Roaming among the nearly 500 booths at the CAMX 2022 Exhibit Hall and chatting with attendees from around the world underscored the breadth of the composites and advanced materials industry.  

“CAMX 2022 was a vibrant event where you could witness brilliant people collaborating to accelerate innovation in advanced manufacturing of aircraft, cars and recreational equipment,” said Rick Neff, consultant and owner of Rick Neff LLC in Cincinnati. 

Experts shared insight on material advancements, design and analysis, manufacturing technologies, market applications and more. But no matter the niche, three overarching themes stood out at CAMX 2022 – innovation, collaboration and sustainability.  

Innovation – “We want to inspire the industry to keep growing and innovating, to keep researching, learning, creating and making and to keep supporting the innovators who dream, dare and do,” said ACMA President and CEO Cindy L. Squires, Esq., at the CAMX General Session. “Whatever part you play in that innovation puzzle, keep it up.”  

Additive manufacturing is one area of innovation that grabbed the attention of attendees in the exhibit hall and educational sessions. Dozens of exhibitors showcased 3D printing solutions ranging from equipment to thermoplastic materials. Crowds gathered around companies offering demonstrations such as Thermwood, which printed tooling on its LSAM Additive Printer 510 at its booth. 

Andrew Bader, co-founded of Additive Engineering Solutions (AES), led an educational session on large format additive manufacturing for end-use applications. He shared case studies on fairing production for autonomous underwater vehicles and cockpit frames for military flight simulators.  

The original simulator assembly had approximately 3,000 parts and a lead time of several months. Engineers at AES redesigned the cockpit frame, reducing the number of parts to 300 and the lead time to six to eight weeks.  

“There are plenty of parts people print and don’t optimize. They take a part already machined and print it,” said Bader. “When you get the ability to design from the ground up, you can do a whole lot more.” 

Collaboration – “With collaboration comes great things,” said Marcy Offner, director of marketing communications at Composites One, before introducing panelists at Good Day, CAMX! During the event, executives from Re:Build Manufacturing, Victrex and Elroy Air talked about their collaboration – built on transparency and open communication – to develop next-generation aerospace structures and lead the adoption of thermoplastic materials.  

“In this industry, the things we are trying to do are really challenging,” said Jay Wakenshaw, COO of Elroy Air. “One small group is not going to get there. It’s really a team sport.”