The most advanced metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing machinery and products will be showcased in three halls of exhibits at FABTECH® 2018, sited at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta.

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.” “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.” —multiple authors

Inspirational quotes about moving forward number in the hundreds, no doubt because they’re true, whether advancing on the football field, the race track, or in metal component manufacturing. Racing teams don’t win by driving backward, football teams don’t win championships by standing still, and metal fabricators don’t succeed without advancing.

Just ask legendary college football coach Steve Spurrier, or racing icon Kyle Petty. Literally; ask them—because metal formers, fabricators, welders, and finishers attending the 2018 FABTECH Expo in Atlanta, Nov. 6–8, will have the opportunity to do so. Spurrier and Petty are among the keynote speakers (see Special Events below).

“The world changes. If we don’t change along with the world, we get left behind,” Petty remarked in an interview with The FABRICATOR®.

Moving forward lays the path toward longevity. “I lasted 30 years as head coach of the University of Florida. If you aren’t good at it, you don’t last very long,” commented Spurrier in “Learning Lessons from the Ol’ Ball Coach.”

FABTECH attendees will be propelled forward in the momentum of the circulating crowds, whirring machinery and equipment demonstrations, dynamic presentations, and peer-to-peer networking at the 19th largest tradeshow in the U.S. (as of 2017) at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC).

The most advanced metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing machinery and products will be showcased in three halls of exhibits. Stride with more than 35,000 other attendees expected there this year to learn, engage, and gawk at innovation in motion at more than 1,500 exhibiting booths.

Will robots be automating? Yes. Lasers cutting and welding? Precisely. Stamping presses? Pounding. Welding machines will be joining, waterjets will be cutting. Punching, lubricating, material handling, coil processing, press brake forming, roll forming, finishing, inspecting, sawing? Check all boxes.

The fast-paced show floor is your best opportunity to “speed-date” multiple technologies and the companies manufacturing the related equipment. See demonstrations, participate in the interactive displays, and take advantage of the opportunity to speak face-to-face with potential suppliers and industry experts.

More than 130 educational sessions in 13 technology tracks have been thoughtfully curated to inform on everything from how to get started with robotics and finish with powder coating to innovative applications for lasers, eliminating die crashes with sensor technology, and fundamentals of additive manufacturing. Curious about fibre lasers? On a need-to-know basis for joining dissimilar materials? Thinking about adding coil processing capabilities? Whether you want to be aware of next-gen cutting technologies, to understand metallurgy better, or seek info on how to control costs with good design, come with questions and get on-site answers.

The sessions are designed for beginners, those already familiar with the topics, and advanced learners. The education forum, composed by all five sponsoring associations, comprises decades of knowledge and experience.

After manoeuvering through what the Airports Council International (ACI) has named the “World’s Busiest Airport,” Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and before or after walking the show floor, if you have the time and inclination to see more of Atlanta, some notable attractions may interest you (see Figure 1).

Within walking distance of the center and surrounding hotels: The 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park is just a few steps east of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The site of the 1996 Olympic games now features walking paths, water gardens, and the Fountain of Rings. To the northeast of the GWCC, the Georgia Aquarium is home to more than 120,000 marine animals. Also a few blocks to the northeast is the World of Coca-Cola, showcasing memorabilia, films, and exhibits about the popular soft drink that debuted in Atlanta in 1886. Just east of the convention centre is the CNN Center, where you can take a behind-the-scenes tour at the operations of the CNN TV news network.

A short drive away: The architecturally and historically significant Georgia State Capital Building is steeped in history. Sports fans may enjoy visiting the College Football Hall of Fame, launched by the National Football Foundation in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football. The historically minded may want to visit The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum to view the former U.S. President’s papers and memorabilia about his administration and life. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park comprises the civil rights leader’s birth home, church, and final resting place. After the commotion of the tradeshow, you can retreat to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 30 acres of plants, conservatory, statues, and fountains.

After traversing the show floor during the day, you may feel like the walking dead. Why not refresh with other expo zombies about four blocks south of GWCC in Castleberry Hill? The first two seasons of The Walking Dead were filmed in the area, as were several movies, commercials, music videos, and television shows. The newly trendy neighborhood houses casual, eclectic restaurants and cafes; indie art galleries in old warehouses; and industrial buildings turned into residential lofts.

Website: Go to to see the official floor plan layout, get a sneak peek at the new products to be displayed, browse a list of seminars, and check travel accommodations such as hotels and shuttles to take to the venue.

A network of more than 200 trusses supports and moves eight petals of a retractable roof at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In the popular style of TEDTalks, FABTECH 2018’s opening keynote will begin with FABx Tech Talks, which will entail short inspirational presentations from visionary leaders on the topics of transformation, growth, advancement, and expansion for the future of manufacturing. Come hear how these leaders are driving innovation to take their businesses to the next level.

Discover how companies are using innovation and advanced technology to remain at the forefront of manufacturing, and how they embrace disruptive technologies to stay competitive and profitable. A panel of experts will discuss the importance of manufacturing to the economy, the jobs outlook, and new manufacturing processes to accelerate innovation.

A 43-foot-tall, metal fabricated falcon greets visitors to the stadium. More than 4,000 aluminum-framed solar panels help power the arena.

Spurrier will be the featured speaker at the FABTECH Industry Night party Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the just-completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, just steps from the GWCC. During his career as head coach of both University of Florida and University of South Carolina, he coached more than 400 games, a national championship team, won seven conference titles, and was awarded conference Coach of the Year nine times.

Spurrier expressed in The FABRICATOR interview what he hopes attendees will take away from his keynote presentation: “It’s about what we did to create that winning atmosphere—the spirit and all of the preparation.”

Work ethic, contagious enthusiasm, and goal setting are among the components he considers critical to building a winning atmosphere. And of course, teamwork. “To have a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal is special,” he said.

The event will include a meet-and-greet with the respected coach, on-field activities, and stadium tours, including a visit to the Atlanta Falcons locker room.

Attendees opting to attend the event on Tuesday night will be double-dazzled by Spurrier’s leadership speech and the new metal-tastic arena.

It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting for the FABTECH Industry Night Party than the metal-fabbed dome and stadium, with its metal trusses supporting the 360-degree video Halo Board; a unique steel-framed retractable roof that operates like the aperture of a camera; interior sky bridges; and an aluminum-framed, 4,000-panel solar array, all fronted by a winged 73,000-pound, 43-foot-tall metal sculpture. The roof alone contains 27,000 tons of steel, according to CANAN, the fabricator that built structural steel members for it.

The roof is constructed of eight interlocking panels that form a central overhead oculus, the design firm reported. The movable panels are supported by an extensive network of more than 200 trusses that span up to 735 ft. across the length of the stadium. It is designed to open or close in less than eight minutes. The roof’s eight-ton, 22-ft.-diameter “button” was lifted by crane to the top of the retractable roof and placed into position 320 ft. above the playing field, according to project management firm Darden & Co.

The remarkable $1.5 billion multipurpose sports and entertainment complex is the first LEED® platinum-certified arena in North America, according to HOK, the arena’s design firm. As a result of being solar-powered and energy-saving-LED-lit, it consumes 29 per cent less energy than a typical stadium. It also uses 47 per cent less water.

Come relax, connect, and enjoy refreshments with fellow industry colleagues. Tickets can be purchased when you register to attend FABTECH 2018, or if you have already registered, you can add the purchase by accessing your existing registration and selecting “Upgrade My Registration.” For further assistance, call 866-635-4692 (toll free) Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST.

Join us for a networking breakfast celebrating the importance of women in the manufacturing field. Laura Cox Kaplan, founder and host of the popular podcast “She Said, She Said,” will both entertain and enlighten as she brings a unique perspective to the table with her 25 years of experience at the highest levels of business, politics, public policy, and communication. Kaplan will interview Veronica Braker, BASF vice president of operations performance materials North America and certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Master Black Belt, who has a deep understanding of operational excellence and a passion for improving the representation of women in manufacturing and technical roles. The breakfast will conclude with a tech tour on the show floor.

Racing icon Petty has lived the sport from many perspectives—on a pit crew; as an eight-time NASCAR-race-winning driver; as the son of NASCAR’s “king” Richard Petty; and as a regular media commentator, race team businessman, and generous philanthropist.

“I’ll be speaking about my life in racing, growing up around race cars, working on race cars, my family’s legacy—where we are now and what the future holds,” Petty relayed in an interview with The FABRICATOR. (Read Petty’s interview in its entirely at

The connection between metal fabrication and NASCAR is an original one. “Metal fabrication is what NASCAR was in the beginning—steel-bodied, American-made cars tweaked and modified to run faster than their original design intended. The good mechanics knew how to cut, weld, and replace original parts with homemade fabricated parts that made the cars faster and more durable,” Petty said.

In fact, Petty said metal fabricating was integral to treasured memories. “From a career perspective, the highlight was being a fabricator on the Oldsmobile that my dad won the Daytona 500 with in 1979, and working in the garage area of Charlotte Motors Speedway after [son] Adam wrecked in practice to put his car back together. I watched him go on to win his first ARCA race that same weekend.”

Family-owned metal fabricators are likely to relate to Petty’s experiences in a family business. “Our family business was just like any other family business, with the happiness and joys, trials and tribulations that come with it. Ours just happened to involve race cars. Racing was always the number one topic of conversation in our family—at work, at home, over the holidays, at the dinner table.”

One of the more admirable roles that Petty has become famous for is his development and growth of charities Victory Junction and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America—a cross-country charity motorcycle ride that has raised more than $18 million for chronically ill children.

Kyle’s son Adam expressed interest in developing a children’s camp in North Carolina like Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. After Adam’s fatal accident, that concept became Kyle’s passion, he said. “My parents donated about 90 acres of their land and the [Victory Junction] idea took off from there. The NASCAR community was instrumental in helping to bring Adam’s dream to life. So many drivers helped make it a reality with their donations,” he said.

The manufacturing industry is in a constant state of transformation. Manufacturers have to manage frequently changing customer needs while focusing on profit margins and revenue growth. The expert panel will discuss issues affecting manufacturing, including steel and commodity prices, chronic labour shortages, and global trade.

Join FABTECH at the 5th RUN4MFG 5K and show your support for the future of manufacturing! Participants are invited to run or walk a 3.1-mile course through Centennial Olympic Park across from the Georgia World Congress Center. It’s a great way to connect with show attendees and exhibitors alike while supporting the charitable foundations and/or programs of AWS, FMA, SME, PMA, AND CCAI.

In just a few years, a new generation is going to take the workplace by storm, and no one is talking about it until now! Who are Generation Z? What has shaped them? What are their expectations about careers and the workplace? What’s it going to take to get this generation engaged, committed, and involved? Best-selling author and generation expert David Stillman teams up with his Gen Z son Jonah for this insightful and innovative presentation that will shed light on what motivates this newest generation.

Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce sooner rather than later. This discussion will bring together a panel of experts to help you understand how to attract this new generation of employees. Topics covered include best practices in creating a culture of care, communication, technology, teamwork, and mentoring.

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The Knowledge Bar, located in the 3-D/Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, will offer small group sessions designed to let you ask questions about your specific 3-D/additive manufacturing challenges and get answers from industry experts. These sessions are all about engaging with knowledgeable people, working through challenges, and meeting your specific information needs.

This dynamic area, located in the A/B Connector, will showcase the industry’s most advanced smart technologies, including automation, advanced materials, 3-D printing, the Industrial Internet of Things, and 3-D scanning. Technical presentations from industry-leading smart technology companies will provide insight on recent developments in this rapidly evolving field.

Canadian Fabricating & Welding is Canada's only national, monthly magazine dedicated to complete coverage of the metal forming and fabricating industry. Our topnotch editorial covers a wide range of topics, including bending, forming, cutting, fabricating, tube and pipe, and welding.

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