The 31st edition of IMTS was the third largest in terms of registration and exhibit space, and the biggest in terms of total exhibitors.
It’s been almost week since the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) concluded for 2016, ending another big and exciting edition. AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and manages the show, released numbers earlier this week showing that this year’s 31st edition was the show’s third largest in terms of registration and exhibit space, and that it hosted the most exhibiting companies in its history—2,407 in total.
There was so much to see and do at the show, there’s no way to take everything in. In conjunction with Modern Machine Shop Editor-in-Chief Peter Zelinski’s seven impression of this year’s show, I thought I’d share some of the sights and sounds I and other editors of Gardner Business Media publications were able to take note of on Twitter.
Additive manufacturing. It seems generally agreed that additive manufacturing had an even bigger presence at this year’s IMTS, which hosted its first ever dedicated pavilion to additive technology. Zelinski writes, “Ultimately, the impression that all of this made was the sense of additive manufacturing having now arrived. Additive simply makes sense at IMTS.”
Industry 4.0. Without a doubt, the proliferation of monitoring and data-gathering technology was noticeable wherever you went at the show. Zelinski writes that it may be easy to dismiss all the hype, but it’s worth taking the time to look into the applications and implications of the connected shop floor: “The vision of a manufacturing facility or network that can be adapted, diagnosed and optimized in both subtle and crucial ways because of the effectiveness of automated information-sharing is a big idea, and it is also a valuable idea for organizing the efforts of all of the technology developers that might contribute to this picture.”
Cobots. While I was at the show, I was able to visit Universal Robots, whose safe robots are designed to be very easily programmed using intuitive controls—I was able to try it out myself! I also checked out Otto Motors' materials handling robot that forms "mental maps" to safely plot its own way through a shop environment. These and other robots could be seen throughout the show, as Zelinski relates: “Robots in general have been fairly easy to employ for some time, but the entire idea of adding a robot to one’s shop came off as a far friendlier prospect at the show this year.”
Did you attend IMTS this year? What were some of your takeaways?