BUSINESSES will be given an insight into how data analysis and digital tools can enhance productivity at this year’s Durham Oktoberfest.

The University of Sunderland’s Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) is again holding one of its North East Maintenance Forum sessions after the success of last year’s seminar.

The forum was the most popular of all of the themed workshops held at Oktoberfest 2016, attracting over 100 people who were keen to find out more about AMAP and how it is supporting the region’s automotive and manufacturing industries.

Dr David Baglee is Reader at the Faculty of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing University of Sunderland and Chairman of the North East Maintenance Forum. He said: “This year’s forum will concentrate on the digital aspects of maintenance and how we collect, store and analyse data to create improved maintenance strategies.

“We will look at how companies capture data, using condition monitoring systems; transfer and analyse data using intuitive maintenance management software systems; and how companies can use that data to reduce maintenance costs and improve productivity.”

AMAP had around 140 members including Nissan, Gestamp and Faltec Europe.

This year’s Durham Oktoberfest is being held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Thursday, October 19.

In addition to the AMAP forum and general networking opportunities, there will also be a themed session with the Rail Alliance; an Education Zone for budding engineers to showcase their work and meet employers; while in the exhibition hall there will be an Incubation Zone for micro firms with links to the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Ben Gilhespy, Operations Director at County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN), which organises Durham Oktoberfest, said: “The themed workshops were introduced last year in response to feedback from attendees and proved immensely popular, in particular the AMAP forum which was attended by over 100 people, so we’re delighted the university has confirmed they’re returning this year.

“The event celebrates its tenth birthday this year and we’re pulling out all the stops to ensure it’s our best yet. Oktoberfest is the perfect platform to showcase the North East’s vast capabilities within the engineering and manufacturing sectors; introduce businesses to potential clients and suppliers; and through the themed workshops give them a unique insight into areas that could support their growth.”

Alongside Business Durham, global rail manufacturer Stadler has also come on board as a gold sponsor, and Nigel Wright Recruitment is an associate partner.

To find out more visit the website,

Durham Oktoberfest is also pleased to announce that on the evening of the event the regional Made in the North East awards hosted by Insider Media will be held at Redworth Hall Hotel. Businesses attending Oktoberfest are actively encouraged to get involved and promote their success by registering for one of the awards on offer. For more information visit