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All Technology Not Created Equal for Manufacturers

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In less than two weeks, the metals industry will descend on Chicago for FABTECH, one of North America’s largest trade shows for processors, fabricators and manufacturers.

There, everyone from CEOs to plant floor employees will be wowed by the latest in technology attempting to become the next advance to sweep through the industry. FABTECH has added an entire pavilion for Additive Manufacturing at the show, for example, reflecting the growing interest in 3D printing and its applications in the broader manufacturing world.

Additive manufacturing is just one of the many new technological breakthroughs poised to fundamentally alter the metals supply chain. It’s not the only one. However, not every innovation will have an equal impact on the world of processing, fabrication and manufacturing.

Derek Ochs, director of software development for Macola Software, cautions manufacturers against getting caught up in the hype of a new technology and stepping back to see if it’s truly applicable to your business.

“Do your research; there is a lot of information available online from trade journals detailing the practical applications of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing setting,” Ochs says. He also suggests not being afraid to test a technology in a small way, whether by yourself or through a partnership with a university or other research team.

Ochs will go into greater detail on the topic of manufacturing hype vs. reality in a discussion at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Room 401A at McCormick Place, just one of many educational opportunities available in the four-day show.

Metal Center News will be there, too. Look for us in Booth A3096.

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