CEO Panel at FABTECH to Discuss Threats, Challenges and Trends Shaping the Future

Can manufacturing lead us out of the recession?

At FABTECH 2011, Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Int’l® (FMA), will lead a panel of industry CEOs in a discussion about the current state of manufacturing, its role in economic recovery and the trends they see shaping the future.

Featured speakers Tim McCaughey, president and CEO, Schuler; Rolf Biekert, president and CEO, TRUMPF; John M. Stropki, president and CEO, Lincoln Electric; and David J. Lazzeri, president, DuPont Powder Coatings America, will examine:

• Market Expansion – What is the potential for market expansion created by growth in emerging economies? Over the past several years, the major development has been in new markets like China, India and Brazil.

• New Technology – Dramatic growth has been spurred by the integration of computer technology with machine tool processes. This has enabled companies to become more efficient and keep a competitive edge against companies that grabbed market position on the basis of cheap labor.

• Threats – Foreign countries have attempted to catch up with technology advances implemented in the U.S.  Europeans, for instance, have learned from watching American companies do business. What about China, India, Brazil?  What can U.S. companies do to stay ahead?

“Almost nothing is the same as it was 10 years ago,” Kuehl said. “Old manufacturing techniques have been replaced by technology and automation; products have become more sophisticated as the technology advanced. The question is, have we learned from the past, and what can we expect, going forward?”

The industry outlook panel speakers also will address the shortage of personnel with key manufacturing skills.

"The skills shortage is already at a crucial stage,” Kuehl says. “If nothing changes, the future does not look promising. The educational system has not even begun to address the need to replace retiring baby boomers.”

The industry panel is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at 12:30-1:30 p.m., the first day of FABTECH 2011, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing exposition and conference. The session is free and open to all attendees.

FABTECH 2011 brings together buyers and sellers from the entire spectrum of companies in metal fabrication, from job shops to manufacturers of automated equipment. Attendees can network and establish business relationships as well as take advantage of more than 100 educational sessions.

FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry-leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI)

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