I know it’s already February, but this is my first column of 2019 so let me start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

I wanted to start off with that because 2019 is going to be a big year for us here at AMTIL. Most importantly, it will be the 20th anniversary of the establishment of our Association. It seems hard to believe it’s been two decades since AMTIL was formed with the merger of the Institute of Machine Tools Australia and the Australian Machine Tool Association. The time has flown by, but the enthusiasm of the team here hasn’t faded, and we’re looking forward to many more years supporting the interests of manufacturers and manufacturing technology suppliers in Australia.

We hope to be holding a number of events to celebrate AMTIL’s 20th birthday, but the biggest of all will – of course – be Austech, which will take place at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 14-17 May. As Australia’s premier showcase for advanced manufacturing technology, Austech has been a core part of our activities for almost as long as AMTIL itself has been in existence.

The show has changed a lot over the years, constantly adapting and expanding as manufacturing technology itself has evolved. We made a big change a few years ago when we decided to shift from an annual event alternating between Sydney and Melbourne, to one held every two years in Melbourne. It was a bold decision at the time and some in the industry voiced doubts about it, but I think the shows we’ve held since then have demonstated that it was the right call to make, and today Austech is going stronger than ever.

And I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to say that this year’s Austech will be the biggest show in the event’s history. Here at AMTIL we’ve been genuinely blown away by the rate at which companies have been signing on to book their stands. The space on the exhibition floor has been selling so fast that we’ve had to extend our original booking with the MCEC and take additional bays in the exhibition hall, meaning Austech 2019 will have the largest footprint on record. There is some space still available, but it’s selling fast. So with no more bays left at the MCEC, if you’re thinking about taking a stand for your company, don’t delay in contacting us.

What I’m most excited about is the fact that so many exhibitors have opted to take larger stands than usual. To me that can only suggest that they are anticipating doing serious business and making major sales at the show – and having spoken to a few of these exhibitors in person, that does seem to be the general sentiment. I have always believed that strong levels of investment in the latest advanced manufacturing technology are one of the clearest indicators of the long-term health of our industry. So Austech 2019 suggests the outlook for Australian manufacturing is currently pretty positive.

The high number of large stands also means that the show itself will have plenty of impressive displays of big, high-end machinery. It promises to be an event that should not to be missed.

Another aspect I’m looking forward to is the variety of different technologies on show. Austech has diversified over the years to reflect changes in manufacturing processes and the technologies use, and at more recent shows we’ve established dedicated areas to spotlight some of these specific categories. First was the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, which has become an essential showcase for the latest developments in 3D printing. At the last Austech in 2017 we added the Digitalisation Pavilion, exploring the fast-evolving world of Industry 4.0 and the use of digital technology in manufacturing. This year we’ll be introducing the Air Technology Pavilion, displaying the latest state-of-the-art compressors and air technology – an area I’ve wanted to see properly represented at Austech for a long time.

And then there’s the Manufacturers Pavilion, which once again will be providing a platform for some of the most innovative manufacturing companies working in Australia. Initially launched back in 2013, we’ve put a lot of work into building this section up, and today I think it’s really become an integral part of the show. We want Austech to be a true celebration of Aussie manufacturing, and seeing all those companies exhibiting in the Manufacturers Pavilion does really make that the case.

All of which means that for us at AMTIL the next few months will be a very busy few months indeed. We’re looking forward to it.

Companies who are interested in exhibiting at Austech 2019 should contact AMTIL on 03 9800 3666 or by emailing AMTIL’s Events Manager Kim Banks on kbanks@amtil.com.au. If you would like to attend Austech 2019, please register online at:  www.amtil.com.au/austech