February 6, 2013 (Arlington, Va.) – A record number of attendees flocked to COMPOSITES 2013 produced by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) in Orlando, January 29-31. 3,500 delegates participated in COMPOSITES, the highest number in 6 years and 4% more than last year’s event in Las Vegas. COMPOSITES is the most diverse trade show of its kind in North America, drawing more than 200 U.S. and international exhibitors representing over 40 market segments. It also salutes achievements in design, manufacturing and market growth with the presentation of the prestigious Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE).
The COMPOSITES 2013 Exhibit Hall, which opened on Wednesday, January 30, with 219 exhibitors (a 9% increase from 2012), provided attendees access to the latest products and technology impacting the future of the composites industry. The Exhibit Hall provided an unmatched forum for finding the products and services that businesses need to excel in current markets and undertake new endeavors.
“COMPOSITES 2013 did more than simply build on past achievements,” says ACMA President Lori Luchak of Miles Fiberglass & Composites. “It offered a springboard into the future. The composites industry, like so many others, has faced a lot of challenges in recent years. But the mood at COMPOSITES 2013 was optimistic and energized. The emphasis was on opportunities – new products, processes and markets. We are seeing more and more interest in high-performance, sustainability and infrastructure improvement. Our industry is poised to play a key role in all those areas going forward.”
According to Luchak, networking and education were two of the most vitally exciting components of the COMPOSITES 2013 experience. “People who joined us in Orlando this year had one-stop access to industry leaders and decision makers as well as suppliers, distributors and manufacturers,” she notes. “And thanks to over 100 Education Sessions and Technical Paper presentations, attendees learned about the very latest in research and development and discovered what’s coming next. They also had a series of opportunities to connect with ACMA and understand all the work the association does on behalf of our industry.”
The packed keynote address delivered by U.S. military legend Robert O’Neill on Tuesday, January 29, resonated with attendees and received a standing ovation. This former member of SEAL Team Six translated how his elite Navy SEAL training can be used in business – through actionable insights on leadership, decision-making and operating in uncertain environments. Through his experiences, he demonstrated how to become the “best of the best.”
The 2013 ACE and Pinnacle Awards, ACMA Member Awards and Technical Paper and University Poster Competition winners were recognized at the popular Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, January 30. The COMPOSITES 2013 Best of Show Award, which is recognized as the highest composites industry award, was presented to Flexi-StiX, LLC, of Anderson, S.C., for their Tsunami Barbell™ Flexible Composite Barbell. The Compact Patio Bar entry which was built by Coplin Manufacturing and submitted by ACS International received the 2013 Pinnacle Award.
Recognized as the Best Overall Technical Paper and Best in the Pultrusion track was Comparison of Alkali Solution and Moisture Exposure of Pultruded Composites, presented by Dr. Ellen Lackey of the University of Mississippi.
New this year was the Best and Brightest Student Poster Competition, which recognizes today’s innovative and trailblazing student research. David Branscomb of Auburn University won with his entry titled Design Process for Open Architecture Composites.
ACMA’s president, Luchak selected Randy Weghorst, Chairman of AOC, to receive the annual President’s Award, and Strongwell Chairman John Tickle received the ACMA Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill Seemann, president of Seemann Composites and Steve Walling, former CEO of Plasticolors, Inc. were inducted into the ACMA Hall of Fame.
ACMA and the Society for Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) will together produce a new advanced materials and composites industry exhibition and conference in the fall of 2014.
COMPOSITES 2013 was sponsored by [in alphabetical order]:
Best Bath Systems
The R.J. Marshall Company
(Photos available upon request)