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IMTS after 12 Years Away

The first time I went to IMTS was 1998.

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The first time I went to IMTS was 1998. I just got a note from a reader whose last visit to IMTS had been the same year. Last month, he finally went to the show again. He wrote me after reading my impressions of this year’s show. Here are his impressions—along with the impressions of a son making his own first-time trip to IMTS. David Bradley of Precision Plastics Inc. in Columbia City, Indiana writes:

"I attended IMTS for the first time since 1998. The last time I went, I took all the guys from the shop that I manage, many whom had never been to IMTS. They were all amazed with the volume of technology on display. It was an event they will never forget. They talked about their time at IMTS for a long time.

At different times since then, either cash flow or schedule kept us away. This year, I was going no matter what. I took my son with me, who had never seen IMTS and didn’t know anything about it.

My son has a very small shop—a lathe, a mill and a saw—but he generates his livelihood from it. At the show, he could not believe what he was seeing. He was absolutely fascinated by all of it. He had read about this stuff and seen it on the Internet, but that doesn’t do it justice. I hope some of what he saw planted a seed that will grow. His face told me how awestruck he was.

For my part, I noticed some names in the trade that were not present anymore. On the other hand, I could not believe how many company names I had never heard of in my 42 years in the machine tool trade.

I also noticed some companies that were once leaders at IMTS were very scaled back. Two companies in particular used to have massive booths at IMTS, but this year had booths about double the size of my office.

I saw large mills with caged ladders up the sides and catwalks across the top. I also saw smaller machinery for micro-machining work. In reference to the economic impact on this show, I saw many “sold” signs on machinery of all flavors.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I think we all (everybody in the machine tool trade) need to go see that show at least every six years. It gets the blinders off. The small community I live in tends to make you forget that this world is bigger than my company or my area. I am glad my son and I got to see IMTS."