MACH 2022, which opens its doors at the NEC in Birmingham on Monday, is set to be the most significant gathering of manufacturers in the UK post-pandemic. Against a backdrop of growing cost pressures on manufacturers, the arrival of the event could not be timelier offering as it does, the largest display of new machinery and manufacturing technologies under one roof in the UK for four years.

Aside from highlighting some of the most important issues facing the manufacturing industry, the ability of the exhibition to act as a catalyst to manufacturing investment is most important. The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), which organises the event, is imploring manufacturers to take advantage of the current fiscal incentive schemes to implement investment strategies that will be crucial to their ability to increase production and insulate themselves from the worst inflationary pressures.

James Selka, CEO, MTA said: “Given current circumstances, there is a strong argument to say that this is one of, if not the most important MACH exhibitions ever. The Government said in its Spring Statement that investment remains a key driver of productivity growth and that by adding to the economy’s capital stock and improving the skills of the workforce, the economy can produce more with the same input from workers.

“This aligns with the MTA’s own view that investment in transformative manufacturing technologies and improved skills have consistently delivered higher productivity levels down the years and will continue to do so. With inflation rising for the first time in decades, UK manufacturers need to implement productivity improvements now in order to avoid having margins squeezed to an unsustainable degree. Now is the time to be brave and make the investments that will reap greater rewards further down the line.”

Transactions worth hundreds of millions of pounds are regularly concluded at the MACH exhibition, making it a positive force for investment. An audience of over 25,000 is expected to visit the show across its five days to view the hundreds of exhibitors. At the most recent live exhibition, MACH 2018:

  • 95% of exhibitors generated leads
  • 80% of exhibitors raised their profile
  • 38% of exhibitors launched new product
  • 51% of exhibitors received tenders/ quotation requests.

MACH 2022 is not just a five-day exhibition; it will create a large pipeline of high-quality leads and opportunities that will help generate sales long after the show has ended.

Many buyers are expected to be incentivised by Government stimulus packages such as Super Deduction and the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). Running until 31st March 2023, the Super Deduction scheme means companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will be able to claim a 130% super-deduction capital allowance on their plant and machinery investment, plus a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets.

The super-deduction scheme will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest. The incentive scheme is intended to jump-start the manufacturing sector as it looks to bounce back quickly from the pandemic-induced recession.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted the scheme could encourage manufacturers to bring forward investment plans, thereby speeding up the rate of recovery, a view supported by the MTA.

“In order to make the step change improvements in productivity and therefore competitiveness, manufacturers need only three things – technologies, the skill to acquire and deploy those technologies, and the finance to make it happen,” said Mr Selka. “Technologies have never been more powerful and affordable, the UK has an incredible reputation for its innovative and flexible workforce, and finance assisted by these Government incentives is incredibly good value and hugely available.

“Brighter times are ahead but manufacturers must shape their own destiny and by investing now, will make great strides towards a better future for everyone. The MTA stands ready to assist manufacturers in any way it can, and by staging such a timely exhibition as MACH 2022 it is making a positive contribution to future prosperity. We urge the entire manufacturing community to embrace opportunity and visit MACH 2022 for a glimpse on how that future can be achieved.”

Delivering the exhibition’s keynote speech at midday on Monday is Katherine Bennett CBE, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. During her speech she will address two of the key themes of the show – the importance of sustainability in manufacturing and the drive to net zero, alongside the importance of the advanced engineering sector.

Beyond the engineering and manufacturing community, the exhibition is also significant for the stimulus it offers to both the regional, and national economy. It is one of the biggest and most important gathering of businesses in the UK since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ian Taylor, Managing Director for NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions said: “We have already welcomed back thousands of exhibitors and visitors and it is clear there is huge demand for these marketplaces, with people really embracing the return of face-to-face relationships. Delivering successful exhibitions has shown that live events are not only a hugely valuable route to market for thousands of businesses but are also more than capable of being staged safely in every industry sector.

“I’ve no doubt that MACH 2022 will provide the perfect opportunity for global manufacturing businesses to tap into this market demand and explore new technologies. The NEC is proud to be MACH’s venue of choice and we could not be happier to welcome the MACH community through the doors of our world class venue.”

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