New Beginnings for Finishers at FABTECH

Finishing Pavilion to debut at 2010 FABTECH Show, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and now finishing exposition and conference.


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When Col-Met Spray Booths’ president Eric Jones walked the floor of a recent FABTECH show, something caught his eye.

“I have been going to FABTECH for years buying equipment for our plant, and a few years ago noticed that nobody in our segment of the industry was exhibiting,” says Jones. “What I noticed is that anyone who has a metal fabrication and production shop attends FABTECH. Obviously, these people have to deal with finishing their products in some form or fashion, either by contracting it out or in-house.”

Later, after Jones heard that CCAI was going to partner with FABTECH to develop a finishing pavilion and conference, he was excited.

 “Dedicating a finishing section to this show will only help the visibility of our industry,” Jones says of the event, which runs Nov. 2-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, GA.

CCAI Joins With Other Groups

Others at CCAI agree that being part of North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and now finishing exposition and conference is a good idea, especially partnering with event organizers Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), American Welding Society (AWS), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).

In this age of tighter budgets, fewer staff, and less time, it was a natural progression for both FABTECH and CCAI to offer finishing as a part of the event.

“Part of what is so exciting about this new association is how strong the connection is between FABTECH’s focus and ours,” says CCAI board president Bruce Bryan, general manager of Acme Finishing. “All of the sponsoring associations are focused on educating individuals involved with our industry niches on current and developing technologies. FABTECH has been missing the ‘finishing’ element that now completes their manufacturing loop.”

FABTECH is expected to attract 22,000 attendees and about 1,000 exhibiting companies covering more than 350,000 net square feet of floor space. Attendees will see about 2,000 pieces of equipment on the show floor and more than 500 new products. There is also more than 100 educational presentations, including about 24 on finishing techniques alone.

24 Conference Sessions

Everything from emerging technologies, introduction to finishing processes, right sizing finishing system, to the future of coatings technologies, modern pretreatment, understanding and lowering finishing costs and more can be found in the CCAI Finishing Technologies conference session.

Research by show organizers demonstrate that past attendees have craved some type of finishing expo at the recent FABTECH shows. To wit: When recent attendees were surveyed about additional manufacturing technologies or services they would be interested in seeing at FABTECH, 38% said they wanted finishing, painting and coating technologies included in the show.

More than 23% of registered attendees for FABTECH say they planned to attend the finishing pavilion at the show.

Adding the ‘Finishing Pavilion’ was a natural step for FABTECH organizers, says Mark Hoper, director of expositions for FMA, especially after they added the welding component in 2005 and the stamping component in 2009.

“Manufacturers are looking to add as many services as they can to what they can offer their customers,” says Hoper. “Since nearly everything made is finished or coated, that is a logical area that we felt we needed to add for our attendees.”

Manufacturers Looking for Suppliers

Hoper says that finishing exhibitors will be visited by those who want to possibly purchase equipment to start a line in their factory, or they will be looking for a supplier who can perform some of the finishing work they need done for current and future clients.

“What FABTECH does is give our attendees the ability to see it all, from start to finish,” he says.

The past attendee survey showed that about 80% say they are involved in their company’s purchasing plans, and that they come to the show to scope out new equipment, materials and services with an eye toward purchasing. More than 90% of attendees say they come to FABTECH to evaluate new products, and 65% say they are looking for new applications or techniques they can use to be more competitive.

On average, more than 70% of FABTECH attendees—or roughly 18,000—either work for OEMs or Job Shops. “Joining an event that already attracts more than 20,000 attendees having already expressed an interest in being able to evaluate and purchase finishing products was a logical fit,” says Anne Goyer, CCAI Executive Director.

“The ‘Finishing Technologies Pavilion’ gives them the chance to now see finishing in action on the show floor while learning about finishing technologies in conference sessions – a one stop shop for manufacturers who have limited time and resources to travel to shows,’ she says.

Learning the Finishing Process

In addition to the displays, the event also serves to educate manufacturers on finishing and coating processes. There will be nearly 200 hours of conference programming at FABTECH, which rotates between Chicago, Atlanta and Las Vegas, with Chicago being the anchor city every other year and drawing even larger crowds, typically more than 30,000 attendees.

The large numbers should help CCAI members.

“I’m extremely excited about FABTECH,” says CCAI Vice-President Sam Woehler of George Koch Sons. “It has the potential for all of us to meet with a much wider market than a lot of our more recent shows have offered. It’s geared toward the entire manufacturing process stream. I think with CCAI’s involvement in the finishing aspect of the show and conference, not only do we bring a much needed element to FABTECH but we are also going to gain so much from the show as well.”

Show attendees can register for free until October 29 by using Priority Code CCAI2 during the on-line registration process. Thereafter, a $50 registration fee applies for the show. Finishing exhibitors can also provide a show ticket that will provide free on-site show registration, saving the $50 registration fee. Contact any finishing exhibitor for a show ticket to use on-site if you cannot pre-register by October 29. CCAI members receive discounted fees to attend the FABTECH & Finishing Conference.