More than 5,500 manufacturing professionals saw the latest robots, fastening tools and automation at the sixth annual ASSEMBLY Show, which was held Oct. 23-25 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

The show featured 317 exhibitors spread across 88,300 square feet of floor space—the largest exhibit hall in the history of the event. Compared with the 2017 show, this year’s event offered 22 additional exhibitors and 15 percent more exhibit space. More than 75 percent of the 2018 exhibitors renewed their booth space on-site for the 2019 show.

“We thank all the exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, advisory board, media partners, and supporting organizations that helped to make the 6th annual ASSEMBLY Show a huge success,” says Tom Esposito, publisher of ASSEMBLY magazine, which organizes the event. “We received such positive feedback on the quality of the audience and the content in the education sessions.”

Nearly 9,000 industry professionals—a 12 percent increase from 2017—registered to attend the show. Registrants represented all 50 states and 42 countries. Attendees came from every industry covered by ASSEMBLY magazine, including such companies as 3M, Baxter Healthcare, Boeing, Caterpillar, Danfoss, Ford, GE Appliances, Deere, Kohler, Magna, Medtronic, Whirlpool and Yazaki.


Emphasis on Education

More than 400 people attended two preshow workshops on automated assembly systems and robotic assembly.

In the automated assembly systems workshop, executives from ATC Automation, Arthur G. Russell Co., Balluff Inc. and Performance Feeders Inc. discussed how to obtain an automated assembly system on-time and on-budget. The workshop covered how to work with systems integrators, options for parts feeding, technologies for error-proofing automated assembly, and achieving flexibility in automated assembly.

The robotic assembly workshop featured experts from Epson Robots, KUKA Robotics, SCHUNK Inc. and Universal Robots. Lectures covered collaborative robots, grippers, robotic welding and how to get started in robotic automation.

Besides the workshops, the show featured 15 “Learning Theater” presentations from industry experts. The sessions covered a range of topics, including Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things; leak testing; torque control; automated guided vehicles; and adhesives for additive manufacturing.

“For six years, we have worked with industry experts and our exhibitors to craft educational programs that provide manufacturing professionals a chance to learn about the latest innovations, tools and methods,” says Esposito.

Eric Pope, vice president of operations for US Synthetic Corp., delivered the show’s keynote address, “Culture by Design.” US Synthetic is a leading provider of drill bits for the energy industry. Pope has been a driving force behind the company’s evolution from a typical batch-and-queue manufacturing system to a world-class, lean facility that received the Shingo Prize for manufacturing excellence in 2011.

Every organization, company, assembly plant, cell and team is a reflection of its leadership, Pope told an audience of more than 300 industry professionals. To create real change in a manufacturing enterprise, managers must first understand what drives the business. The source of power is people and their behaviors.

“To change a business, you must change people’s behaviors,” says Pope. “The sum of these behaviors is the culture. All business results are driven from the behaviors of people. When you change the culture, you change the business. Teaching people how to think and act differently is the key. The culture of your business can be your most powerful strategic advantage.”

Just as important as the conference sessions and the technology exhibits is the opportunity to network with one’s industry peers. The ASSEMBLY Show offered networking receptions on the first two nights of the event: the Taste of Rosemont, sponsored by SCHUNK, and Pub Night, sponsored by Festo.


New Technology

Of course, the biggest draw at the ASSEMBLY Show is all the new manufacturing technology on display. Exhibitors showed the latest advances in multistation assembly systems, robotics, screwdriving, adhesives, dispensing, plastics assembly, presses, riveters, conveyors, machine components, fasteners, workstations, software, vision systems, wire processing, test equipment and other technologies.

To help draw attention to the breadth and quality of new technologies on display, ASSEMBLY magazine held a contest to name the “Product of the Year” at the show. The editors nominated a dozen particularly innovative products, and attendees were then invited to vote for their favorites using the ASSEMBLY Show mobile app.

The inaugural Product of the Year was the QualityWorX DataHub from Cincinnati Test Systems and Sciemetric. The DataHub is a simple, cost-effective tool for analyzing leak test data and performing test-to-test comparisons. The product aggregates data from multiple leak test instruments into an analytics database for real-time usage. The DataHub helps engineers identify defects as they occur, so they can quickly resolve problems and make data-driven decisions that optimize performance and meet quality and yield objectives. Setup is easy and requires no software installation. The hub stores data in a hierarchal tree structure to mimic line layout, and enables users to easily find a specific part or test history.

Second place was presented to DEPRAG for its Adaptive DFS automatic screwdriving system for installing flow-drill screws. Servo control ensures complete, adaptive adjustment of every variable of the process, including driver speed, torque, angle, axial force and fastener depth. The system allows installation of the screws from both the top and the bottom of the assembly. The feed-stroke and control modules are protected against debris generated during fastener installation. Fasteners can be fed via a compressed air line or a magazine. The system can be integrated with a variety of robots.

Third place went to Nordson EFD for its Film-Pak product, a collapsible, film-based cartridge for dispensing two-component adhesives. The cartridge reduces waste by more than 85 percent compared with conventional cartridges for two-component materials.

To highlight some of the new technology on the floor, editors from ASSEMBLY magazine led four guided tours for dozens of attendees. The tours were focused on adhesives, conveyors, robotics and fastening tools.

Next year’s ASSEMBLY Show will be held Oct. 22-24. For more information, visit   



Epson Unveils New SCARA at ASSEMBLY Show

At this year’s ASSEMBLY Show, Epson Robots unveiled the latest addition to its T-series with the Synthis T6 All-in-One SCARA robot.

Similar to the Synthis T3 All-in-One SCARA, which debuted at the 2017 ASSEMBLY Show, the T6 is ideal for simple applications such as assembly, parts handling and dispensing. Designed to compete with Cartesian handling systems, the new SCARA features an all-in-one design with built-in controller (conveniently housed in the robot base) and power for end-of-arm tooling. Priced at $9,495, the robot runs on 110 or 220V and requires no encoder battery. Capable of handling multiple tools, the T6 can carry a maximum payload of 6 kilograms and has a maximum reach of 600 millimeters.

“Following the tremendous success we have had with the T3, we are bringing to market the T6 to meet the need of customers requiring larger payloads,” says Gregg Brunnick, director of product management for Epson Robots. “The T6 is another powerful, low-cost automation solution designed for easy integration, which helps lower the total cost of ownership…for manufacturers and system integrators. Since it includes the same intuitive Epson RC+ software and powerful features we incorporate in our high-end robots, we are giving users both the power and simplicity required for their applications.”

For more information, visit