IW’s Virtual Manufacturing & Technology Show Launches Today

Among the scarier consequences of manufacturing workers hitting retirement age and leaving the workforce is the amount of knowledge that walks out the door with them. Even if the knowledge has been documented somewhere—and many times it hasn’t been—the years of experience residing within that worker aren’t so easily replicated.

Transferring this “tribal knowledge” to a new generation of workers “is a challenge,” Mark Rayfield, CEO of Saint-Gobain North America, told IndustryWeek last year.

This year, he will be telling us more. Rayfield is one of several keynote speakers at Manufacturing & Technology Virtual, which will be presented online Dec. 1-3, 2020.

Like most manufacturing companies, Saint-Gobain is not immune to the labor shortages across the manufacturing landscape. However, it hasn’t stood still in the face of the oncoming challenges. During his talk, the Saint-Gobain North America CEO will offer insights from his company’s workforce development programs and discuss how manufacturers can engage the next generation of talent in skilled manufacturing jobs.

Rayfield joins a robust list of speakers sharing their knowledge at IndustryWeek’s 2020 M&T event. Are you considering 5G for your facility or simply interested in where the technology is going? Then keynote speaker Xiaoxia Zhang, principal engineer at Qualcomm, is a not-to-be-missed session. Want to learn about Ford’s journey to digital even as it maintains a strong lean manufacturing grip? Mike Mikula, Ford’s global chief engineer, advanced manufacturing, will share that story during a Dec. 3 keynote.

The final keynote is focused on the future, and it is a panel discussion titled The Future of Manufacturing. Panelists include William Hardy, senior vice president of supply chain at Carhartt, John Dyck, CEO of CESMII, Marie Langer, CEO of EOS, and Stefan Nusser, chief product officer at Fetch Robotics.

Virtual Plant Tours

In a first for IndustryWeek, the annual M&T event will showcase several “virtual” plant tours. COVID-19 may have temporarily constrained our ability to hold in-person events, but it has not stopped us from getting to the plant floor, where the real work of manufacturing takes place.

Two tours are slated for Dec. 1: Lodge Cast Iron, which manufactures popular cookware, will take attendees through one of its two foundries – from the melt process to the finished product. This foundry, the company’s second, made its first production run in late 2017. Lodge itself is more than 100 years old and bills itself as “the oldest and longest-running cast iron manufacturer in the United States.”

Register Now for Manufacturing & Technology Virtual

The second tour illustrates an entirely different dynamic. Branch Technology specializes in large-scale 3D printing. The highly automated facility is the picture of advanced manufacturing, loaded with robots that can 3D print structures which may have been impossible to construct not too many years ago.

There’s always much to be learned from dropping in on fellow manufacturers on their plant floors. These plant tours provide an opportunity.

IW Best Plants

Earlier this year IndustryWeek honored its 30th class of IW Best Plants winners – All Metals Fabricating, Polamer Precision Inc. and SSP Fittings Corp. We celebrate them again during this event – look for the awards ceremony directly before the keynote address by Saint Gobain’s Rayfield on Dec. 1.

Moreover, Lance Thrailkill, CEO of IW Best Plants winner All Metals Fabricating, will present a session on the topic on servant leadership during M&T virtual. It’s a terrific subject for discussion.

Look Who Else Is Talking

We can’t spell out everyone who is speaking during this event, but you can find the full rundown here.

That said, fans of John Dyer, who regularly contributes to IndustryWeek, will find him speaking on the topic of leadership at M&T Virtual. He is the author of The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership. And Micron Technology’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Sharawn Connors, who spoke with IndustryWeek earlier this year, will speak during M&T on the topic of building bolder dialogues.

For the small to midsized manufacturer that is struggling with the challenges of manufacturing technology, we’ve got a session for you. Don’t miss Pat Pierce, manufacturing engineering manager with Astronics Luminescent Systems, and Mike Garman, senior engineer, EWI, as they tell their story Dec. 2.

We also have speakers from Wabtec Corp., Spartanburg Steel Products, Miller Ingenuity, American Axle & Manufacturing, Lincoln Electric, and more. They’ll be speaking on topics of continuous improvement, leadership, talent management, and technology.

Hear more from these companies (and a host of others) at the Manufacturing & Technology Virtual, presented by IndustryWeek. 

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