Just over a month ago, I was down in Atlanta, Georgia at FABTECH 2018. And I, along with tens of thousands of individuals tied to the manufacturing industry, attended this year’s FABTECH conference for any number of reasons: to learn, teach, exhibit, network, advertise, or otherwise participate in shaping the future of the manufacturing industry.
Overall, I attended to represent R&M Manufacturing and to freshen my perspective on the manufacturing industry outlook going into 2019. But before we dive in too deep, let’s start with a few of the basics.
What is FABTECH?
In case you’re unfamiliar, FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event. This year’s event took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, but the host city does change from year to year.
At FABTECH, attendees have the opportunity to meet with world-class suppliers, see the latest industry products and developments, and discover tools to improve productivity, increase profits, and discover new solutions. This year, all three days were jam-packed with opportunities to learn and grow.
Attending FABTECH 2018
FABTECH is well known for providing attendees access to the latest advancements in technology relative to forming, fabrication, welding, and finishing. This year, hundreds of new products were released, and more than 1,500 exhibitors demonstrated their products and manufacturing solutions. For someone immersed in the metal fabrication industry, FABTECH is always a sight to be seen, and this year’s conference did not disappoint.
While it’s near-impossible to summarize the impact of the event – you truly had to be there – here are a few notable sessions:
Lasers and Innovative Industrial Applications
Timothy Brady of Amada America, Inc. presented “Combination Punch/Laser Machines - The Ultimate in Sheet Metal Fabrication Technology,” which detailed the many advantages of the Combination Punch/Laser Machine along with a real-world case study.
Lean Tools: Flow and Pull Creating Flow in High-Variety Environments
Kevin Duggan of Institute for Operational Excellence presented “Creating Flow in High-Variety Environments” where he focused on the challenges that fabrication shops face when they have complex products, high demand, and shared resources that all need to work together.
Advanced Press Brake Technologies
Paul LeTang of Bystronic Inc. presented “How New Press Brake Technologies Help Fabricators Reduce Operator Learning Curve and Experience Level” which detailed how today’s bending equipment is making up for the operator skill gap many fabricators are facing today.
Expert Panel: Manufacturing & the New Generation Workforce
During this panel, four experts discussed the needs of our industry and the steps we can all take across generations in creating a culture of communication, technology, teamwork, and mentoring.
R&M Manufacturing’s Booth
In addition to being a great place to get a pulse on the industry, FABTECH is a great place to pick up a few free giveaways and have some fun (#RUN4MFG5K, anyone?). Visitors to our booth (lucky number B9639) walked away with a free tumbler, and one lucky attendee won a YETI cooler. It was great to see everyone, and if you missed us this year, there’s always 2019!
Looking Toward 2019
As much fun as FABTECH 2018 was to attend and exhibit at, it’s important to remember to bring something back – and no, I’m not talking about freebies. Throughout all the sessions, exhibits, panels, and networking opportunities, I found numerous opportunities and avenues for leading R&M Manufacturing into 2019 and beyond. It was such a thrill to be part of this event, and it has left me energized weeks after returning home.
If I didn’t see you this year, perhaps we’ll cross paths at FABTECH 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. In the meantime, you can always get in touch with me at R&M Manufacturing by contacting us: