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Trade Show Enthusiasm a Telling Sign

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Two week back, I joined a couple of other Metal Center News employees, and thousands of other interested people, in attending the biennial International Manufacturing Technology Show at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The five-day event reported record crowds this year, with more than 129,000 guests coming to see equipment from 2,563 vendors. Two floors, holding five separate halls, were nearly filled to capacity for this year’s show.

In November, we’ll do it again, with a slightly different group of exhibitors and an almost entirely different group of guests. FABTECH will be returning to Atlanta for the first time since 2014, as the show travels a four-year circuit that includes visits to Chicago every other year offset by trips to the Georgia capital and Las Vegas.

FABTECH organizers are anticipating this year’s event will be larger than the last time the show came to the Georgia World Congress Center, with attendee growth of more than 10 percent forecast.

The financial numbers at the mills and service centers in 2018 tell a promising story about the health of the manufacturing economy. But I’m not sure those figures speak as loudly as the attendance and enthusiasm on display at events such as these. And based on those figures, and my own assessment of the mood at IMTS, conditions must be quite good for the companies that make, process and manufacture with metal products.

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