Report: IFAI Expo Americas 2010

High points and highlights of our Orlando show. Despite our slow economy, the industry is getting back to business.

More than 5,100 registered participants and 354 exhibitors, with 54 countries represented, joined us in Orlando in October at the largest specialty fabrics trade event in the Americas. Through the economic valleys and natural disasters of 2010—such as this year’s tragic Gulf oil spill and Haiti’s devastating earthquake, which also brought forth stunning relief efforts from our industry—new opportunities are starting to emerge, and the demand for high-performance fabrics continues to grow. Participants came with their business plans in hand, and left with new ones: new products, new processes, new technologies, new markets, new partners and new customers. Value added.

We can only show you some of the highlights in this special show report, but there’s more information available on www.ifai.com, and we’ll be using what we learned at the show in issues of the Review throughout 2011, as we move towards IFAI Expo Americas 2011 in Baltimore next October. We hope you’ll stay with us.

Sporting pink for a cause

Entering the show floor, attendees were immediately reminded that October was breast cancer awareness month. Miller Weldmaster’s booth featured a pink T-300 Extreme welding machine that the company was auctioning to benefit breast cancer research. The pink balloons and pink shirts worn by the staff made a statement that this was an important cause for the company.

Jeff Sponseller, executive vice president for Miller Weldmaster, says, “We are so excited to be part of this great cause.” All net proceeds will be donated to the Stefanie Speilman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

The associates at the company developed the idea and plan to build the machine. They chose this cause because many of them had family and friends who had been affected by breast cancer. Although the company frequently participates in charitable giving, this particular project involved the entire company.

Super Sign Mart of Ruston, La., made the highest bid for the pink T-300 Extreme. The welding machine was presented and installed by staff from Miller Weldmaster in late November.

See, touch, buy

Attendees at Expo Americas quickly discovered that the Design Center gave them a chance to see and touch fabric samples all in one place.

Organized by applications, such as filtration, military, shading and digital printing, the samples were displayed side-by-side so attendees could determine which ones might meet their needs.

Samples supplied by exhibitor companies were labeled with basic information about the fabric’s name and properties. By viewing the samples, attendees were able to determine which booths to visit to buy the right fabric for them.

Attendees liked the fabric display because it was easy to see the possibilities, find a particular trademark, or research something similar to a fabric they had in mind. The Design Center was sponsored by FabricLink and Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.

Galynn Nordstrom is the senior editor of Specialty Fabrics Review.
Janet Preus is the editor of Specialty Fabrics Review.
Chris Tschida is senior editor of Fabric Graphics, Marine Fabricator and Upholstery Journal.
Susan Niemi is the associate publisher for IFAI publications.

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