Exhibitions always provide an opportunity to gauge the mood of industry. For example, TCT Live exhibition held at the NEC in Birmingham last month was interesting. Overall, the mood seems to be one of a nervous “wait and see”. Some companies report plenty of enquiries and requests for quotes, but then say they are experiencing a definite hold on sign-offs for new orders. Others are still booking at a good rate and are almost euphoric about this year’s trading results, with a good many reporting record sales for 2010/2011.
The other side of trade shows is, of course, new technology and industry developments. At TCT Live, one theme that of additive manufacturing. Using CAD files or scanning/digitising sensors, instant reproduction through additive manufacturing systems was demonstrated live. It gives a fascinating insight into the possible future of manufacturing. - a point brought home to me on a recent visit to a developer and manufacturer of measurement systems. Looking around their offices, I spotted a desk top 3D printer producing a 3D artefact to verify the measurement system's performance. Something which previously would have taken weeks of iterations with outside suppliers now taking just a short time and totally in their control.
Brendan Coyne - Editor/Publisher QMT