Moments at the shows.
Winners of 2018 IFAI International Achievement Awards Announced. The winners of the International Achievement Awards were announced during the IFAI Expo 2018 last week in Dallas, Texas, USA. In 2018, there were 200 entries which were judged by 41 industry experts. The awards recognize innovation, technical skill and design excellence. There were 7 major categories -- Advanced Textiles, Awnings and Canopies, Fabric Environments, Fabric Structures, Geosynthetics, Marine and Tent. The following are the Best in Category:
Best in Fabric Structures: Warwick Farm Racecourse -- Parade Ring, MakMax Australia, Queensland, Australia
Best in Awnings & Canopies: Capital Square Podium, Fabritecture (USF Australasia Pty Ltd T/A Fabritecturel, Queensland, Australia
Best in Fabric Environments: Pineapple House, Fabric Images, Inc., Elgin Ill., USA
Best in Marine: 'SV' E Capoe, Extra Cabin, David's Custom Trimmers, Queensland, Australia
Best in Tents: Slow Moving Luminaries Art Basel, Eventstar Structures, Medley, Fla., USA
Best in Geosynthetics: Removal, TransPort, Treatment, and Final Disposal of Sewage Sludge SEP-3090 from Ecopetrol Refinery at Barrancabermeja, Columbia, S.A., TenCate Geosytnethics Americas, Pendergrass, Ga., USA
Best in Advanced Textiles: Contamination Cover, Inner Line and Soft Cover Assembly, IPT, AR Tech, Div. of A&R Tarpaulins Inc., Fontana, Calif., USA
The complete list of winners will be posted on the IFAI website soon. Posted October 22, 2018
[Full disclusion: Take my opinions with a grain of salt. I was with the Industrial Fabrics Association International for 35 years, the last 25 years as its President/CEO. Steve Warner, Publisher, BeaverLake6 Report]
Gain or No Gain? IFAI Expo 2018 was the first show under IFAI's new CEO/President Steve Schiffman. In a quick conversation on the first day, Mr. Schiffman thought event attendance was on target with their expectation of a 500 increase over the 4500 total participants (counting both exhibitors and visitors) they had in 2017 in New Orleans. Similarly, a conversation with one of the managers of ACMA, a partner in CAMX, told me their pre-registration had already topped the 6500 they had last year in Orlando. (Keep in mind, though, the 2017 CAMX show had to be rescheduled from September to December because of Hurricane Irma.)
There is a concerning issue that needs to be addressed: The number of exhibitors declined again for IFAI Expo 2018. This year there were 370, down slightly from 380 in 2017, which in turn, was a decline from 431 exhibitors in 2016. A little of the decrease in 2018 can be attributed to actually being with CAMX as those past IFAI exhibitors like Gerber Technologies were on the CAMX side this time around. But two declining years indicates something’s happening that needs to be watched.
I could be wrong because I only stayed the first two days of the three-day event, but I felt the attendance was a little light at both shows. Perhaps it was because the combined floor space of more than 900 exhibits was so huge. It's difficult to fill all the wide aisles. There just never seemed to be a crowd at any one booth. Good steady traffic at some, while others were often quiet. There was a lack of "buzz" on the floor.
I asked a lot of exhibitors about the traffic and most said it was "so-so." I take a "so-so" answer as it wasn't a waste of time being there but the exhibitor was not overly pleased either. On a positive light, there were a number of exceptions, exhibitors who were very busy demonstrating equipment like Miller Weldmaster in the IFAI Expo show and Gerber in the CAMX area. Exhibitors like Jason Mills, ACW and American & Efird in the IFAI section stood out as saying they had really good traffic.
IFAI offered dozens of seminars, workshops and even informal "campfire" sessions right on the show floor. I attended the campfire session called Government Relations Update on Trade Tariffs, and Military Procurement led by Sara Beatty of White Haven Trade and Lloyd Wood of Lloyd Wood Group. It was concise and excellent in content.
A couple of the seminars I attended on the pre-show conference day October 15 had very sparse attendance. One had 6 people and the other 22. I was told a few had as many as 50 earlier in the day. My thought is that there were just too many sessions offered (47) which divided up the potential audience. I don't know the total count of delegates attending the sessions but based on those who gathered for the conference lunch and then the evening reception, I would say about 200 is a fair estimate.
I don't know enough about CAMX to offer a fair opinion on their marketing and this year's show appeal; though, I do know CAMX has shown steady exhibit and visitor growth over its 5-year history.
So why the lack of a show buzz? Well, you can't blame light traffic on a bad economy like you could in years' past. Everyone I talked with said they were having a good year. Some were definitely worried about the tariff war with China but it wasn't hurting them yet. Surprisingly, in spite of the trade conflict, there were more Chinese exhibitors than ever before with 54 companies in the IFAI show. If the trade war continues into 2019, will these companies who represented about 15% of the total exhibitors be back at IFAI Expo 2019?
Perhaps part of my lack of buzz feeling was the destination. Dallas is just not a great location if you depend upon day drive-in visitors like you have with a show in Charlotte or Atlanta.
Most likely the lack of a buzz is simply the way things are now with medium-size events like CAMX and IFAI Expo. These two shows almost seemed to have had too many exhibitors for the attendances they attracted. The wide aisles and large nice open displays make the show floor look far less busy than what is really taking place. And, there is a lot of competition in shows for the visitors and exhibitors, including more specialized focused events that can appeal for the precious marketing dollars.
It seems in the events I attend, you have to get up into a minimum of the 8,000-10,000 visitor range like SGIA, Techtextil Frankfurt and JEC World did to then reach the critical mass needed to create an exciting exhibition floor-wide buzz. I think you'd need at least another 2,000 on the combined show floor to make IFAI Expo/CAMIX look even a little bit crowded. That's a challenge.
Do you need to create show floor buzz to hold a successful event? No. Definitely not. You can have a solid show like IFAI Expo 2018 even if the excitement seems muted. I'm sure many exhibitors -- and visitors -- came away with business. I connected and re-connected with a lot of people which, to me, is just as good as getting a sale on the show floor. It's true that a trade show is really all about networking.
The overwhelming most positive take-away I got from the co-located IFAI Expo and CAMX is the simple fact that the organizations had the market savy to get together-- and these shows absolutely should co-locate again. It's a natural fit. Congratulations to the leaders of the two organizations who had the vision to co-locate.
But I want more. I want to feel like this is a can't miss event. I'm challenging IFAI and CAMX to achieve that "glad I attended" buzz in their future events.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Let's see what the final reports say from both CAMX and IFAI beyond the "this was the best show ever" hyperbole that final show press releases usually say. I could be very wrong on the attendance and, if so, I will own it and let you know. And, if there is a decline in participation, I hope they don't use the "quality" over "quantity" attendance explanation. Own the issue, too. I love the IFAI Expo. It needs to remain relevant. I feel very comfortable after talking with Mr. Schiffman, who only became president of IFAI in June, that he is the guy who can achieve success with their show.
I want to hear how the "buzz" is coming back to the IFAI Expo in 2019.
Posted October 19, 2018, updated October 22, 2018
The doors opened today in Dallas, Texas, USA for the co-located IFAI Expo 2018 and CAMX18. Visitors were treated to more than 900 combined exhibitors, stretching across what seemed to be a mile of floor space in the sprawling Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
The IFAI Expo 2018 is produced by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) and covers the wide range of industrial and specialty textiles as well as other products used in the manufacture of end products such as cutting and seaming equipment. There are 370 exhibitors this year. Last year's participation was about 4500 visitors and exhibitors. No numbers have been announced yet for either pre-registration or on-site registration.
Exhibitors seemed happy with the results of the first day of the show. Several reported to me they had not only made good contacts with new prospects but they had closed deals on the show floor.
Based upon what I saw on this first day and knowing the show's past registration pattern, I believe the final number of total participants will be again around 4500. (This, by the way, is my 41st year at the IFAI Expo.)
In contrast to my familiarity with the IFAI Expo, this was the first time I have attended CAMX. I am impressed by the number of advanced fiber and textile companies participating. A number of the companies would probably be participating at the IFAI Expo if the two events weren't co-locating. You will also find many of them at the Techtextil North America show. CAMX will definitely be on my radar for future visits.
CAMX18 is only the 5th time the event's taken place. It is co-organized by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineers (SAMPE). It has quickly become the leading composite show for North America with about 550 exhibitors. Like the IFAI show, no advance registration or projection has been announced by the CAMX organizers.
I'll post more information after the shows close.
Posted October 16, 2018
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IFAI Expo 2018 was the first show under IFAI's new CEO/President Steve Schiffman. In a quick conversation on the first day, Mr. Schiffman thought event attendance was on target with the expectation of a 500 increase over the 4500 total participants (counting both exhibitors and visitors) they had in 2017 in New Orleans. Similarly, a conversation with one of the managers of ACMA, a partner in CAMX, said their pre-registration had already topped the 6500 they had last year in Orlando. (Keep in mind, though, the 2017 CAMX show had to be rescheduled from September to December because of Hurricane Irma.) Click here to read more about the shows. Posted October 19, 2018
NAFTA Replacement Agreement Negotiated. On October 1, President Donald Trump announced the US, Mexico and Canada had reached an agreement whichreplaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect in 1994. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains provisions and language that has an impact on the technical textiles industry; the most important are 1) a special section covering textiles and apparel and 2) rules of origin that will require 75% of automotive content (under NAFTA 62.5%) be made in North America. Mexico and Canada are the two largest importers of US made technical textiles and the automotive industry is the largest intended end market of these technical textiles. Click here to go to the United States Trade Representative's website and read the "Textiles and Apparel Goods" chapter. Posted October 3, 2018
Fiber Publication Acquired. INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, today announced the acquisition of two leading industry publications: International Filtration News and International Fiber News. The association purchased the publications from International Media Group, Inc., based in Tempe, Az., USA. The purchase price and terms were not disclosed. The publications each have circulations of 8,000-plus domestic and international readers and have served their readers for over three decades. Both are published six times a year in print and digital formats. The acquisitions will expand INDA’s reach and relevance in the key markets the print and digital publications serve with a particular emphasis on the filtration and separation segment as INDA launches its new FiltXpo event to be held in Chicago every 18 months starting February 26-28, 2020. Click here to read the INDA press release on the purchase. Posted October 2, 2018
Are you looking for a quick understanding of the China technical textiles industry? Through our special relationship with China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA) and their China Textile publication, BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to post the English-translation of the recently issued "Status Quo of China's Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Industry, 2017." The report covers the different levels of the industry, geographic export demographics, and forecast the needs in the major end market applications. Click here to read the report in our China Textile website section. Posted June 18, 2018
I am pleased to announce the second part of my report 2018 State of the U.S.Technical Textiles Industry has been published by Textile World magazine.
This first part features a general industry overview, plus an evaluation of the status and impact of US trade positions.
The second part, featured in the April/May issue will cover major end markets for technical textiles such as automotive and military.
Click here to go to the Textile World website to download a copy.
Steve Warner, Publisher
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