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Exhibition team at the PPMA show
Exhibition team at the PPMA show

Internal News - 22 November 2005

Research highlighted at European Machinery show

Researchers from the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre in the Department of Mechanical Engineering led a ‘Research Village’ at a prestigious European machinery show earlier this year.

The PPMA show organised by the Process and Packaging Machinery Association is held annually at the Birmingham NEC. This year the show involved over 300 exhibitors from across Europe and was visited by over 10,000 industrialists.

The Research Village comprised twelve projects covering packaging, processing and information technology. Ten of the twelve projects on display were from the University of Bath (nine from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and one from the Department of Chemical Engineering).

The researchers were also supported by members of Bath’s Research and Innovation Services who provided information on the various mechanisms for industry to work with the University and transfer valuable knowledge into industry.

This year was the first time that the Research Village has been included at the Machinery show and it is proposed that it becomes a regular feature. The Research Village has undoubtedly been of considerable benefit to the industrialists and this was reflected by the large number of visitors.

The inclusion of the Research Village was described by Martin Keay (PPMA Technical Consultant) as, “a great success and a wonderful opportunity for PPMA members”.

For the University this was also the first time that such a large number of research projects had been exhibited at a single show and such a prestigious industry-focussed event.

Dr Ben Hicks, one of the organisers for the Research Village, said: “the show presents a wonderful opportunity to discuss the research in detail and the range of challenges facing particular organisations. For example, individual projects were discussed with around two hundred industrialists on an almost one-to-one basis.”

Dr Hicks added that, “The Department of Mechanical Engineering has always had very strong links with industry particularly in the South West. Exhibiting at a show of this size enables the research to be discussed and disseminated to industrialists from right across the UK and Europe.”

Dr Glen Mullineux, the co-organiser said: “this event was complementary to the more traditional means such as conferences and journals for disseminating research findings. It was also very useful to include Research and Innovation Services allowing industry to discuss opportunities for working with the University for example using Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.”

The show has resulted in a number of companies joining existing research projects at the University. It has also presented various consultancy opportunities and generated a large number of enquiries about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Bob Jardine (Programme Manager for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at the University) described the show as: “a marvellous opportunity to meet industrialists in a sector where we have considerable expertise and to show them the opportunities in working with a top university. Knowledge transfer from higher education is a key way forward for many businesses.”

The success of the event was underlined by the fact that the University of Bath has been invited to represent UK universities at a major International show in 2006. The ACHEMA show involves almost 4,000 exhibitors from 48 countries and 200,000 visitors.

Professor Tony Mileham, Head of Mechanical Engineering, commented: “events such as this are a great opportunity to promote UK universities and in particular the internationally leading work undertaken within the Department of Mechanical Engineering”.