FABTECH Canada: A Manufacturing Industry Essential

By Alexandra Geddes

FABTECH Canada, a Canadian manufacturing conference and exhibition, aims at enhancing the knowledge base and skill sets of those in the fabricating, welding, metal forming, and finishing fields. The event, co-sponsored by industry leaders such as SME, the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI), takes place on March 18-20, 2014, at the Toronto Congress Centre. FABTECH Canada offers unique educational and networking opportunities for both veterans and students interested in manufacturing careers.

Janine Saperson, FABTECH Canada’s Event Manager, explains; “It’s an incredible opportunity to compare machinery side-by-side. One can meet with peers to discuss problems and solutions – it’s the opportunity to brainstorm and troubleshoot. There’s nothing like having a drink at a networking reception, it’s an opportunity to really relate to people with similar problems.

FABTECH has been an active presence in bringing manufacturing decision makers together across North America for over a decade.  However, FABTECH Canada’s 2014 conference is only the second of its kind, the first taking place in 2012. The Canadian conference allows national leaders to gear both sales and networking opportunities to Canada’s own industry base.

The event has grown by over 45% over the past two years. New 2014 features include a large expansion of event space and a substantial number of new demonstrative products. FABTECH Canada’s 2014 venue also now features workshops and exhibits on stamping and robotics.

“There is a lot of significant new machinery and services being shown at FABTECH Canada. I think this is part of what motivates people to come to the event. They come and see new products live in action. That’s not available when shopping online,” says Saperson.

The event begins on Tuesday, March 18, with a complimentary breakfast, followed by the Keynote speaker event and panel. The floor is then open to exhibition booths to display new products and network with attendees. Wednesday is a full conferencing event geared towards shop owners, workers, and manufacturers.

The final day offers exclusive opportunities for furthering education, with several manufacturing -based sessions for both students and current manufacturing workers. Students from local manufacturing-focused colleges and programs are particularly encouraged to attend and expand their professional networks.

Event costs vary depending on the number of sessions visitors wish to attend. However, the Keynote session is free with all registrations. The exhibition cost is complimentary should attendees register prior to March 17. Further pricing information can be found on the FABTECH Canada website.

This year’s FABTECH Canada conference offers a unique opportunity for industry workers and leaders to learn about gender diversity in manufacturing workplaces. The Keynote’s presenter, Jessi Combs, is both a highly accomplished racer, breaking the woman’s land speed record in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger in 2013. She also acts as a co-host on the Discovery Channel’s Overhaulin’, and host of Velocity’s All Girl’s Garage. As a female metal fabricator, she actively encourages the inclusion of women within the manufacturing industry.

As of 2013, women comprise only about 30% of manufacturing industry employment in North America, despite comprising about 50% of the total population. “It’s a very hot topic that needs to be addressed,” says Saperson, “we want to make it a talking point.”

Combs will be joined by Natalie Panek, Missions Systems and Operating Engineer for MDA Space Missions, and Karin Lindner, founder of Karico Performance Solutions and author of “How Can We Make Manufacturing Sexy?” The three comprise the Keynote panel discussion prior to the exhibition opening, setting the tone of the three day event.

Another major event focus is the Lean Training within Industry 101 event. This half-day workshop, held twice on the Tuesday, aims at improving the skills of management personnel. It includes hands-on learning and practice targeted towards supervisors and team leaders. The event focuses on employee retention, reducing training times, improving operations efficiency, and establishing and maintaining standardized work.  This session is led by Richard Evans of High Performance Solutions Inc.

“It’s about being a lean business,” explains Saperson, “It focuses on how to be more effective and efficient.”

The training workshop is followed by two further learning opportunities the following morning. Led by Shane Yount of Competitive Solutions and Jacques Decarie of Industrios Software, this interactive session focuses on driving business through leadership implementation techniques.

FABTECH Canada offers exclusive programs for owners, buyers, and workers within manufacturing industries to learn valuable growth techniques, experience new, efficiency-oriented products, and network with high-profile professionals. No other Canadian event can provide visitors with such essential, comprehensive training and buying opportunities.

For more information, visit: