There are tradeshows, expos, and conferences for just about everything you can imagine, including comic books, video games, and automobiles. Though not as big or highly promoted, one engineering design and manufacturing show is quickly gaining momentum as an expo unto its own.
Some academic institutions around the globe feature an engineering-related design tradeshow, such as MIT's Science and Engineering Fair. However, they are not on the same scale as the Design & Manufacturing Midwest conference, which will be held Sept. 10-12 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
This is not just any conference. D&M firms from all over the globe congregate and show off their wares to potential customers in much the same fashion as CES. Company representatives display, demonstrate, and explain how their products and devices function and how they may be adapted for use in myriad projects. The hall is filled with everything from sensors and switches to robotics and software.
Some of the more anticipated products to be showcased are from Xcentric Mold & Engineering, which specializes in fast injection molding without limitations in design geometry. It also offers SLS/SLA 3D printing (additive manufacturing) for rapid prototyping, which is cost-effective for businesses looking to save time and money through the development cycle.
Weiss Envirotronics will be on hand with its latest Environmental Test Chambers (Endurance Series), which allow manufacturers to test their devices in a sequestered temperature and humidity chamber.
There will certainly be a plethora of new product design and manufacturing technology, but there will also be seminars focusing on the latest innovations in the D&M sector, including "Design Idea and Innovation," "Additive Manufacturing for Healthcare," and "Advanced Robotics Applications in Manufacturing." Keynote speakers -- including Don Baumgarten at Stratos, Lee Dockstader from 3D Systems, and Corey Morten from B&R Industrial Automation -- will bring the latest news and developments from their respective companies.
Just about everything an engineer could dream of will be on display, including innovations in CAD/CAM/CAE software, automation systems, electro-optics, mechatronics, and R&D testing equipment. This year's conference will include two new events: the Robotics and Automation Theater, which will educate attendees on new and upcoming robotics applications for manufacturers, and a Tech Theater, where attendees will be introduced to the masterminds behind the new technology and gain an insight (literally) into how the technology works.