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Manufacturing, industrial companies gear up for Wichita trade show

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, at 1:43 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at 7:51 a.m.

Jeremy Bout, producer and host of “The Edge Factor,” a show highlighting the importance of modern manufacturing, will deliver a multimedia presentation during this year’s Wichita Industrial Trade Show.

The show will be at Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center on Tuesday through Thursday. Admission is free.

Bout’s goal is to promote manufacturing and get students interested in manufacturing as a career, said John Doswell, vice president of Kansas-Oklahoma Machine Tools in Wichita, which is sponsoring Bout’s appearance.

“The Edge Factor” tells stories of innovative manufacturing teams working to design and build products that have an impact on people’s lives.

Before launching the show, Bout worked 12 years in design and tool engineering but recognized how difficult it was to convey what his work involved and the excitement of manufacturing.

Keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is critical, Doswell said. And inspiring young people to get into manufacturing is important.

Machine shop customers say they can’t find enough good people to fill job openings, he said.

“Kids aren’t coming up wanting to get into manufacturing,” Doswell said.

Bout is carrying the message that “these can be cool careers,” he said.

Hopefully, educators will come to hear his message, Doswell said.

The Wichita Industrial Trade Show, held every two years, is one of the bigger manufacturing trade shows outside of Chicago in the Midwest.

It began in 1975 and is run by volunteers.

Nearly 175 exhibitors from around the U.S. will showcase services, machines and equipment.

“It’s kind of like the State Fair of manufacturing,” said Don Lenhart, co-chairman of the show.

About 15 semitrailer truckloads of machines will arrive to be set up, along with many other smaller machines.

It will take licensed electricians to set up about 30 massive machines, which will be operating and cutting parts.

It will feature large milling machines, lathes, water jets, measurement machines, robots and others.

“All of the industrial processes will be covered,” Lenhart said.

The show can serve as a barometer of how manufacturing is going, Lenhart said.

Exhibit space has been sold out earlier than he can ever remember, and there’s a waiting list.

Some exhibitors are new this year. Others have doubled the size of their spaces.

That’s encouraging, Lenhart said.

“We’re moving forward,” he said of the manufacturing industry.

“It costs a lot to bring these machines in,” he said. “They sell machines right off the floor.”

The show attracts 4,000 to 5,000 attendees each year.

A variety of seminars will be held on cutting tools for aerospace; CAD/CAM software; creating a safer, more efficient manufacturing workplace; tool management; computer-aided technology; and other topics.

The show is sponsored by the National Association of Purchasing Management-Wichita with help from the Society of the Advancement of Manufacturing.

It runs the same time as a show sponsored by the Society for the Advancement in Materials and Process Engineering. Attendees will be able to go to both.

The WITs show will run 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Bout’s presentation will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Mary Jane Teall Theater at Century II.

For more information, go to http://www.witshow.org or call 316-942-2401.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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