With more than 550 booths in the CAMX exhibit hall, it was hard for attendees to decide where to head first on the show’s opening day Tuesday. Composites Manufacturing caught up with several attendees to see what exhibits and demonstrations generated the most buzz.

Greg Steinberg, project engineer with Advanced Fiber Products in La Crosse, Wis., headed to McClean Anderson’s booth to watch a filament winding machine at work. “I’m an engineer, so I like seeing machinery working,” he explained. As a pultrusion manufacturer, he also wanted to compare notes with the machine operator on equipment computer interfaces.

Steinberg also was struck by how many cutting machines were on display. “That’s one of the big things this year,” he said. “It used to be that people used scissors to cut fabric and put it in the mold. Now there’s precision cutting so they can keep up with the mold. Less than five years ago, only a few different companies had these and now there are all these fabric cutting machines. “

Another favorite spot for attendees was The Lean Mean Process Machine – a large glassed-in area sponsored by Composites One and the Closed Mold Alliance, where closed-mold manufacturing demonstrations occurred every 15 minutes. That’s where Peter Gibb, product manager for Victrex in Lancashire, U.K., and his colleague were gathered. For Gibb, who had just arrived and had only seen about a quarter of the show, the Composites One demo area stood out immediately. He joked, “We’re like sheep. We’re here partly because there’s a whole group of people and we’re just trying to find out what they’re looking at!” But in reality, he was intrigued to see the process first-hand and learn how it works.

Isabel Isaka, Alejandro Isaka and Ismael Correa of Firplek, a composite kitchen and bath manufacturer located in Antioquia, Colombia, made it a priority to stop by the the Stratasys booth, where a 3-D printer was quietly working as they and others took turns peeking in. “We have a Stratasys 3-D printer,” Alejandro Isaka explained, although it’s a different model. “We’re watching what they have that is new related to composites. It’s really cool stuff.”

The Firplek colleagues also were unanimously excited about meeting with graphene suppliers. “It is a new material for us,” says Isaka. “So we don’t know what to expect because everything about it is a mystery. We’ll need to test it to see if it will work or not.”