SigmaTEK Systems, creators of the powerful nesting software, SigmaNEST, reported a record-breaking Fabtech Expo this week. “This trade show is always a strong predictor of where the economy is going. Manufacturing investment acts as a leading indicator for growth, and this year’s attendees were ready to invest, both in capital machinery and process-improvement technology,” explains Cornel Warren, Director of Marketing at SigmaTEK Systems and long-time Fabtech veteran. “I remember attending Fabtech in 2008. It was a very different landscape.”

The show, which took place in Chicago from November 6 to 9, brought together tens of thousands of fabricating and metalworking professionals. This year the event featured more than 1700 exhibiting sponsors and over 50,000 pre-registered attendees.

This year’s event centered around innovations in automation and shop floor visibility, with original equipment manufacturers and fabrication shops particularly interested in increasing the capacity of the machinery they have already invested in.

“As a provider of advanced automation solutions, we work closely with our clients to help them achieve maximum throughput with a high degree of visibility. That’s where manufacturing is going,” Warren shares.

In the on-site State of the Industry breakfast keynoted by economist Dr. Chris Kuehl, who serves as Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, new data was introduced showing that US manufacturers of all sizes plan to increase their investment in the coming year. He also noted that companies surveyed did not anticipate severe impact from changes in the NAFTA, but rather expected slowed growth. According to Armada Corporate Intelligence, “critics have pointed at the jobs lost to expansion in Mexico but the US now has an unemployment rate of 4.1% and manufacturers struggle to find people qualified enough to hire. If the Mexican manufacturers are expanding (and they are) it is due more to the fact Mexico trains people for this sector. The US lags far behind in training people to work in sectors like manufacturing, construction and transportation.”

As part of the solution, trade shows like Fabtech offer training seminars and sessions to keep the work force abreast of new developments in the innovations for their sector, but according to Cornel Warren, that doesn’t always go deep enough: “The sessions at Fabtech are certainly beneficial, but it simply doesn’t get technical enough to help American industrial workers feel qualified to engage with all the new technology that’s coming out. It is a lot to keep track of, and it is continuously changing.” She explains that in an effort to make a contribution in Cincinnati, SigmaTEK has opened their annual user conference and technology summit, STAC, to the public. “We want to help people understand the nuances of fabrication and metal manufacturing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics September report, 118 thousand Cincinnatians are employed in manufacturing, and we are eager to help them learn the technology that’s shaping the future of that space,” shares Cornel.

STAC 2018 is taking place May 8-9 at the Sharonville Convention Center. Tickets are on sale now, with early bird pricing ending soon.

For more information about SigmaNEST, please visit

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