USA: IMTS 2016 Preview Leading US Manufacturing Tradeshow Gets Even Bigger, Stronger and Pushing for Innovation
IMTS, the International Manufacturing Technology Show, will once again take place from 12 -17 of September 2016 at McCormick Place in Chicago, USA. IMTS is held every two years and with more than 2,000 exhibitors, it is one of the largest industry trade fairs in the world.
IMTS has long been a large gathering place of buyers and sellers of machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems and processes for the manufacturing technology industry. The number of exhibitors and visitors has grown each time, and today IMTS is the largest and most important trade fair for manufacturing technology in the western hemisphere. This year’s event is expected to exceed IMTS 2014 with more than 2,000 exhibitors and an anticipated 120,000 visitors from 112 countries, the organisers say.
The most advanced machining centres in the world will be on display in the South Building of McCormick Place at IMTS. However, to maximise system efficiency and accuracy, you need to cross the skyway into the West Building and visit the Tooling & Workholding Pavilion. “For every machine innovation, you’ll find a corresponding tooling and workholding technology advance at IMTS 2016,” says Jack Burley, Vice President, Sales and Engineering, BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., Hoffman Estates, Illinois. “For example, this year you’ll see the introduction of smart tooling that uses Bluetooth technology. Everyone has a smart phone on their hip, so why not develop apps that enable supervisors to wirelessly check tooling status and operators to download installation instructions or parameter settings?”
“IMTS 2016 showcases specialised providers with core competencies in unique areas,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President - Exhibitions & Business Development, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the parent organisation of IMTS. “By focusing intensely on one thing and doing it exceedingly well, tool and work-holding companies develop products and technologies that take machine performance and accuracy to new levels.” To put this in perspective, the newest digital technology makes it possible to move a boring tool in increments of 50 millions of an inch ; a human hair has an average diameter of 0.004-in.
“Today, we can put a strand of hair in an adjustable tool holder and move it 1/50th of its diameter, as well as digitally capture and communicate the history of adjusting that tool,” says Burley.
Burley likens the relationship between machining and tooling to the one between automobile manufacturers and tyre companies: Each has different core competencies, and the consumer wins by obtaining the best technology from both.
“Companies can be good at everything, but they cannot be great at everything,” he states. “While shop owners might want a single-source solution, they get better results by tapping into the core competencies of many different providers. That’s why a visit to the West Building is mandatory if you want to stay on top of tooling technology.”
EDM Pavilion to highlight precise, productive technologies
Much has been written about the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing, but some experts see a re-shoring trend due to the increasing demand for micro-components produced by high-precision EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) technology.
“The American machinist has higher expectations for quality, accuracy and productivity, and that attracts customers to the U.S. market,” says Gisbert Ledvon, Director of Business Development, GF Machining Solutions LLC, Lincolnshire, Illinois. “To find EDM technology that enables a machine shop to differentiate itself, I can think of no better place than IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show.”
For IMTS 2016, visitors can find EDM technology concentrated in the EDM Pavilion, located in the centre of the East Building. In addition, companies demonstrating EDM along with other technologies are located throughout the show, including GF Machining Solutions in the South Building.