As the first large-scale B2B and manufacturing trade show to be held at Chicago’s McCormick Place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, FABTECH 2021 brought two years’ worth of groundbreaking innovations, inspiring keynote presentations, and solution-based education sessions to the global metal fabrication community. From September 13-16, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event welcomed over 24,000 attendees from across the United States with long-awaited opportunities to experience product evaluation, in-person networking, education, and collaborative discussions on key topics impacting the industry today.
“FABTECH 2021 was a great show,” said Michael Bell, director of sales, Pemamek LLC. “The show exceeded our expectations by far and our company closed several large deals during the week. We met with the right buyers. The people who came to FABTECH were here to learn and to buy. We already have our booth for next year!”
“We have been exhibiting in FABTECH for years,” said Adam Bowden, president, Jet-Set Hydraulic Spray Systems. “Year after year, they have all been good, but this year the show has changed the trajectory of my business. We had an amazing experience at FABTECH 2021.”
Three exhibit halls hosted close to 1,000 exhibitors (including 93 new exhibitors) demonstrating over 400 new products and highlighting emerging trends and technologies. As the first event in two years for many industry professionals, energy was high, and sales activity was robust on the busy exhibit floor throughout each day. Featured technology-focused pavilions at FABTECH included the 3D/Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, one of the fastest-growing technologies of the 21st century, and the Robotics & Industrial Automation Pavilion that introduced new technologies to fill workforce gaps and increase productivity and profitability.
“FABTECH is grateful for the support of all the participating exhibitors, speakers and attendees who joined us in Chicago,” said Mark Hoper, FMA senior vice president media & expositions, FABTECH. “We would like to thank them along with all our partners, vendors and the City of Chicago who supported this endeavor throughout a challenging 18 months leading up to this important industry event.”
FABTECH featured a motivating lineup of special events, including keynote presentations, FABx Tech Talks and Leadership Exchange discussions. During the packed keynote presentations, industry luminaries discussed key learning moments and philosophies that led them to notable successes like landing a rover on Mars, creating boundary-pushing motorized builds and establishing a successful workforce development formula. Speakers included Adam Steltzner, leader and chief engineer of the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission, David Ankin, CEO of ToyMakerz, Inc., and Adam Genei, owner of Mobsteel and Detroit Steel Wheel Co.
The Leadership Exchange and State of the Industry panels featured groups of subject matter experts who discussed the next phase of advanced manufacturing, the importance of mobile robot and standard robot interoperability, tactics for cultivating the next generation of manufacturing talent and how to navigate 2022 with the industry’s constant state of transformation. During the FABx Tech Talks, visionary manufacturers shared details about how they are integrating technologies like automation, AI and data analytics into all aspects of their operations—from the production floor to the supply chain.
FABTECH’s education offerings for attendees included more than 150 conference sessions and workshops led by industry thought leaders and subject matter experts. The sessions spanned 14 technology tracks with sessions focused on automation, smart manufacturing, welding, cutting, lasers, workforce development, business management strategies and more. On-demand content from the conference is now available to purchase for those who were unable to attend.
“FABTECH is family. It’s about connection and community just as much as it’s about education and technology! The welding and fabrication industry is like no other–we are a very close family,” commented Barbie Parsons, welding influencer also known as Barbie the Welder.
During FABTECH, the American Welding Society hosted judges from Netflix’s new series, Metal Shop Masters. Making its Netflix series premiere on September 10, 2021, just days before FABTECH 2021, Metal Shop Masters features a group of metal artists who will torch, cut and weld epic creations from hardened steel in a competition to win a $50,000 prize and the Metal Shop Master title. Attendees enjoyed hearing from judges Stephanie Hoffman and David Madero at FABTECH’s Careers in Welding Trailer as they discussed what it was like to be on the show and meet talented competitors.
“With everything that the industry has been through over the last year and a half, it was great to bring everyone together to do business, learn, and connect in person,” said John Catalano, SME senior director US events and strategic partnerships, FABTECH. “Nothing compares to being able to make those face-to-face connections and see the newest advancements and products in action. FABTECH 2021 was a success, and we hope everyone who joined us gained new business and insights into current and future manufacturing trends.”
For more information, visit www.fabtechexpo.com.