FABTECH 2012 report from Arc-Zone’s Joanie (AKA MIG Ryan)

Most of Joanie Butler‘s experience in the welding industry comes from her years in the automotive arena, so she’s been to 15 years of  SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) trade shows. But this past November, Joanie attended her first FABTECH show!

“It was eye opening,” she says, noting that the SEMA show caters not only to Business to Business companies, but has a big focus on end-users and hobbyists as well. The FABTECH show is “North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event”. The focus is on welding product developers, welding suppliers, and large manufacturers.

Innovations in the Welding Industry

Arc-Zone's Joanie Butler virtual welding on the Lincoln Electric VRTEX at FABTECH 2012
Arc-Zone’s Joanie Butler virtual welding on the Lincoln Electric VRTEX at FABTECH 2012

Joanie says the most innovative thing she personally experienced was the welding simulator by Lincoln Electric, The VRTEX 360.  It’s a computer based training system that is an educational tool designed to allow students to practice their welding technique in a simulated environment.

People in the Welding Industry

The most interesting person she says she met was
Jody Collier from Weldingtipsandtricks.com.

“He’s a neat guy with a laid-back attitude and approach.”  Sadly, she did not get pictures 🙁

The Future of Welding

Joanie also shared her thoughts on the welding industry… “I’m still learning, but one thing I’ve noticed is that quite a bit of the smaller companies have been being purchased by larger manufacturers, or larger distributors.”

As to where the jobs may be…  Joanie says she believes this is not only a time of change, but a time of opportunities.  “If you want to get into the welding industry, I’d say there is no better time than the present. Although it’s not for the feint of heart, you must be willing to adapt to changing processes and procedures but there will always be work that needs be completed.  From hands-on welders to computer programmers to run the latest and greatest CNC operated Plasma Cutting systems and Automated Welding Systems, it’s more technical then ever before! ”

If you missed the FABTECH show, check out YouTube videos from FABTECH 2012.  Our friend Mr. TIG was there and interviewed many welding manufacturers, including the folks at the CK Worldwide booth. Don’t forget, Arc-Zone.com carries CK TIG Torches and the full line of replacement parts as well as the inflatable purge chamber that Mr. TIG is showing in this video!


Did you make it to FABTECH this year?  If so, what were your impressions?


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