It remains the largest event of its kind in North America. This year the FABTECH International and AWS Welding
Show hosted 1000 exhibitors and covered more than 450,000 square feet of Chicago's McCormick Place. The show took place from November 11-14 with booths ranging from fabrication and metal forming to welding
technology and robotics
President Keith Wanner, Vice President Jarrod Bichon, and Sales and Acquisitions Manager Josh Holtsberry are FABTECH/AWS show veterans. For them, the show is an opportunity to network, learn about new
technology, and ultimately sell robots.
"We meet with existing and new
vendors to witness new
technologies, but also to build rapport," V.P. Bichon said. Holtsberry agreed, "I think it is important to go in order to keep in contact with our key suppliers as well as stay up to date on the latest and greatest in manufacturing
hasn't had a booth for many years but the show still brings customers to its door. "We've seen an increase in our business because of FABTECH...It's very interesting since we don't have a booth at the show," Wanner said. Many robotics
customers attend the big show to compare prices. RobotWorx
' refurbished robots
are hard to beat. This year, RobotWorx
sold nine robots the week after the show.
Wanner hasn't ruled out exhibiting at the show in the future. Still, with so many exhibitors and robotics
manufacturers, it could prove challenging. "Sometimes it is hard to compete as an integrator
," he said. "It can be hard to stand out."
While this year's show was large, Wanner remembers when it was even bigger. The FABTECH and AWS shows used to be separate. He thinks online marketing and an ominous economic future have caused some to forego exhibiting. Oddly enough, this streamlining benefits customers. "This year the show offered a convenient way to see a lot of different products at one location," Wanner said.
Along the same lines, Wanner noticed changes in the way booths were attracting customers. Instead of using eye-catching gimmicks like toys or female models, the booths were focused on making sales and providing technical assistance. "Companies want to make sure their focus is on attracting quality customers, not just traffic," he said.
The show provided some inspiration for the RobotWorx team. Bichon appreciated the opportunity to find out more about new
technology. "One new product that was noteworthy is a package that Lincoln
is releasing called the PowerWave i400
. It is a robot/welder combo that boosts similar results on aluminum that we have experienced with Fronius."
Wanner and Bichon were also impressed by a simple turn table system at Panasonic
's booth. They hope to implement it in their own work cells