What Makes IMTS Special?

It’s so many great things at once.

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The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) has always been a rewarding experience for me. It’s the event that has consistently taken me closest to the pulse of our industry. The multiple facets and dimensions of this event are worth exploring.

First of all, IMTS is truly a trade show, an exhibition. It’s clearly the best manufacturing and machine tool show of the year, with thousands of great products on display and new technology to investigate. It is a glimpse of the future. It is also more than one person alone can possibly take in, so careful planning and the coordinated effort of a buying team are almost always necessary to get the most from a visit. Yet wandering a bit and being open to unexpected discoveries may be the best time you spend there.

However, IMTS is also about people. It’s a gathering. More than 100,000 visitors are likely to attend. There are spots within Chicago’s McCormick Place where you will be able to see hundreds of these visitors at once. Among the throngs, notice the warm greetings, the handshakes, the friendly gestures of recognition. IMTS is a grand homecoming, a networking opportunity on a massive scale. IMTS builds and defines us as a community. The bonds are real and tangible. We are all here to manufacture a better world.

IMTS is, and should be, a celebration. It rejoices in the creative power of the human mind and its capacity to invent and produce. It honors human liberty, especially the freedom to make gainful exchanges in a marketplace governed by laws and tempered by our nobler instincts. Here, we are motivated to pursue continuous improvement under the natural pressure that a competitive marketplace generates.

IMTS is a great place to learn about new technology. It hosts numerous technical conferences, seminars, workshops and summits. Exhibitors conduct educational presentations, demos and training sessions in their booths daily. But we should remember that technology is applied knowledge—putting learning to work. Much of the technology available at IMTS will come home with you in your head.

For a few days or weeks, attendees and exhibitors must leave behind their normal routines in their usual home and workplace settings.  Long days at the show may be followed by evenings filled with needed relaxation or entertainment (which may actually be more time on the job.)

In contrast, there are opportunities for quiet moments, too. Pausing to look over the expansive waters of Lake Michigan from the patio behind the East building. Enjoying the view of the stately Chicago skyline from the bridge over the highway. Listening to the gentle splash of water in one of the indoor fountains. If you want, IMTS can be a retreat of sorts, a chance to recalibrate one’s objectives and commitments. This is one of my favorite aspects of the show. I discover new things about myself.

Of course, every IMTS experience is different, each with a peculiar character and a unique set of insights. That’s why returning to the show every other year is something to anticipate eagerly and organize one’s life around.

Editor Pick

A 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.