The Quality Show, the only tradeshow exclusively focused on quality manufacturing, kicked off its second year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL on Tuesday, October 23. 

The biennial event from BNP Media and Quality magazine began when the exhibit hall opened at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and attendees continued to network with process improvement vendors during a welcome reception on the show floor from 5-7 p.m.

On Wednesday, October 25, the first full day of the show commenced with a Quality Awards Presentation at 9 a.m., followed by the keynote address from Matt Napoli, VP of In-Space Operations at the "off-world" manufacturing company Made In Space.

Quality Awards

Quality magazine's editorial director, Darryl Seland, presented the 2017 Quality Professional and Plant of the Year Awards to Katherine Cox (Senior Quality Assurance Director, Procyrion) and Robert LaFrance (Operations Manager, PACCAR Engine Company), respectively.

In her thank you speech, Cox reminded the audience that Procyrion is a "small startup" that works because of the fine-tuned quality management system (QMS) to which she and her team adhere.

Subsequently, LaFrance represented his PACCAR team on stage, acknowledging that while "there isn't much manufacturing in Mississippi, not in the way that we do it," he is proud to be part of the vanguard.


In his keynote "Made in Space: Manufacturing at 17,200 mph," Napoli explained his company's trajectory and current projects.

Made in Space's focus areas are building "in-space for earth," with manufacturing that can only be accomplished in microgravity, and "in-space for space," assembling huge spacecraft—some of which was originally designed in the 1960s—with tools that can now be 3D-printed on earth and "emailed" to the astronauts in record time. 

Today, sending a message to astronauts from the Made in Space headquarters in Mountain View, CA takes less than a second, while 3D-printing a part to show up inside the spacecraft takes about two hours.

According to Napoli, Made in Space's goals for the future include astronauts being able to 3D-print their own parts in space, grow sugarcane that they can turn into bioplastic parts, turn asteriods into spacecrafts, and build new colonies for human habitation on Mars and elsewhere in the galaxy. 

"One day," Napoli concluded, "everything in space will be made in space."

Learning Theaters

Throughout the day, quality management experts delivered presentations at Learning Theaters 1 and 2 in the exhibit hall to demonstrate the transformative impact of quality.

For example, Cox's presentation, "High-Stakes Quality," outlined how she implemented a "common-sense" QMS in a tight economic climate. Cox also described how her motto, "Business Planning for Increased Likelihood of Success," ultimately paid off.

LaFrance also gave a presentation, "Drive for Continuous Improvement," that illustrated how PACCAR's flagship plant in Columbus, MS operates. In addition, LaFrance explained how he and his team developed an effective Product Quality Index (PQI), decreased tool costs, and made significant CMM and SPC monitoring improvements in 2016.

Show Floor and Reception

With attendees from 28 countries and 48 states, the show floor buzzed with activity. Quality experts in inspection, metrology, machine vision, software, and 3D-printing mingled to discuss cutting-edge solutions, often pointing to the products on display in booths from ZEISS, Mahr, Hexagon, FARO, QVI, Starrett, and many more. These conversations continued at a networking reception from 5-7 p.m., where several attendees shared their experiences at the show in video testimonials.

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