Record turnout and brisk sales show that manufacturing in the U.S. has a bright future.
Las Vegas November 20, 2012
A record high first day attendance, "Sold" signs on equipment and a packed house at education programs and special events were the hallmarks of the recently concluded FABTECH 2012 in Las Vegas, the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America.
Show organizers are reporting that 25,903 attendees walked the more than 450,000 net square feet of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see live equipment demonstrations, compare products side-by-side and find cost-saving solutions. The FABTECH educational conference held simultaneously with the three-day expo included an unprecedented number of sessions on some of the hottest topics in manufacturing.
"We've received great feedback from attendees and exhibitors," said John Catalano, FABTECH show co-manager. "Attendees were impressed with the size and scope of the show and the vast array of new products and technologies on display. Exhibitors were enthusiastic and report that sales activity was brisk and leads were plentiful."
FABTECH 2012 featured several special events including a State of the Industry roundtable with manufacturing CEOs. The CEOs concurred that growth in manufacturing should continue for the next year; however, all said a stumbling block to growth is the lack of skilled workers in manufacturing. The CEOs emphasized that manufacturers need to be more aggressive in influencing parents of students, having students influence each other and have school be a more active voice in recruiting potential workers.
With the show occurring only five days after the presidential election, FABTECH also featured a Post-Election Analysis panel featuring Washington insiders with long track records in representing manufacturing interests. The panelists discussed the so-called looming fiscal cliff (they believe that Congress will reach a deal to at least move the deadline for a debt deal), tax reform (it's going to happen) and other issues that will impact manufacturers. All agreed that the manufacturing sector has gained influence in Washington over the past two years and encouraged manufacturers to get involved in advocacy efforts for the industry via their trade associations.
"If you can take the pulse of the economy by what's happening in manufacturing, then you have to be optimistic that we are headed for economic growth," said Mark Hoper, FABTECH show co-manager. "A constant theme I heard both on the show floor and at the seminars was that, while challenges and uncertainties remain, most manufacturers believe that their businesses are headed for continued growth in 2013."
FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry-leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI).
FABTECH 2013 will be held on November 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.
Additional information on the FABTECH 2012 can be found at http://www.fabtechexpo.com.