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Riding the FABTECH Wave

September 25, 2023

We’re fresh off the heels of FABTECH 2023, held last month in Chicago, and, frankly, overcome with the amount of new technology displayed there to help metal formers drive productivity and quality through the roof. I, along with senior editor Lou Kren and contributing editor Kate Bachman, walked mega-miles through the entire show to unearth mountains of exciting new equipment and software products on display by the show’s hundreds of exhibitors.

We also spent time interviewing (via podcast) metal forming company executives attending FABTECH 2023, to ask about their new-technology wish lists as they walked the floor. The podcast resides on our website. Some highlights:

  • “We’re here to see emerging technologies, servo press offerings, and secondary operations such as cleaning and inspection…to challenge our team on how we can drive continuous improvement. FABTECH provides one-stop shopping to see everything we need, all in one place.”
  • “This is where we get to see the latest technology for our industry. We’re here learning about advances in new materials, and in metal forming and fabricating equipment and software, to help us become more efficient, including servo presses and material-handling equipment. And, we’re here to network with the several other PMA-member company executives in attendance, to discuss best practices.”
  • “We’re looking for value-added equipment this year at FABTECH, specifically laser welding technology and automation …it’s all here!”
  • “In our efforts to bring some outside processing operations back inhouse, it’s secondary operations such as deburring and passivation of parts, in particular stainless-steel medical parts, that have our interest. And, we’re looking at cobot automation as well, for parts handling coming off of the press, for inline inspection, for example, and part orientation to help with automating our packaging operations and to help enable lights-out operations. Every time I leave this show I go back to my company with a notebook full of ideas and remind myself that we don’t necessarily need to make giant steps…the little steps that we take all add up.”
  • “We might be pulling the trigger soon on perhaps a seven-figure machine investment, and we’re furthering that conversation here this week at FABTECH with potential suppliers.We were able to see the equipment operating here. And, like other attendees, we’re looking at more automation equipment and investing in additional value-added welding capacity, specifically arc-stud welding, and evaluating if we can automate this process. I see automation no longer as an add-on to a process, but rather automation being included as standard functionality with most every process or machine introduced into the market.”
  • “We’re always looking for new press offerings, in particular higher-speed mechanical presses, in the 300-strokes/min. range. And, we’re looking for new automation-equipment suppliers that we haven’t been in contact with before. It’s important that we maintain close ties with the equipment suppliers so that we don’t miss out on new opportunities, even if it’s not a large cap-ex investment such as a press, but more along the lines of shaker conveyor systems for our presses. FABTECH is the place to stay current and nurture those relationships.”
Industry-Related Terms: Forming, Functionality, Laser Welding, LASER, Lines, Ties
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management


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