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We’re proud of our history and excited by the future.

Shaping the future since 1987.

Previously the PPMA Group of companies, Automate UK including PPMA, BARA and UKIVA, has a proud heritage of over 30 years. Now, we look ahead to innovating the future of automation, supporting our industries and growing your success. 

Key milestones


Initially focused on the organisation of an exhibition ‘for the industry by the industry’, we have been shaped by the principles of eight founding member companies - Sussex & Berkshire Machinery Company, Soteco, Ultrapac, Robert Bosch, ACM Machinery, Engelmann & Buckham, Jenton International, and Rockwell Packaging. They joined together to create the PPMA in 1987.


The publishing of the first edition of PPMA’s official trade magazine, Machinery Update, in 1989


Gaining in popularity, the PPMA Show took its place at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre in 1994. This meant direct competition with the larger Pakex show, organised by Reed Exhibitions every three years.


The launch of the first three-day PPMA Show in 1988, with more than 3,000 unique visitors in attendance. The merging of the PPMA with the Packaging Equipment Manufacturers’ Association.


Reed and PPMA partnered in 2002, agreeing to organise the PPMA Show two out of every three years. Renamed as the Total Show, it came to replace the PPMA Show triennially.


In 2009 the secretariat of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) and UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA) joined the PPMA. This brought about three associations, operating under the trading brand of the PPMA Group of Associations.


The partnership between PPMA and Reed Exhibitions ended in 2013. However, we regained ownership and management of the PPMA show in 2014. This was followed by the purchase of the Pakex and Interphex exhibition brands, allowing more manufacturers to engage with the UK market at PPMA events.


The charitable incorporated organisation (registered charity no. 1156041), PPMA Business Education Skills and Training (PPMA BEST) was developed with funding in 2014. This has proved vital, inspiring a new generation of engineers and encouraging more companies to hire apprentices.


The Group continued to expand, with many of the 580 members attending the inaugural PPMA Conference In May 2019. This presented delegates with the opportunity to learn about the latest robot technology and packaging developments.


Focused on the up-skilling and cross-training of company employees, the PPMA unveiled a new training academy in January 2020. Designed in partnership with Make UK and E3 Leadership Development, this has supported the delivery of various practical engineering and online learning modules.

Looking to the Future.

With the Automate UK brand having launched in 2023, we remain the top trade association for automation suppliers and technology users. Believing in the power of partnership, we are committed to driving progress with automation technology, supporting member growth, and helping users make better decisions in the manufacturing industry.