Report from the Manufacturing Excellence Awards Ceremony

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Last night I wined and dined at The Dorchester. No, not a usual Wednesday night out for me – the occasion was the Manufacturing Excellence (MX) awards ceremony, a prestigious awards organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

DEVELOP3D cracked a nod to the black tie soiree as we were invited as one of Autodesk‘s guests, who sponsored this year’s awards. I was also sat at the table with representatives from Planit, a provider of CAD/CAM solutions, who had designed and developed the awards for the evening. They looked pretty impressive (below) and rather solid.

The award ceremony was compered by Alistair Campbell, perhaps best known for his work as director of communications and strategy for Tony Blair between 1997 and 2003. He was a rather entertaining host keeping us amused with anecdotes and stories not to mention congratulating all 18 finalists on the great work they have undertaken in the past year despite the difficult economic climate.

Rotherham-based mechanical seals manufacturer AESSEAL was the overall winner, with Sheffield-based transit manufacturer Loadhog picking up the best small to medium enterprise award. Loadhog to me is an interesting company, one I hadn’t come across before. Not only does it create environmentally focused products but it also aims to manufacture them with the same awareness. As well as this sustainability focus it also stands apart from more traditional manufacturers in that every employee owns shares, it has abolished job descriptions and it has a dedicated ideas and innovation centre.

There were a further nine awards of which the Autodesk Award for Innovation in Products and Processes went to Carl Zeiss, a global manufacturer of scanning electron microscopes based in Cambridge. For a full list of award winners click here.


Mark Prisk MP, the Minister for Business and Enterprise, took to the stage earlier on in the evening to congratulate the finalists and to also introduce a new campaign from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Called ‘Make It In Great Britain’ (which has a rather cool graphic I think) hopes to transform the image of modern manufacturing among investors and especially young people.

The campaign will culminate in a six-week exhibition hosted at the Science Museum, which will take place during the Olympic Games in summer 2012. Early next year the ‘Make it in Great Britain Challenge’ will be launched, which will identify innovative pre-market products and processes that will be featured as part of this exhibition. As Prisk said last night: “The exhibition aims to show Britain at its best in what we design, engineer and manufacture.”

This competition sounds great and perhaps something that DEVELOP3D readers may like to be a part of. So, have a look at the website, fill out an enquiry form and start following @MakeitinGB for the latest on the campaign.

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