FABTECH 2011 shattered all records of previous shows, with the number of buyers walking the floor, educational conference attendance, and the overall square footage of exhibit space. The recently concluded four-day exposition and conference at Chicago’s McCormick Place welcomed a historic 35,457 attendees; a 35 percent increase over 2009, which was the last time FABTECH was held in Chicago. FABTECH is North America’s most comprehensive event for metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing companies. This year’s show had more than 1,300 exhibitors, filling a record 522,000 net square feet and attendees from more than 80 countries.
“Exhibitors were enthusiastic about the activity level on the show floor and are looking ahead to 2012,” says Mark Hoper, FABTECH show manager. “Returning exhibitors were happy that leads were up from shows of the past few years and numerous first-time exhibitors proclaimed that the decision to exhibit was a great choice for them.”
Many long-time exhibitors described FABTECH 2011 as their best show ever. “We’ve been exhibiting at FABTECH for at least 20 years, and in my 10-year tenure this show was our busiest. We received a record number of leads, and we were able to get our message in front of thousands,” says Betsy Van Duyne, marketing manager at Hypertherm. “The results from this show should prove to skeptics that manufacturing is alive and well in North America.”
The many new exhibitors were also impressed with the value they received from the show. “We were first-time exhibitors at FABTECH, and it was an overwhelming experience,” according to Jim Gillespie, marketing manager at Fast-Rite International. “We have over 500 leads to process, and already have begun receiving orders. Considering it typically takes a year to complete a new customer sale, we’re quite happy!”
Buyers were exposed to more than 500 new products and more than 75 new “green” products and technologies—a new feature on the FABTECH agenda. All products featured as green had to qualify as being more energy efficient, reducing waste and/or providing a safer and healthier environment for employees, customers, and the community.
FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS); the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association; International (FMA); the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME); the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA); and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI). The 2012 show will be held in Las Vegas next November and return to McCormick Place in 2013. For more information visit www.fabtechexpo.com.