Getting ready and inspired for a smarter future at HxGN LOCAL Smart Manufacturing UK

On 1-2 October, over 150 manufacturing professionals descended on Birmingham, England for HxGN LOCAL Smart Manufacturing UK. The event was a fantastic opportunity to bring industry leaders and innovators together to explore the major trends, challenges, and opportunities in today’s manufacturing, particularly digital transformation and the smart factory.

I’ve been to conferences with a number of great speakers, but never have I been to an event jam-packed with so many inspiring and thought-provoking talks (and we’ve already had feedback expressing the same opinion!). Explorer and endurance record holder Sir Ranulph Fiennes retailed many stories of his adventures, inspiring attendees to think about how they can enhance teamwork, motivation and creative thinking in their daily work. Plus, attendees looking for words of wisdom as they set out on their digital transformation journey were given the lowdown on ‘five things you need to know about the future’ by disruption and technological innovation expert Stefan Hyttfors.

Completing the keynote line-up was two of Hexagon’s own. Norbert Hanke, President and CEO of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, discussed the many opportunities where ‘Smart is hiding in plain sight.’ In his talk, Norbert offered insights into the technologies crucial to drive greater quality and productivity throughout the ecosystems of the modern factory. Raf Lobato, Strategic Product Development Director, Matt Martin, Sales & Dealer Management and Benoit Coudray, EMEA Sales Manager – Portable Measuring Arms, explored these solutions further, outlining Hexagon’s latest innovations in smart factory solutions and the current state of play in UK manufacturing.

Supporting these keynotes were a range of breakout sessions that enabled attendees to go even deeper into the issues most important to them. There was an engaging talk to inspire everyone, from journalist Daisy McAndrew preparing attendees with insights into the current and emerging economic environment, to Roborace’s Paul Andrews discussing the future of human and artificial intelligence interfacing.

“Outstanding event, informative, entertaining and interesting. An excellent blend of technical, humour and future thinking. If this runs again, I will definitely be in attendance. I am now well aware of how complete and connected the Hexagon digital offering is and cannot wait to work with it. Big thanks to each and every one of the extremely helpful and approachable staff who helped run the event.” – Peter McToal, Senior Engineer, Queen’s University Belfast

As well as these inspiring talks, a wide range of technologies were on display in the Live Exhibition Zone, showcasing how Hexagon solutions make manufacturing smarter. Solutions across our portfolio were on display, from design and engineering, through production, to metrology. There was CAD/CAM software, machine tool measurement equipment, a wide range of metrology hardware, and much more.

One of the most exciting smart technology displays was the virtual reality demonstration of the complete construction and production of a motorcycle saddle, starting with 3D scanning through a Hexagon measuring arm and reverse engineering with VISI. Based on the 3D model, machining is optimally programmed in the EDGECAM CAM system. The subsequent NC code simulation on the virtual machine with NCSIMUL ensures a collision-free machining process

As many Hexagon event attendees will tell you, Hexagon knows how to continue the excitement into the evening. As well as live music, magic, and casino games, attendees had the chance to try and beat race car driver and former Stig on BBC’s Top Gear Ben Collins in simulated racing. Based on my performance, let me just say: watch out Silverstone!

I’m pleased to say we’ve already had a fantastic response from attendees of this year’s event. I was excited to see everyone soaking up the atmosphere, engaging with the ideas explored in the sessions, and having crucial conversations about the smart factory and their manufacturing priorities. Until next time, best of luck to all attendees on their digital transformation, and let’s keep those conversations going!

“It was a great event with outstanding keynote speakers. Thank you very much for organising it.” – Ercihan Kiraci, Lead Engineer at Warwick Manufacturing Group


  • Jade Tate

    Jade Tate is UK Marketing Facilitator at Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. She has substantial involvement in the organisation and marketing of events within the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing from the University of Falmouth.

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