Readying Your Shop For Success

Aug. 1, 2004
IMTS 2004 will showcase innovative technologies that will help manufacturers better compete in today's global economy.

IMTS 2004 will showcase innovative technologies that will help manufacturers better compete in today's global economy.

More than halfway into 2004, the U.S. economy is giving every indication that it is finally on the rebound. It's true that global competition is still making things tough for manufacturers, but many are producing — or at least quoting on — new orders. To win new business, however, shops need to be as efficient and productive as possible. They not only have to incorporate lean-manufacturing practices but they also must invest in their operations.

Just ask John B. Byrd III, president of AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology. He says manufacturers should expect a major upswing in North American manufacturing production within the next 12 months. He adds that domestic manufacturers are in a great position to bid competitively against overseas manufacturers for contracts because of rising international shipping rates, improving North American productivity, changes in currency values, and demand for raw materials.

Byrd contends that the boom in the North American manufacturing sector will be "unlike anything we have seen in the last quarter century." He also reasons, "If there has ever been a year when companies should attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), this is it. Those who visit the show with the mindset of preparing for upcoming business will be ready to bid on and win the contracts that will most surely be coming down the road."

AMERICAN MACHINIST's editors agree with Byrd about the importance of IMTS 2004. That's why we have invested a good portion of our 2004 editorial in a series of articles intended to help manufacturing management better evaluate their metalworking-process needs and implement new process technologies on their shop floor.

In January, we introduced "American Machinist Manufacturing Co.," a virtual shop that had just won a contract and was preparing itself for new work. Our "company" combated offshore competition by investing in innovative process technologies to stay competitive.

Over the past seven months, we've examined equipment and financing — everything from machines and tooling to software and quality-inspection systems. We hope that the series, posted on, has helped our readers become betterinformed consumers, ready to tackle the largest metalworking show in North America.

The culmination of our efforts is this issue, which previews innovative process technologies at IMTS 2004. Here's your chance to "kick the tires" of the latest and greatest machines and tools — many of which are making their worldwide debut in Chicago.

When you get to the show, make the AMERICAN MACHINIST booth, CL-1, your first stop (it's easy, we're in the main concourse lobby). There, you can pick up IMTS AT-A-GLANCE (a handy, pocket-sized guide for the show), sign up for e-newsletters, and take part in our Jobshop Benchmarking Survey. But most importantly, you can check out the Checker Club.

What's the Checker Club, you ask?

Well, we've given you hints all year long about what our virtual shop is producing. Our contracted job involves checkers — both round and hex-shaped. We've been evaluating equipment to make these checkers.

The Checker Club gives you a special opportunity to collect a commemorative checker set. The gameboard and machined checkers are only available at IMTS 2004 — and just for a limited time. The set is courtesy of AMERICAN MACHINIST and a group of leading metalworking companies participating in our Checker Club.

Stop by our booth and you'll get a button that identifies you as a Checker Club participant and a list of Checker Club Member companies. Once you've collected the set, return to the AMERICANMACHINIST booth to pick up your checkerboard and walk through the Accu-Port to see if you are a prize winner. While there, vote for your favorite checkers in several manufacturing and design categories.

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to see innovative metalworking technologies, shop around for advanced manufacturing technology, and collect a free, limited-edition checker set — all at the same time.

The Checker Club members are: Booth #
Absolute Machine Tools Inc. A-8252
Belmont Equipment & Technologies D-4120

Chiron America Inc.

Daewoo Heavy Industries America Corp. A-8232

Darex Corp.

B-7102, E-2200

Fortune International Inc.

GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. S-1000

Hardinge Inc.

Harig Manufacturing Corp. D-4033
Hydromat Inc. A-8127
Kia Heavy Industries USA Corp. A-8727
Makino Inc. A-8400, D-4110
Mazak Corp. A-8200
Mighty U.S.A. Inc. A-8753
Mori Seiki USA Inc. A-8418
Okuma America Corp. A-8301
Romi Machine Tools Ltd. A-8540
Sandvik Coromant Co. A-8290, E-2604
Schtte MSA LLC A-8667
Surfware Inc. D-3101

We hope to see you at the show. And as always, we value your input.