MRO Magazine

First Virtual Expo a Success

MRO teamed up with its sister publication, Design Engineering, to host a virtual expo focusing on maintenance, reliability, manufacturing, design and operations.

March 26, 2021 | By Mario Cywinski

In year’s past and under normal circumstances, the MRO/DEX Expo would be welcoming attendees live and in-person. With many exhibitors offering information in their booth as part of the table top show. As that is a no-go this year, we went virtual, and came up with an expo that is as close to an in-person event as possible.

The first-ever virtual expo attracted over 400 registrations, over 300 attendees, over 20 exhibitors, and many keynotes and sessions divided into MRO and Design Engineering streams.

Keynotes and sessions
The morning keynote was presented by Steve Loftus, President and Founding Partner, Innovative Automation, who spoke about “The Collection and Value of Machine Generated Data.”

“I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to present at the MRO/DEX Expo. This was a great opportunity for me to convey my thoughts on the planning and executing of an Industry 4.0 program for factory equipment,” said Loftus. “Some of the key points are the true value in proper planning, including not just positives but shortcomings, so proper actions are put in place. We must always do an “honest assessment” prior to the start. Keeping in mind the success of a project will lead you to the next one. These ongoing improvements will result in lower overhead cost and drive the competitive advance into the future. One of the key features, sometimes overlooked, is using your data for everything including inventory control and automatic reordering of consumables.”


The first MRO stream session was on “Effective Asset Management Starts with Good Assets” by Leonard Middleton, Consultant, Asset Management Solutions.

“There seems to be a vast difference in perspective between those who approve projects, those who execute projects, and those who need to operate and maintain those assets that projects deliver. The presentation was delivered by someone who has worked in each of those areas, and has direct knowledge of the linkage and implications of decisions made,” said Middleton.

“The presentation intended to provide a pragmatic high-level overview that provided insights on the issues and what changes can be made to improve the situation for the benefit of the organization and the individual groups,” said Middleton. “Virtual conferences are the new normal. There is no longer the immediate feedback from the body-language and attention of the audience indicating whether they are engaged and following the presentation, and that takes some adjustment.”

The second MRO stream presentation was on the topic of scheduling and planning, led by Doc Palmer.

“We had a great virtual conference with a lot of helpful, practical information. Thank you for letting me be a part of the worldwide MRO Magazine maintenance family and sharing my thoughts. The question and answer time was enjoyable during my presentation on Examples of Great Results and Why Planning and Scheduling Work,” said Palmer.

“Typically, we get a bump in work order completion rate when we start doing proper planning and scheduling. All the extra work done is proactive because normally the reactive work is done anyway. During the presentation, I showed the increased productivity of nine companies around the world, and explained the simple, but unusual concepts that made it work,” said Palmer. “Companies that mandate higher schedule compliance, invariably under load the schedules and don’t get the productivity bump. Parkinson’s law says “the amount of work expands to fill the time available,” so it is critical to fully load the schedules. Therefore, allowing planners to make imperfect plans, and supervisors to break schedules, makes life easier than typical rigid programs. And in turn, more work is completed.”

The final MRO stream session was on-demand, and focused on “Bearing Lubrication and Health Insights Made Simple,” presented by Blair Fraser, Director of Global IIoT Solutions, UE Systems Inc.

Exhibit hall
The exhibit hall had a large cross section of exhibitors showing off their products in their virtual booth. Some also provided presentations during the networking breaks, to display new products and technologies.

“We are only scratching the surface of what is possible. Virtual trade shows will attract more visitors due to the ease and time efficiency of participating,” said Lars Ruuth, Aftermarket Sales and Marketing Manager, SKF Canada. “Exhibitors achieve higher engagement and sales results as they customize the visitor experience through digital tools combined with direct interaction.”

Networking for many was a big reason for attending the event, and with the networking lounge at the expo, as well as chat features on every page of the expo platform, many took advantage of the chances to communicate.

Next expo
For those who attended the expo in February, be sure to save the date for the next expo set to take place on August 19. If you missed this expo, be sure to join us for the next one. MRO


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