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Manufacturing: IMTS 2010 sets the stage for a strong comeback

This year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show results exceed show management and exhibitor expectations.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
September 23, 2010

Strong results at the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2010 (IMTS) signal a strong comeback in manufacturing.  The six-day event, which ran from September 13-18 at McCormick Place in Chicago and covered 1,137,375 square feet of exhibit space, hosted 82,411 attendees and 1,728 companies exhibiting in 1,180 booths. 

“We are ecstatic that IMTS 2010 met and, in many cases, exceeded our exhibitors’ and visitors’ expectations,” said IMTS vice president of exhibitions and communications Peter Eelman.  “The show was lively and exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the quantity and quality of attendees.  The four buildings remained busy though out the days of the show.  The East and West halls that opened at 9 a.m. were crowded early and we saw those visitors migrate to the North and South halls as each day progressed.  Manufacturing professionals were searching for confirmation that manufacturing in the U.S, is not dying or dead and, in fact, found that it is robust, poised for growth, and clearly understand that investing in the latest technology is the key to being competitive.”

“This show had a remarkable display of new and emerging technologies that will be the catalyst for the revitalization of manufacturing,” said Daniel Janka, president of MAG and chairman of the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).  “Our company’s booth traffic met our expectations, and I have heard from many of our exhibitors and visitors that they are leaving IMTS 2010 more optimistic than when they arrived.

According to Janka, customers came with very specific objectives and were looking for solutions to make them more productive. And judging from the “sold” signs on machines throughout the show, they found what they were looking for and a significant number of orders were booked during IMTS.

So what about the IMTS attendees looking for materials handling solutions? “Materials handling solutions are integral to the success of modern manufacturing,” said Eelman. “As we saw, IMTS 2010 was an extremely successful event, which bodes well for the future.  With manufacturing in the U.S. ramping up, equipment and service providers in the materials handling industry can expect to see increased activity as well. The results of IMTS leave us extremely optimistic for both the short and long term future of both industries.”

First time exhibitor inspires visitors
An IMTS first time exhibitor, Huntsville, North Carolina-based Micro Waterjet came to IMTS to showcase its new technology.  Executive vice president Walter Siegenthaler said he was glad they chose IMTS to introduce the company’s waterjet cutting technology “We created a buzz about the Microwaterjet machine, and we are going home with a large number of strong leads and orders pending.  We also know we need to be here in the future and will have even more to show in 2012,” Siegenthaler said.

IMTS 2010 highlights
?Along with the healthy traffic on the show floor, other highlights for attendees and exhibitors included the Emerging Technology Center, the Advanced Manufacturing Center, the re-invented Industry and Technology Conference, a Manufacturing Museum, and the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Student Summit.

?The Emerging Technology Center featured MTConnect, additive manufacturing, cloud computing and micro- and nano- manufacturing.  The MTConnect Institute demonstrated the MTConnect software protocol using 22 remote locations and nine apps ranging from shop floor productivity and production monitoring to maintenance.  On the show floor, MAG, Mori Seiki, Okuma and Mazak had 60-70 machines tied to the demo at any given moment. 

?ITAMCO, a Plymouth, Indiana-based contract manufacturer launched an MTConnect IPhone app during IMTS.  It can be used to connect multiple MTConnect agents so the user can view real-time data from their machines and controls on the IPhone.

?Seeing the end result of manufacturing technology was more prominent than ever during the 2010 show.  More exhibitors, than ever before, featured parts and products made by their equipment and products.  Two end products featured by GIE Media were the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and Tesla Roadster.  Lockheed Martin brought the full-scale model of the F-35 to the show floor where visitors could learn about the plane’s construction and the manufacturing technology behind it.  The Tesla Roadster is a two-seater that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and proves that electric cars can be performance cars.

?The Advanced Manufacturing Center presented by the University of Sheffield’s internationally-acclaimed Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, North America’s premier metalworking technology magazine, Modern Machine Shop, Rolls Royce and IMTS 2010, greeted exhibitors and visitors as they entered the West Building at McCormick Place.  The display delivered a new dimension and a new direction for advanced manufacturing including an interactive virtual reality presentation, a Rolls Royce Trent 900 aircraft engine, and multimedia displays exploring trends and technologies being adopted by leading manufacturers.

?This year, IMTS management hosted the first-ever Industry Inspiration Day to kick-off the all-new IMTS Industry & Technology Conference.  On Monday, experts from the aerospace, medical, automotive and energy industries presented the keynote program on manufacturing innovation to an overwhelming audience of manufacturing professionals.  From Tuesday through Friday, conference participants attended sessions that explored five topic tracks including materials engineering, machining technology and trends, alternative manufacturing processes, metrology and plant operations.

?Another new addition to IMTS 2010 was the Manufacturing Museum.  Visitors to the museum were treated to a spectacular retrospective of manufacturing technology.  The display included a self-guided tour of machinery and artifacts from different points in the history of industrial development that were on loan from the American Precision Museum, and a “social media encounter” in which visitors video-recorded their experiences and thoughts about manufacturing.

?The NIMS Student Summit introduced students and educators to career opportunities in manufacturing through hands-on learning and networking with industry professionals.  The Student Summit combined an interactive Career Development Center with a dynamic self-guided tour of the nation’s greatest technology and manufacturing exhibition.

“The inspiration theme for this year was conceived during some of the darkest days the manufacturing technology industry has ever gone through,” said Eelman.  “As we hoped, IMTS was a source of inspiration for both exhibitors and visitors.  As we look forward to 2012, we will move ahead with innovation and technology advances that will keep manufacturing technology growing and vibrant for generations to come.”

IMTS 2012 will run September 10-15, 2012. 

Click here to see IMTS 2010 photos and videos.

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Article Topics

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About the Author

Bob Heaney is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of distinguished leadership experience in research, analysis, and advisory roles in Supply Chain Engineering. Heaney’s coverage area within Aberdeen includes various elements of Supply Chain Execution (Transportation Management, Warehouse Management, Distributed Order Management and Supply Chain Visibility). Contact Bob Heaney


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