More than 50,000 attendees and over 1,700 exhibiting companies are expected to gather once again for North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event, which starts today in Chicago, Illinois.

Held at McCormack Place, FABTECH 2017 features the largest lineup of exhibitors, speakers and educational sessions in the event’s 35-year history, taking place across more than 750,000 net square feet of exhibit space. That includes a series of TED-style talks, dubbed “FABx Tech Talks,” by visionary leaders who are shaping the future of manufacturing.

With interest skyrocketing in one of the industry’s hottest topics, a new 3D/Additive Manufacturing Pavilion has been added which will feature more than 25 exhibits and offer daily presentations, featured events and networking opportunities for attendees interested in learning more about the technology.

Speaking about the new addition, FABTECH’s show co-manager and FMA SVP of Expositions and Media, Mark Hoper, said, “The 3D/Additive Manufacturing Pavilion came about based on the overwhelming attendee interest in the technology in recent years. Additive Manufacturing has become a part of the manufacturing industry as a whole, so it makes sense to add it to FABTECH. We are excited about expanding our reach to this advancing industry.

Also new this year will be an expanded Tube & Pipe Pavilion. A collaboration between Messe Düsseldorf and FABTECH, will create the largest annual gathering of tube and pipe equipment users in North America.

Richard Rawlings, co-host of Discovery Channel’s popular “Fast N’ Loud” series and founder of world-renowned hot rod shop Gas Monkey Garage, will be the keynote speaker the morning of Tuesday 7th November. Rawlings will speak about the business challenges and opportunities that he has faced as well as the discipline and persistence required to be successful with an emphasis on innovating and risk taking. With time remaining, he also will answer audience questions about his life, business and building hot rods.

Matthew Luhn, one of the original story creators at Pixar Animation Studios, will speak on Wednesday morning. Luhn will discuss how audience members can inspire creativity in the workplace by revealing how Pixar built and has sustained its creative culture. In doing so, he will share strategies on how to create a company culture that encourages and nurtures new ideas, and embraces fear and failing as part of the creative process.

“It’s hard to believe that a reality television star and a Pixar storyteller are our keynote speakers this year, but that shows how far our industry has evolved,” said John Catalano, FABTECH show co-manager and SME Senior Director. “Their presentations will provide a fresh and entertaining look at what attendees can do to achieve further success in their careers and personal lives.” 

A wide range of industrial gas companies are attending FABTECH this week including Airgas and Bernard and Tregaskiss. 

Airgas, an Air Liquide company, will showcase new products such as the multi-functional Machitech Automation pipe profiling system, which uses Hypertherm plasma platform to cut everything from pipe and beams to flat plates. A Miller Weld Automation robotic welding system, vending solutions and the Radnor® line of products will be on display, plus an OTC robotic system on a 30-foot slider – which can robotically weld multiple projects at the same time – will be welding unique giveaways throughout the conference.

Bernard and Tregaskiss will showcase its latest welding guns and consumables. The companies will share booth B23034 with Miller Electric Mfg. Co. and Hobart, where they will provide a variety of demonstrations.

The five FABTECH co-sponsors represent a wide variety of expertise and include: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

The four-day event will run from 6th to 9th November.