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Energy and optimism fill the air at Fabtech 2002
Fabricators & Manufacturers Association
Port Pipe and Tube Inc
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Company: Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, IL, United States
Attn: Pat Lee

More than banging, sawing and bending of metal, there was an unmistakable buzz at FABTECH 2002. Held October 29-31, 2002 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio, the show provided a welcome and renewed energy to the metal forming and fabricating industry.

"This show was the best thing to happen to the fabricating industry in two years," stated Mark Hoper, CEM, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), director of expositions and FABTECH show manager. "Exhibitors felt good about the quality of the leads they collected and equipment was sold straight off the show floor."

Monty Kelley of Wilson Tool was encouraged by the quality of the audience seen by Wilson booth staff members. "We had a steady flow of people. It was refreshing to see so many who were serious about their intention to acquire new equipment. We havent seen leads of this quality in quite some time."

Nearly 600 exhibitors offered equipment options, answers to production problems and new ideas. Of special note were nearly200 new product introductions a new record for FABTECH.

Trade shows like FABTECH are designed to bring together people with problems to solve and those who can supply the solutions. This was certainly true at FABTECH. Michel Kanage of Tubex was enthusiastic about how this scenario played in their booth. "A major tool manufacturer came to our booth with a print of a part they were trying to make. They were behind in the project and needed help. We were able to discuss the problem, program one of the machines in our booth based on the print, and within two hours had produced a couple of prototypes that solved the problem. It was a complex tube shape with multiple bends that would require only one weld."

Quality over Quantity

With 13,500 attendees, attendance was down from the previous Cleveland FABTECH show, but most exhibitors were happy with the results. "Attending companies can no longer afford to send teams of people to trade shows", said Hoper. "They are however, continuing to send key decision-makers. While total numbers are down, the quality of attendees on the show floor is at least as good if not better than in the past."


New Conference Format Well Received

This years conference schedule offered 25 two-hour sessions replacing half day and full day courses. Nearly 250 attendees took advantage of the new format many attending more than one session.

"We realize that most attendees only have one day to spend away from the office," stated Vee Jevremovic, FABTECH conference manager. "Tightly focused two-hour sessions give attendees more flexibility in their day they get the chance to learn from expert presenters in a classroom setting, while still having plenty of time to visit the show floor."


Steel Industry Speaker Emphasizes Benefits of Change

John Ferriola, Executive Vice President, Nucor Corporation addressed 250 during the FABTECH Keynote event. Highlights included the strengths of Nucors financial structure, management practices, and technological leadership.

Ferriola also addressed the globalization of the steel industry, Section 201 and how the changes will benefit steel users. According to Ferriola, the impact of globalization and the tariff will be similar steel consumers will see short-term turbulence resulting in long-term stability putting an end to the "roller coaster ride" of the last 20 years. Ultimately, he expects that steel users will have dependable supplies of quality steel at better costs.


The next FABTECH will be held November 16-19, 2003 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

FABTECH is cosponsored by FMA and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, (SME). For information on FABTECH 2003, call 800-432-2832 or 815-399-8775.


     Tel: 815-399-8775   Fax: 815-484-7701
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