Celebrating Excellence in Manufacturing

A recap of The Inaugural Manufacturing Solutions Show Awards


  • Start-up of the Year- Ryse 3D
  • UK Manufacturing Partner of the Year – WEC Group
  • International Partner of the Year – NOTE
  • Product Innovation of the Year – Modula Storage Solutions
  • Outstanding Industry Contribution – Sarah Black-Smith – General Manager of Motion Control and Sustainability Lead at Siemens Digital Industries


Birmingham, NEC – June 6th, 2024 – Subcon is excited to announce that the inaugural Subcon Manufacturing Solutions Show Awards took place yesterday afternoon. The Awards celebrated and recognised outstanding achievements in the manufacturing industry.

Ben Watkins, Sales Manager at Subcon commented, “We are really pleased to launch the Manufacturing Solutions Show Awards. This is just one of the many new initiatives we have introduced to Subcon this year. The show has already grown by 25% and we will build on this success again in 2025.

Thank you to our judges for giving up their time and expertise and congratulations to our nominees and winners.”

Meet our judges:

  • Chris Jones – Technology Trend Manager at Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • Chris Tierney – Digital Manufacturing Engineer at Northern Ireland Technology Centre
  • Paul Fanning – Editor at Manufacturing Management
  • Karl Wigart – Managing Director at Qimtek
  • David Tomalin – Delivery Manager, Strategic Key Accounts at West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Dan Brooks – Program Manager at Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute
  • Justin Burns – Editor at Machinery Magazine
  • Mercedes Moroto-Valer – Champion and Director at the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Center
  • Sam Turner – Chief Executive Officer at Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre
  • Peter Williamson – CEO at Automate UK
  • John Kraus – CEO at Engineers Without Borders
  • Nandini Chakravorti – Associate Director at Digital Engineering Group, Manufacturing Technology Centre
  • Andy Sandford – Editor at Engineering Capacity
  • Jon Excell – Editor and Publisher at The Engineer.


More importantly we would like to congratulate our nominees and our well-deserved winners:

Start-up of the year – Nominees: Atmomik AM, Factory, PAC Group, Ryse 3D, The Component Club by Tecroot Space.

Winner: Ryse 3D – Owned by 28 year – old Mitchell Barnes, judges voted for Ryse 3D’s rapid commercial success that has seen a 5 million turnover since Mitchell started the business in 2017.

UK manufacturing partner of the year – Nominees: FermonX, Grenville Engineering, Kirkstall Precision Engineering, PP Control and Automation and WEC Group.

Winner: WEC Group – Judges declared WEC Group winners for their significant investments in UK manufacturing in recent months. WEC Group are also planning to build Europe’s largest subcontract heavy machining and nuclear fabrication facility.

International Manufacturing Partner of the Year – Nominees: ChineTech Solutions Inc, Expert Technologies Group, MKA Engineers and Exporters Pvt, LTD, NOTE, Sahasra Electronis Pvt.LTD and Teltonika EMS.

Winner: NOTE – NOTE have increased sales by 15% year on year over the last 12 months. They are also expanding their manufacturing capacity in the UK by significant investments in electronics manufacturer DVR.

Neil Owen, MD of NOTE UK  commented,  “To win this award today and to be recognised for our achievements, is an absolute delight. This is a recognition of all of our staff, all the people who work for us and their achievements in making our company a success. We are only successful because of them. We’re only successful based on their customer success and our suppliers supporting us. We might make electronics but we’re a people business, and if it weren’t about the people, we wouldn’t be here, so it’s absolutely fantastic.”


Product Innovation of the Year: – Nominees: Polarons generative AI Platform, Siemens Industrial Co-Pilot, The ChromaSet by Co Pilot and The Modula Pallet by Modula Storage Solutions LTD

Winner: Modula Storage Solutions – Modula have created a new vertical solution for safe, efficient, and ergonomic pallet storage. An automated system, the winning technology allows up to 100 pallets to be stored and handled with manual or electric pallet trucks.

Outstanding Industry Contribution: – Nominees: Dr Muftooh Siddiqi, Senior Lecturer in Manufacturing – Aston University, Meghan Ronayne, Head of Industrial Technologies, and Manufacturing – Innovate UK KNT, Nipuni Karunaratne, Managing Director, IVY TECH & Digital Technology Manager – Model Factory at RollsRoys and Sarah Black- Smith, General Manager of Motion Control and Sustainability Lead at Siemens Digital Industries.

Winner: Sarah Black-Smith – General Manager of Motion Control and Sustainability Lead at Siemens Digital Industries – Sarah graduated from Loughborough University in 2004 with a degree in manufacturing engineering and management. She has also obtained her master’s in operations excellence from Cranfield. Sarah has risen rapidly from the ranks to Siemens. Additionally, Sarah has also received an award for recent manufacturing and materials graduates.

Sarah Black-Smith – General Manager of Motion Control and Sustainability Lead at Siemens Digital Industries said,   “It is so lovely to be recognised for supporting UK manufacturing and UK industry. I am not alone though; my fellow nominees are amazing. Megan and Nipuni are brilliant ambassadors and champions for manufacturing in the UK and they deserve to share this award with me.

I have loved manufacturing since I first walked through the door of Lincoln Ruston Works and seeing how proud people were of the heritage of the company, having been there for over one hundred years. But I didn’t truly recognise the passion of the UK manufacturing Community until about eight years ago. I started to engage with people in the manufacturing industry and meet people like Megan and Nipuni. UK manufacturing is a vital part of our economy and, according to the MTA’s report on the true impact of UK Manufacturing, we account for £518 billion of UK GDP and support 7.3 million jobs. Manufacturers are so important, and we need to focus on improving our image, increasing our diversity, working together with Government and our trade bodies to help others recognise how far we really are as an industry.”

Subcon has been the UK’s leading event for subcontract manufacturing for over 40 years. It is an unmissable event in the manufacturing calendar.

We welcome you to join us again next year! Make sure to save the date as Subcon 2025 will officially be held on the 4th and 5th of June at the NEC, Birmingham.

For more information about Subcon show 2025 and the Manufacturing Solutions Show Awards please visit: www.subconshow.co.uk or contact Ben Watkins at [email protected]


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