7/20/2018 | 3 MINUTE READ

So Much to See at IMTS

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Knowing what lies ahead and planning accordingly can make for an unbelievably productive IMTS.


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I don't feel overwhelmed with information. I really like it.
— Marissa Mayer

As we prepare to gather for IMTS this September in Chicago, it’s important to give thought to what we want to see and accomplish. I feel like I preach this before every big show, but with so much on display, the odds of being a bit overwhelmed are far too great to not go in with some sort of plan.

The show floor is organized well, with similar technologies mostly grouped for easier navigation. Several tools are also available to allow attendees to establish a plan of attack. For starters, this issue of Production Machining provides a preview (page 46) to many of the products that will be on display that are most applicable to our audience. The MyShow Planner, accessible through imts.com, allows attendees to literally map out their visit, highlighting each company’s booth they would like to see. On the show floor, the Directory of Exhibits provides a detailed breakdown of every exhibitor, and kiosks throughout the halls give easy access to floor plans. So, there are no excuses for wandering aimlessly, unless that’s your preferred approach.

For most attendees, the show is about walking the miles of aisles, taking in the latest advances in technology, looking for the next new thing that can help their shops remain competitive. Often, they know generally what they’re looking for. Sometimes they don’t know it until they see it. That can be the beauty of the show—introducing visitors and providing hands-on experience to some new concept that they weren’t aware of. Often overlooked by a lot of the visitors are the many other attractions that can be equally beneficial.

The IMTS Conference offers more than 70 educational sessions, Monday through Thursday. Presented by experts from within the IMTS exhibitor community, sessions fall into the categories of Manufacturing Process Innovations, Alternative/Additive Manufacturing, Plant Operations, Quality/Inspection/Metrology, and Systems Integration/Industry 4.0/IIoT. Other co-located conferences will also be running during the week as well.

The Additive Manufacturing Conference (Tuesday and Wednesday) is the first and only conference focused exclusively on additive technologies for industrial part production. It takes a practical, applications-based look at machines, materials and methodologies being used to grow end-use tools and components.

Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops Workshop also returns to IMTS. This immersive one-day workshop takes place on Thursday. The technical program and peer-to-peer discussion deliver practical solutions and business strategies that complement the variety of cutting-edge technologies on display at the show.

Related to this workshop, the Top Shops Showcase in the Gardner Business Media booth will highlight this year’s winners of the Top Shops award. It will also feature the Top Shops benchmarking program—the machining and metalworking industry’s premier resource for identifying operational and business metrics that define world-class competitiveness. The display will bring those metrics to life in a display that features the people, the products and the processes that have come to define Top Shops.

Other conferences include AppliedAM – Where Additive Minds Meet, the Global Automation Manufacturing Summit, the OPC Foundation Conference, Integrated Industries, and the Industrial Laser Conference.

Additional shows will also be co-located with IMTS. Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives will present the complete spectrum of industrial automation, IT, power transmission and fluid power technology. Surface Technology USA will cover the entire spectrum of industrial surface treatment and finishing, from cleaning and pretreatment to coatings, paint finishes and electroplating. ComVac will highlight the latest product developments, technology, and plant and system components for all areas of compressed air and vacuum. Industrial Supply will cover all things related to industrial subcontracting and lightweight construction.

There are other attractions that attendees should consider as well. AMT’s Emerging Technology Center (ETC) returns as a place to educate, inform and excite the manufacturing community about the ground-breaking innovations specific to the advanced technology industry, showcasing state-of-the-art and disruptive technologies that will impact manufacturing in the years to come. This year, for the first time, two separate ETCs will be open, featuring Digital Transformation and Additive Manufacturing.

It’s clear that this show offers incredible benefits to people in all areas of manufacturing. It’s probably more than one person can take in through the course of a week. But knowing what lies ahead and planning accordingly can make for an unbelievably productive experience.