Advanced Manufacturing Expo expands to 2 days, sites in Grand Rapids, metro Detroit

By John Wiegand on

Manufacturers from high-tech industries will again have the opportunity to put their products on display at this year's Advanced Manufacturing Expo.

The third-annual event marks the first time the expo will be held in both Grand Rapids and metro Detroit, giving manufacturers from across the state an opportunity to exhibit their products in either location.

Event organizer Mark Ermatinger, who also serves as vice president for sales for Industrial Control Service Inc., believes holding the event in both locations will become a common practice in coming years.

Moreover, he said the event opened to vendors who support the advanced manufacturing industry, including companies that deal in software, logistics and other support services.

"We're diversifying into a lot of different areas of manufacturing so that we can attract every manager," Ermatinger said.  "We had a lot of engineers of different types (before), but this year there will be a little bit more for everybody so it affects a larger scope of local manufacturers."

As part of that push to diversification, the Grand rapids show will feature a "Hall of Metalworking," sponsored by Grand Rapids-based Creston Industrial Sales Inc.  The hall will feature vendors of cutting tools, coatings, tool holdings and other metalworking products and processes.  Exhibitors also will host seminars on various metalworking topics.

Last year's Advanced Manufacturing Expo contained a job fair component, but because of lack of interest, event organizer opted to not include a similar function this year, Ermatinger said.  

Event organizer expect to draw 1,500 attendees and 150 vendors to the Grand Rapids event, and 750 attendees and 100 exhibitors to Detroit event.

The Grand Rapids event space has been expanded to 43,000 square feet, compared to the 24,00 square feet in encompassed last year.  The Detroit event will spread out over 30,000 square feet.

Going forward, Ermatinger plans to incorporate an additional hall for next year's event focused on food processing and chemical processing companies at both the Grand Rapids and Novi events.  He plans to add a similar metalworking hall at next year's expo in Novi as well. 

"Next year, once we get to that three-prong hall approach, then I think we're in pretty good shape," Ermatinger said.  "Then it's just a matter of growing it."


Advanced Manufacturing Expo - East

When: Aug. 22; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi

Cost: Free


Advanced Manufacturing Expo - West

When: Aug. 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center, 2500 Turner Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Cost: Free