SAMPE is the “Society of Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering,” and annually they host a conference and exhibit hall where Scientists and Engineers gather to learn about the past year’s manufacturing advancements. Giles Dillingham, our Chief Scientist and CEO, has been a member for 15 years, and BTG Labs has presented many different technical papers and research projects at this conference. This was my second time attending this conference, after last year in Long Beach.

While SAMPE targets the advancement of all materials and processes, composites—namely carbon fiber—dominate the show. Many exhibitors manufacture woven carbon fiber materials that will be turned into aircraft structures or interiors. Other vendors supply OEM aircraft manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers, specific parts that will be installed directly onto final products.

Some examples include specialized composite tubing and fluid tanks for waste and water storage. I also saw: tooling manufacturers, adhesive and tape suppliers, software companies, testing labs, autoclave/oven vendors (one was giving virtual reality tours of their equipment!), and material processing equipment. This included 4 plasma treatment companies. The most we have seen at SAMPE to date.

Though composites and material related vendors made up the majority of the show, I met many attendees who were there to learn how they can better understand and control the processing of their materials. Most of those that were not dealing with composites worked with advanced polymers.  This included consumer goods manufacturers, aerospace interior suppliers, and medical manufacturers. They experience failures due to their inability to reliably paint and bond on low surface energy polymers and were looking for solutions! I had great conversations about how the Surface Analyst helps to gain understanding and control of material processes. There are countless opportunities for our instrument to improve manufacturing processes across various suppliers and manufacturers.

One market that seemed to have an increased presence was automated manufacturing. Large robot manufacturers, integrators, and software companies for automated data population all had booths to show off their latest advancements and capabilities. As aerospace moves towards more automated solutions, like automotive and electronics industries, I expect their presence to continue to grow at SAMPE, and similar conferences in the years to come.

In all, it was a well-attended show, with new vendors and attendees. Expect to see BTG Labs presenting and exhibiting at SAMPE 2018 in Long Beach!