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8/1/2006 | 8 MINUTE READ

The Time Is Right For IMTS

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Investing in the latest manufacturing technologies is one of the keys to succeeding in a global manufacturing marketplace. The time to do this is now.


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The “T” in IMTS is especially significant at this point in time. Investing in the latest manufacturing technologies is one of the keys to succeeding in a global manufacturing marketplace. The time to do this is now, and the place to see those technologies in action is at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which runs September 6 through 13 in Chicago, Illinois.

Purchasing activity in the first 4 months of 2006 indicates that U.S. companies have recognized that this indeed is the time to invest in new manufacturing technologies. The U.S. Manufacturing Technology Consumption, a joint statistical program of the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA), reports that U.S. manufacturing technology consumption was up 18.5 percent compared with 2005 (as of April 2006). This continues a period of growth that began about 3 years ago, according to John B. Byrd III, AMT president. Mr. Byrd believes that IMTS 2006 “is likely to accelerate that growth as customers review the latest manufacturing technologies that are available to them.”

IMTS is sponsored by AMT and held at the Windy City’s McCormick Place. It is the largest and most complete display of manufacturing technology in North America and one of the biggest trade shows in the United States.

Taking the time to prepare for a show of this magnitude is the key, and this article is here to help. In addition, make it a point to visit the official show Web site at www.IMTS.com. There you’ll find a wealth of pre-show event information, a complete database of exhibitors, online registration, planning tools and travel information. The Web site also offers a schedule for the complimentary shuttle bus service to and from the official show hotels and the McCormick Place buildings, in addition to parking and driving information. See page 66 to learn about the new features that have been added to this year’s show Web site.

There’s one other Web site you should be sure to check out before show time: www.meetinchicago.com/imts. This site, developed by the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, details all things Chicago—restaurants, transportation, shopping, tours, museums, nightlife, weather and so on. While visiting the site, note the special offers that have been made available to IMTS attendees.

On With The Show

More than 1,200 exhibitors will display their wares in approximately 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space. AMT estimates that this year’s show will match the approximately 85,000 people who attended the 2002 edition.

Just The Facts

What— The International Manufacturing Technology Show (a.k.a. IMTS)
When— September 6 through 13
Where— McCormick Place
in Chicago,Illinois USA
Why— To see the latest in manufacturing technologies that can help sharpen your company’s competitive edge

The show will occupy all buildings of the McCormick Place complex: Hall A in McCormick Place South, Hall B in McCormick Place North, and Halls D and E in the Lakeside Center. Hours for the Lakeside Center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours for the South Building and Hall B of the North Building are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. These hours are in effect every day except Sunday, when all buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How To Register

If you haven’t already filled out a registration form and mailed or faxed it in, then you can pre-register online at www.IMTS.com. The registration fee is $25 through August 4; after that date, it’s $50. A special group rate is available for five or more people from the same company. Group registration is $15 per person, but everyone must register at the same time. This offer ends on August 4. Of course you can also register on-site at the registration desks located in each of the show buildings.

Students and educators can attend the show at no charge through the IMTS Student Summit. The Student Summit is an industry-wide effort to change misperceptions about manufacturing among young people and encourage them to consider careers in manufacturing technology. Teachers, school administrators and students interested in the Student Summit can get more information at www.IMTS.com/visitor/student.html.

Targeting Technologies

The IMTS pavilions make it easy for you to see like equipment in one area, maximizing your efficiency as you walk the show floor. IMTS 2006 will include pavilions for:
  • Abrasive Machining, Sawing and Finishing—North Building, Hall B
  • Controls and CAD/CAM—Lakeside Center, Hall D
  • EDM—Lakeside Center, Hall D
  • Fluid Power—North Building, Hall B
  • Gear Generation—North Building, Hall B
  • Machine Components, Cleaning and Environmental—Lakeside Center, Hall D
  • Metalcutting—South Building, Hall A
  • Metal Forming and Fabricating/Lasers—North Building, Hall B
  • Quality Assurance—Lakeside Center, Hall D
  • Tooling and Workholding Systems—Lakeside Center, Hall E

Explore Tomorrow’s Ideas

The Emerging Technology Center (ETC), which debuted at IMTS 2004, will again showcase technologies that will impact manufacturing in the coming years. The theme of this year’s ETC is “Any Size, Any Time, Any Where,” which is apropos considering that manufacturers are struggling to meet the challenges of shrinking batch sizes, shorter delivery deadlines and increasing global competition. Because of the positive response in 2004 and expanded exhibits at this year’s show, the ETC will move to a larger space in Hall B in the North Building.

The ETC will kick off with a multimedia presentation that addresses simulation modeling, knowledge-based systems, challenges and opportunities of new materials, and process complexities. The presentation runs three times per hour, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., each day of the show. Following the presentation, representatives from educational institutions, government laboratories and the private sector will be on-hand to share their work in a series of displays that includes:

  • Machine tool error calibration and correction
  • Micro-machining technology
  • High speed machining software
  • Virtual machining process simulation and optimization
  • Science-based manufacturing
  • Smart machining
  • Predictive modeling and optimization
  • Nano manufacturing technologies

Think You Can Handle The Metal?

IMTS is the next trade show stop for Modern Machine Shop’s Heavy Metal World Tour 2006. Gardner Publications will be rockin’ the Emerging Technology Center at Booth B-1001. Stop in and pick up current issues of Modern Machine Shop, Production Machining, Automotive Design & Production and Gardner Publications’ other hard-driving magazines. Also, be sure to enter to win one of ten video iPods and a customized electric guitar that we will be giving away at the end of the show.

You’ll know you’re at the right booth when you see a jet-black, turbo-charged H3 on display. Trust me, you can’t miss it. The trick truck, dubbed “The Guardian,” was built by Real Wheels Accessories. This heavy metal monster is loaded with more automotive aftermarket “bling” and audio/visual power than words can describe.

The ‘Bots Are Back In Town

Who says technology can’t be fun? The Battlebots are back to wreak havoc in Lakeside Center Hall D. In addition to watching the remote-controlled carnage as fighting robots square off, attendees can test-drive mini-bots in the Exact JobBoss Thunderdome or the 1,600-square-foot GibbsCAM Coliseum. Plus, you can see bots being built and repaired in the pits. The demolition fun runs throughout the entire show.

Competitive Manufacturing Conference

The Competitive Manufacturing Conference, sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), brings together industry experts to talk about the latest technologies and strategies that can help companies remain competitive. The conference will take place at IMTS on September 7 and 8. A pre-conference workshop is also offered on September 6, and it will address topics such as lean manufacturing, cost estimating, product lifecycle management and rapid prototyping technologies.

There are three conference focus areas. The first relates to technologies and strategies that could change the way companies manufacture goods: smart machining, additive manufacturing, and micro and nano manufacturing. Another details lean manufacturing principles and provides examples of shops applying value stream mapping, 5S organization, cell design and other lean techniques. The final covers strategies and tools pertaining to collaboration, outsourcing and supply chain management. For complete conference information, including fees, call (800) 733-4763 or visit www.sme.org.

Show Help

More than 30 computer information kiosks are scattered throughout the show halls to help you find way through the facility. One of the most useful guides to the show is the IMTS 2006 Directory of Exhibits, published for AMT by Gardner Publications, Inc., the publisher of this magazine. The DOE is available free of charge to IMTS attendees at the various registration areas. The directory includes a listing of exhibitors by pavilion, a product directory, an alphabetical listing of exhibitors, floor plans of all of the halls and answers to just about any questions you may have about the show.

In addition to the DOE, be sure to stop at one of the many stands throughout McCormick Place and pick up the official IMTS newspaper, the ShowDaily. Covering a show of this magnitude is a big job, and the editors of Modern Machine Shop and its sister publications, Automotive Design & Production, Production Machining and Moldmaking Technology, have done some of the work for you by covering significant IMTS happenings in this newspaper. There are three Show Daily issues published during the show, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest edition.

Here’s one last bit of advice: wear comfortable shoes. This seemingly simple tip can be essential to your getting the full value out of the show. If you shy away from strolling down one more aisle, or if you are focusing on your feet instead of giving your attention to the exhibits around you, then you may miss that one little innovation that could make that problem process back at your shop significantly more productive.

Hand holding a crystal ball

We’d rather send you $15 than rely on our crystal ball…

It’s Capital Spending Survey season and the manufacturing industry is counting on you to participate! Odds are that you received our 5-minute Metalworking survey from Modern Machine Shop in your mail or email. Fill it out and we’ll email you $15 to exchange for your choice of gift card or charitable donation. Are you in the U.S. and not sure you received the survey? Contact us to access it.

Help us inform the industry and everybody benefits.