IMTS 2008

This year’s IMTS was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from September 8-13. Despite all the talk about weakening economy this was the strongest show since 2000 – there were over 92,000 registered attendees.

Chicago is a great place for the show. It is centrally located, has great transportation to and from the show, great venues, and an open access to the lakeshore. The drawbacks are the delays at O’Hare and the notoriously slow and overpaid show labor.

This is the biggest international industrial manufacturing show in North America. There are multiple halls available for vendors representing all aspects of manufacturing, machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems and processes. Machine builders are selling machine tools right off the show floor. They offer discounted ‘show specials’ – since they had to ship the machines there to the show they can ship them right to the customer rather than taking them back to the warehouse. These deals are generally pre-arranged by the machine builders many months in advance. It always sounds good to state that you sold X amount of machines right off the show floor!

Machine tools are getting more capable every year and it is really neat to see all the new features. You need several days to walk and take in the show. There are multiple halls available where you can see the latest machine tools in action, Cad/Cam vendors at their best, tooling, material, EDM, laser, water-jet . . . the list is endless. There are many professionals from all around the world who can provide innovations and solutions to your every manufacturing need. IMTS has many seminars you can attend and learn about the latest trends in the manufacturing industry. This show is held every two years and if you are planning to attend the next one make sure to make a detailed plan of what you wish to see because it is very easy to get off on a tangent.

There are many books available at the show provided by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Secrets of 5-axis Machining made its debut at this show and it was a big success – it sold out at the 3rd day of the show, after which Industrial Press took orders.

In general there was a predictable, increased interest in multiaxis machining. The future is here and it has been for a while. Money markets and speculators may come and go, but we will always have to make goods for the world. There are more of us on this planet every day – we need to modernize our manufacturing so we can contribute in making this world a better place.

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