Virtual Engineering Week, an all-new virtual event connecting the global medtech, automation, design, packaging, materials, plastics & sustainability, and product development communities, took place from November 30 – December 4. Organized by Informa Markets – Engineering, the producers of ATX, D&M, MD&M, PACK, PLASTEC, and Quality Expo, the virtual event offered best-in-class education with daily keynotes, expert panel discussions, and live Q&As amounting to more than 100 sessions, alongside a virtual expo, which included virtual product showcases and 160+ virtual booths. The event drew more than 7,400 registrants becoming Informa Markets – Engineering’s largest digital event to-date.
How COVID-19 Has Affected Technology
The conference dove into timely issues and trends affecting all engineers with sessions on topics ranging from digital health and miniaturization to 3D printing, smart manufacturing, medical device product development, robotics, and more. While the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains, attendees were given keen insights on how COVID-19 has impacted advanced manufacturing and predictions on how the industry will astutely respond.
Notably, Cynthia Star, Director of Technology Transfer at Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing, led the session, “How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Adoption of 3D Printing in Medtech,” where Star showcased 3D printing’s role in medtech and its diverse applications in combating the virus. She noted how the technology allowed J&J to develop and put into prompt use critical cutting-edge products such as the Ventilator Expansion Splitter that allowed doctors to double the number of patients each ventilator could serve when the onset of COVID-19 made for scarce resources.
The Future of Manufacturing
Industry 5.0 also was another primary focus. Another timely session was led by Shalabh Bakshi, Director of Digital Enterprise and Head of Automotive Vertical Market at Siemens (Canada). The session, “Industry 5.0: Creative People, Collaborative Robots & Smart Factories” discussed the forces that are currently shaping advanced manufacturing and how manufacturing processes may change. Ms. Bakshi also spoke to the importance of the “circular economy” which emphasizes cutting costs and energy consumption with a large focus on sustainability. Another key event session was “The Future of Industrial Jobs & Manufacturing” featuring session leader Ryan Chan, founder and CEO of Upkeep, speaking on the big push towards digitalization, a trend that has been pushed into full throttle amid the pandemic due to the continued need for people to connect and receive care when in-person interactions are not safe or even possible.
“As the producers of the nation’s largest advanced manufacturing events, we are proud to serve the industries that have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 from a technology perspective,” Steve Everly, event director of Virtual Engineering Week, told Design News. “This year, more than ever, it has been imperative we stay connected and united in our efforts to innovate. Although nothing can compete with the value of face-to-face interactions, we’re thrilled Virtual Engineering Week has been able to provide these industries a source for learning and connection.”