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Appetite for Engineering news

01 May 2024

Another successful Appetite for Engineering conference took place on 19th March at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, with an audience of food industry engineers keen to network with their peers and extend their technology understanding.

The day got off to a great start with our Chairman, Chris Buxton, setting the scene and providing delegates with some key food and drink sector statistics and highlighting some of the challenges facing industry today. He also spoke about the growing impact that robotics and AI technology is having within the food sector.

We then heard a variety of presentations – finding out how and why agri-tech is leading the way in the food industry when it comes to technology adoption and what the manufacturing sector can learn from its example. We found out from Steve West of The Pudding Compartment how his company is employing modern technology to help it become a digitally-led operation – one small step at a time. 

A well-received presentation by Bertrand Emond from Camden BRI, highlighted the importance of having a strong and positive safety and quality culture to drive positive behaviours across an organisation – without this any technology adoption project is unlikely to achieve its full potential.

The morning session ended with a lively panel discussion – with lots of audience interaction. The session sought to discuss the challenges, solutions and benefits of digital technology adoption in the food and beverage industry.

Engineering skills
In the afternoon session we moved on to the issue of engineering skills, focussing on the important role that apprentices play in supporting and moving food businesses forward. We heard from Cian Short, Early Careers Manager at Kepak Group, and from some apprentices themselves about their journeys so far in the food industry and what motivated them to work in the food sector.

The day wrapped up with an interesting presentation from Cathy Hough, Group Early Careers Manager at Bakkavor, who explained the route the organisation is taking to ensure successful engineering apprenticeships. She also highlighted the importance of creating clear career pathways to allow young engineers to continue their professional development once they have achieved level 3 standard.

All in all, another successful Appetite for Engineering. One last shout out to our sponsors who were key to the success of the event – Our thanks go to Festo, Rulmeca, Beckhoff, Prospare, Euchner, SKF, Promtek, Kluber and Schaeffler.

STOP PRESS:  A date for your diary! The next Appetite for Engineering Conference is set to take place on Thursday 20th March 2025 at the Manufacturing Technology Centre. If you have a presentation idea or a successful case study you are keen to share with your peers please do get in touch – we will be starting work on the 2025 programme very soon.

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