Production Machining

NOV 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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IMTS: Ho Fun as That? IMTS is fun hen business is good, and the 2018 edition of the sho as one of the best. CHRIS KOEPFER Editor-in-Chief ckoepfer@productionmachining.com M y rst IMTS was in 1980. With the exception of 2016, I have attended every show since then. •ere is no doubt in my mind that the 2018 edition was not only the best, statistically, it was quite simply a blast to be part of. Our industry is having a great run. Business is good here in the states as well as around the rest of the world. One observation I make from my many years of attending this manufacturing extravaganza is the mood of the exhibitors and attendees is a read on the collective psyche of the industry. When business is good, people are happy, friendly, ready to talk and share. Conversely, when business is not so good, the mood ring is not a very happy color. I've seen this, too, in my many times at McCormick Place. But back to the 2018 show glow: Records fell by the wayside this year. Numbers that could only be imagined in the past are new standards and targets for the future. How long this run will last, nobody knows, but it certainly is a good time to be part of our industry. I say that as a reŒection of very good business condi- tions, but also as an overarching fact that speaks to the technological place that manufacturing nds itself. IMTS reŒects this state of the industry by incorpo- rating and highlighting emerging technologies. AMT - •e Association For Manufacturing Technology- sponsored Emerging Technology Centers (ETCs) consolidated participating companies into pavilions, two of them at this year's show. •ese ETCs are designed to give a glimpse of the future of manufacturing by showcasing state-of-the-art and disrup- tive technologies that are in the wings and fast approaching widespread implementation. In the North building, a Digital Transformation ETC demonstrated two physically and digitally connected automated cells with robots and CNC machines. •is interactive exhibit by CISCO showed their interpre- tation of what a shop may look like in a digitally connected manufacturing world. In addition, a demonstration of Athena showed the rst universal, voice-operated assistant technology designed specically for manufacturing. •e "brave new world" is here. Meanwhile, in the West Hall, the Additive Manufacturing ETC was streaming along at full throttle. •e demonstra- tion from Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed making a "die-in-a-day," which showed the four stages of die develop- ment, printing the die (Lincoln Electric), machining the die (Mazak), molding the die (IACMI) and 3D laser scanning the part (Quality Vision Systems). In this ETC, many disci- plines come together to illustrate alternative manufac- turing methods. One of the hottest buttons on the minds of exhibitors and attendees is the critical shortage of worker candi- dates with applicable skills sets. In the West Hall ETC, a "Knowledge Bar," hosted by America Makes, presented visitors with relevant information about the development of education roadmaps, an online platform for members to exchange information and gather input for the estab- lishment of industry-wide standards and specications for additive manufacturing. I see the use of the ETC concept spreading in IMTS future shows. Technology is moving forward at an amazing pace in manufacturing. •e successful application of digital technology is ready for modern manufacturing. It works and it helps, which has always been the litmus test of emerging technology at IMTS through the years. Some of it worked, some wasn't ready and some technologies fell by the wayside. All, however, had an airing at an IMTS in past. IMTS 2018 was a record breaker. Registration for the show hit 129,415, which beat the previous record of 121,764 at the 1998 edition. As Peter Eelman, AMT vice president, mentioned in his opening remarks, 1998 was the "dot.com" bubble. •at demographic Œuke has been surpassed. Moreover, there were 2,563 exhibiting companies which surpassed the previous high of 2,407 established in 2016. One more statistic that helped make 2018 a record breaker is the square footage of booth space. IMTS 2018 uses the entirety of the huge McCormick Place exhibition center with 1,424,232 square feet of space used by exhibitors. •at number beat the previous record of 1,415,848 square feet set in 2000. By all accounts, the health of the IMTS exhibition is a bellwether for the health of manufacturing at large. As I've seen since 1980, it continues to bring the new, the practical and the best technology for the manufacturing community to "kick the tires" and take a test drive. TU R N I NG POI NT 6 PRODUCTION MCHINING :: NOVEMBER 2018

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