In a Q&A session, Fluency Marketing’s managing director and SpaceAM conference and exhibition organiser, Gemma Smith previews an exclusive event that will highlight the use of advanced materials in space technology.
Taking place at Leicester Racecourse on 14-15 September, SpaceAM offers the chance to discover and join the growing global community that is working together to develop and launch innovation in orbit and beyond.
A variety of experts will share their knowledge and experience over two days, covering topics including: Advanced materials for space technology; Lightweighting for spacecraft and structures; Low orbit antenna/satellites; Small satellites; Future innovations; Orbital manufacturing; AM for space: The UK Government Perspective; European Space Agency Manufacturing Initiative; Case studies – the TUPOD Project.
Q) Firstly, what are the reasons for holding an event like SpaceAM? What’s its ethos and aim?
As the Department for International Trade explains, the UK space industry has trebled in size since 2000, outperforming the global space economy and enjoys a 5.1% share of the total market (equivalent to £14.8billion). Growth in this area is critically dependent on space technology and with that comes the need for advanced materials to deliver the best possible opportunities and outcomes for the industry.
Q) In terms of the true value for exhibitors and attendees, can you comment on the predicted attendance, stand space sold, value, features and also how the event will perform in the current economic and post-pandemic climate?
It’s been an interesting (or not so) time for events. But people seem genuinely ready for them to come back - in fact, more than ready. We have just extended our exhibition space as we were nearly full. STFC and Cygnet Texkimp are already signed up for sponsorship which is really exciting – and we are speaking to new companies about the available opportunities daily. Capacity may still be limited by then, although we’re hoping not.
Q) What is on the agenda for SpaceAM and what kinds of innovations and knowledge can visitors expect to glean from the event?
Hot topics include additive manufacturing, structures and satellites and investment opportunities. We’re looking forward to hearing from the European and UK Space Agencies as well as those designing and building crafts and parts.
Q) Would you say that Fluency’s long-standing personal partnerships and relationships with the industry will provide the glue that makes this event a success?
Absolutely. We genuinely care about everyone in the room – we want to make sure the event is a success for everyone, no matter what the numbers are. A member of the team always gets in touch with sponsors, exhibitors and delegates to ensure each of their needs are understood ahead of the event, allowing us to meet those needs for all attendees.
Q) Are events like SpaceAM still the right way to learn about cool stuff, generate business and get both SME suppliers and major OEMs to meet?
For sure. We have a need to meet people; it’s in our blood. We have run some free-to-attend webinars throughout the pandemic – and will continue to do so – but nothing beats meeting in person, smiling and laughing with people, growing networks and making business fun.
Q) What are your thoughts on ‘virtual’ tradeshows?
I think that virtual tradeshows have been a means to an end whilst we have been unable to meet. But we invest in events because they provide a great ROI, and I don’t believe virtual events have been as rewarding.
Q) Finally, just how important is the space sector for the future of the UK composites industry?
Hugely important! Space is a harsh environment, and so has a great need for advanced materials. In addition, it is a growing sector that is reliant on lightweighting - it’s a perfect match!
It’s important to thank the industry for all the support we’ve received during the pandemic. We’ve enjoyed some great Fluency Fridays, webinars and Teams calls. We look forward to seeing everyone now we’re out and about again!