November 28, 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 report that 25,903 attendees walked the more than 450,000 net sq. ft. of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center to see live equipment demonstrations and compare products. The educational conference held simultaneously with the three-day expo included an unprecedented number of sessions.
At the special state-of-the-industry roundtable event for manufacturing CEOs, participants 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. At a postelection analysis panel, Washington insiders with long track records representing manufacturing interests discussed the "fiscal cliff," tax reform, and other issues that will affect manufacturing. 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 the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl. (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association Intl. (CCAI).