If anyone had any doubts about where the metal fabrication industry is heading in the future, FABTECH 2016 held recently in Las Vegas, NV, put those doubts to rest. 

Digital fabricating concepts, additive manufacturing and innovative smart fabricating concepts were in evidence throughout the show. From the connected Industry 4.0 factory showcased at TRUMPF's booth and a smart screen panel projected onto MC Machinery's Mitsubishi press brake, to super high speed 10 kW fibers and next generation Direct Diode Laser (DDL) with even higher energy efficiencies than fiber and faster cutting speeds, it was clear that the metal fabricating factory of the future has arrived.

Here's a look at FABTECH 2016:

Mazak debuts the next generation in fiber technology Direct Diode Laser DDLClick image to enlarge

Mazak Optonics iSmart FactoryClick image to enlarge

These examples are just a few of the numerous technologies showcased at FABTECH 2016. The trade show consisted of 1,500 exhibitors and attendance hit 31,110, representing more than 120 countries from around the globe.

TRUMPF's additive manufacturingClick image to enlarge

Amada live streams press brake demo from Chicago facilityClick image to enlarge

Amada debuts the HG 1303 Rm robotic bending systemClick image to enlarge

Throughout the three-day event, attendees also had access to more than 100 education sessions and expert-led panel discussions. A variety of special programming was featured as well, including a powerful opening keynote from boxing legend and entrepreneur Sugar Ray Leonard and an appearance from cast members of the hit reality TV show “Counting Cars.”

David Bray national press brake product mgr MC Machinery with Videre operator support tool for BB and BH press brakesClick image to enlarge

Cincinnati's Big Additive Manufacturing Machine (BAMM)Click image to enlarge

Cincinnati Small Additive Manufacturing Machine SAMMClick image to enlarge

Lincoln Electric's wire welding additive manufacturing processClick image to enlarge

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“We are so grateful to our exhibitors, attendees, special guests and the City of Las Vegas for helping make FABTECH 2016 such a resounding success,” says Mark Hoper, vice president of expositions & media, FMA. “The enthusiasm and commitment displayed by everyone at the show to improve our industries were contagious. By participating in FABTECH 2016, attendees now have stronger, more diverse business networks and increased knowledge on manufacturing’s top trends and best practices.”

Special event and panel discussion topics varied and covered important matters relevant to all of today’s manufacturers. They included additive manufacturing/3D printing, how to attract more women to manufacturing careers, improved product development strategies and how the 2016 presidential election results could impact manufacturing around the world.

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