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9/10/2018 | 3 MINUTE READ

Safety, Labor and Connectivity Drive Innovation at IMTS 2018

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The latest equipment and technology for maintaining operations at maximum productivity will be featured at IMTS 2018.


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Smooth and safe operations help keep a company profitable and competitive in a tight manufacturing market. The latest equipment and technology for maintaining operations at maximum productivity will be featured at The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2018—which runs September 10-15 at Chicago’s McCormick Place—in the Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion, located on Level 2 of the East Building.

Keep it Safe

Operator safety remains priority for many manufacturers, which requires taking extra measures and adopting new technologies to be compliant. The Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion features solutions for machine guarding, enclosures, platforms, ergonomic hand tools with grips to suit a variety of hand sizes, noise-reducing compressed air nozzles and sensors to react quickly to human interference.

Faster equipment and operating speeds require better machine safety for operators but also need to be adjustable for lighter materials. For example, heavier steels once used in chip conveyors or bellow covers are now made of aluminum but still need to have the same durability for impact and wear.

Protect Capital Investments

As capital equipment becomes more expensive, companies are willing to invest in more technology to protect it against damage. For example, Noah Goellner, Vice President of Global Business Operations at Hennig Inc. (booth 121207), has seen the increasing demand for walk-on pit covers that are durable enough to cover openings of large machinery, protecting equipment below from impact or harsh chemicals and keeping operators safe.

Hennig will introduce new walk-on covers ideal for applications that require sturdy, load bearing covers. The covers will be available in retractable/roll-up and fixed designs. The covers are ideal for chemical tanks to contain fumes and prevent injury, large machine tools with exposed ways and pits, and machine enclosures with large openings in the walls or floor.

Simplify Operation

The shortage of skilled labor creates a challenge for manufacturers. Exhibitors will have solutions to make equipment more automated and easier to use. These solutions include simpler interfaces such as intuitive touchscreens, quick-response (QR) codes with instructional information, simplified ordering and quote request forms. Machines that are easier to operate enable manufacturers to cross-train employees so they can make the best use of the available workforce to meet customer demands at any given time.

Safe and Efficient Maneuvering

Exhibitors are launching their most advanced automation technology, such as faster and stronger autonomous mobile robots and remote-controlled transfer carts that carry extra heavy loads. New at the show from Mobile Industrial Robots (booth #121468) is a robot that maneuvers around people and physical obstacles using advanced technology and software to autonomously navigate the most efficient path to its destination. Equipped with the latest laser-scanning technology, the robot delivers a 360-degree visual for optimal safety. 3D cameras have a range of 30 to 2,000 mm above floor level to detect pallets.

Customer Experience

Trends in the industry go beyond equipment itself, and include new ways to communicate and interact with customers. Today’s customers demand faster turnaround for service issues and have a lower tolerance for equipment downtime.

Goellner expects to see augmented reality playing a big part in maintenance and diagnostics in the future. For example, service personnel will have the ability to see what the customer is looking at and make recommendations from an office. Virtual reality smart glasses will provide onsite technicians with an overlayed visual of a product and pop-up instructions on how to make a repair.

Job Shop Software

The Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion also hosts software providers, including those that focus on machine shops, sheet metal fabricators, stampers, spring and wire forming. New Cloud-based solutions eliminate the need to upgrade hardware and provide functionality to:

  • Quote parts (custom or repetitive) using cost-plus estimating with the ability to copy information from previous estimates, work orders, or repetitive parts, or to work up estimates from scratch
  • Convert quotes seamlessly to sales orders without needing to re-key data
  • Release work orders to the shop floor driven either from direct sales order demand or min/max levels of stock inventory
  • Schedule work at a resource group and resource level to optimize throughput
  • Purchase direct to the work order or to replenish stock
  • Ship and invoice

Smart Factories

IMTS 2018 includes more Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify problems and avoid breakdowns. Smart machines facilitate predictive maintenance by noticing part wear, recommending a replacement time and ordering new parts.


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