Fire Up the Grill: FABTECH 2016 Hosts Student Welding and BBQ Competition

2016 Welding Without Borders: Welding Thunder Fabrication Team Invitational challenges student teams to fabricate grills, compete in cook-off

FABTECH 2016, North America's largest collaboration of technology, equipment and knowledge in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries, will support the advancement of manufacturing education by hosting the 2016 Welding Without Borders: Welding Thunder Fabrication Team Invitational. The student competition takes place at FABTECH 2016 in the Silver Lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Nov. 16, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Nov. 17, from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

"FABTECH is all about creating opportunity for those in manufacturing," said Joe Krall, American Welding Society's show co-manager, FABTECH. "If you look across our industries, there is tremendous opportunity for young people in terms of employment and professional advancement. Having these exceptionally talented students at FABTECH lets them witness firsthand what their bright futures could hold, and we're excited to see them show off their skills at the competition."

Sponsored by AWS's District 21, the two-day student competition challenges high school and college-level welding teams to fabricate and weld a griddle and grill by following guideline drawings.

Working from special "Welding Thunder" road-rig trailers, the student teams will supply the required bill of materials and use their own tools to make their creations. They are also allowed to use additional building materials, known as "secret components," to further customize their projects. On the second day of the contest, when the grills are scheduled to be completed, the students will use their newly built grilling equipment to battle one another in a friendly steak-and-eggs cook-off.

"Welding Thunder 2016 means the world to me, not just as a student at Arizona Western College, but as a person as well," said Eddie Gamez, welding technology major at the Arizona Western College Ernest Lopez Welding Institute. "With this year's competition being held in Las Vegas at FABTECH, going on this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete as a fabricator with a great team of people."

Participating schools and technical training programs include:
• Arizona Western College Ernest Lopez Welding Institute - Yuma, Arizona
• Chaffey High School - Ontario, California
• Central Arizona College - Coolidge, Arizona
• Cortez High School - Phoenix
• Cuesta College - San Luis Obispo, California
• East Career & Technical Academy - Sunrise Manor, Nevada
• East Valley Institute of Technology - Mesa, Arizona
• Flagstaff High School - Flagstaff, Arizona
• La Mirada High School - La Mirada, California
• Mingus High School - Cottonwood, Arizona
• Mohave Community College - Kingman, Arizona
• Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology - Snowflake, Arizona
• Paso Robles High School - Paso Robles, California
• Red Mountain-Skyline High Schools - Mesa, Arizona
• Western Maricopa Education Center - Glendale, Arizona
• Yuma High School - Yuma, Arizona

Award Categories Include:
• Best Use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for Project
• Best Welded Fabrication Project - first, second, third
• Best-Themed Team (equipment and uniform appearance) - first, second, third
• Best BBQ Lunch - first, second, third
• People's Choice Award

A $500 scholarship to attend the Arizona Western College Ernest Lopez Welding Institute is offered to the most valuable welder on the high school team with the best grill fabrication. The scholarship is provided by CAID Industries Inc.

Schedule of Events:
• Wednesday, Nov. 16
• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. - Team welding and fabrication period
• Thursday, Nov. 17
• 7-11 a.m. - Secret component welding and fabrication period
• 11 a.m. - Cooking period begins
• 1 p.m. - Awards ceremony

To give as many students as possible the opportunity to attend FABTECH, student teams are encouraged to bring as many team members as they would like. However, to ensure proper safety, no more than one instructor and five student fabricators can be in the welding fabrication area at once. To alternate, teammates must tag each other in and out.

For more information about FABTECH or to register to attend, visit

FABTECH is North America's largest collaboration of technology, equipment and knowledge in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries. The event provides a powerfully aligned hands-on, face-to-face business growth experience, attracting more than 1,500 exhibitors and 28,000 attendees. The event is made possible by its five co-sponsors, all of whom represent the varied and diverse makeup of the manufacturing industry. They include the American Welding Society, Chemical Coaters Association International, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, the Precision Metalforming Association and SME.

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