Inside ACMA QA Winter 2021

New Virtual Conference Focuses on Smart Manufacturing Composites industry professionals aiming to learn more about smart manufacturing and the factory …

New Virtual Conference Focuses on Smart Manufacturing

Composites industry professionals aiming to learn more about smart manufacturing and the factory of the future can’t afford to miss out on ACMA’s Composites Industrial Revolution Conference (CIRC), a new virtual conference being held May 4-6, 2021. Planning committee members Waruna Seneviratne Ph.D., ATLAS director and Composites & Structures senior research scientist at the National Institute of Aviation Research, and Kimberly Caldwell, Kimberly Caldwell, senior manager, R&D portfolio strategy and collaborations at Spirit AeroSystems, discussed the innovative event.

Q: Smart manufacturing has become a hot topic in the composites industry. Why is that?

Caldwell: Within the past decade, there has been an increased demand for composite materials, and this trend is expected to continue. The overall marketplace will be driven by more innovation than ever before, and composites manufacturers and suppliers need to stay ahead of the competition. Recent trends indicate the need for advanced manufacturing technology across multiple markets. Also, to become and stay competitive in the future, composites manufacturers must be adaptive to new technology.

Q: What markets will be most affected by smart manufacturing?

Seneviratne: I would be willing to say that all segments will be affected, but there is sure to be an impact on the automotive, trucking, wind, industrial and aerospace segments. Trends like automation, robotics and customizable, scalable tools and parts using additive manufacturing (note that automated fiber placement is also an additive manufacturing process) have the capacity to revolutionize transportation with autonomous vehicles and the electrification of automobiles and trucks, wind energy, aerospace and privatized space travel.

Q: Why should composites professionals attend the CIRC?

Seneviratne: The Composites Industrial Revolution Conference will provide attendees a first-hand preview of the new ways that manufacturing is transforming the composites industry. This event will help attendees gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace and give them a chance to learn from key experts on how new processes, applications, technology and systems can revolutionize their businesses. In addition to a robust education program, attendees will have the opportunity to network and make connections that we’ve all been missing the last year. We have an exciting platform that will allow attendees to connect with each other, exhibitors and sponsors, plus there will be small group, face-to-face virtual conversations and roundtables that will facilitate more networking and learning.

Q: What will the conference program include?

Caldwell: The conference program will bring an exciting array of future-focused programming and education. Topics will focus on automation, productivity, non-destructive evaluation (NDE) inspection technologies, big data analysis and design for manufacturing. Over three days, attendees will experience more than 15 education sessions, four panel discussions, ample networking opportunities and a dynamic, virtual tour of a new composites automation facility with one of the conference collaborators, the National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR).

Q: Who would benefit most from attending this conference?

Seneviratne: There is something for almost every individual involved in the composites industry, including suppliers, manufacturers, government agencies, materials and process engineers, and more. I encourage everyone to attend CIRC and discover valuable ways to embrace the future of manufacturing and propel the composites industry forward.

For more information on the Composites Industrial Revolution Conference or to register, visit