IMTS 2012: Have it Your Way

Turning Point

One thing that the metalworking industry teaches is there are generally several ways to manufacture a given part. And when September of an even numbered year rolls around, that lesson is brought home at McCormick Place in Chicago.

IMTS 2012 is approaching, and with manufacturing enjoying a good run of positive business, the show is an excellent opportunity to find ways and means of maintaining the momentum. Reflecting the industry’s optimism, AMT — the Association For Manufacturing Technology and sponsor of IMTS predicts this year’s 29th edition will be among its largest expositions ever.

The show theme for 2012 is “Be There” and is billed as a call to action for industrial decision makers from around the world to visit the show to gather ideas about products, services and processes that can help their companies stay ahead of the competition. It will all be there, 1,800 exhibitors spread across 1.2 million net square feet of the vast McCormick Place venue.

Many years ago, IMTS stood for the International Machine Tool Show. It has morphed into the more representative International Manufacturing Technology Show reflecting how the many aspects of manufacturing have become integrated with the machine now less the stand alone center of production and more part of throughput team that includes programming, workholding, cutting tools, in-process and post-process monitoring and verification along with a myriad of other discrete technologies working in unison to ensure a process is successful and profitable.

Think of IMTS as a metalworking bazaar where all of the many parts that comprise the metalworking puzzle are in a single location. Booth after booth allows the visitor to literally kick the tires and learn. Exhibitors bring their best and brightest people to help any interested party get information that will aid in making an informed decision about the suitability of a given product, service or process for his or her application.

By far, the best choice for manufacturers is to “Be There” by attending the show in person or by proxy. Yes, it’s big, and yes, for many shops there are many exhibits that are not as relevant to their business. But regardless of the metalworking niche your company occupies, the products, services and processes that are germane to your business are there.

Mold and die shops, EDM shops and precision machined parts makers, to name a few, will find technologies on display that are targeted specifically to your needs. The trick is to zero in on them in order to make a visit to the show as productive and efficient as possible.

To help prepare for a visit to the show, we have prepared a selected sample of products and services that are focused on the specific needs of our readers—you. They are in the back of this issue along with booth numbers to help comprise a visit list. It’s not comprehensive, but it is certainly a good starting point.

The show is divided into pavilions with like products, services and processes displayed in proximity to one another. There is a gear generation pavilion, an EDM pavilion, controls and software pavilion—in total ten such pavilions throughout the McCormick Place complex.

And to help potential visitors drill down even deeper to make a useful short list, there is a function called MyShow Planner at IMTS.com, which gives the exhibitor’s location and allows visitors to literally map the most efficient way to navigate the vast exhibition floors. Trust me, I’ve attended this show since 1980 and worn down a bunch of shoes tracking and backtracking my way to specific booths. MyShow Planner is a very nice tool at your disposal.

And finally, if the small show in print we prepared in the issues of PM whets your appetite, but you can’t get to the show in person, a good alternative is to visit and explore IMTS.com. AMT has prepared a comprehensive site that features the who and what on display at IMTS. One of the site’s neat features is access to exhibitor showrooms, which while not as good as actually visiting the company, can at least help you stay informed about new technologies.

So there you have it. Best—be there at IMTS in person. Better—use this issue of PM to find products and services of interest. Good—investigate exhibitors online at IMTS.com. 

If you are able to visit the show, please stop by the Production Machining booth located in the Emerging Technology Center. Ask for me, Chris Felix or Lori Beckman. We’ll “Be There.”