Last week, I spent a day and a half at Fabtech, held at McCormick Place in Chicago. This was the first Fabtech I’ve attended. It’s an annual show that rotates from Chicago to Atlanta to Las Vegas. Three things stood out to me while I was there. First, there was a healthy amount of automation on display, including robotic welders and sheet handling equipment for laser cutters. The importance of skills development was also readily apparent with various education seminars and conferences as well as a welding competition sponsored by the American Welding Society. Plus, the show was sizeable and well-attended. It took up both the North and South halls at McCormick, and it was bustling with attendees the entire time I was there. It drew a total of 40,667 attendees and 1,573 exhibitors spread across 650,000 square feet of exhibits. The slideshow below highlights some of the new equipment I spotted at the show.
The only downside of this trip was the drive to Chicago on Sunday the 17th. Although I was merely inconvenienced (and admittedly made a bit anxious almost driving into a tornado), others in Illinois were terribly impacted by the severe storms and tornados that ran through the state that day. As a result, Fabtech and its partners launched a fundraising effort for the victims of the storms. Click here to learn more and how you can help donate to this effort. Funds collected will go to the American Red Cross to help storm victims.