Innovation Zone a hit with STC member businesses at AES 2019

Silverstone Technology Cluster

2nd December 2019

Smaller tech businesses have praised the Silverstone Technology Cluster for helping to promote them with a special Innovation Zone at the UK’s biggest show for advanced engineering and manufacturing.

The Zone enabled seven STC member businesses to showcase their technologies at NEC Birmingham’s Advanced Engineering Show, attended by around 15,000 people.

Founding STC member Silverstone Park sponsored/supported the Zone which complemented the event’s VIP Lounge – hosted for the third consecutive year by the STC.

The businesses were: Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division (metrology); Symetri (immersive technology); Silverstone Composites (carbon fibre); Sandwell (shot peening); University of Birmingham; Voxeljet (3D printing); Thermal Issues (heat shielding).

Market Harborough based Thermal Issues had an assortment of componentry on display – including some intricate designs made from that can withstand temperatures of over 400 degrees C.

Its products are used across a range of sectors such as automotive, robotics, medical, power supplies and aerospace.

Director Neil Wilson commented: “The Innovation Zone with STC has been a very worthwhile experience – we’re seen as part of a group rather than an individual company Being part of the Cluster network reflects our association with the automotive industry which is important as these products are synonymous with the types of the applications being used in the evolving EV world.”

He continued: “Our company is scalable and has been growing over the last five years – the association with STC allows us to spread our wings into industry and be recognised as a go-to place for thermal management and electrical isolation.”

Symetri’s latest hardware/software gave visitors a glimpse into the future by using virtual reality headsets to inspect the interiors of concept cars – a technology solution that can be operated collaboratively and simultaneously in board rooms wherever in the world.

Its automotive team is based in Oxford and Industrial Design & Visualization Manager Nick John said: “The value of working in innovation hubs can never be over stated. STC is the most appropriate technology hub for us, particularly as there is a focus on manufacturing – an area where we see massive increased interest in VR. So it’s incredibly useful for us to be here and the STC team have been excellent in helping us over the two days to meet new people.”

Stoke Bruerne based Silverstone Composites’ work is chiefly in F1 and automotive although its skills are becoming recognised more by other sectors such as medical devices. 

Its Stephanie Mitchell added: “This zone has put us front of house at a major industry show which is not the sort of opportunity smaller supply chain business likes ours would necessarily get. 

“The opportunity has actually put us in the same room as some clients we would normally only deal with by phone or by email which has been really valuable. Moreover, working with the STC we’ve been able to meet new people and add to our network of contacts which is valuable as we’re still only three years old.”

Voxeljet, in Milton Keynes, was able to promote its machine making and 3D print capabilities in automotive, aerospace and oil and gas with its stand in the zone.

MD James Reeve reported: “We wanted a presence at the show because of the event’s stature and the STC made it easy!

“It’s a busy time of the year for us but they’ve built the stand, put us in a great position at the heart of the Automotive area and close to Aerospace as well, there’s natural footfall because of the proximity of the VIP Lounge and they’ve promoted it for us. We’ve been able to turn up, promote our goods and then go home – perfect for us!”


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