In May, I attended my first trade show in nearly three years. After months behind a screen, connecting with others via conference calls and Zoom meetings, it took leaving my home office before I realized how much I missed meeting new people and interacting with others — in person. Kudos to Fastener Fair USA for hosting such a well-run event in Detroit this year. It was wonderful meeting and learning from so many high-quality exhibitors.
For those who questioned the likelihood of such events making a comeback after the pandemic, it’s understandable. In 2019, statistics showed that the B2B trade show market in the U.S. was worth $15.58 billion. That clearly dipped in 2020 and 2021, but things are looking up. The market is expected to recover by 2024, nearing about $14.5 billion by then. And according to the Fastener Fair, pre-registration was up by 30% in Detroit compared to its event in Cleveland last November. People, like myself, are starting to get out again and it’s nice to reconnect. Here are just a few highlights that I took away from the Fair…
• There’s a reason to celebrate! Case in point: Advance Components is celebrating 50 years of supplying fasteners. This womenowned business has been a top U.S. industrial fasteners master distributor since 1972. Check out the company’s online FastenerLab for “everything you’ve always wanted to know about fasteners but were afraid to ask.” (And be sure to visit their booth at the International Fastener Expo in Vegas this October for some retro ’70s fun!). advancecomponents.com
• Fasteners are the future. I interviewed Earl Price in 2020 when he developed the ForeverLok anti-vibration design (learn more at tinyurl.com/ForeverLok). Price, who once owned an ice-skate shop in Michigan, figured he could design a fastener that more reliably secured skate blades to the boot… and he was right. Little did he expect to become a part of the fasteners market — or exhibit at a trade show. Yet his company, Multi Piece Fasteners, had a booth at the Fastener Fair, with a new ForeverLok design on display. It seems no matter how dependable fasteners are, there’s always room for improvement. foreverlok.com
• Possibilities abound. “There are many different tools available to the fastener industry,” shared Mason Fischer Paul, an engineer with the Würth Additive Group. “And that means you’re not tied to just one.” Würth showcased its 3D-printing capabilities at the Fair — serving as another valuable tool for designers and manufacturers. For example, manufacturing a fastener prototype is typically time-consuming and costly. 3D printing saves on both. It can also be ideal for manufacturing components with complex geometries. Today, you have plenty of options. wurthindustry.com
There was so much more, including new security fasteners, coatings, threadlockers, automated inspection technologies, packaging options, and then some. It was a pleasure seeing everyone at the Fastener Fair and I’m looking forward to the next in-person event.
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