Steven Mead, Toray Advanced Composites
An Expanded CAMX 2019 Returns to Anaheim
CAMX 2019 is returning to Anaheim, Calif., and bringing a fresh, new energy. With updated branding and a focus that includes a broader range of markets and key technologies, CAMX’s exhibit hall and educational programming promise to make it one of the best yet. CAMX Steering Committee member, Steven Mead of Toray Advanced Composites in Morgan Hill, Calif., discusses some of the event’s most exciting changes and features.
Q: CAMX 2019 has recently launched a rebranding. How does this shift the focus of the event?
Mead: The re-branding initiative in 2019 is really about having a broader reach to the global materials industry across all market segments and across a much more diverse attendee base. We have historically been considered quite ‘niche’ in terms of our areas of focus, the type of person/position that attended our event and the areas of application, which were fairly limited. Today, we look at our industry, and we see it touching a much broader range of people and markets: Composites have gone from niche to mainstream and are a key enabling technology for existing and emerging industries.
Other technologies have also evolved to a point where they create much larger scale demand for lightweight materials in new markets. Consider the electric vehicle market or the urban air mobility market, for example. These industries have developed around a key technology – battery power – but need affordable, lightweight materials available in volume to enable them. These sorts of emerging markets are creating enormous opportunities for our industry and have taken us from niche to mainstream.
Additionally, we are seeing our audience expanding to reach a younger and more diverse population, which is fantastic, and is infusing our industry with new thinking and fresh ideas. As a result of these shifts, we need to appeal to a broader audience and reach this audience with energized, innovative messaging.
Q: What industry segments or niches would you like to see more fully represented at CAMX 2019?
Mead: The availability of materials technology has evolved to the point where there are literally thousands of options to consider for a product or application, and the industry can tailor these options quickly and affordably to support new applications. So, we think that the focus is changing to include more of the ‘how’ – i.e. how are these materials turned into parts and assemblies quickly and affordably? So, software, artificial intelligence and automation are all key areas of growth for our industry, and we expect that we will see more of this segment represented at CAMX 2019. Additionally, because composites have really entered large-volume usage in a wide range of industries, we see recycling becoming a key issue that needs to be addressed commercially and affordably. The availability of a robust supply chain available to support recycling really is becoming key for us and for our customers.
Q: Are you seeing any trends with the types of exhibitors that are registering so far?
Mead: We are seeing more companies with a focus on high rate production, such as rapid cure thermosets, as well as thermoplastics – not just materials and parts, but enabling technologies such as processing equipment and design/simulation technologies. We are also seeing more exhibitors focused on recycling technologies and on automation and industrial processes to enable large-scale production volumes. In addition, we are seeing more parts fabricators in general; with the overall increase in demand across many segments, the parts and structures fabricators are experiencing more growth opportunities and are using CAMX as a key event to help grow their businesses.
Q: What exciting changes can we expect to see on the show floor this year?
Mead: CAMX will have some exciting new displays this year. One of the goals is to provide inspiration on the industry’s true potential and demonstrate new technologies that enable this potential to become reality. One topic that is instrumental to our industry growth is recycling. There has been a lot of work and research done in this area from various organizations and companies within the industry, so this year we will have a dedicated area highlighting parts made from recycled materials and information on what is needed next to industrialize the recycling process. Additionally, we will likely have a number of displays to highlight processing and automation technologies that are key to enabling rapid, affordable adoption of composite materials.
Q: What’s new with the educational programming at CAMX 2019?
Mead: The conference programming is much more diverse than in prior years. We are focused on providing information for attendees along the entire ‘experience spectrum’ and from a range of market segments. So, you can expect to see content that is tailored to beginners and experts, as well as content that is relevant to all market segments, such as marine, infrastructure, aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical and sporting goods. Additionally, CAMX is offering more content on the business and strategy side of the composites industry, including key trends and emerging technologies, as well as more fundamental “composites 101” type sessions for the newer, younger attendees just now entering the workforce. And this year we’ll be emphasizing our technical and expert level sessions. We will provide sufficient information well ahead of time so that attendees will know the expected knowledge level needed to actively learn in each session. We hope this will help attendees select the right courses and will help the course instructors to hit the ground running in the sessions.
Q: What message would you give people who have never attended CAMX, but are considering it this year?
Mead: CAMX 2019 is really going to be an incredible event. We have transitioned from a niche focus on a limited number of markets to broader coverage across massive global industries, and you will see this in play at CAMX. You will see a significant emergence of new technologies and new content that are helping drive this shift for our industry. Additionally, you will notice that the attendee profile is changing to be younger and more diverse, with fresh ideas and perspective that our industry needs to continue to thrive.
Q: Will the weather be better in Anaheim than it was in Dallas, where it rained the entire time?
Mead: Well, if history is any indication, we should all be able to pack for warm weather and hopefully can spend some time catching up with our colleagues outside instead of huddled inside in a windowless conference room. But don’t hold me to it!
Be a part of forming the future – register for CAMX today: https://www.thecamx.org/