The UK Metals Expo kickstarted today on the 13th September 2023.

“Never been a more fitting time to hold the conversations we will be having today” - MP Stephen Kinnock.

Opening the event, Lord Rupert Redesdale - Conference Chairman, U.K. Metals Expo, introduced Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP, Aberavon who listed the key topics that the event aims to address. The energy crisis, CBAM, Challenges faced by SMEs, Decarbonising the industry, Industry 4.0, and Recycling in the UK, were a few of the topics mentioned. He noted that the event was proof that “manufacturing is back at the heart of the debate,” and encouraged attendees and exhibitors to discuss the challenges and key topics to help progress the industry.

Image, right (Left to Right): Zahra Awan, Assistant Editor (AIT), Nadine Bloxsome, Editor (AIT), Esme Horn, Sales Manager (Furnaces International), Nathan Jupp, Commercial Sales Director (AIT), Catherine Hill, Assistant Editor (Steel Time International).

Hosting a number of conferences, the U.K. Metals Expo hall contained four theatres, which simultaneously held sessions on the themes: ‘Made in the UK’, ‘Sustainability & Circular Economy’, ‘Innovation & Technology’, ‘Supply Chain, Trade & Policy’.

The U.K. industry is at “a serious risk of being left being” - MP Stephen Kinnock

In another theatre discussion, industrial strategy was the key focus which sparked debate. Gareth Stace, Director General, U.K. Steel, stated his controversial opinion, “I don’t want one. We don’t need an industrial strategy, what we need is a national understanding of industry.” Opposing his opinions, Christopher Greenough, CCO, SDE Technology stated, “we do need to have an industrial strategy, we need direction.” With these binary opinions, the audience was promoted to think about their thoughts on the matter. Would an industrial strategy help heal U.K. industry, amid the challenges it has faced over the past decade?

“We (the U.K.) can lead the green deindustrialisation” - MP Stephen Kinnock

The event also highlighted the common, and growing opinion that the globalisation of the world is coming to an end. Do you think that the recent global challenges and responses of the industry mark the end of globalisation?

On the topic of CBAM, Frank S. Aaskov, Energy & Climate Change Policy Manager weighed the pros and cons. He noted the potential risks of CBAM causing U.K. companies to spend more for a CBAM certificate, to give them a chance to compete against EU metals/companies. This is one of the challenges that the industry has to consider.

The U.K. Metals Expo will return for is second day of exhibition and conference sessions on the 14th September, 2023. Make sure to visit the Aluminium International Today team on stand D.38 to pick up your free copy of the magazine and be in with the chance of winning a £50 Amazon voucher.