A consortium of machine tool builders, joined by the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is developing a new trade event they claim will “revitalize U.S. manufacturing.” The Interactive Manufacturing Experience (imX) will take place over three days in September 2011, in Las Vegas. The organizers say it will combine aspects of a corporate open house, customer training seminars, client appreciation programs, and new product launch events.
In a conference call announcing the project, planners candidly listed several of the factors that prompted them to seek an alternative to equipment trade shows for marketing their products: declining attendance levels at trade shows; rising exhibitor costs; poor assessments by attendees; and the emergence of new formats that serve equipment buyers more effectively, such as technology seminars.
Makino CEO Don Lane said the OEMs goal has been to find a way to introduce new machining technologies with “very focused presentations.” In addition to Makino, the OEMs involved in the imX project are DMG Mori Seiki, Doosan, FANUC CNC America, MAG, Methods Machine Tools, Okuma America, and Sandvik Coromant.
These companies, and the two industry associations, have spent more than two years conducting research into alternatives and creating the imX business model. “We envision that imX, which will group OEMs and their partners, will allow decision makers to see their options in one area, make price and value comparisons and, ultimately, make better decisions,” according to Okuma America president and COO Larry Schwartz.
The backers contend that imX will be an “intimate, experiential and efficient event,” where suppliers will demonstrate specific products to “high-level, qualified” buyers. Attendees will be able to compare competitors’ products easily, and product and technology demos, learning labs, and other interactive activities will be scheduled to promote knowledge exchange and networking.
Encouraging customers to talk about their needs and concerns will allow the exhibitors to address them more directly and effectively, they expect.
“I expect imX to be an industry-changing event,” said Lane. “It is a fresh, new approach, attractive to the host companies as well as customers. We will offer concentrated exposure to breakthrough technology development, help buyers find the business services they need and assist them in setting up and conducting high-level private meetings. imX will deliver measurable ROI, real value from their trip to Vegas.”