Finishing Pavillion at FABTECH (Photo Cred. – AXALTA)
According to Fabtechexpo.com, a whopping 1,500 exhibiting companies and a total of 31,110 attendees from over 120 countries gathered together in the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2016 FABTECH Expo. The show is one of North America’s largest collaborations of technology, equipment, and knowledge for the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries. FABTECH’s expansive exhibit space spanned more than 575,000 net square feet, which gave attendees a large amount of opportunity to see the latest innovations, interact with vendors and learn new industry trends. Over the span of the three day event attendees also had access to more than 100 educational sessions and expert-led panel discussions.
Over the duration of the show, there was a large amount of talk about the expected trending topics in the industry: robotics and software. According to Jim Lorincz, Senior Editor for AdvancedManufacturing.org, “Robots continue to provide sophisticated automation for traditional processes…or in the case of new additive manufacturing process, a robot builds a part from scratch or repairs an existing high value workpiece”. He also had a few words regarding the prominent trend in software which “remains the source of a common thread for increased visibility of manufacturing processes that can be monitored and tracked through the entire shop and out into the supply chain”.
Though these trends were emphasized along with many others, the largest theme at FABTECH was putting it all together and “closing the loop” in processes. This involves everything from the initial quote through production and shipping, and back again. How can all these stages run seamlessly and efficiently? Tim Heston, writer for TheFabricator.com says, “Analyze the data, learn from it, and improve”. Rather than focusing on the speed of one machine, focus on improving the end-to-end process.
Another year of FABTECH is in the books and attendees walk away with an abundance of knowledge and connections. With all the new innovations and technology, the main theme of FABTECH 2016 stayed relatively simple: Close the loop on processes and eliminate poor production habits.