FABTECH 2019, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event, hosted an enthusiastic crowd at Chicago’s McCormick Place November 11-14. Despite the unexpected winter weather, the 2019 event closed with record attendance, marking a 7% increase over the previous FABTECH Chicago. A total of 48,278 attendees from 95 countries participated in four full days of product evaluation, education and collaborative discussions on key industry issues. Three massive exhibit halls full of more than 500 new products and 1,700 exhibitors highlighted the emerging trends and technologies influencing the future of manufacturing. For the first time, FABTECH expanded into the Lakeside Center with early access to give attendees a jump start on the first day of the show.
“With this year’s economic challenges and all the technology innovations impacting the industry, there has never been a more important time to gather the community in one place for inspiration, peer-to-peer networking, education and business development,” said John Catalano, SME senior director, FABTECH. “Every corner of the expanded show floor showcased incredible resources and the innovative technologies shaping our industry and highlighted the abundant talent of our welders, fabricators, finishers and metal formers. We hope everyone that joined us gained the insights and tools they need to grow and transform their businesses.”
According to numerous exhibiting companies, sales activity on the exhibit floor was robust from day one and continued throughout the week. David Lambert, vice president of sales, Miller Electric Mfg LLC, said “FABTECH 2019 was extremely positive for Miller. We had great meetings with our current key customers and new customers around the solutions we offer. FABTECH is always a great show, but this was an exceptional year.”
“FABTECH continues to attract the qualified buyers we want to meet. They come from across North America to witness the latest fabricating technology in action and talk to our engineering and product experts,” said Nick Ostrowski, general manager, AMADA NORTH AMERICA, INC. “It’s the ideal venue for us to launch new products and reinforce our market-leading brand position.”
A variety of special events including keynote presentations and Leadership Exchanges provided a forum to discuss key issues and provide a glimpse into the future of the industry. FABTECH’s opening session, FABx Tech Talks, patterned after the popular TED Talks series, featured a powerful lineup of visionary veterans who drew on their unique experiences to share stories of motivation and team building, providing actionable insights for attendees to achieve business excellence.
Education continued to be a flagship offering at FABTECH. An extensive lineup of more than 175 education sessions led by industry thought leaders and subject matter experts covered the latest trends and best practices. The schedule featured 120+ new sessions and 14 technology tracks, including sessions focused on 3D/additive manufacturing, automation, smart manufacturing, welding fabrication, cutting, lasers, workforce development, business management strategies, and more.
The Smart Manufacturing Hub featured daily presentations focused on advanced manufacturing technologies including automation, IoT, 3D printing and more. The new Robotics and Industrial Automation Technology Pavilion showcased technologies that are rapidly changing the way the industry conducts business.
A fierce head-to-head tournament took place during the AWS Welding Competition. During the first two days of FABTECH, welders showed their talents as they cleaned and completed a single-pass fillet weld in just 5 minutes. Competitors were evaluated to the current AWS D1.1 by a panel of Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI). The list of champions includes: 1st place winners; Kalub Curran, Ogden, Utah and Cody Sarsland, Willmar, Minn., 2nd place winners; Brent Bryan, Grayland, Wash. and David Gutierrez, Texas City, Tex, and 3rd place winners; Keith Cusey, Graniteville, S.C. and Jonathon Brown, New Haven, Ind.
During the show, the five FABTECH event partners announced that beginning in 2021, FABTECH Chicago-previously held in November-will shift its dates to September. The event, hosted in odd years at Chicago’s McCormick Place, will make its next visit to the Windy City on September 13-16, 2021 and remain in September in future odd years.
“FABTECH 2019 was great and lived up to expectations for us,” said Hartmut Boegel, president, Cloos Robotics. “We had many fruitful discussions and secured several good leads which we will follow-up on. The newly announced September dates are great for Cloos Robotics because it gives us the opportunity to make predictions on production and sales forecasts. The shift will be very good for our business.”
Attendees also had many positive things to say. “FABTECH is a great show for us. We see a lot of new products every year that we can take back to our customers,” said Jimmy Blalock, regional manager, ARC3 Gases. “FABTECH allows us to see and experience many different pieces of equipment that we can lay our hands-on and really be able to speak to the product’s value and quality.” Chris Dubeau, Senior Metal Bellows, commented, “The show went well, we found new stuff that we have never seen before and incredible technology that is transforming the industry.”
Exclusively focused on advancing the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries around the world, FABTECH offers an unmatched trade show experience. Registration for the next U.S. FABTECH event, set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 18-20, 2020 will open in the Spring. For more information, visit fabtechexpo.com or follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. The event provides a powerfully aligned hands-on, face-to-face business growth experience. FABTECH is held annually in the U.S., rotating between Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta. FABTECH Mexico also occurs annually rotating between Mexico City and Monterrey and FABTECH Canada occurs biennially in Toronto. These events are made possible by FABTECH’s five co-sponsors, all of whom represent the varied and diverse makeup of the manufacturing industry. They include the American Welding Society, the Chemical Coaters Association International, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, the Precision Metalforming Association and SME.