Change vs. Progress: Reflections from a 25-Time IMTS Attendee

Posted by: 20. September 2018
IMTS Show floor

Image: AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.


During IMTS last week, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence recognized Burt Mason, a portable arm measurement specialist, with a tribute for having attended a whopping 25 editions of IMTS! On the occasion, he reflected on the almost 50 years this represents: 

After recounting the growth of CNC and CAD/CAM technology into the mainstream, Mason observed that these changes, being incremental by nature, were very gradual—“so gradual that if you asked people what they saw at IMTS that was unique or interesting most people would say, ‘There is nothing really new at the show this year,’ yet the changes were there show after show.”

It’s a good reminder that change most often comes not in sudden grand revelations but rather the step-by-step meandering of day-to-day problem solving and the effects of policies, both spoken and unspoken.

If I can add anything to Mason’s words, I’d say that change isn’t identical with progress. For example, the movement toward the looming labor dilemma that preoccupies many a shop both large and small has been just as incremental (and multifaceted) as the developments in CNC and CAD/CAM technology. To agree with Mason’s conclusion, it would do us well to pay attention to the incremental shifts that go on around us, whether or not they are intentional. Maybe that way we can contribute positively to the changes that we’ll look back on in the future.

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