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WESTEC 2017 - A Manufacturing Showcase

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With 1.3 million people employed in the manufacturing industry and a strong diverse base of business sectors (from aerospace, automotive and defense to consumer products, medical, and energy), California is a manufacturing hub driving innovation in the industry.

Thousands of manufacturers looking for new ideas attended WESTEC 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif., where 428 companies exhibited 59 specific advanced manufacturing and machine technologies. From the buzz on the show floor to the presentation Q & A's, California’s local and state officials, public-private partnerships, and businesses are committed to the manufacturing industry and its future and expansion in the Golden State.

Waterjets, robotic arms, CNC machines, 3D printing, workholding devices, metrology equipment, cybersecurity systems and more, packed the Los Angeles Convention Center, and turned it into an adventurous playground for those involved in machining and tooling operations. Owners of small machine shops to employees from large organizations like SpaceX and Apex Tool Group were among those in attendance. “WESTEC was a valuable experience. I definitely found what I was looking for and discovered some newer technologies including colored laser etching that we will definitely pursue," says Alonna Marable, advanced manufacturing engineer, Apex Tool Group.

Not only could attendees look, hear, and operate a vast array of advanced technologies, they could also attend complimentary presentations, engage with experts and colleagues in “Huddle Ups,” gain inspiration from manufacturing celebrities, and meetup with the future workforce on the Student Innovation Tour.

The Future: SMART Manufacturing
The most popular presentations included everything on SMART (digital) manufacturing, as well as those on workforce solutions and business development with OEMs. Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Officer of Local Motors captivated attendees with Industry Transformation - Reinventing how Vehicles are Built. Local Motors designed and built the world’s first 3D-printed car, the Local Motors Strati in 2014, and Olli, a self-driving shuttle bus using crowd sourcing and microfactories. Local Motors vehicles displayed on the show floor were a hit!

Huddle Up
The Huddle Up conversations filled up quickly. (The comfy couches and chairs may have played a role.) Among the hot topics were:

·       Hybrid manufacturing: additive meets subtractive

·       Environmentally responsible cleaning and surface prep

·       Deciphering CNC program optimization

·       Why 100 percent? Getting to a real utilization number

·       Real-time process controls across the ocean

The Titan of CNC
Titan Gilroy delivered the most inspiring message. A former boxer, machine shop founder/owner, and executive producer and star of Titans of CNC, Titan shared his incredible journey from boxing stardom and incarceration to learning CNC technology and building a robust machine shop business, which sponsors and trains inmates in CNC machining at San Quentin State Prison. He is proud to employ several former inmates. There was not a dry eye in the room.

Shop Talk with Counting Cars
WESTEC treated attendees to an interview with the wacky and wonderful TV personalities Kevin Mack and Mike Henry of the History Channel’s Counting Cars. Both spoke about their drive to accomplish the impossible and the machines they use at Count’s Kustoms, a hot rod and chopper customization/restoration shop in Las Vegas and featured in the show.

Student Innovation Tour
WESTEC’s Student Innovation Tour welcomed about 1,000 high school and technical school students, who visited exhibitors, listened to presentations by industry experts, and engaged in hands-on activities including the design and testing of a Rippl3d 3D-printed rocket and skate board. AMT Vice President - Smartforce Development Greg Jones worked with SME to host the Student Innovation Tour, which included exhibitors Mastercam, FANUC, Zeiss, as well as a FIRST robotics team and National Institute for Metal Working Skills (NIMS).

New Location for WESTEC 2019 - Long Beach, Calif.
WESTEC organizers, SME and AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology announced the next edition of WESTEC, September 24-26, 2019, will take place at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif., a center in the heart of Southern California’s manufacturing landscape.

Upcoming Events for Manufacturers
Oct. 24-26, 2017
Greenville, S.C.

SMART Manufacturing Experience
April 30 - May 2, 2018
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston, Mass.

IMTS 2018
September 10-15, 2018
Chicago, Ill.

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