CAMX 2017 show preview

At North America’s premier composites conference and exhibition, the business at hand is definitely not business as usual. 

If there’s a single word that best characterizes this year’s Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), that would be the word disruptive. First indication? A disrupted schedule. The event, now in its fourth year and organized jointly by the American Composites Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA, Arlington, VA, US) and the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE, Covina, CA, US), will be held earlier than in previous years. It has been scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11 through Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. So, adjust those expectations, mark your datebooks and plan to be there at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, US in mid-September.

The CAMX program is rapidly taking shape and, CW has learned, valuable opportunities for networking, collaboration and education await. Particular emphasis will be placed on the latter. The opening General Session on Tuesday morning will feature three keynote speakers who will focus on the theme of “Disruptive Innovation.” The speakers will represent Boom Aerospace (Englewood, CO, US), the developer of a new, composite-intensive design for a supersonic commercial passenger jet; Oracle Team USA (Redwood Shores, CA, US), the 2016 winner of the coveted America’s Cup competition; and Composite Building Structures (CBS, Ft. Myers, FL, US), the developer of Advanced Pultruded Construction Composites as the structural support framing for rapidly-assembled buildings. The session will explore the concept of changing one’s approach and doing things differently — whether it’s in the arena of design, manufacturing or materials selection.

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Before those Opening Day events, on Monday, Sept. 11, there will be a day of pre-event tutorials. And following Tuesday’s General Session, three days of conference programming
will feature more than 250 technical papers and presentations, arranged in nine technical tracks:

  • Additive Manufacturing. 
  • Advances in Materials. 
  • Bonding and Joining. 
  • Business/Regulatory/Workforce Development Issues. 
  • Design/Analysis/Simulation. 
  • Green and Sustainable Manufacturing.
  • Processing Technology. 
  • Market Applications. 
  • Nondestructive Evaluation and Testing.

The results of disruptive design and development activities will be plentiful in the expansive CAMX exhibit hall, which opens at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12; it will remain open during business hours through 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14. A CAMX closing luncheon will wrap things up at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday.

More than 40 companies and institutions have already submitted game-changing products for the CAMX and ACE Award competitions, which will be on display in the exhibit hall. Also, again this year, the CAMX poster session will highlight how students and researchers are advancing materials and processes to serve the industry. The CAMX Race competition, aimed at students and young professionals, will pit small teams against each other, each with a smartphone app, to navigate the exhibit hall and answer questions at various booths. The three groups that answer the most questions correctly within the allotted timeframe will win up to US$500 in cash prizes. Entrants get a free CAMX Race T-shirt and the chance to connect with peers and leaders in the industry.

Also for university student members, SAMPE’s University Research Symposium showcases technical research presentations from undergrads, graduate students and doctoral candidates. Papers deemed the best in each category will be awarded cash prizes, while winners in the Ph.D category will have sponsors paying their way to present their papers at SAMPE conferences in Europe and Japan. Awards for selected outstanding technical papers will be presented at the opening General Session on Tuesday morning.

This year, xC Consultants GmbH (Taufkirchen, Germany) will hold a start-up competition focused on innovation and value creation using composites, the role of partners in development, benefits for end-users and the innovation’s market potential. (Start-up entrants must pass a pre-selection round, and attend CAMX in person.) The 10 best teams will be invited to CAMX to present a pitch, for 10 minutes, in front of a panel of judges. Each participating team will have a booth in which to show its marketing materials as well as samples of products/materials. The finalists will be announced at the evening Welcome Reception on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The three highest-ranked start-ups will share as much as US$10,000 in prize money. 

As always, SAMPE’s Fellows Award will be presented to distinguished members who have served the organization as well as contributed to the fields of materials and processes. The 2017 Class of Fellows will be presented at the SAMPE Awards dinner, held Monday evening. Likewise, ACMA will present its Membership Awards and Recognition Ceremony at a reception the same evening.

A significant perk of attending CAMX is the Virtual Career Fair, which connects job seekers with CAMX attendee companies looking to hire. Employers should submit their job openings information to CAMX prior to Aug. 25, and each participating company can submit 10 jobs free of charge.

For updates, logistical information, conference schedule, a list of exhibitors, lodging information and to register for the show, visit the CAMX Web site.

And be sure to check out the MyCAMX Planner on the CAMX site. It allows you to flag events, presentations and exhibitors of interest, schedule meetings and build an agenda in advance of your visit. 

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