One example of the show’s emphasis on collaboration and engagement was the “Learning Lounge,” which provided an intimate setting for complimentary, 30-minute presentations on a variety of technical topics.
Rainy weather didn’t trouble visitors to the inaugural edition of the Mfg4 manufacturing trade show at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford last week. Lack of exposure to the elements was just one of many notable differences between the new event and the Northeast’s traditional Eastec show, which typically runs around this time of year in halls spread throughout an expansive fair grounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hosted in a single 140,000-square-foot exhibit space, Mfg4 was both smaller and more focused than the average Eastec. That format reflected goals laid out by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers when it announced last May that the two events would alternate from year to year (Eastec returns in 2013). As a more selective, intimate gathering, Mfg4 is intended to foster collaboration and learning among representatives of particularly high-growth industries that face common manufacturing challenges: aerospace, defense, medical and energy (hence the “4” in the event’s name, which is also a play on the phrase “manufacturing for the future”).
Although I spent two days at Mfg4, it took less than an hour for this focus become apparent. Conference sessions, networking events, presentations and other highlights all emphasized the potential gains of sharing experience and ideas across different sectors. Likewise, the technology on display seemed to represent a balance of the four highlighted industries, and offerings overlapped in many cases. Click here for a small sampling of what caught my eye.