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[Image above] Bullen Ultrasonics showcases its products in a shiny display case. Credit: ACerS

It’s often hard to live up to hype—especially it today’s culture of flash and hyperbole.

Ceramics Expo 2015, the inaugural tradeshow showcasing all raw materials, equipment, machinery, and technology within the ceramic and glass manufacturing supply chain, was certainly hyped up to the moment its doors opened this Tuesday morning in Cleveland, Ohio.

But during the three-day exhibition at the I-X Center, the first-ever show achieved an incredible feat—proving that the hype was no exaggeration.

Ceramics Expo drew well over 2,000 attendees to the free conference and tradeshow, which featured over 170 exhibitors all across the product and manufacturing supply chain.

Attendees came out in full force right out of the gate, with questions and curiosity prepared to wander the aisles. Walking by rows of exhibitors revealed the same sight, booth after booth—eager and interested attendees asking questions, examining sample products, and carefully watching demonstrations.

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John Redman of Superior Technical Ceramics fields questions as attendees examine the company’s products. Credit: ACerS

“Ceramics Expo this year could not have been a better launch event,” says Adam Moore, event director with Smarter Shows, a U.K.-based company that organized the event along with ACerS as a founding partner. “As a show organizer who’s launched events in a number of different industries, from aerospace to energy to automotive, and as a company, in our history we’ve never had a success like this.”

Turnout of both attendees and exhibitors really was the key to Ceramic Expo’s success.

An overheard conversation between a couple of attendees revealed that even they were impressed by the exhibitor turnout and the representation across the whole processing chain—from raw materials to advanced processing. The whole ceramic materials supply chain, all under one (gigantic) roof.

“The way industry has supported this event has enabled us to achieve this success. It all comes down to the strength of the industry and the way industry is going—all we’ve done is facilitate it,” Moore says.

In addition to showing off products, giving away goodies, and answering questions, several exhibitors also demonstrated their companies’ capabilities with live demos.

Ceramics Expo 2015 was home to the debut of SolidCAM’s iMachining, a CNC for ceramics. The machine’s technicians kept busy throughout the expo tweaking and running the machine, showcasing its unique abilities despite a few hiccups.

Demo or not, exhibitor after exhibitor echoed the same sentiment—how pleased they were with the turnout, the attendees, and the prospective clients they’ve contacted. Several exhibitors commented that Ceramics Expo afforded them the ability to catch up with old clients and meet new prospects all in one central location.

Beyond being pleased, many exhibitors echoed that Ceramics Expo is the best tradeshow they’ve been to for years. For a first-time show, that’s a pretty good endorsement.

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NSL Analytical was pleased with the traffic at its booth at the first-ever Ceramics Expo. Credit: ACerS

“Ultimately, success is garnered by the number of companies that are rebooking. We expect well over 70% of companies to rebook, which is unheard of for a company show,” Moore says.

In addition to the tradeshow arm, Ceramics Expo also offered a free and concurrent conference that focused on ceramic and glass manufacturing and applications. The conference showcased talks by 50-plus experts from major commercial, industrial, and academic players in the ceramics and glass worlds.

Conference talks highlighted research trends and potential directions of ceramics research and development, again demonstrating a wide range of interests—from academic labs who are concerned and taking initiative in training the next generation of workers to leaders from national entities highlighting future directions of product development.

In regards to training the next generation of leaders and skilled workers for industry, Cleveland also hosted the inaugural meeting of the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation earlier this week. For more about the Foundation and the meeting, check in with Eileen’s post from earlier this week.

All said and done, Ceramics Expo 2015 pulled off something many inaugurals and first-evers cannot do—it lived up to its hype and delivered on its claims.

That success also means there will be an encore performance: Ceramics Expo 2016 will return to Cleveland April 26–28.

For more photos, check out Eileen’s recap, ACerS Flickr page, and Ceramics Expo’s photo gallery.

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The Mo-Sci booth turns its attention to a conference attendee. Credit: ACerS

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ACerS Corporate Members proudly displayed designating placards in their booths. Credit: ACerS

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In addition to business, Ceramics Expo also was a place to catch up with old friends. Credit: ACerS

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Wendy Evans was all smiles in the Morgan Advance Materials booth. Credit: ACerS

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Bill Rice in the Ceramco booth was also all-smiles. Credit: ACerS

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Like many exhibitors at Ceramics Expo, Morgan Advanced Materials displayed some of their ceramic products for attendees to examine. Credit: ACerS

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The guys at Akron Porcelain & Plastics had fun at Ceramics Expo. Credit: ACerS

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Ellen Costello talks with an attendee at PremaTech Advanced Ceramics booth. Credit: ACerS