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Posts Tagged ‘IMTS’

IMTS 2016: Exhausting, But Exhilarating

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

IMTS LogoHeld every two years at McCormick Place in Chicago, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is the one of the largest (over 110,000 attendees), most comprehensive (~2,400 exhibitors), and longest (six days) manufacturing shows conferences in the world, certainly North America. This year’s event marked IMTS’s 31st edition. First timers and long timers are overwhelmed by the sheer size of this event. At over 1.3 million square feet, you better dress comfortably and prepare for an overload of manufacturing technology sights and sounds.

Because IMTS is so comprehensive and massive, planning is everything, and as you walk around the various pavilions, you start to get a sense of trends and likely future impact of just about all of the technological aspects of design, engineering, and manufacturing.

IMTS Balloon

Below are the major manufacturing trends that I experienced this week. Starting next week I’ll detail what I considered to be the most significant technologies and products showcased at IMTS this time around. Next week, I’ll also go over the major software developments that were introduced — mostly CAM, but some significant stuff.


When Manufacturing Technology and Entertainment Creativity Collide, Good Things Can Happen

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Since I handle two publications for IBSystems, MCADCafe and ShareCG, I attend a number of conferences and trade shows during the year for each publication. The markets for these events couldn’t be more different with regard to content, markets, audience, technologies, end products, and so on. The more I think about it, though, are they really that different?

Obviously, both entertainment and manufacturing employ a number of the same technologies, such as digital design methods, 3D scanning, 3D printing, project management, etc. – just with different end results – one physical, and one virtual.

This commonality really hit home in the past couple of months after attending two gigantic conferences and exhibitions – SIGGRAPH for ShareCG and IMTS for MCADCafe.

IMTS 2014 Overview


IMTS 2014: Manufacturing Innovation and Much More

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

We just returned from three exhausting but exhilarating days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2014 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 had over 110,000 registrants when we left the show at the end of its third day. IMTS occupies virtually all of the buildings at McCormick Place, covering millions of square feet, so 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.

IMTSTV – Live IMTS Coverage

MCADCafe conducted several video interviews that will be available for viewing in the very near future at The interviewees were a diverse group, everything from traditional CAD/CAM vendors, to software component suppliers, and even a reseller.


ThomasNet Relaunches Online Supplier/Product Sourcing Platform

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

At the recent International Manufacturing and Technology Show IMTS) in Chicago, formally relaunched its free platform for supplier discovery and sourcing of components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services. The new offers users an even wider range of content, tools and resources. Engineers, purchasing professionals, and facilities managers can quickly find suppliers, source products, and access CAD models and product news.

For those of you not familiar with it (or old enough) and before going online, the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, were known as the “big green books” and “Thomas Registry”, a multi-volume directory of industrial product information covering distributors, manufacturers, and service companies within over 60,000 industrial categories. It was first published in 1898 by Harvey Mark Thomas as Hardware and Kindred Trades. The company stopped publishing its print products in 2006 due to declining circulation as Internet searches eroded the products’ usability.

1905 Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers

Since then, Thomas moved its database online as ThomasNet, published and maintained by Thomas Industrial Network. ThomasNet has expanded to provide not only product and company information, but Online catalogs, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, news, press releases, forums, and blogs.

After IMTS I spoke with Tom Greco, VP of ThomasNet ThomasNet with one main question: With so much available online, why should I feel compelled to use He said that the one of the most compelling reasons for using the platform is Product Search ( that enables users to find the specific components and products they are looking for.

Thomas’ team of content engineers has aggregated detailed information and line item detail for over 100 million parts from over 30,000 suppliers. Product Search allows users to specify the product they are looking for using groundbreaking taxonomy-powered search and navigation features. Specifiers can find the product that meets their requirements by defining precise product attributes such as applications, materials, dimensions and tolerances.

The new site also makes it easier for buyers to find local suppliers, quality certified suppliers, and companies that meet their supplier diversity requirements. Whether searching for women-owned businesses, an ISO-certified custom manufacturer, or nearby distributors, the new makes it easier to hone in on exactly what you need and create a supplier short list.

“We make it our business to understand the challenges our users face when sourcing, and the new is designed to address them. Product Search combines semantic search technology with curated content to create an unparalleled sourcing tool,” said ThomasNet’s Greco. “Product Search is a perfect companion to our improved supplier directory and 2D/3D CAD model library.” According to Greco, interestingly, he said that some 80% of product decisions and purchases are made based on the huge volume of CAD drawings that are available.

Greco said that the new platform includes a suite of applications, including:

  • Supplier Directory – Over 610,000 suppliers including multi-media company profiles
  • CAD Library – Millions of downloadable 2D/3D models and drawings from leading industrial product component OEMs
  • ThomasNet News – the latest product, company and industry news
  • Job BoardJob Board – to help find your first or next job
  • Deal of the Day – Big savings on electronics, office supplies and business services
  • Purchasing Tools – Free RFQ Event management and Contract management tools

As for the future, Greco said that in the next 12-18 months extensions will be made to Thomas.Net to what exists today, including additional marketing and product services, as well as additional search utilities targeted to solving specific engineering problems. He also said there will be two to three major upgrades to in the next 12 months.

Even with all that is available on the Internet, I still consider the “go to” application for product and service discovery and sourcing during the product development process.

Check it out for yourself at:

TurboCAD pro : Start at $299

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