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Manufacturers cite skilled workforce shortage, cost control and investing in new equipment as top challenges for the year ahead

Canadian manufacturers are expecting business activity to increase in 2013 despite some uncertainty in the economy, reports a recent survey by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), producer of the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) 2013, to be held at The International Centre, September 30 to October 3.

Two-thirds (66.6 per cent) of manufacturers surveyed by SME are optimistic about business growth over the next 12 to 18 months, with most anticipating a moderate to significant rise. At the same time, they are expecting to face some pressing challenges as they move forward, including a shortage of skilled workers (41 per cent), rising production costs (38 per cent) and the need to invest in new equipment and technology (32 per cent).

"We are extremely encouraged by our findings," said CMTS event manager Julie Pike, noting that the positive outlook is echoed by a Statistics Canada report from February 2013 indicating a rise in manufacturing sales in eight provinces, led by Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

"It's not surprising that a skilled workforce shortage came out as the number one concern," she added. "The industry is talking about what Canada needs to do to address this pending crisis and CMTS will make this issue a priority during the four-day event by offering constructive solutions, resources and activities to help manufacturers respond to the challenge." 

Pike explained that the SME survey results "gathered from 431 respondents representing a broad cross-section of industries led by the automotive, energy, aerospace, fabricated metal and machinery sectors" are being used to plan special events and educational programs at CMTS 2013, Canada?s most significant manufacturing event. Other noteworthy findings include:

  • 74 per cent of respondents expect to purchase equipment in the coming year, with budgets ranging from less than $50,000 to more than $5 million.
  • A high Canadian dollar continues to be a concern for roughly one-quarter of those surveyed. 
  • Just over 30 per cent cited improving workforce productivity as a significant business challenge.
  • 84 per cent of manufacturing purchasing budgets will be either the same or greater in 2013 compared to 2012.

"The most important reason for our survey is to obtain a pulse check on the Canadian manufacturing landscape and respondents offered plenty of optimism around the continued improvement of the economy, growth and expansion," said Pike. "They also told us that they value the work we do, with an overwhelming 94 per cent of respondents indicating that trade shows play an important role in their buying strategies."

Canada's largest and most respected manufacturing event, CMTS returns to The International Centre this year after 14 years in downtown Toronto. Asking visitors to 'expect more,' the 2013 event will feature more than 500 exhibits and the most up-to-date industry solutions to 10,000 manufacturing professionals from across the country and around the world. Central to this year?s show will be premiere industry education, provided both on and off the show floor through a combination of product showcases, live equipment demonstrations, top speakers, interactive panel discussions, cutting-edge conference sessions and multiple networking hubs.

Visit CMTS online for more details and for registriaton

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North America's premier event for metal fabricating, forming and welding takes place in Chicago, IL November 18-21

North America's largest event for the metal fabricating and forming industry takes place November 18 to 21 at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.

The annual event attracts fabricators from across North America. This year, event organizers are expecting more than 35,000 attendees to visit the 1,500 exhibitors already registered for the event.

This year's events includes an expanded education program with more than 100 sessions, including 64 new courses that have not been offered at previous FABTECH events. New sessions include presentations on trends and advances in laser technology and new workshops about lean manufacturing, workforce development and press brake operation skills.

Special events include a welding competition, new product presentations, a reception for women in manufacturing and a "cocktails and comedy" event on Wednesday, November 20.

For event details and for registration, visit FABTECH online at


Monday, November 18, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm 
Tuesday, November 19, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Wednesday, November 20, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Thursday, November 21, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm


  •  State of the Industry: Executive Outlook

Open to all attendees, the event takes place Tuesday, November 19, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm at the FABTECH Theatre, Grand Concourse.

  • ·      Solutions for a Qualified Workforce Pipline

Open to all attendees, panel discussion takes place Wednesday, November 20 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm at the FABTECH Theatre, Grand Concourse.

  • ·      Robotic Arc Welding Contents

Robotic welding technicians compete on Tuesday, November 19 and Wednesday, November 20 in the North Hall, Booth N2099.

  • ·      Cocktails and Comedy

Doors open at 5:00 pm at the FABTECH Theatre, Grand Concourse, on Wednesday, November 20.


·      Precision Punch & Cutting Technology 8:00 am - 10:00 am Monday, November 18

·      Automation Solutions for Press Brakes with Tech Tour 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Monday, November 18

·      Welding Disimilar Metals conference 8:15 am - 2:30 pm, Monday, November 18

·      Introduction to Laser Cutting Best Practices 8:00 am - 10:00 am, Tuesday, November 19

·      New Developments in Waterjet Cutting 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, Tuesday, November 19

·      Inspecting and Troubleshooting Welded Tube 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Tuesday, November 19

·      Innovations in Plasma Cutting 8:00 am - 10:00 am Wednesday, November 20

·      Game Changing Technology to Increase Productivity 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Wednesday, November 20

·      High Energy Density Welding Processes 8:00 am - 11:00 am Wednesday, November 20

Check event details online at


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