IMTS 2018: First Impressions

Do you remember your first IMTS? This year’s was mine. Here, I outline a few of my first impressions of the show.

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Do you remember your first IMTS? This year’s was mine. Here, I outline a few of my first impressions of the show.

Fortune Favors the Prepared

IMTS 2018 had record-breaking 1,424,232 square feet of exhibit space. At any one moment, I was only standing on one of those square feet. It’s one thing to plan a show like this and to appreciate—in theory—the need to be smart about things like planning appointments and visits that are all in the same building or exhibit hall. It’s another thing entirely to walk the show of that size and to live up to the ambition of a show schedule. If I learned anything this year between NPE2018 and IMTS 2018, it’s that fortune favors the prepared. I did a bunch of things in anticipation of IMTS that seasoned show attendees offered as advice. They suggested that I download the IMTS app and showfloor plans. They suggested that I wear a watch and shoes that I could walk miles in. They suggested that I pack snacks in case I unintentionally missed meals. They suggested that I have business cards that I pass out in one pocket and business cards I accept from new acquaintances in another. They suggested packing battery packs and a notebook if my tablet died. Perhaps this all sounds like common sense, but I can’t stress enough that taking up my colleagues on all these sage suggestions is why I was able to do as much as I did at the show. My productivity levels were a direct result of what I did in anticipation of walking onto the show floor.

If I learned anything this year between NPE2018 and IMTS 2018, it’s that fortune favors the prepared.

Versatility Reigns Supreme

Something that struck me repeatedly was versatility as a selling point for exhibitors. In today’s competitive landscape, shops must be able to do as much as they possibly can with the investments that they make, so suppliers are finding creative ways of responding to their needs with products that are suitable for a variety of applications and under a variety of conditions. Exhibitors highlighted sensor options for data accrual, removable parts for flexibility and reach and compatibility tools like language libraries as qualities that made their wares an option for shops looking to do more with less. 

Collaboration Is the Highest Form of Flattery

Something else I noticed repeatedly was the highly collaborative nature of the show. I didn’t expect in my booth visits that exhibitors would so constantly recommend that I visit other booths to see something that they had on display (and one can imagine how much havoc this wreaked on my carefully constructed schedule). It seemed that there was no higher honor than being able to say that a product or service was so good that another company had it on display in its booth at the show. Not only that, but I spoke to companies about collaborations where there might otherwise be competition. It seemed from the conversations that I had that rivals can see the advantages of working together—each side gets to contribute its strength to a project and benefit from what the other has to offer. 

 

 

 

Check out some of what I saw on display at the show. The slideshow features displays and collaborations from Kubotek, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Sandvik Coromant, Mazak, Kennametal and Haimer.