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EMCON is back to help firms engineer fresh success

The region’s biggest and best engineering and manufacturing expo – EMCON – is drawing ever closer. And, as the clock ticks down, North East Times Magazine speaks to Ailsa Anderson, Director of Development at organiser Engineering & Manufacturing Network, to find out more about this year’s show, and the huge benefits companies gain from attending.


Tell us a little about EMCON

EMCON is the longest-running and largest engineering and manufacturing exhibition in the North East of England. Delivered by Engineering & Manufacturing Network (EMN), and previously known as Oktoberfest, it has been a popular, annual event on the business calendar for the last decade-and-a-half, operating as one of the UK’s biggest and best engineering and manufacturing shows.


What are the advantages for businesses attending EMCON?

EMCON will this year feature more than 100 exhibitors, 80 per cent of which operate across the engineering and manufacturing sectors. As a business, the unique event is the perfect opportunity to network with engineers, manufacturers and service providers – this year’s event is set to welcome more than 1000 visitors, from 450 companies – while showcasing expertise and next-generation products and ideas. And while it is a regional exhibition, EMCON attracts buyers from outside the North East.

Drawn by the region’s pioneering spirit, built upon centuries of innovation, firms are keen to tap into the area’s strong and skilled supply chain. You only need look at multi-billion-pound global company Stadler Rail, which has previously attended EMCON to fashion deeper links in the region, to see the event’s impact in magnifying the North East’s manufacturing and engineering prowess.

Furthermore, attendees last year generated millions of pounds worth of enquiries, new contracts and industry partnerships. Indeed, Hexagon – a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions – secured enquiries worth more than £500,000 within the first five minutes of the 2021 event, which had increased to more than £1 million by the event’s conclusion. It has returned for 2022 as a gold sponsor.


What can visitors expect at EMCON 2022?

As well as the many exhibitors, this year’s event will include the return of the Supply Chain Village. A popular addition to the itinerary, it provides opportunities for delegates to connect with companies that haven’t exhibited before.

Members of the village include Ford Aerospace; IVICs; Slaters Electrical; Hytorc; Test Driven Solutions and Calibrated Energy.

Guests will also be able to find out more about EMN’s work with University of Sunderland on the Institute of Automotive Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) and Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing project (SAM) endeavours. AMAP aims to inspire innovation across advanced manufacturing, by applying in-depth research and knowledge to support businesses’ growth, boost new product development and bolster workforce skills.

The £10.9 million SAM project, which is a joint venture between the University and the European Regional Development Fund, seeks to support the nurturing of fresh products and processes, while introducing new technology to SMEs. EMCON will spotlight 12 SAM case studies across areas including maintenance, productivity, advanced manufacturing and sustainability.

The expo will also feature a number of expert speakers, from companies including gold sponsor FitFactory and bronze sponsor Polymer Compounders, who will share expert knowledge and insight with delegates in exclusive sessions.

What is it about EMCON that sets it apart from other events?

EMCON has the friendliest and most engaging personality of all the expos. We understand the real meaning behind being welcoming and networking; EMCON is the absolute epitome of this. If a delegate or business wants to meet a particular person or company, the Engineering & Manufacturing Network team will go out of their way to make sure it happens. But don’t just take our word for it – take those who attend year-on-year, securing new contacts and business in the process.

“EMCON gave us the opportunity to meet with, and subsequently collaborate, with a very prestigious rail company”, says Dan Martin, of Octo Design. The positivity is mirrored by John Bignall, of Bignall Group, based in Shildon, County Durham, who calls EMCON “absolutely the best manufacturing show in the region”, and Graeme Parkins, commercial director of fellow County Durham operator Dyer Engineering, who says the event is fantastic at “enabling exhibitors and delegates to forge links with potential customers and suppliers”.


How important is EMCON in maintaining – and building on – the North East’s reputation as a hub for top-class engineering and manufacturing services?

The North of England is rich in its depth and breadth of engineering and manufacturing businesses. We have a heritage built on innovation, which continues to this day, and EMCON is the very best platform to meet those businesses.


What does the future hold for EMCON?

It is about building on what’s been achieved over the last 14 shows. It’s about ensuring we have an event that not only enables companies from the North East to promote themselves, but also gives leading names an opportunity to meet potential suppliers that could make a real difference to the quality of products and their bottom line. EMCON has achieved so much – but there is still so much more to come.


Ailsa Anderson, Director of Development at EMN

[email protected]

EMCON takes place at Glow (formerly the Xcel Centre) in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, on September 8. To register your place, visit  For more information about the event, visit