displays, the boards make it easy to connect and easy to develop using E-Ink display technology in a Microchip Arm or AVR-based development environment. Low power E-Ink displays retain the image even when the display is switched off. Support also includes software libraries, example projects, 2D and 3D CAD for the displays and the PCB data for fast prototyping.  BT2000 will be spotlighting several new releases, including PCTEL performance critical antennas, portable RF telecom scanners/ interference locating systems, Vinatech supercapacitors and carbon solutions for fuel cells. RF Solutions will be displaying a new selection of LoRa (long range) radio modules, among them the Lambda 62 RF module, a cost-effective 868/915Mhz LoRa transceiver featuring Semtech SX1262 LoRa with a range of over 20km.

The free seminar programme at Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2020 – another hugely popular aspect of the show – delivers a wide-ranging agenda, covering amongst other topics advanced materials, additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0, and real-world examples of business transformation. Award winning author of Staying Lean, creator of the Lean Iceberg Model together with partner at S.A. Partners, Gary Griffiths, will discuss how organisations have successfully delivered results for their business by embedding as well as sustaining Lean & Continuous Improvement. Popular presenter Ailsa Carson of Onsite Insights gives examples of best practice in manufacturing through ten, real-world case studies. Kevin Askew of GoPrint3D reviews the Additive Manufacturing Landscape together with the applications of the technology, from prototype to end-use parts. Steven Barr together with Ravi Gidoomal of Edge Digital Manufacturing discuss how to develop a digital roadmap for your business as well as identify the right digital technologies to maximise value.

Mark Knowlton from Locate in Kent will present Delivering Industry 4.0 – an examination of how SMEs can benefit from embracing digital manufacturing. In 4.0 The Quality Revolution, Mike John of The Sempre Group looks at how British Business must evolve its quality control in a global competitive market. Nick Aitken along with Dr Alex Martin of the RINA take a look at Counterfeit components along with product compliance challenges, while Dr Chris Robertson discusses Life after Brexit – What next in trade relations & product regulation. Mike Foster, managing director of The CE Marking Association will explore another aspect of the post-Brexit landscape in CE Marking 2020 and Beyond – How the changes will affect all manufacturers

Farnborough International Conference and Exhibition Centre offers complimentary car parking for 3,500 vehicles and is well-served by road and public transport links. A regular free shuttle bus service operates from both of Farnborough’s mainline railway stations directly to the exhibition. The venue itself provides a high standard of facilities including a complimentary WiFi service in the foyer area as well as high quality catering outlets.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2020 opens from February 11th to 13th. Admission to the exhibition is free of charge.