IWMA Chairman’s Update October 2023

26 October 2023

  This has been the year everything has come back into focus and hit top gear. COVID is pretty much behind us, though the supply chain issues it brought continue […]


This has been the year everything has come back into focus and hit top gear. COVID is pretty much behind us, though the supply chain issues it brought continue to cause problems at differing levels of annoyance.


But we’re getting there, and 2024 looks like it will be a great year.


More important – despite what we have all been through in the last three years – is how we as an industry will continue to operate in the decades to come.


I’ve been able, this year, finally to get out and about to attend the international shows to meet clients face to face, and very enjoyable and useful it has been. There’s a buzz once more, and companies are looking forwards again – not that they could ever stop,of course, but now it’s with less anxiety….


But the next major issue on everyone’s lips, and the one we will all have to play a part in solving,is how the world can continue to meet everyone’s energy and commodity needs without destroying the planet in the process.


That’s the reason for our forthcoming conference, Energy Innovates, in November in Birmingham UK. In conjunction with sponsors Messe Düsseldorf and Maschinenfabrik Niehoff, the two-day event is all about sustainable growth; how some companies are handling it, and how many will need to address it over the next few years. The globe has a shaky target date of 2050 for carbon neutrality, and so far many of us haven’t even thought about it, let alone built it into future plans. That doesn’t mean we won’t have to.


Energy Innovates will talk about ways to improve the “greening” of the wire and cable industry, but it will also show off the UK’s most innovative industry carbon-reduction project, Birmingham’s Tyseley Energy Park.


Our friends at wire maker Webster and Horsfall marked – in a sadly rather subdued way due to the pandemic – the company’s 300th anniversary in 2020.But the background to that remarkable milestone is that a company struggling,15 years ago, to survive, has turned things round to a remarkable extent, not only by making itself one of the country’s greener industrial concerns, but also by hunting down new markets and developing its huge site into a full-on energy supply company.


As one member of the management team suggested, it’s no longer outlandish for W&H to consider a big celebration for the 400th anniversary – though they have plenty of time to plan it!


All this considered, I’m feeling much happier about the state of the industry,especially considering some of the world’s vast infrastructure and energy plans.As national economies seek to recover and to transition from the old ways of doing things to newer, more efficient ways, all their projects will require many miles of our products in the next few years. Music to our ears – as long as we play it with an eye on the planet.


Thanks for reading,


Don Neville


Chairman, IWMA


Read on for more information on our conference and the reason why it’s necessary now, in 2023.


Energy Innovates – Growth Through Sustainability,Birmingham UK, November 14-15


This two-day conference will focus on the latest innovations towards sustainability in production. Supported by Webster & Horsfall and Tyseley Energy Park, and sponsored by Maschinenfabrik Niehoff GmbH & Co KG and Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, the event promises to deliver valuable insights and opportunities to manufacturers of all kinds.


On day one, we’ll transfer to Webster & Horsfall’s Tyseley Energy Park, which occupies a large part of the 17 acre site.Webster & Horsfall will show delegates around the site and share their remarkable journey from adversity in the steel wire business to establishing the thriving energy park. With a commitment to delivering low- and zero-carbon solutions, the park is driving a greener, cleaner and healthier Birmingham in a model that can be reproduced in many industrial areas in many countries.


Day one will end with dinner at ThinkTank – part of Birmingham Science Museum – including a tour of the galleries and a captivating guest speaker.


Day two will take place at The Exchange, a University of Birmingham,city-centre landmark. This full-day event will feature guest speakers from various wire and cable industry businesses, including research group CRU, the University of Birmingham, Niehoff, Bridon-Bekaert, Q8Oils, Geoff Mackey, CGC, and fascinating HVDC cable-making company XLCC.


The conference will cover a range of topics including sustainable business practices, the challenges posed by the energy crisis,renewable energies, Environment, Social and Corporate Governance investing (ESG),and the balance between green energy and economic risk.


Speakers include:


Alan Mathers, XLCC – Morocco-Dover subsea cable project


Professor Martin Freer, University of Birmingham – Green Energy & Sustainability


Dr Geoff Mackay, Plastics UK – Sustainability and Plastics


Harry Schmidt, CGC – Incorporating ESG into Corporate Strategy


Dr Christoph Ruffin, Bridon Bekaert – Wire ropes and the transition to renewable energies


Dr Joris Van Cer List, Q8 Oils – Title TBC


Kjell Johnsen, Conoptica AG – Title TBC


Emir Ersahi, CRU, Metallic Wire and Cable: Recession Risk vs.Green Energy Transition


Bernd Lohmueller, Niehoff – Less Energy – Less CO2 – Higher Output New Generation of NIEHOFF Rod Breakdown Lines for Sustainable Manufacturing


Rob Brown, Metalube, The Future of Lubrication: The Road to Carbon Neutrality


You can find the ticket and accommodation details HERE,

Tickets for the conference are £300+VAT (non-members) and £200+VAT for IWMA members. Members can log into the member area before booking to automatically receive their member discounted rate. Accommodation can be added to the ticket purchase at a special rate (£127.50+VAT) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Hyatt will be the main meeting point for transport to and from Webster and Horsfall and is 200m from The Exchange – the venue for the second day of the conference.


There is also an option to book additional evening dinner tickets for guests (£85+VAT for non-members, £65+VAT for members). Simply provide names when booking.


For companies interested in further involvement or keen to show their own sustainable projects, we offer sponsorship opportunities including table-top exhibition packages starting from £750+VAT.






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