by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

I’ve noted several times before in my column the cliché ‘knowledge is power’, especially when it comes to advanced manufacturing technology. Technology all around us on a personal level is advancing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. It seems when you purchase a new product, it soon becomes outdated- from televisions and cell phones to cars and kitchen appliances. Advancements in technology is also happening quickly in manufacturing and to be competitive, it’s important to stay current.

To help you get up-to-date, there’s a large educational conference and expo coming to the backyard of northwestern PA manufacturers. The Manufacturing & Technology Expo, an Industry Week event, coins itself this year as the ‘new game changer”. Their event descriptor is “the one-stop experience that brings together manufacturing decision makers, from design to delivery, and keeps them at the forefront of manufacturing’s digital transformation”. I’m sure many of you have attended the show as it moves across the county each year, but with the event in Pittsburgh on April 1-3, it’s an easy opportunity to learn more about the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies.

Not only will the event feature workshops and speakers on IoT (internet of things), factory automation, and robotics, but also on other burning issues such as supply chain, operational excellence, and talent. Some of the programs are on topics that NWIRC business advisors help manufacturers with throughout the year, such as company culture, continuous improvement, and kata. Check out details about their workshops, expo hall exhibitors, and plant tours at We are able to pass along a special $400 discount to companies in our region, so if you’re planning to attend, use the code NWIRC400 when registering. I wanted to give this event a special shout-out because of the opportunity for our regional manufacturers to gain more ‘power’.