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Our predictions for 2015: emerging trends, issues and events

As we usher in a new year, PIF looks forward to what promises to be another eventful year for the Process Industry and makes a prediction on the big trends, issues, and events that we should keep an eye on.

Engineering and Manufacturing Issues and trends



We suspect that the issue of geo-engineering – an unproven science of intervening in the climate to bring down temperatures – could be a prominent talking point in the coming year. Al Gore said it would be "insane, utterly mad and delusional in the extreme" to turn to geo-engineering projects to avoid a climate catastrophe, according to one Guardian report. While in the UK three combined research projects, led by teams from the universities of Leeds, Bristol and Oxford, have explored the implications in more detail. A key finding was that none of the simulations managed to keep the world's temperature at the level experienced between 1986-2005 - suggesting that any effort would have to be maintained for years.

Smart machines

robots in automotive industry

By 2018 the total cost of ownership for business operations could be reduced by 30 percent, due to smart machines and industrialized services, according to the forecasts of technology researchers, Gartner.

Smart machines are an emerging 'super class' of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, of both the physical and the intellectual kind,” say Gartner. They add: “Smart machines will automate decision making. Therefore, they will not only affect jobs based on physical labor, but they will also impact jobs based on complex knowledge worker tasks.” Watch this space.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

On a similar note, in light of Professor Stephen Hawking's recent comments, that reignited the debate about the potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence, we predict that this subject will continue to attract headlines in the coming year. Professor Hawking told the BBC:

Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.  The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.

Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and the West of England, Bristol have set up a new £1.4M project to address concerns arising from these new technologies.

Process Industry and Engineering Events

Subcon 2015

Artificial Intelligence

For the first time in 2015, Subcon, The Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Design & Innovation Show will be coming together to deliver a compelling platform for the manufacturing industry. The three shows will offer a complete manufacturing solution, with the entire product development chain under one roof. From product design, prototyping and development, to contract and subcontract products and services, as well as machine tools, systems and equipment. The last show saw a growth of 20 percent and attracted more than 300 suppliers. Subcon takes place from 2-4 June at the NEC Birmingham.


ACHEMA is the world forum for chemical engineering, and the Process Industry, that doubles as an innovations' platform and technology summit. Organisers describe it as a 'trend-setting meeting point' and 'take-off for investment decisions' for an international network of experts and executives. Around 2,750 exhibitors have already registered for this year's event. ACHEMA takes place from 15-19 June in Frankfurt, Germany.

Advanced Engineering 2015

Advanced Engineering 2015

The UK’s largest, and fastest growing, annual event for the advanced engineering communities, returns once more for another two-day extravaganza centred around technology, innovation and industry supply chain capability. The Advanced Engineering 2015 group of events promises bring 'multiple high growth, value-added advance engineering and technology events into a hugely exciting integrated UK and international technology transfer and business development environment.' Advanced Engineering 2015 takes place from 4-5 November in Birmingham.

2015 Chem Show

Held every two years, the Chem Show has been the Chemical Process Industries' (CPI) main event since 1915. Unlike other industry trade events, that focus solely on one vertical market sector, exhibiting at the Chem Show brings you in front of buyers from a broad range of process industries. See the latest process equipment, systems and products from leading suppliers. Discover cost-effective solutions and innovative technologies from the experts. And find Solutions to increase process efficiency, reduce costs and be more green and sustainable in your operations. The Chem Show takes place takes place in New York from 17-19 November.

What are you looking forward to most this coming year? Leave your comments below.

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