Adexon® at the Smart Factory Expo: Liverpool

Thursday 11th November 2021

I woke up on Thursday morning with a total buzz of excitement. I put on a new dress and walked to the convention theatre surveying the picturesque, historic docks, noting how the glass of the newer waterfront buildings contrasted with the stone of the old, feeling a sense of pride for the city of Liverpool.

Selfie of Jessica Lace with the Liverpool docks in the background

After a COVID-secure entrance that included a registered negative lateral flow test, mask-wearing if preferred, and wristband colour system to indicate how much social distancing you would prefer; I headed in.

Green & Digital Transformation without Finance being a Blocker, given by Mark McLoughlin, Siemens.

My first presentation was also my first encounter with a common theme that would resurface throughout the day, that we all need an ‘Act, Don’t Talk’ attitude towards greater sustainability and CO2 reduction across the globe. Siemens explained the ability for partners to optimize energy saving, reduce their carbon output, and use continual monitoring to ensure targets are on track, without the need to have vast financial output, which will be an interesting avenue to explore once the business requires it.

5 Digital Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid, given by Paul Moss, Intergage Marketing Engineers.

My second presentation was aimed at developing my personal, professional development, which was very well timed just over a month into my new career venture! The tone of this presentation was more conversational and featured a cameo from a herbivorous dinosaur, potentially a Brachiosaurus, though its true classification was not disclosed.

Staff from Intergage presenting, one of whom is in an inflatable, grey dinosaur costume

As a relatively new content writer, this presentation was particularly reassuring and reinforced the familiar adage “slow and steady wins the race,” with a reported 6–12-month development stage, that will lead to a 65-85% increase in traffic for the business.

After this, came the highlight of my day.

Meeting Tiago.

Collage of myself meeting Tiago, a robot at the expo

He wheeled nippily around the expo space with Richard Waterstone, founder/ MD of Cyberselves, speaking to us with his programmed Northern accent, laughing and joining in with jokes, and passing out business cards with hand-like appendages akin to a duck’s bill. I was smitten. But also, completely awestruck.

My assumptions about robotics being clunky, with jerky movements and a jarring, robotic voice, were undone and Tiago took me completely by surprise. His facial features were arranged in a thoughtful way as if he were contemplating something he was pleased with. His voice was not traditionally robotic and halting, it was almost fluent and didn’t feel like he was picking out words to craft perfect syntax. His accent was warm and recognisable. His arm moved in an imperfect way, seeming to imitate minor twitches and movements that we all do thousands of times a day.

Tiago was so familiar and endearing, he spread smiles wherever he went, and it was awe-inspiring to see how far robotics had developed, and how human they can now appear.

Exhibitors and Innovation Alley

Innovation alley with a tv crew in the foreground.

By this point in the day, I went to speak to some of the previously identified exhibitors who had stalls in the expo.

Each booth or stand I visited was manned by incredibly enthusiastic, personable individuals who were keen to connect and collaborate. One was quite keen to suggest there might be space on the team for a content writer, a compliment I did not take lightly!

Building a Net Zero Workforce for your Digital Future, given by Nick Davis, Deloitte.

My last presentation was with the sponsors of the expo itself. This step-by-step guide carried us through the entire manufacturing journey, from design to delivery and explored how businesses can implement steps to approach or achieve net-zero. This raised key ideas for me, as Nick explained that 40% of B to C customers were willing to have a longer wait time if it could be proven that they were lowering emissions. Upon my return to the office, this has already generated discussion, so I am sure this is a piece of content in the making.

Concluding thoughts from the day

As you would expect with manufacture, AI and robotics played a large role in the expo and watching them in action was a real highlight- even if they didn’t all hand business cards to me! The pace at which robotics has advanced and been utilised is astonishing and may provide some fantastic real-life applications that can be utilised to reduce waste, ensure we manufacture more intelligently and reduce our environmental output.

Collage of various industrial robots performing tasks.

The focus on reducing emissions, recycling, or reducing waste, and improving the condition of the planet was repeated in advertising fliers and leaflets, and conversation all around me, but this went hand-in-hand with working more efficiently, and saving money for businesses. It was not in the vein of ‘race-to-the-bottom ideology, it seemed inspiring, a kind of call-to-arms, and has left me feeling hopeful that with events such as this, alongside COP26 in Glasgow, grow ethically minded, sustainable businesses and we can affect real change for the planet- without it being an afterthought.


All photographs were taken by Adexon® employees at the Expo.

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