DALLAS, Texas — November 6, 2018 — The 98th IFAI Expo attracted more than 4,350 verified registered participants from IFAI Expo and 500 scanned leads from CAMX to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for the three-day event.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet with over 800 different exhibitors, including those from CAMX, hear expert advice at more than 69 educational sessions and gain inspiration at a rousing keynote address. Thirty-one Campfire-style sessions on the show floor provided valuable information for the Advanced Textiles, Specialty Fabrics and Shade and Weather Protection segments, with many of the sessions enjoying standing room only crowds. In total, 66 countries were represented at IFAI Expo 2018, a 14-percent increase over last year!
IFAI Expo 2018 collocated with CAMX, the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, which offered attendees a look at the technology and products within the composites and materials industry. IFAI Expo and CAMX are of comparable size in attendance and number of exhibitors. Both shows benefited from product and attendee crossover, as proved through comparable numbers of badge scans from each.
“We attend IFAI Expo every year,” said Alex Petizian, Naizil Coated Fabric Inc., IFAI member for more than 25 years. “It is a great place to meet clients; we are constantly learning and teaching about our industry. Plus, it’s a great way to collaborate. Expo helps us innovate by finding new ways to manufacture and bring new products to the industry.”
Highlights at IFAI Expo included Industrial Fabrics Foundation Night, a brand new event that kicked off IFAI Expo, Casino-style, at Cloud 9, a revolving restaurant by Wolfgang Puck which makes its home among the downtown Dallas skyline; IFAI Expo’s Opening Reception featuring the textile industry’s band, Hangin’ by a Thread, where hundreds of reception guests enjoyed food, fun and rock n’ roll; plus, a keynote address from Emmy award winning, Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Mark Scharenbroich, who talked about the importance of making connections in a disconnected world.
The Smart Fabrics Program at IFAI Expo 2018 offered many educational and hands-on opportunities on and off the show floor. Between sessions at the Pre-Expo Conference, campfires on the show floor and a dedicated e-Textiles workshop space, attendees were provided a wealth of information regarding fabric advancements and e-textiles content. Click here to learn more.
One of the most popular features of IFAI Expo was the Manufacturing for Good demo area where sixteen IFAI member companies collaborated to manufacture a product right on the show floor! Thousands of attendees viewed live equipment demonstrations and live manufacturing of duffel bags to benefit local charity, The Bridge North Dallas, which helps people facing homelessness. For more information on the Manufacturing for Good program, click here.
“The excitement generated by this year’s attendees was palpable from the show floor to packed campfire sessions to the networking available,” said Steve Schiffman, CEO and president of IFAI. “Whether you are a canvas fabricator, an engineer working with geosynthetics or responsible for designing the next spacesuit, IFAI Expo is the only place where you can see and experience it all, learn from the industry’s top experts and stay at the forefront of innovation.”
IFAI Expo’s Pre-Expo Conference, hosted more than 46 total educational sessions on the day prior to the show opening providing valuable information on the Advanced Textiles, Specialty Fabrics, Shade and Weather Protection. Attendees enjoyed sessions from NASA Engineer, Shane McFarland who spoke on “Developing the Next Generation Space Suit for the Moon and Mars”, Connie Huffa, textile engineer and president of Fabdesigns, Inc. who presented “Digitalized Manufacturing: Will the Fourth Industry Revolution Transform Flat Knitting” and Hiroshi Aruga, Doctor of Agriculture, AGC; Nic Goldsmith, FAIA LEED AP, Senior Principal at FTL Design Engineering Studio who spoke on “Standing out with Tensile Structures.”
More than 300 attendees participated in 14 Market/Division “Open Meetings” where members and nonmembers came together to discuss challenges their market segment is facing, new opportunities and technologies. Another unique benefit of attending IFAI Expo 2018 was Mentor Meetings, where attendees scheduled one-on-one mentor meetings which paired an attendee with an industry veteran.
IFAI Expo wrapped up with its exclusive, sold out Shop Tours in which attendees experienced firsthand how shops are finding success through innovation and technology. Attendees learned about production, inventory control, lead generation, estimating projects and staffing at USA Canvas Shoppe and toured the anchor testing lab, the repair center and tested a few of their newest tools at Hilti North America Headquarters.
Mark your calendars, IFAI Expo 2019 is scheduled to be held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., in 2019 with show dates set for October 1-4, 2019. For more information, visit www.ifaiexpo.com.
Posted November 6, 2018