Notes from this year's show
FABTECH 2023, the annual event for metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing, successfully wrapped up its four-day run at Chicago's McCormick Place on September 14, achieving significant milestones for attendance, exhibitors, and show floor size, according to the official report sent out today by the showrunners.
From September 11 – 14, FABTECH 2023 welcomed 40,505 attendees from across the globe—a 26% year-over-year gain in attendance compared to the 2022 event in Atlanta and a 40% increase compared to the 2021 event in Chicago. Representing 80 countries and all 50 states, these industry professionals converged at McCormick Place to explore cutting-edge technology, engage in education sessions, establish new business relationships, and foster invaluable networking connections.
"We extend our sincere gratitude to the attendees, exhibitors, speakers, members, and everyone who joined us for FABTECH 2023 in Chicago," expressed Tracy Garcia, CEM, FABTECH Group Director at SME. "This year's event was an exceptional gathering, offering the industry a one-stop-shop for solutions with an expansive show floor that truly showcased the future of manufacturing. FABTECH remains well positioned to continue its leadership role in delivering access to leading-edge trends, technologies, and innovations that are driving manufacturing forward."
FABTECH 2023's show floor, spanning an impressive 825,325 square feet across three exhibit halls, featured an extensive showcase of over 1,500 suppliers. Among these were 235 new exhibitors unveiling more than 575 new products. The event witnessed a 26% expansion of the show floor compared to the 2022 edition in Atlanta and 38% more than the 2021 event in Chicago, accommodating 40% more exhibitors.
The eight technology pavilions, spread across three halls, explored critical sectors such as 3D/Additive Manufacturing, Forming and Fabricating, Finishing, METALFORM, Tube/Pipe, Robotics and Industrial Automation, Welding, and Welding Automation. Prominent industry leaders, alongside a diverse range of exhibitors, once again converged at the event, drawing significant attention. Notable companies missing from the show floor in 2021 such as Lincoln Electric, AIDA-America, and MC Machinery Systems/Mitsubishi Laser, among others, were back in Chicago to showcase their latest products and solutions, contributing to the event's success.
Attendees and exhibitors alike shared their positive experiences at FABTECH 2023:
"Overall, the experience was excellent. The show was incredibly busy, and we had some truly meaningful customer conversations. It felt like we were back to pre-COVID levels of attendance and interaction, which was fantastic. We engaged with customers who were genuinely interested in exploring technology and equipment. We had some great leads and high-quality conversations. We couldn't be happier with the show." – Vince Iozzo, Head of Marketing, TRUMPF North America
"FABTECH 2023 in Chicago has been truly outstanding for Wilson Tool International. It's one of the best shows we've attended in over a decade. The high level of attendee traffic and the overwhelmingly positive reception of our new products by customers have left us absolutely thrilled. Traditionally, FABTECH is our go-to platform for unveiling new products and introducing the industry to the latest solutions with our tools. This year has been exceptional, giving us the perfect opportunity to showcase our innovations." – Ann Beaupre, Marketing Project Manager, Wilson Tool International
"This year's event was truly excellent and probably my favorite so far. We talked to the right customers, and it felt like the right people were kind of working their way through. We connected with new accounts and customers who showed genuine interest in our products, as well as reconnecting with those we've worked with in the past. It was a very good mix of people, including enthusiastic students who represent the future of our industry. Overall, it was a very positive experience." – Mike Pellecchia, Regional Sales Manager, MC Machinery Systems, Inc, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation
Special events at FABTECH 2023 included inspiring keynote presentations and FABx Tech Talks, addressing the latest industry trends and challenges. Attendees gained valuable insights into topics ranging from advanced technology and manufacturing processes to business leadership and risk management. The September 12 morning keynote featured former pro golfer and PGA announcer David Feherty who entertained audiences with his sharp wit and colorful personality sharing great life stories and behind-the-scenes moments from life on the PGA Tour.
Additional special events featured daily Leadership Exchange Panels, offering discussions on advanced manufacturing, robotics, workforce development, and capital funding sources. The Women of FABTECH breakfast celebrated the achievements of women in manufacturing, and the State of the Industry session offered a comprehensive analysis of the manufacturing landscape. These special events provided attendees with a unique opportunity to learn, network, and gain valuable knowledge to stay ahead in the ever-evolving manufacturing industry.
FABTECH 2023 presented an extensive educational program comprising over 180 sessions and workshops across 15 technology tracks. Industry thought leaders and experts guided over 1,000 conference participants through topics like automation, smart manufacturing, welding, cutting, lasers, lean, workforce development, and business management strategies.