WEAF Expo 23 Round Up

Published on: 15th March 2023

WEAF Expo 23 Round Up – The Good, The Bad* & The Utterly Amazing!

Well we’ve finally touched down after our couple of days of Expo ‘Prep and Presenting’ last week.

And, what a fantastic Expo it was!!
Thank you all so much for attending; we really hope you took away some interesting ideas for innovation and collaboration.

We are absolutely thrilled that not only did we host a record number of delegates for the Pre-Expo dinner, but we also smashed out the park with 145+ Expo delegates and exhibitors – showing the Southwest Aerospace sector really is open for business!

20 year’s of supporting the Advanced Manufacturing industry

Colin Turner, WEAF CEO, opened the day with a WEAF & Industry update and said:

We are privileged to support four of the major start up’s that have located in the Southwest region due to skills and capabilities as well as 14 of the Primes. The Southwest is the UK’s most capable aerospace cluster employing more than 60,000 people, and shows no sign of slowing down.

The WEAF Expo audience was honoured to hear from Jeegar Kakkad, the Head of Innovation and Productivity Policy at the Tony Blair Institute, who provided an interesting overview of the State of the UK, and the Future of Industrial Strategy. The key message was to:

“Be agile, be quick and be direct: we can’t do everything, but we should move quickly to support our strengths”.

Giles Corbett gave an informative presentation on the challenges and advances into ALM at Parker-Meggitt. Giles commented,

“Agility accelerates development. Manufacturing aides are very limited – very short development time for functional prototypes cycles, where knowledge can be recycled quickly.”

Steve Goddard introduced Honeywell Aerospace’s hydrogen system development for future flight. The ATI FlyZero study recommended targeting a large zero-carbon aircraft EIS by 2035 in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Hydrogen & SAF will power the future of aviation. Steve said:

Whilst challenging, Hydrogen offers many benefits: Low Emissions (Water Vapour & Heat), High Energy Density, Availability (produced from renewable sources), and Flexibility (Fuel Cells / Combustion).


The networking sessions, both in the break and at lunch, were a welcome opportunity to get together with colleagues, collaborators and friends old and new. This was the perfect opportunity to exchange information and ideas between fellow members and aerospace professionals.

WEAF Workshops

The morning saw two workshops covering:

  • Export with the DIT – An opportunity for delegates to discover more about what is happening within Aerospace HQ, local delivery and support for AEM companies. We discovered how the DIT build and develop their global network of partners to help us move forward on our journey.
  • SC21 – (21st Century for Supply Chains) enables our supply chains to continuously improve capability, in order to be more competitive regionally, nationally and internationally.

The afternoon got off to a racing start with two more workshops covering:

  • Digital ProductivityValuechain showed how the WEAF Network Portal can aid a collaborative supply chain to streamline communication and improve supply chain performance. Making complex supply chains more easily manageable, it streamlines multi-site complexity and helps to create a connected and smart supply chain.
  • Skills and Training by IoT – we learnt about demystifying apprenticeships and how the West of England IoT plans to invest £13.9m across six regions in Southwest. The IoT shared how to access funding to ensure potential apprentices / employees are trained in industry focused skills.

All workshops were very informative and well received by the delegates.


The Expo then moved on to the afternoon speaker sessions:

Barry Rowe provided insights into Safran Seats and interiors, highlighting future supply chain opportunities. Through their five core markets, and focusing on meeting today’s challenges are making aviation more sustainable and the world a safer place. Barry explained:

There is a unique need for cross-cutting industry sector inputs and skills (Aerospace, Automotive, Product Design & Luxury Branding) to develop with the evolving, passenger needs.

Gail Eastaugh from Aerospace & Space Cornwall, presented the capabilities and evolvement of Cornwall and the aerospace cluster. Gail said:

We want to be the world’s most environmentally responsible [space] launch location, leading the way in attracting investment in cleaner technologies, driving positive change and pioneering practices which become the new industry standard.


Colin rounded up the day, saying:

WEAF is looking forward to the next 20 years supporting its members and the Southwest community to develop and grow. The future of the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors are set to expand and we’re here to support an industry that is gearing up to the challenges ahead.


*NB: There was no bad. It was a thoroughly fantastic Expo!

If you enjoyed this event (or wish you had attended) you won’t want to miss our ‘Spotlight on Airbus‘ – this event is certain to sell out quickly – Book early to avoid disappointment !


Are you making the most of your member value?

WEAF member benefits
WEAF Expo 23 Brochure

WEAF Expo 23 Brochure

Major centre for Aerospace &<br />
Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

The Southwest is a major centre for Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing

WEAF Expo 23
WEAF Expo 23
WEAF Expo 23
WEAF Expo 23
WEAF Expo 23

Would you like to become a WEAF member?

As a WEAF member you will get full access to exclusive and valuable information, plus greater networking opportunities.

Being part of the WEAF community means becoming part of one of the largest aerospace, defence and advanced engineering clusters in Europe.

Joining WEAF will bring you exclusive and valuable benefits in all areas of this fast growing industry.