“Despite what you hear in the news, American manufacturing has a lot of vitality. Manufacturing remains strong in the United States and North America.” I heard these remarks over and over again from top officials at companies exhibiting at IMTS. This hopeful, optimistic outlook was heartening. That a different message is going out to the public was disheartening. Why the optimism? Among other indications, it is clear that key industries such as energy, medical and aerospace are looking to buy new machine tools and upgrade the equipment that supports them.
Why isn’t the message getting out? Although several Chicago-area newspapers reported on the upbeat mood at this show, we can expect little good news about manufacturing to be picked up by the general news media. Apparently, it isn’t politically correct to say that something is going right in this country at the moment.
In terms of new technology at the show, the best piece of good news seemed to be the strong interest in MTConnect, a new communications protocol standard for passing data between devices, equipment and higher applications. Quite a few exhibitors touted their implementation or endorsement of the standard. One exhibitor took a look at MTConnect when the show started and liked the concept. Reportedly, company engineers had a fully compliant adapter up and running in 6 hours—a testament to both their technical prowess and to the high quality of the MTConnect development effort. For more about MTConnect click here.
Look for a succinct overview of IMTS in our November issue. In addition, we’ll have an online slide show presenting scattered highlights of the interesting things that MMS editors saw at the show.
Editor PickSnapshots From IMTS 2008
Even if you were at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, you might have missed some of these highlights. Click through these photos to see various interesting products and other sights the editors encountered this year in Chicago.