Drives & Controls Exhibition set to take centre stage in April

With only weeks to go until the biennial Drives & Controls Exhibition & Conference, co-located alongside; Plant and Asset Management, European Offshore Energy, Fluid Power & Systems, and Air-Tech Exhibitions – returns to Birmingham’s NEC (Halls 3/3A) from 12-14th April 2016, alongside MACH 2016 and National Electronics Week 2016. Collectively the exhibitions will be the largest manufacturing and engineering events of 2016, and will create an unmissable event.

Drives & Controls Exhibition & Conference 2016 will again bring together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multi-tasking culture of today’s design engineer, covering critical areas such as energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, robotics and automation plus much more, all under one roof. In addition, for the first time, a dedicated area will be included where some of the latest industrial robot technology will be demonstrated.

It is apparent that there is a diverse range of automation companies of all sizes supporting the event. A small taste of the many companies that have signed up to return to the Drives & Controls Exhibition following successful appearances at previous shows are: Delta Line; Automation Experts; RS Components; Principle Engineering; WEG Electric Motors; Kormag; Danfoss Drives; Semikron; Phoenix Contact; Beijer Electronics; and Vacon (which will be appearing on the Gambica pavilion).

Several new overseas exhibitors have also joined the line-up in recent weeks, including the Indian motor manufacturer, Rotomag, the Swiss firm Technosoft, and the Chinese business, Shandong Sound Metals & Machinery.


Industrial robot technology area

The Drives & Controls Exhibition & Conference will, for the first time, also include a dedicated area where some of the latest industrial robot technology will be demonstrated. Interest in robotics is growing rapidly as prices come down and capabilities increase. The technology is moving ahead incredibly quickly and the show organiser believes the time is right for a robotics demonstration area at the event.

The demo has attracted many big names including: ABB Robotics, Applied Engineering, B&R, Harmonic Drive AG, Mitsubishi, Universal Robot, RA Rodriguez, Staubli, Active8 Robots Ltd.

There will be several examples of the new generation of “collaborative” robots at The Drives & Controls Exhibition – or “cobots” – designed to operate safely alongside human workers, without needing a protective cage.

Yaskawa, is one of the latest exhibitors to sign up. As well as sharing a large stand with its Vipa controls subsidiary, Yaskawa will also take part in the show’s robot demonstration zone. Another new arrival in this zone is Baxter, the two-armed collaborative robot developed by US-based Rethink Robotics. Baxter, which has a distinctive “face” display, will be demonstrated by Rethink’s UK distributor, Active8 Robots. Also showing some of its robots will be Mitsubishi Electric (in addition to its main stand).



The co-location of events running alongside Drives & Controls Exhibition, includes: Plant & Asset Management 2016, the UK’s premier event for plant, asset, maintenance and works management engineers and directors, showcasing the very latest in condition monitoring, CMMS, outsourcing/contract maintenance, energy efficiency, boilers/burners/combustion, handling and storage plus much more.

While Fluid Power & Systems 2016, the UK’s only exhibition totally focused on hydraulics, pneumatics, systems and related equipment, has the full support of the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), and as such continues to be the popular choice for fluid power system manufacturers and distributors.

In addition Air-Tech 2016 is set to highlight current key themes related to the very latest in air compressor and related technology from companies from around the globe. The event is supported by the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), and is the UK’s only dedicated event for the compressed air and generators market.

Also returning will be the European Offshore Energy 2016, which will once again bring together under one roof, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers for the entire upstream offshore energy marketplace – exploration, production, design, maintenance, upgrade, procurement and energy generation.


Seminars taken to a new level

The free 2016 seminar and conference programme running alongside the co-location of exhibitions will be taken to a new level, adding significant value with a more comprehensive speaker programme than ever before, and a strong emphasis on technology, entrepreneurship, skills, regulations, the environment, and safety.

The full programme of free seminars for the co-location, with speakers offering expert insight and practical advice on important and topical issues, will take place across three seminar theatres: The Drives & Controls Seminar Theatre; Fluid Power & Air Seminar Theatre – sponsored by Gardner Denver, and the Maintenance Seminar Theatre – sponsored by Shell Lubricants.

Within the Drives & Controls Seminar Theatre there will be a programme, which brings together all aspects of robotics and automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion control, legislation, system strategies and technological developments. Featuring representatives from across industry including government agencies, the EU, research bodies, trade associations, and manufacturers. The Drives & Controls conference programme will focus on practical solutions to real-life industry requirements. For example, GAMBICA’s Steve Brambley will be presenting a seminar on future trends – circular economy, Industry 4.0 and EcoDesign, and a panel discussion on trends in the industrial automation sector and what are the influencing factors. Other highlights include: Optimising Energy Consumption in motor driven systems, by Steve Schofield of the BPMA, and a seminar on Driving the future of robotics by Graham Mackrell, Harmonic Drive. UK MTC will also be giving a presentation on Industry 4.0 and the reality for UK industry, while Dr Scott Steedman will be presenting a seminar on ‘Technical Standards & the EU in-out referendum.

The growing importance of robots will also be emphasised within the free seminar programme with presentations covering topics such as dispelling the risks, fears and unknowns of modem day robotics; as well looking into the trend for removing the guarding from robotic cells, and understanding the practical advantages and disadvantage of robotic applications and what the physical, practical, technical and regulatory constraints can be. While Mike Wilson of BARA will present a paper on the ‘The impact of automation on motion control ‘.

New for 2016 – exhibition organiser, DFA Media has teamed up with The Industry Entrepreneurship Network (IEN) to put on a series of three panel discussions during the three-day exhibition, which will run alongside DFA Media’s other seminar programme. The three sessions will cover the topics of ‘Bridging the skills gap’ (chaired by Susan Scurlock, CEO, Primary & Secondary Engineer), ‘Financing innovation and entrepreneurship in industry’ (chaired by Lee Hopley, Chief Economist, EEF), and ‘Developing UK innovation and entrepreneurship’, with panels formed from the network’s membership of established entrepreneurs, industrial companies and leading UK trade, science, education and engineering organisations.


For registration and regular updates on Drives & Controls Exhibition and for detailed seminar information, please visit the official website:

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