Keynote Presentations

(all keynote presentations will take place on the exhibit floor and are FREE!)

Additional keynote presentation just added, details below.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

8:00am – 9:00am

Advanced Composite Materials in the Automotive Industry – Manufacturing Challenges and Opportunities

Dr. Jorge Arinez, Lab Group Manager – Composites Processing & Joining, Manufacturing Systems Research Lab, GM Global R&D

The automotive industry as a whole faces significant challenges to meeting future global fuel economy and emissions requirements. One approach being pursued by automakers to meet such demanding standards is the use of advanced composite materials to dramatically reduce the weight of vehicles. Though the aerospace and wind-energy industries have extensively adopted advanced composites, the auto industry still faces critical economic and technical barriers preventing mainstream use. These barriers include high material costs, surface finish, impact performance, repair, joining, and manufacturing cycle time requirements. To address such challenges, this presentation will discuss a framework to strategically guide the development of manufacturing technology that can overcome critical technical impediments that currently exist to the commercialization and widespread use of advanced composites in the automotive industry.

Keynote Bio
Dr. Jorge Arinez is a Group Manager in the Manufacturing Systems Research Lab at GM Global Research and Development. His main responsibilities involve strategically defining and managing portfolios of advanced manufacturing systems projects. He has also led their development and implementation throughout GM’s global manufacturing operations. In the past, his research has focused on the development of analytical tools for real-time production monitoring and control with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability of manufacturing systems. More recently, he is leading an effort to examine the technical barriers to widespread adoption of advanced composite materials in the automotive industry.


12:45pm – 1:30pm

The Future of Composites Automation-Processes and Challenges

Dan Janka, President, Fives Machining Systems

Mr. Janka will give a brief history of automated composites processing and discuss the emerging trends of new materials, big data, cycle times, critical mass, and process automation. He will also address the challenges of speed and scalability, and potential solutions.

Keynote Bio
Dan Janka is President of Fives Machining Systems, Inc., a group of leading machine tool companies serving the durable-goods industry. In this role, Dan is responsible for all aspects of the operations, global sales, marketing and business development. Prior to the sale of MAG Americas (MAG) to Fives, Dan served as President of Sales and Operations for MAG Americas since 2011. Before this, Dan served in progressively responsible roles after the formation of MAG in 2005, including MAG Global CEO for two years.

He began his career with Cincinnati Milacron in 1984, and held roles of increasing scope in engineering, manufacturing, and management. This business was sold to UNOVA in 1998 and renamed Cincinnati Machine, for which Dan became President. He subsequently held a corporate position as Executive Vice President of Cincinnati Lamb.


3:45pm – 4:30pm

Safety Risks in Composites Manufacturing – an FAA Perspective

Cindy Ashforth, Program Manager, International Branch, Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory bodies throughout the world develop rules, guidance, and policy to ensure continued operational safety and promote efficient certification of aircraft products. As new technologies are implemented by industry, such as the currently expanding application of composite materials in airframe structures, the FAA must take a proactive role in identifying and mitigating potential safety risks. The FAA has developed the AVS Strategic Composite Plan which focuses on three main areas of Continued Operational Safety (COS), Certification Efficiency (CE), and Workforce Education (WE). Service and production experiences provide the basis for defining these initiatives, with priority assigned to issues that pose the greatest safety threats. The plan is also linked to best industry practices, research findings, and projected technological advances in aircraft products. This talk will describe the FAA’s composite manufacturing-related initiatives and allow attendees the opportunity to provide feedback on manufacturing safety risks, future technologies, and topics where additional policy and guidance is needed.

Keynote Bio
Cindy Ashforth is a Program Manager in the International Branch of the Transport Airplane Directorate. Prior to joining the FAA in 2010, she was an administrative and composite materials designated engineering representative who worked in industry for 18 years as a certification manager, composite materials and process engineer, and quality manager. Since joining the FAA, she manages international validation projects and supports the FAA Composite Team in developing and implementing the Composite Plan, including authoring policy and guidance, addressing certification and service issues, and creating educational materials. She has a BS in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Wright State University.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


8:00am – 9:00am

Transforming Composite Aerostructures

Mike Blair, Vice President and General Manager, Exelis Aerostructures

The composites industry is transforming as major aerospace programs ramp to rate and companies drive to expand into other markets. Competing as a fabricator in this environment has never been filled with more opportunity…or risk. This thought provoking presentation will explore ideas on providing the best product/service while differentiating your company in the market space.

Keynote Bio
Mike Blair is Vice President and General Manager of Aerostructures. In this role he oversees the management and operations of two composite structures facilities. Exelis Aerostructures has more than 40 years experience in the design and manufacture of composite aerospace products for a variety of commercial and military aircraft. Exelis supplies structures to Lockheed Martin for the F-35, Sikorsky for both military and civil helicopters, and to Boeing and Airbus for commercial jet applications.

Blair joined Exelis in 2011 as Vice President of Business Development for Composite Structures and transitioned into Vice President and General Manager in April 2012. He assumed his current position as VP & GM of the Aerostructures business in January 2013. Prior to joining Exelis, Blair spent 25 years with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) serving in a variety of positions including Vice President of Commercial Programs, Vice President of Business Development, Manager of Propulsion Technology and various Program Management and Engineering positions.



12 noon – 12:30pm

The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) – a Partnership for Composites

Mike Molnar, Director-Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office
An interagency team hosted by the US Department of Commerce

A key challenge to restoring U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing is addressing the so-called “missing middle” – the technical and business barriers of scaling-up an innovative new material, process, or technology for robust production use. This plenary talk explains the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation as a means to accelerate U.S. innovation. These Manufacturing Institutes are places where Industry and Academia partner on industry-relevant challenges. As announced by the President, four institutes have now been awarded in the topics of Additive Manufacturing, Next Generation Power Electronics Mfg, Lightweight Metals Mfg, and Digital Design and Mfg Integration. Competitions for at least four more institutes will be established, led by the just announced solicitation for the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

Keynote Bio
Mike Molnar is a lifelong “manufacturing guy” with thirty years of industry experience in advanced manufacturing with leadership roles in automated assembly and test systems, technology development, manufacturing systems, metrology, quality, sustainability and industrial energy efficiency. To provide an industry focus in 2011 he was named the first Chief Manufacturing Officer of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and now leads the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office for the White House. He is active with professional societies and industry organizations, and is presently serving as the president of SME.