In June and July 2010, the staff of this magazine will be very busy preparing news about the products to be displayed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in September. Our August issue will be devoted entirely to coverage of the new machine tools, manufacturing equipment and related systems and software to be displayed at McCormick Place in Chicago. From what I’ve seen of the product announcements so far, it’s clear that many equipment manufacturers have stayed on course with ambitious product development programs. With a slow but steady improvement in business conditions and a clear but uneven uptick in manufacturing activity underway, it appears that IMTS is coming at a good time.
Yet, it occurs to me that “timing” is a funny thing. It’s always a factor, but factoring it in is always a dubious affair. It’s more important to focus on the long haul and act accordingly.
Consider the experience of Kurt Manufacturing. When the company hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new manufacturing facility in late 2008, the economy was taking a nosedive. Even so, the company went ahead with its plan to consolidate its diverse manufacturing operations and construct the automated production system. To read about this system, click here
Was that good fortune or bad?
Right now, as orders are rebounding, having the APS in full operation is a boon. The investment in automated technology is clearly paying off.
I recently attended the grand opening of BIG Kaiser’s
new headquarters in suburban Chicago. When this supplier of precision tooling broke ground for construction a year ago, it seemed like the worst possible timing. Company officials were deeply concerned about the decision to go ahead with the project, as they admitted at the ribbon cutting. Now, it is clear that turning back would have been a mistake. The new showroom, service/repair area and training center are exactly what the company needs.
I know other companies are grateful that they stuck with plans to invest in new buildings, production cells or machine tools, despite the economic slump. Today, these investments are leading them into recovery or have positioned them well for an upswing.
Were they smart or just lucky?
The question to examine is this: Were the underlying motivations and justifications for the investments valid? If so, there’s no good or bad timing. Moving ahead is the thing.
That brings me back to IMTS. Preparations for the show are moving ahead. Exhibitors are finalizing their booth displays. The show promises to be the premier event for finding the best in new manufacturing technology—the machines and equipment that shops will need to move ahead. This means that you should have your plans to attend underway, too. Everything you need in order to register, find housing and arrange travel can be found at imts.org. Going to the show should be part of your recovery plan. This is one matter of timing that you don’t want to miss.