Record numbers at NEAA Expo

The North East Automotive Alliance’s (NEAA) flagship Expo returned to the Beacon of Light with record numbers of delegates and exhibitors.

With over 670 delegates, 124 exhibitors and 14 sponsors, the day provided an opportunity to network and gain industry insights on the key themes of electrification and industrial digitalisation. In addition, over 110 one-to-one meet the buyer appointments took place with ten of the region’s automotive companies, including Nissan, Komatsu and their Tier 1 suppliers, helping to facilitate vital business connections for the supply chain.

Paul Butler, CEO North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The team at the NEAA worked tirelessly to make sure that the day was as safe as possible, and we were very much aware that for some exhibitors and delegates this would be the biggest in-person event they had attended for nearly two years. There was a real sense of camaraderie and the feeling that exhibitors and delegates were supporting and encouraging each other after all the industry and the country had been through. On a personnel level, the fact we were providing people with an opportunity to connect with friends and valued contacts was very gratifying.

“From a supply chain perspective, the race to carbon neutral is now driving most agendas and for that reason we had a very strong focus on electrification and future technology.

“Moving forward, we are looking to deliver more in-person events as we continue to return back to a pre-pandemic way of operating.”

Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, partner Expo sponsor, said: “This flagship event continues to highlight the importance of networking, collaboration and innovation across the automotive sector in our region.

“As a council one of our priorities is to create the conditions for recovery and investment and we cannot do this alone. By working hand in hand with the business community we will be able to generate confidence and growth in South Tyneside.

“The International Advanced Manufacturing Plant (IAMP) is testament to partnership working. The collaboration of Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils creating public and private sector opportunity. Seeing the approval of plans for Envision AESC’S new Gigafactory is further proof, if needed, of the rewards of hard work and partnership working, bringing together the latest in electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing and renewables, and in turn will create thousands of jobs.”

Andrew Woods, business development director, Advanced Electric Machines and an event sponsor, said: “The Expo offered a fantastic speaker line up and insights on key industry topics, whilst providing an opportunity to catch up with existing contacts and develop new relationships.”

The morning commenced with Tony Laydon, director of Supply Chain, Britishvolt as keynote speaker, followed by Ryan Maughan, chair of EV North, discussing North East Electrification Capability and the UK Eco System. Rachel Chambers, chief operating office, DER-IC - North East shared insights on Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres.

Afternoon speakers included, Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA, discussing industrial digitalisation and later providing an update on the 5G-Enabled CAL Project. Chris Courtney, challenge director, Manufacturing Made Smarter, UK Research and Innovation then took to the stage followed by Karl McCracken, North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Robert Russell, chief technology officer, Senseye, sharing insights into An Integrated Solution of Spare Parts Inventory Management and Predictive Maintenance.

The NEAA has set a date of 29 September 2022 for the next Expo and hopes to offer members and the wider supply chain an even greater opportunity to engage and promote their services.