This spring Hartford will once again play host to the biggest names in the world of manufacturing, as the MFG4 conference comes to town.
MFG4 was held for the first time in Hartford two years ago, an alternative to the EASTEC conference that's long been hosted in Springfield. Then, it attracted 4,000 attendees and more than 300 exhibitors from 42 states.
Debbie Holton of the trade group SME, which organizes the event, said Hartford is a key location because of Connecticut's industry clusters. "It hits a lot of our major industries that we want to focus on," she said, "including aerospace, defense, medical, and energy."
Pratt and Whitney is involved, and there will also be keynote speakers from Lockheed Martin, Nasa Glenn and Medtronic. Holton said they will be focusing on future trends, including additive manufacturing, and advanced robotics, which are driving an industry renaissance in the U.S. "We're actually seeing quite a bit of production coming back to North America," she said, "partially because of the advanced technology. Another driver is also the affordable energy costs now that are part of the U.S. manufacturing landscape. It's driving a lot of both re-shoring, but also for international manufacturers to be setting up operations here."
Workforce development is another key focus for the conference, which will welcome local school students to meet manufacturers and learn more about emerging technologies. MFG4 comes to Hartford from May 6 to 8.