Martin Doyles MACH 2016 BlogDay 1 - MACH Blog Hello from MACH 2016: MACH is the largest UK showcase for advanced machine tools and manufacturing and as it opened the doors to Halls 4 and 5 to the engineers of the UK this morning - ETG was ready with a warm welcome and a vast array of fully working machine tools. I was delighted with the efforts our marketing and engineering teams had put in to create two superb stands. The main Hall 5 stand is (very) large but offers visitors a great opportunity to view and assess all that’s new from ETG. Unlike many in the show it is not ‘crammed’ with machinery but airy and welcoming. In Hall 4, the dedicated workholding exhibit is ideally positioned in amongst the tooling and fixturing experts. Monday mornings are always slow at exhibitions; MACH’s cause was not helped by major disruption across the Midlands rail network which of course had knock on effects on congesting the motorways. At the days end the number of visitors was probably around 2,000 which is low. However, what we did notice was the quality of visitor was good. A very welcome early visitor was Sir Chris Hoy MBE the Olympic gold medallist. He officially opened the Show but took time out to visit ETG and others. In particular he was interested in the innovative cycle frame made by our customer North Bucks Machining using a Quaser MF630U. We also presented Sir Chris with a model Yoda made on our Hardinge GX600. He was so pleased he tweeted a thanks on Twitter! Exhibitions are also a good opportunity to meet the media and I was interviewed by Will Sterling, who writes articles for a number of specialist magazines including industry favourite MWP Advanced Manufacturing, He is also a contributor to the associate Parliamentary manufacturing Group. Finally, we must not forget the support we get from our associates - Present on the first day were Cris Taylor, Managing Director of Stama and Ferdinand Hirsch from applications. Ryota Fuke, Deputy General Manager of Nakamura-Tome had flown in and was busy networking with our mutual customers. Hasan Sacak from Chiron Applications was a great support. John McTernan, European Sales Director of Hardinge had flown in all the way from Solihull (or was it a taxi?) Finally, it was good to welcome Johannes Psluger, Sales Director of Handtmann. I’ll be back soon with a further update. Day 2 - MACH Blog Hello again from MACH 2016: Much busier today! The estimate is that close on 4,000 visitors passed through the doors and while it was clear there was much more of a ‘buzz’ about the halls generally, we at ETG certainly saw an upturn in numbers and interest on both stands. First up it’s great to report on orders off the stand – one of Ross Milne’s customers from Scotland has purchased a Nakamura-Tome NTRX 300 – a machine particularly suited to manufacturing complicated and intricate components. Another success was a sale of a Nakamora-Tome AS 200 equipped with a Halter automated load / unload system. These Halter machines are proving a popular addition and are an attraction on exhibition stands as they add another dimension to what are traditionally fairly static exhibits with all the action taking place behind a screen! This combination was purchased by Evesham based Rotec – one of Simon Higgs’ customers – who are specialist sub-contractors, jig and fixture manufacturers and experts in die making consumables. They already have a Chiron machine purchased from us in the past year. The latest purchase was signed and sealed on the stand! The sales guys also report very good interest in the three Nakamura-Tome machines and the latest Chiron FZ12 FX. The dedicated workholding stand situated ‘up the stairs’ in Hall 4 has also been very busy. Both ETG Workholding and Hyfore’s capabilities are represented and the dynamic duo that is Gary and Darren reports very strong interest from a partnership suppling high quality hydraulic clamping equipment for a potential international supplier tee'd up by Stuart McCullagh. This was one of a number of visitors from what we like to call ‘blue chip’ companies and one of the reasons why showcasing our full capabilities at exhibitions is so important. Rob Beckett also advises that there has been significant interest in the innovative German made Matrix Clamping System that we are showing for the first time having signed with them just before MACH. These systems offer universal support and clamping technology for production, metrology and assembly for complex components – particularly suited for prototype construction and metrology. So it was a busy day and bear in mind this is just a snapshot of the activities across the two stands. On the main stand today we were joined by representatives from Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking who have a long standing relationship with the Engineering Technology Group - of course they were suitably impressed with our stand and also took the opportunity to have a good chat with a number of our staff who were supporting the cause today. Day 3 - MACH Blog
Welcome again from the ETG stand at MACH:
Another very lively day where we’ve combined lots of customer activity with media work, demonstrations and much more.
Yesterday we advised that the daily attendance (or foot fall) was about 4,000. This morning we heard it was closer to 9,000 and this being the popular ‘MACH Wednesday’, a similar if not larger figure was expected. By lunch time the organisers advised the attendance was 5% up on the similar day in 2014, so the omens were good. It certainly seemed very busy.
A feature of the exhibition has been the coverage given by the MTD CNC video team to customer activities across the show. Every day they post coverage of their filming on their web site, on You-Tube and this year on a big screen located outside the main entrance to the NEC in the Plaza.
This morning (Wednesday - depending on if I get an early night or not) their team visited both of ETG’s stands and footage was filmed of Graeme Thomas and all though he isn't the best looking person in the world he done a good job highlighting the key features of the Stama TWIN and the Chiron FZ12X while Steve Brown went through the key features of the Nakamura AS 200 and how it is automatically loaded by the Halter ‘Load Assistant’ ,although the film crew did struggle to get the best angle as the NEC lights were reflecting badly off his bald spot.
To round things off, yours truly was interviewed talking about the show and its importance to ETG …. So in the morning we look forward (some with a degree of trepidation) to see how we performed and whether or not we are ‘video stars!’
Just as MTD left the stand another crew arrived, this time from the MTA (show organiser) who interviewed Dick James on camera talking about the show and while folks should sign up for 2018. Nothing like forward planning!
Exhibitions of course are opportunities to meet up with old friends and it was great to meet up with Jack Carter when he paid a visit. Jack was on his nostalgia trip meeting up with industry friends (and no doubt a few foes) and given his mature years – probably had a long day of hand shaking ahead!
Sales wise it was very busy. The livedemonstrations ranging from company logo’s machined from aluminium to a demonstration of the bike frame we talked about on Tuesday to the ever popular Star Wars Yoda figure have proved a great draw, not just for novelty but to highlight the fantastic capabilities of the machine tools.
Among our principles’ guests on the stand today were Holger Hehl from Chiron, Markus Herdigan from Hardinge Germany and Johannes Psluger, Sales Director from Handtmann.
Oh, and finally …. A suitably impressed David Lowe was approached by a visitor who observed ‘he had a fantastic trunnion!” Hopefully the visitor was referring to the Stama TWIN because otherwise we will be viewing our Dave in a new light…
Back tomorrow with further updates.
Day 4 - MACH BlogWow! What a day. ETG seems to be everywhere and a lot of people wanting to see us! A sobering start to the day though as the sight and sound of Graeme Thomas, Steve Brown and myself greeting visitors as they enter the NEC may have weighed a little heavy on the stomachs of some but there we were in all our glory on the MTD big screen and what a great job (the others) did. Video didn’t kill these ETG stars!* Great exposure for the company and the brands and that transferred itself to the folks visiting the stand during the day. The organisers reckoned on a 10,000 attendance and few would disagree. It was rammed! And … great that so many of our team turned up to support the cause. The knock-on effect of an event like this will be felt down the line (hopefully in sales) for some time to come and those from the ETG team who visited today and earlier will realise just what an important role a show like this can play in the overall sales picture. Sales Director Stewart Cousins - as he was rushed from pillar to post - reckoned attendances were very high but importantly the quality of leads was ‘fantastic’. He’s a salesman mind, so convert that to ‘superb’! Off the stand we have completed definite sales - certainly another Nakamura - but an awful lot of the potential will see the sales guys well occupied in the months to come to convert the interest. Good news also from our ETG Workholding stand where they took a (substantial) order for a Hardinge DD 100 rotary table ‘out of the blue’ as Rob Beckett puts it and there have been considerable levels of interest in Hyfore capabilities from new customers. We commented yesterday on media coverage. A lot of the ladies and gentlemen of the press attend these shows and today – the MTD ‘big screen’ star appearances apart – we have also featured in video, on-line and MTA bulletins. Our twitter king Chris from marketing has been doing a great job telling the world about ETG. If you move, he’ll tweet – beware! The show is also important to highlight the all-round ETG offer. Making a sale is one thing but very important details like the finance are often the closing point. Both Andrew Bullard and Luke Ward have been playing vital roles. A customer gets close but is wavering over how best to purchase? The magic wand these guys can wave often tips the balance and good on them. So, another great day after what we all thought on Monday was a slow start. Today, among guests from our principle’s we were delighted to welcome Wouter Van Halteren and Spela Zalokar from Halter. We’ll give you a final quick update tomorrow and then, after the dust has settled, we will give a more detailed round up in the ‘Cutting Edge’newsletter. Thanks for the nice comments about the daily blog: it’s important to us that you are all kept in the loop. Day 5 - MACH Blog You’ll be reading this final catch up on Monday so here’s a quick update as the final whistle approached at MACH on Friday pm. Predictably a lot quieter on the last day but potential customers were still very much in evidence and we were on the look-out for another ‘deadline’ deal much as we had in 2014. If you recall, on that occasion a customer signed on the dotted line after the show had ended and we were taking the pictures down! So, a few reflections on the week. A lot of folks have said that the UK machine tool industry is about a two year cycle – how many times this week have I heard “I’m another MACH older” - but it is very true. 2016 was my MACH tenth anniversary but our PR man goes back a lot longer than that and he has a friend who did his first show (long before it was called MACH) in 1964 … and the gentleman involved was on the stand at this show! That’s a real life of MACH’s! So we move on. Monday is the day we complete the machine removal. Our Permanent Trade Show in Southam will begin to look its old self again as some of the machines are returned to their more permanent homes. Our investment in the PTS in Southam means we effectively have a MACH every day of the week so it will soon be back and up and running. It’s a great facility and proving its worth and we are working on a programme of events for this summer and beyond. On Friday this coming week we are holding the draw for the winner of the Hardinge GS150 and the range of workholding prizes that were part of the MACH build up. Let’s hope the winner puts it to good use – it’s a cracking little ‘all-rounder’ in the machine shop. Talking of MACH 2018 – if you can bear it – we hear it is moving to a series of different halls at the NEC. Hall 5 has always been its traditional main focus since 1976 but the organisers are looking to enlarge and improve so it will be an interesting move. To sign off, the stand is being dismantled with great speed and those of us who travelled from around the UK are returning for a well-earned rest and a bag full of clothes aimed at the washing machine! Life goes on. Thanks to all for your help in making ETG’s involvement at MACH 2016 so good and rewarding. Onwards and upwards!