We are delighted to announce that the following special guest speakers are going to present their keynotes with their world-leading research. More details will be available soon.

Professor Zhenyuan Jia
Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China.
Professor Professor Zhenyuan Jia is Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Dalian University of Technology and Director of National Collaborative Innovation Center of Major Machine Manufacturing in Liaoning. He is a Chang Jiang Scholar and the principal scientist of 973 Program. Professor Zhenyuan Jia received Ph.D. degree at Dalian University of Technology, China. He is world well-known expert in machining of hard-to-cut materials, complex curved surface components, etc. He has strong influence in the mechanical engineering profession as Vice Chairman of the Machinery Industry Automation Division of China Mechanical Engineering Society and Vice Chairman of the Precision Engineering Division of China Instrument and Control Society. Professor Zhenyuan Jia has been the principal investigator of over 60 research projects including 973 Program, Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, etc. He has published over 200 peer-review high quality journal articles and 3 technical books, and has been granted 78 Chinese patents. His research has made significant contribution to the manufacturing technologies for high-performance components of high-end equipment in aviation and aerospace fields, which has resulted in great economic and social impacts. His contributions have been awarded with the First Class National Technology Invention Awards, the top award in China, twice. 

Professor Paul G Maropoulos
Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.
Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Professor Paul Maropoulos is the Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre of Belfast, Northern Ireland and the Professor of Advanced Manufacturing at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of Queen’s University Belfast. Professor Maropoulos graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and completed his MSc and PhD at UMIST, UK. Prior to joining Queen’s, Prof Maropoulos has held Professorial appointments at the Universities of Durham, Bath (where he also served as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering), and Aston (where he also served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise). He is a Chartered Engineer and has a strong influence in the engineering profession in the UK as Fellow and Board member of the Manufacturing Industries Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He maintains an international research presence as Fellow of the International Academy of Production Engineering (CIRP) and is the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Engineering Manufacture, Part B of the Proceedings of the IMechE. His research interests include manufacturing processes, digital manufacturing, design verification, measurement enabled production and supply chain readiness with funding from EPSRC, Innovate UK, ERDF and EU as well as blue-chip companies, like Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Caterpillar, Nissan, Thorn Lighting and Renishaw. Professor Maropoulos is also interested in technology transfer working with SMEs, as well as in strategic initiatives to enhance business productivity and manufacturing competitiveness.
Prof. Maropoulos will give an invited keynote talk on “Supply Chain Readiness - A Key Element of Advanced Manufacturing”.

Professor Guiling Yang
Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology & Engineering, Ningbo, China.
Dr. Yang received his B. Eng degree and M. Eng degree from Jilin University, China, in 1985 and 1988 respectively, and Ph.D. degree from Nanyang Technological University in 1999, all in Mechanical Engineering. He had been with the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), Singapore, as a senior scientist and the manager of the Mechatronics Group. He joined the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (CNITECH), Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2013. He is currently the deputy director of CNITECH and the director of Zhejiang Key Lab of Robotics and Intelligent Manufacturing Equipment Technology. His research interests cover a broad area of robotics and automation such as precision electromagnetic actuators, compliant mechanisms, parallel-kinematics machines, cable-driven robots, modular robots, and robotic automation systems. He has published over 270 technical papers in referred journals and conference proceedings, authored 3 books, and filed 50 patents. He was a recipient of 2014 R&D 100 Awards. He is now serving as an associate editor of the IEEE Access. He has organized a number of international conferences in mechatronics, robotics, and manufacturing automation.
Prof. Yang will give a talk on “Advanced Industrial Robotics for Intelligent Manufacturing” . 

Professor Zhuming Bi
Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.
Zhuming Bi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA. He served as a Senior Engineer at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of USA (2016), a Senior Project Engineer at Northern Ireland Technology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast of UK (2007 – 2009). He received a Ph.D. degree in Design and Manufacturing from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon of Canada (2002), and a Ph.D. degree in Mechatronic Control and Automation from Harbin Institute of Technology in China (1994). Dr. Bi’s research interests are Robotics and Automation, Internet of Things (IoT), Enterprise Systems, and Sustainable Manufacturing. He has published 110 international journal articles with 1749 times of citations by others in Web of Science in these research fields. He is the only awardee for the ‘Outstanding Faculty in Research’ and ‘Featured Faculty in Research Endeavors’ at Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2016-2017.
Prof. Bi will give a talk on “big data analytics and its impact on smart manufacturing”.

Ben Morgan

Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield, UK
Ben Morgan is the Head of the Integrated Manufacturing Group and Factory 2050 at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and a fellow of the Institute for Mechanical Engineers. He is responsible for a large team of multidisciplinary engineers solving problems for UK manufacturing in aerospace, automotive and construction industries. Ben graduated from the University of Leeds with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and joined the AMRC with Boeing in 2008, gaining experience in robotics, assembly and large volume metrology. In 2011 Ben moved into a technical lead/project management role with responsibility for all robotics projects at the AMRC with Boeing. As Head of IMG for the last 5 years, Ben is leading the development of Factory 2050, the world’s first industrial research facility dedicated to reconfigurable assembly and digitally driven component manufacturing. Since it’s opening at the start of 2016 Factory 2050 has accelerated IMG’s ability to impact UK manufacturing with transformational research. IMG develop innovative solutions using robotics, automation, augmented reality and digital SMART factory technologies for some of the world’s leading aerospace and automotive manufacturing companies both large and small.
Ben will give a talk on "Factory 2050 and the UK innovation challenge".

Damian McArdle

JW Kane Precision Engineering SAM Northern Ireland, UK
Damian is an accomplished Managing Director with a substantial engineering and quality background. He has over 30 years’ experience gained with a range of US Multinationals including General Electric, Harris Semiconductor and Littelfuse. Damian joined JW Kane in 2011 and he has developed and implemented the strategic growth plan 2012 to 2018 which saw the company grow threefold in the period, introducing a Tier 1 customer base including B/E, Safran – Aircelle, Stelia and PCC and re-engineering operations capabilities in line with multinational business processes. Following the successful acquisition of JW Kane by the Singapore headquartered SAM Aerospace, he is currently leading site integration within the corporation and implementing the next phase of growth to 2022 by exploiting opportunities at the enhanced customer base, developing routes to market, supporting the development of key enabling technical competencies and commissioning relevant operations capabilities. His core objectives for the future include developing the leadership team at JW Kane, setting the overall strategic development, direction and growth of the company (including the ownership and execution of its business plan), the tactical deployment of resources and capacity as well as operational delivery on time to cost and quality. His leadership style is to “lead from the front” in identifying business opportunities, developing and controlling the sales pipeline, at the same time executing on his critical remit, commercial success, by closing deals and executing profitable contracts, harnessing Management Information, optimising Mix, Margin, Capacity and Utilisation within the H&S, quality, service and “right first time” culture of SAM Aerospace.
Damian will give a talk on "A background to the transition from SME JW Kane to Global Multinational SAM Aerospace and overview of key growth enablers including leadership development and process innovations".

Professor Conor McCarthy

University of Limerick, Ireland
Professor Conor McCarthy is Chair of Lightweight Structures at the University of Limerick, Ireland, with research interests in digital twin technology for high performance design, development, manufacturing, testing and life-cycle performance monitoring of structural joints. He has published over 150 articles in leading Journals and at International conferences. More specifically his research interests include smart industrial automation, bolted, bonded and thermally joined composites, multi-scale damage mechanics and non-linear finite element analysis. Prof. McCarthy currently leads a large research group looking at novel joining methods (see www.falcom.ie), and has supervised 15 PhD and 10 post-doctorial researchers to completion, who have gone on to leading academic and research and development positions in Industry. Prof. McCarthy is the Centre Director for Confirm - Smart Manufacturing, a €47M Science Foundation Ireland and Industry funded research centre looking at future digital manufacturing technologies and cyber-physical manufacturing systems.
Prof. McCarthy will give a talk on "Joining large-scale light-weight composite structures using Digital Twin Technology".

Colm Higgins

Northern Ireland Technology Centre, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
Colm Higgins is the Head of the Northern Ireland Technology Centre. He leads a team of engineers at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queens University Belfast, delivering support to local industry through applied research, development, innovation and knowledge transfer in design, engineering and manufacturing activities. The NITC is celebrating 50 years as a technology and innovation centre recently making a £7.5M investment in advanced manufacturing equipment including robotics and automation to increase industry’s understanding, capability and application.

Colm will give a talk on "Innovation in a Regional Manufacturing Landscape".