One day, years ago, my dad was teaching me how to repair the drum brakes on my first car, a 1962 Impala. Midway through the job, a buddy of mine happened to stop by. After checking out our progress, he said, “Must be nice to have all those cheatin’ tools.”
See, my dad was a mechanic. That meant we had all the appropriate equipment to do the brake job quickly and efficiently—brake star wheel adjusting tool, spring compression tool, spring pliers and so on. My buddy didn’t have any of those, and instead used whatever generic hand tools he had in his toolbox to repair his brakes. So, while he was able to complete his brake job, he could have saved time and effort by using the right tools.
It seems some shops operate in a similar mode. That is, they have basic equipment and processes in place to get their machining work done, but more advanced, capable technologies and strategies could speed and streamline production and make them more competitive. In some cases, their existing capacity might even place a ceiling on the complexity of work they can take on. Therein lies the value of a show such as IMTS, where attendees can see in one location a range of new machining equipment, concepts and ideas they can immediately leverage to move their shop forward.
That said, the show is expansive, covering 1.3 million square feet of floor space at Chicago’s McCormick Place. However, there are a variety of helpful tools available to help you prepare and plan for it. Consider these three:
The August and September 2016 issues of Modern Machine Shop. During IMTS years, our August issue differs from the norm in that it is primarily filled with write-ups about new equipment that will be on display at the show. Our IMTS product section starts on page 130 of the August issue (find all IMTS products online here) and includes information about hundreds of items. In fact, because not all exhibitors can get product information to us in time to appear in this issue, our September issue will include additional IMTS equipment write-ups. This way, you can discover new products in the magazine, then go to the show to learn more about them.
The IMTS website. AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology produces IMTS. Over the years, it has made notable improvements to the show website at imts.com to enable attendees to better prepare for the show. This includes the MyShow Planner, which is a free, web-based app that combines planning and logistics into one tool on your mobile device or computer. Creating a MyShow agenda planner organizes your itinerary for the show, enabling you to identify exhibitors you intend to visit and to arrange them by location.
The Show Daily newspaper. The editors of Modern Machine Shop and other Gardner Business Media magazines write the articles for the IMTS Show Daily. This is a newspaper widely distributed at the show that includes articles about interesting exhibitor demos, giveaways, contests, guest appearances and other interesting booth activities that directly tie in with the new technology on display. In fact, this year there will be five Show Daily issues, compared to three at past events. Grab one each day you’re at the show.
Editor PickA Case for Trade Show “Extras”
While it is important to just walk the show floor to see what new technology is available, make sure you are checking the show for lunches, knowledge bars and other opportunities to learn.