ClayTech UK 2016 – Technology makes it possible, people make it happen

Clay Technology magazine
21 Oct 2016

Ahead of ClayTech 2016, Natalie Daniels takes a look at the current state of the industry and the planned programme of talks.

This year’s conference will emphasise the growing need for staff to undertake continued professional development, as well as ensuring they are aware, and take advantage, of new product developments and technological innovation to best prepare for the issues and challenges facing the industry.

On 17 November, around 120 delegates will gather to discuss and reflect on developments and innovations over the past year. The programme includes talks addressing the changing markets of the brick sector, technical issues, the skills gap, Industry 4.0, building information modelling (BIM) and technology. Welcoming delegates to the conference is Andrea Bennett, Chair of ICTa. The day’s programme will provide refreshment breaks, giving delegates the opportunity to network and visit more than 40 exhibition stands. 

Discussing the ‘Future of Manufacturing – Britain’s 4th Industrial Revolution’ is Alan Norbury, CTO for Siemens, UK, who will be answering questions on what a fourth industrial revolution could mean for productivity and growth, how new technologies could change businesses and whether or not we are about to witness a reindustrialisation. Norbury explained, ‘Siemens believes Industry 4.0 will be key to integrating product and production lifecycles, but users today can already benefit from foundation technologies such as industrial networks, sensors and software tools that enable the digital manufacturing enterprise.’

Alongside talks on the Industry 4.0, Alan Baikie from BIMobject, UK, will present his talk on what BIM could mean for the building and construction industry. In 2011, the Government’s Construction Strategy mandated that all centrally funded work in the UK would have to be undertaken using BIM by 2016, and the aggregation of BIM files in the UK has seen rapid increases in industry support, acceptance and participation. In recognition of its significance, Michelmersh Brick Holdings has launched a website to provide free information on catalogues and certifications of all its products, as well as high-resolution BIM data, to allow builders, contractors and specifiers to connect and share information.

Mary Sissons, Business Development Director at Awbery Management and keynote speaker, said, ‘Having looked at the programme, it looks a fabulous blend of professional updates and forward thinking concepts around the industry. I am particularly looking forward to the culture and technology talk.’

With politicians of all stripes promising to increase house building in the UK, the heavy clay industry has a huge opportunity to improve on the positive news that 41,222 new homes were built in the UK in Q2 2016, a 1% increase over Q2 2015 and the highest number of new houses built since Q4 2007. The programme at ClayTech UK 2016 is focused on enabling all attendees to take advantage of this opportunity.