FABTECH—billed as North America’s largest metalforming, fabricating, welding, and, now, “finishing” event—was abuzz with excitement, as exhibitors reported steady traffic through their booths. This was particularly evident within the Finishing Pavilion, a new addition to the FABTECH exhibition show floor dedicated to scores of companies representing virtually all facets of the surface finishing industry. Th Finishers Pavilion, co-sponsored by the Chemical Coaters Association International, focused on a wide variety of finishing technologies—from cleaning and pretreatment, to innovative paint and coating products, to thickness measurement and testing equipment, all the way to total system engineering and design.
To the multitude of manufacturers and job shops in attendance, this expanded format was made to order. “As attendees shop and add more services to their menu, they want to go to a show where they can find all of their needs in one place and at one time,” said Mark Hoper, FABTECH show co-manager.
And shop they did, according to more than a few Finishing Pavilion exhibitors. “This is probably the best show we’ve been to in years,” said Dave Rohland, Global Finishing Solutions, a leading manufacturer of paint booths and finishing systems for industrial coating and finishing applications. Sentiments like these echoed across the show floor. At the Walther Pilot booth, for example, Bill and Brendan Johnesee were very pleased with the leads generated for their paint finishing and spray adhesive equipment over the course of the show.
Ditto for DeFelsko Corp., manufacturer of coating thickness and inspection instruments. In fact, according to Richard Northrop, marketing manager, the company already signed up for next year’s FABTECH in Chicago.
The positive feedback didn’t end there. Over at the Dubois Chemicals booth, Kim Markert, senior marketing specialist, was encouraged by the carryover traffic from the heavy equipment exhibits spanning the sprawling convention hall. “The companies that are here buying the manufacturing equipment are going to need to wash the parts they’re running—and that’s where we come in.”
Even the handful of surface finishers who exhibited at the show took part in the action. Case in point: Dixie Industrial Finishing, based in nearby Tucker, Ga. “This was our first time having a booth at a trade show,” said Jim Jones, owner of the one of the largest zinc plating/electro-galvanizing, phosphate coating, tin plating, metal finishing facilities in the Southeast. “We’ve been very pleased with the traffic and interest generated.”
(For more on this story, including a summary of new products introduced at FABTECH, see the upcoming edition of Metal Finishing magazine.)