AeroDef 2020 – Driving Manufacturing Knowledge and Intelligence

AeroDef Manufacturing, produced by SME and in partnership with industry OEMs, is a high-end conference and exposition in aerospace and defense manufacturing, offering a broad range of activities from panel discussions to presentations and workshops. This year’s 4-day event will be held from 16th March to the 19th March 2020 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

AeroDef 2020
16-19th March 2018
Fort Worth Convention Center
Fort Worth, Texas USA

Monday, March 16, 2020 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Tuesday,  March 17, 2010 | 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

We caught up with Dave Morton, Senior Show Manager, to learn about this year’s AeroDef Manufacturing event in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.

AMazing®: Dave, thank you for your participation. This must be an exciting time with AeroDef 2020 just around the corner. What makes AeroDef unique and a must-attend event for businesses competing in this global economy?

Image courtesy of SME
Dave Morton, SME (Image courtesy of SME)

Dave Morton: We’re fortunate enough to have the support of industry-leading OEMs, government and Tier Ones in the development of our program technical sessions. They all work together nicely with us because AeroDef’s mission is to drive manufacturing knowledge and intelligence throughout all of their extended enterprises, which interpreted means the supply chain.

We’re disseminating information they deem most critical for their internal and external value chain to know. If you’re an attendee from within that value chain, you hear the strategic direction that the OEMs are moving directly from them, so you’ll know exactly what your customer is seeking. You also can better project your capital investments for the future.

AeroDef provides an intimate environment where you can sit close to hear and ask questions during strategic keynote addresses and panel discussions, as well as technical sessions. You can learn from people who you might not necessarily get to see or meet in your everyday role. These speakers and panelists hold key responsibilities within the industry who have the foresight and are willing to share that with the rest of the industry.

After 10 years, our model still is unique. It’s worked successfully to have participation of industry leaders driving the direction of the program. Their ability to provide support from their organizations in the development of our technical content has provided an advantage because we’re disseminating what they deem is important for people to know.   

AMazing®: As we understand, additive manufacturing (AM) is the #1 most sought out technology at SME Regionals Events. How has interest in AM evolved over the past several years?

Dave Morton: The interest has evolved over the past several years as the quality of the material has evolved. Back in the day, you’d print something, and you’d pick it up and you’d hope and pray that it wouldn’t crumble in your hand. Thirty years later, we’re printing out of exotic metals and putting these items into space, into aircraft, into automobiles, into medical devices. It’s definitely blossomed with the developments in materials.

Material advancements is the number-one reason. Number two, it’s almost like the democratization of the technologies. As patent protections have come off, new money has entered into the marketplace with new companies and new startups – there’s a unicorn around every corner right now. There’s really a lot of focus in the promise that the technology brings.

We’re printing composite materials additively right now along with exotic metals, so the best is yet to come in that realm.

Photo courtesy of SME
Photo courtesy of SME

AMazing®: This year’s AeroDef conference features a robust additive manufacturing/3d printing conference track from business and economic considerations to part inspection and certification. What advice would you offer show attendees that are new to additive technologies?

Dave Morton: Plan your day at the event. Take advantage of the workshop that we have on Monday that’s being instructed by Youping Gao, who has an extensive history and background in additive manufacturing. He is a remarkable wizard of Additive whom we are fortunate to have. It’s black magic what Youping can do! He’s worked for a lot of big companies – he’s one crazy-smart guy.

He’s going to cover comprehensively what AM can do for a company, when to use it, why to use it, when to do it yourself and when to source it, as well as financial considerations. I definitely would include that in my plan.

If I need to learn about additive from the beginning, I would go to the workshop. Then I would take what I learn from the workshop and dig into the technical sessions for a deeper dive.

AMazing®: At this year’s show, attendees will have the opportunity to earn a certificate in additive manufacturing. Please tell us about the Certified Additive Manufacturing – Fundamentals (CAM-F) program and how it can provide a competitive edge to those seeking a career in additive manufacturing.

Dave Morton: The Certified Additive Manufacturing – Fundamentals (CAM-F) program provides the opportunity to earn a portable credential that demonstrates your competency in the field of additive manufacturing. It’s a very broad, comprehensive assessment of your individual capabilities and depth of knowledge. Strategically it positions you at a level above the next person who doesn’t hold one, because the program is certified by an objective, independent body.

Certification for the course is provided by UL-SME.

AM is a very versatile and valuable tool, and increasingly you won’t be able to work in manufacturing if you’re not knowledgeable about it. However, if you think you’re going to build a career solely in additive manufacturing, I would suggest that you look at the bigger picture and broaden your horizons – and understand that AM is one arrow in the quiver of manufacturing.

AMazing®: Finally, what conference strategies and tips would you suggest to AeroDef attendees to explore the rich, diverse network of industries in the Dallas-Ft. Worth region to maximize their conference experience? 

Dave Morton: Select a workshop from Monday in an area of interest that may not be your specialty. You should also take advantage of the corporate tours, as they provide a very information-rich look into the companies that represent a strong manufacturing history in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. We have tours at Bell Flight on Monday afternoon and at Lockheed Martin Thursday afternoon.

This concludes our interview. Dave, thank you very much for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about this year’s AeroDef event.

About Dave Morton
Dave Morton is SME’s aerospace and defense industry expert as well as the AeroDef event manager. He offers 26 years of professional experience in a multitude of areas including Sales, Marketing, Management and Leadership.

Smart Technologies + Intelligent People = Collaborative Intelligence
AeroDef Manufacturing® is an aerospace manufacturing and defense manufacturing conference and trade show for the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. Produced by SME, in partnership with industry OEMs, our mission is to foster innovation across the extended enterprise to reduce costs, expedite production times and maintain manufacturing competitiveness in the global economy. AeroDef showcases the industry’s most advanced technologies across an innovative floor plan designed to facilitate interaction and business relationships between exhibitors and buyers looking for integrated solutions. Our keynote speakers and panelists come from the highest levels of government and industry. They participate to share their vision of the potential of technology, collaboration and public policy to transform manufacturing – concepts that attendees will experience on the exposition floor and in the in-depth conference technical sessions. It’s the one event that brings together high-concept, advanced solutions and real-world applications.

About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With more than 85 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through an education foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or  

Kimm Pacheco-Jorrey
Senior Marketing Specialist
1000 Town Center, Suite 1910
Southfield, MI 48075
[email protected]

Source: SME/AMazing

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