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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

We’ll See You At IMTS 2018!

September 6th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

We’re preparing for five exhausting but exhilarating days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2018 in Chicago. This biennial, week-long exhibition and conference is by far the biggest manufacturing showcase in North America. As a matter of fact, it is expected to host over 115,000 registrants this time around.

IMTS 2018 is on pace to have the most exhibit space in the show’s 91-year history. Technology, product, conference and meeting areas will occupy all five levels of McCormick Place’s four buildings.

Changes for IMTS 2018 include portions of the Controls & CAD-CAM Pavilion and events associated with HANNOVER MESSE USA: four co-located shows, a Digital Factory and the Solutions Theater. IMTS has expanded the Tooling & Workholding Pavilion. Recognizing the pace of innovation, IMTS 2018 will feature not one but two AMT’s Emerging Technology Centers (ETC) in the North and West Buildings. The ETCs explore current and over-the-horizon technologies for digital connectivity and additive manufacturing, the industry’s most explosive growth areas.

“A myriad of factors are bolstering the manufacturing technology market, and IMTS 2018 has expanded its exhibit space to accommodate the increased interest,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS.

“Factors include the exponential rate of technology advances, the need to use technology instead of manpower to boost productivity and the strongest manufacturing economy in a decade,” says Eelman. “Businesses have more money and will continue boosting their investment in capital equipment and R&D. Coupled with higher consumer confidence, manufacturers need to increase production to meet strong demand.”

Since IMTS occupies virtually all of the buildings at McCormick Place, covering well over a million square feet,  you have to strategize how to see everything you want to see. It showcases just about anything you can imagine for manufacturing – metal cutting, abrasives, additive processes, CAD/CAM, controls, inspection – you name it, and it’s probably at IMTS.

MCADCafe will be conducted several video interviews that will be available for viewing in the very near future after the show at The interviewees we’ve got lined up so far are a diverse group, everything from traditional CAD/CAM vendors, to software component suppliers, to metrology and machine manufacturers, and service providers.

On the show floor, some of the larger machining centers, and they are physically large with huge power requirements, can take weeks to set up and get running. Many of these machines are offered and sold at big discounts so they are dismantled, shipped, and re-assembled at a purchasing customer’s site after the show. At IMTS 2016, we saw more than 40 machines with “Sold” signs on them – a good sign for a recovering economy in the manufacturing sector.

Sales people are easy to spot on the show floor with flashy (some brightly colored) sport coats and legal pads and laptop computers under their arms, ready to make a sale.

The most interesting thing about IMTS is being around not just the CxOs, but the people who actually program and run the machines. The people who actually know how to make stuff, not just dream up grand marketing schemes that hopefully work. These are no nonsense, no BS people who really make this country go. These are the people who are proud, but don’t brag about what they know. These are people who haven’t forgotten where they came from. These are people who know who they are. No identity crisis here. These are the people I grew up with and still admire today because they can actually do and produce something tangible. These are very smart and capable people who “get it” and make it.

Needless to say, IMTS is a huge spectacle, and one that we always look forward to attending because, if nothing else, it is testament that manufacturing is still alive and well in the United States and North America.

Over the course of coming weeks, we’ll discuss several of the most interesting design, engineering, and manufacturing products, services, and methods that we found most impressive at IMTS 2018.


Finally, at this year’s IMTS we will be conducting video interviews at our booth (#237089). If you are interested in recording a video interview, please call me directly at 719-221-1867 or check our schedule and sign up at the following link:

We’ll be there the entire week, so stop by and say hello, as well as enter our drawing for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Hope to see you in Chicago!

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