Fabtech Roundup

Fiber lasers and automation were among the more prevalent technology trends one editor spotted at this year’s show.


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The general mood at Fabtech 2012, hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center November 12-14, struck me as one of cautious optimism. The show itself, as organizers report, was humming, with a busy floor, jam-packed education and conference sessions and both exhibitors and attendees expressing enthusiasm. Nonetheless, among other observations, references to the problem of finding skilled workers, the political environment in Washington and economic tumult abroad suggested that many are somewhat wary about their future prospects.

Whatever the future brings, the pace of technological development doesn’t appear to be slowing in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing sector. One of the more noticeable trends was the prevalence of fiber lasers, which are said to offer faster cutting of thinner and reflective materials than their CO2 cousins with less operating and maintenance costs. Automation was also clear theme and an oft-touted solution to the aforementioned talent shortage. To that same end, much of the displayed equipment was designed to be easy to learn and easy to use. Manufacturers also touted integrated solutions combining multiple processes to minimize downtime. Click here for a sampling of some of the technologies that caught my eye.