For many companies in the metalworking business, 2009 and 2010 have been rough years. The sudden, deep recession that overtook the economy not long after IMTS 2008 put a tremendous strain on most manufacturing companies. Cutbacks, layoffs, consolidations and closings have been mentally and emotionally draining. Even for companies that managed to fare pretty well, the challenges have been daunting. It’s been a wearying experience.
Although economic signals show that the worst is over, the recovery under way appears to be a slow and unsteady one. Understandably, companies are reluctant to add to the payroll or are hesitant about big investments in capital equipment, despite the opportunities for growth and diversification that are clearly emerging. A little bit of wariness is hard to shake off.
A growing number of companies, however, are eager and ready to spring back into a growth mode. Hard times have forced them to reorganize and refocus. Wiry and resilient, these companies are positioned to move ahead.
Whether you see yourself among the weary, the wary or the wiry (or some combination of the three), IMTS is a very significant event. By its nature, a show of this size creates its own forcefield, one powerful enough to recharge the industry as if by some psychic process of induction.
For example, there is a lot of new technology at this show. Despite the enormous difficulties created by the calamitous drop in equipment sales, most machine tool builders and equipment suppliers managed to keep their new product development programs on track. The results are visible at this show. Many of those new products and processes are presented in this issue.
IMTS 2010 will be the “more-for-less” show. More machine for less money and less floor space. More operations on one machine with less setup and change-over hassle. More metal removal with less energy and lower environmental impact. More flawless CNC programs in fewer steps and less processing time.
However, IMTS is not only about new equipment on display, although that is still the chief draw. The Emerging Technology Center, Advanced Manufacturing Center, the expanded technical conferences and other show features also make IMTS an opportunity for some visionary thinking. At its best, IMTS inspires its attendees to be transformative. Ideas for how to reinvent a workspace, a department, a shop, the main plant or the entire corporation are at the show to be discovered.
IMTS can refresh us, embolden us and give us new direction. To complete your plans for attending the show, go to IMTS.com.