Attendance surged at the recent Automate 2011 Show and Conference in Chicago (March 21-24). A total of 7,945 confirmed participants were scanned at the show, the largest audience in more than a decade, said Jeff Burnstein, President of the Automation Technologies Council (ATC), and the parent group for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the Automated Imaging Association (AIA), and the Motion Control Association (MCA), primary sponsors of the event.
“Based on feedback from participants, Automate 2011 successfully hit the target,” Burnstein explained. “We wanted to reach users and potential users in a wide range of industries who were interested in robots, machine vision, motion control and related automation technologies and solutions, and we accomplished that.”
Burnstein said that the show, formerly known as the International Robots, Vision, and Motion Control Show, recorded its largest attendance in a decade. “Our collocation with ProMat brought in a large number of people from the warehousing and logistics industries, which added an important element to this year’s event.
“The Automate technical conference was also very strong, with more than 400 participants interested in learning how to successfully apply automation. Helping the conference this year was the inclusion of the International Symposium on Robotics, which comes to the US just once every four years, and the new Certified Vision Professional courses at the basic and advanced level,” Burnstein explained.
Automate 2011 attracted visitors from 28 countries and 45 states, with a large concentration from the Midwest. The automotive, electronics, medical device, fabricated metals, food & beverage, consumer goods, aerospace, and plastics industries sent the most visitors.
Nearly 90% of the visitors play a role in the automation purchasing decision at their organization. Nearly 40% of the audience identified themselves as end users of automation, with system integrators accounting for another 20%.
About a quarter of the visitors either currently have a funded project or expect to have one in the next year.
“One of the most frequent comments we had from exhibitors at the show dealt with the quality of the audience,” Burnstein noted. “Today’s trade shows are far different than in the past since companies are running too lean to send people to shows unless they are serious about the technologies and products on display. For us to have our largest audience in terms of quantity as well as so many serious potential customers says a great deal about the value of Automate 2011.”
Burnstein said that Automate 2011 has importance well beyond the activity that occurred during the four days of the show. “One of the great benefits of Automate 2011 was that it served as a platform to tell the general public, government officials and other interested parties about how automation can help save and create jobs, the opposite of what you normally hear in the news media. We sent out more than half a million brochures and emails about Automate 2011 that carried this message and participated in several television and radio stories during the show, highlighted by a live segment on CNBC focused on this issue,” Burnstein explained.
RIA, AIA, and MCA represent more than 600 companies from 30 nations. The Automate 2011 show traces its roots back to 1977 when the first ROBOTS show sponsored by RIA was held.
--Posted by Vision Systems Design