Inspiration took many forms in the aisles and booths of the CAMX exhibit hall as attendees embarked on a quest for new products, partners and innovation during the first day of the show. “I am wandering up and down to see what’s available, which technologies can be used where and if anything stands out – if there is a Eureka moment,” said Thanos Drivas of Cervelo Cycles and Vroomen White Design, who was just beginning to traverse the floor after setting up his own booth.

For Martin Carignan of ITW Polymers Adhesives, North America, a stop at the 53-foot hybrid metal and composites trailer by Structural Composites, winner of the 2017 CAMX Award for Unsurpassed Innovation, was his Eureka moment. “The technology used to make the panels is revolutionary to me,” he said. “I have been in the composites industry almost 20 years, and this is the first time I have heard that you can mix different components and ensure good bonding. I’m impressed!”

Cooper Wessells, a production engineer with Boeing in Seattle, was also checking out the award winners on the exhibit floor when he shared his thoughts on the conference. “CAMX gives me a chance to catch up on what the industry is doing,” he said. “You get a sense where the industry and businesses are headed with materials, engineering, technical design and manufacturing processes.”

Chase Knight with the Florida Department of Transportation said that he looks for inspiration in exhibits that showcase technologies used in other industries that might be applied to infrastructure. This approach brought him to the Composites One and Closed Mold Alliance demonstration center, which was abuzz with the show’s first live demo of the day where a corrosion-resistant pipe flange was fabricated.

Peter Lin of Composites Corporation was closely watching the demo, too. He was interested in seeing how vacuum forming has developed versus the hand lay-up methods his company has been using to produce pipe flanges for more than 40 years.

Products and processes weren’t the only draw on the show floor: Some attendees were looking for equipment. Raul Araujo of Avibras Industria gathered with others at the Magnum Venus Products filament winding machine exhibit. Araujo says that he and his colleagues are in the market for a filament winding machine and are walking the floor to find potential suppliers.

Paul Beatty of Tuftco Corp. was drawn to Highland Composites’ exhibit of open cell carbon composite structures, including a bicycle frame. “Obviously, carbon composites are a good solution,” says Beatty. “I’ve seen that open cell stuff year after year, and I’m just wondering if I can really apply it or not. It’s that holy grail that you keep looking for.”