At the last FABTECH® show, I ran into an engineer who works for GE Appliance & Lighting, looking for products that would speed that all-important art-to-part time--that all-important product-development time. Their comments make sense in light of recent growth of the company’s Louisville, Ky., Appliance Park. After years of decline, the massive industrial campus has njoyed a welcome rebound in recent years, as described in great detail by The Atlantic magazine last month.
Posts Tagged ‘FABTECH’
By: Tim Heston
What a crowd in Las Vegas. Official attendance numbers, which are audited, aren't released yet, but early estimates are that today may have been one of FABTECH's most well-attended opening days.
Vendors I spoke with were happy with the crowds, and attendees said their shops were busy. Some have seen a little softening of late. Some are very worried about what will happen in Washington. But for the most part, people say business is good.
Admittedly, show attendees may not be the best representative sample of the industry. Businesses in dire situations probably don't bother attending the show at all. Regardless, the metal forming and fabricating niche remains a bright spot in manufacturing and the economy overall.
Today, two booths, coincidentally adjacent to one another, really showed what manufacturing may look like a generation from now.
By: Tim Heston
Just in time for election season (which, as a multiyear event now, is far longer than a season), a few advocacy groups are putting forth their views about what U.S. manufacturing needs. One of the most concise reports comes from the Georgia Tech and Council on Competitiveness, which released its report last week. Boiled down, the report says U.S. manufacturing needs improved infrastructure, simpler taxation and regulations, more skilled talent, and a focused industrial policy.
Many of those policies hit home for the nation’s larger manufacturers, and they’re indirectly important for the contract metal fabricators and other smaller companies that supply those OEMs. But skilled labor hits home for everybody.
By: Tim Heston
“We are becoming a legitimate, export-oriented country.”
So said Chris Kuehl, economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, at yesterday's economic forecast breakfast at FABTECH 2011. Judging by the high traffic today at the show—evidence of a major resurgence in capital equipment spending—his point carries some weight. The weak dollar has helped exporting companies gain a foothold in foreign markets, he said, and once these midsized manufacturers prove themselves in those markets, they can stay in them and grow. This, he added, is one factor that has been driving America's manufacturers, many of which are growing much faster than the overall economy.
And it may be why the show floor is so busy. The crowds here belie an economy only projected to grow by 1.8 percent in 2011. Japan's earthquake shook supply chains. Storms from earlier this year have reduced oil refining capacity. Despite it all, metal fabricators are out in force and looking to buy. The shale gas boom continues. Aircraft orders are up. Things are looking good.
By: Vicki Bell
If you missed last week's FABTECH in Atlanta, you missed a lot — many new product introductions; outstanding educational offerings; an opportunity like no other to network with fellow fabricating and forming professionals; having your photo taken for the cover of an industry publication; Sonny's barbeque and Chick-fil-A (unless you're lucky enough to have them where you live); southern hospitality; a piece of The FABRICATOR®'s 40th anniversary cake; and so much more.
FABTECH 2010 was a huge, happening event. I found myself at the start of the show thinking: So little time and so much to see. And despite my aching feet, I didn't see half of it. But what I saw was impressive, and I want to share some of my observations from the first half of the first day to give you a glimpse of what you missed. (more...)