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Subcontracting sector shows hidden strength in UK manufacturing

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: 15 March, 2009  (Company News)
With bookings up 20% on 2008 and 180 individual exhibitors already lined up, Subcon 2009 continues to highlight the fact that there are still areas of strong activity in UK manufacturing – particularly in the area of subcontract engineering.
Subcon, which takes place from 9 to 11 June at the NEC, is the UK’s national and international showcase for subcontract manufacturing services. Its exhibitors cover all aspects of mechanical and electronic manufacture, such as machined parts, plastic mouldings, circuitry, fabrication, profiling and castings.

Visitors range from large OEMs and smaller companies that have their own products to higher tier suppliers – the one thing that they have in common is that they want an outside supplier to make components for them rather than manufacturing them in-house.

As Exhibition Director Jon Hughes explains, “It is wrong to think of the manufacturing sector as uniformly depressed. Away from directly consumer-facing areas such as volume automotive manufacture there are a lot of manufacturing companies – in sectors such as aerospace, energy, medical equipment, petrochemicals, heavy engineering – that are extremely busy and looking to expand the volume of business they do with subcontractors.”

At the same time, there is a growing demand for outsourced manufacturing from companies that are less certain about the future.

“Using subcontractors for all or part of your production gives you complete flexibility on volumes and activity levels, and means you don’t have to make difficult decisions regarding investment in capital plant. It might sound counter-intuitive to say this in the face of the global economic conditions we currently face, but this year’s show is promising to be one of the most successful events yet,” he adds.

Subcon 2009 will give buyers the chance to source all types of subcontract manufacturing services from the UK’s biggest showcase of national and international suppliers.

Manufacturing services on offer cover everything from machined parts, electronic assemblies, castings, plastic mouldings and metal fabrications, through to full manufacturing services, design and build, and rapid prototyping.

This year’s event is sponsored by the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing and supported by leading industry associations such as the GTMA, Confederation of British Metalforming and the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC).
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