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9/21/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

IMTS 2016 Hosts Highest Number of Exhibiting Companies in Show History

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The 31st edition of the show was the third largest in terms of registration and exhibit space.

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The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) has released the final numbers for IMTS 2016, which ran from September 12-17 at Chicago, Illinois’ McCormick Place. This 31st edition of the show was the third largest in number of registrations (115,612) and in net square feet of exhibit space (1,370,256). The show hosted the highest number of exhibiting companies ever (2,407).

“IMTS has grown not only in size, but in the overall scope of manufacturing,” says Peter R. Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and business development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and manages IMTS. “There are more compelling reasons for people to attend. Whether they come to research new technology, evaluate vendors before purchasing, find solutions or connect with the leaders in the manufacturing industry, there is simply no substitute for attending IMTS.”

The dominant technologies at IMTS 2016 were additive manufacturing, robotics automation and an increasing digital thread, according to Tim Shinbara, AMT vice president of manufacturing technology. “Four years ago, only one company exhibited a hybrid machine. At IMTS 2016, we had multiple companies demonstrate machines with both additive and subtractive capabilities, meeting the supply-side demand for structural metallic components,” he says. With traditional CNC manufacturers becoming more involved with additive, he believes that they will apply their knowledge of industrial requirements when building hybrid machines.

On the automation side, embedded sensors and processors moved closer to the moment of inertia, enabling split-second decision-making that prevents collisions or enables a smooth, fluid and rapid response. “Moving robotic intelligence nearer to the end of the arm enables more collaborative manufacturing where humans and robots can work closely and more safely together,” says Mr. Shinbara.

Numerous companies introduced equipment with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities. “We’re seeing an acceleration and acceptance of protocols such as MTConnect,” Mr. Shinbara says. “This ‘data dictionary’ enables the creation of a digital thread linking components, processes and analytical tools.” He predicts that by IMTS 2018, C-suite business decisions will be made based on real-time data being pulled from the production floor and among facilities.

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