If your job is in manufacturing and “if your job requires you to look for new ways to work smarter, operate leaner and boost productivity,” then you may have attended last week’s convention, FABTECH 2012, held November 12-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming and fabricating event featuring networking events, educational programs, and a large tradeshow. Last year’s FABTECH, held in Chicago, was a record-setter with 35,000 attendees. Although final figures for 2012 are not yet available, the organizers have said, “We do know that a record high number of attendees walked the more than 400,000 net square feet of floor space on the first day of the show.”
Attending FABTECH meant once more that this reporter was out of her element in terms of understanding the what’s, whys and hows of metal forming and fabricating. Yes, I did spend a career working in a Chicago factory, but my job site was an office, not the factory. However, for more than three decades I marveled at the skills that designed and produced the products that kept us in business.
The visit to FABTECH? A learning experience to be sure, and fascinating. The FABTECH tradeshow highlights machines and accessories in the forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries. Particular showstoppers are the welding robots that typically don’t actually weld on the show floor, but dance mechanical ballets showing their flexibility up, down and around. A number of the large (and expensive) display machines on the show floor posted “sold” signs before the show concluded.
Once again, this reporter sends apologies for any misstatements or less than professional observations. However, by just by walking through the convention center, I came away awestruck at modern manufacturing machines and the folks, from around the world, who invent and build them.
I asked several company representatives about business levels, and every one of them was optimistic about the future, both in the U.S. and globally.
Sponsors of FABTECH 2012 were the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the Precision Metalforming Association and the Chemical Coaters Association, International. Next year, FABTECH will again be held in Chicago.
PS: Happy Thanksgiving all. If you haven’t seen the Thanksgiving display at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, don’t miss it. The decor of the season is done beautifully.