Organizers of IMTS 2018-The International Manufacturing Technology Show declared the recently concluded event to have been a “record breaker” and its “largest show ever,” as documented by the nearly 130,000 attendees. The high-volume results are attributed to the industrial demand for emerging technologies, several examples of which have now joined machine tools and cutting technologies as core components of the biennial event.
“Connectivity, the digital transformation of manufacturing, automation, additive manufacturing, and a strong economy drove record numbers at IMTS 2018,” according Peter R. Eelman, vice president-Exhibitions & Business Development for AMT-the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the owner and presenter of IMTS. “Digitization collided with a robust manufacturing industry to create our most dynamic show ever.”
Additive manufacturing was the most visible example of new industrial technology gaining high visibility at IMTS, with a pavilion with 51 exhibitors, devoted to AM systems, processes, and materials; an Emerging Technology Center presenting an array of successful AM applications and concepts; and multiple additive and hybrid manufacturing systems and applications demonstrated by more traditional CNC machine builders.
“Additive manufacturing is one of the most revolutionary technologies ever brought to IMTS, and that’s reflected in the ETC focusing on additive manufacturing,” said Eelman.
Other new technologies gaining industrial presence were well represented, too. Automation was widely on display via robotics and collaborative robots, and multiple examples of “smart” technologies were demonstrated together with more traditional systems. Athena, a voice-operated assistant for controlling CNC machining, was demonstrated by Makino, OKK, and DMG Mori.
“With five-axis milling technology becoming more prevalent, operators need to know more to be highly productive,” according to Dan Bagley, vice president - Marketing & Sales at iTSpeeX. “People don’t operate machines. People produce parts in a cell, and the machine is an actor in that cell. Athena provides intelligent assistance to machinists to allow them to operate multiple types of controls.”
AMT credited the confluence of new technologies at IMT for the enthusiastic crowds in attendance as well as the accelerating interest by technology to reach the manufacturing buyers.
“The velocity of change has become different,” commented Tim Shinbara AMT vice president-Manufacturing Technology. “Analog technology yields linear improvements. Digital technology creates exponential growth and transforms how manufacturers and job shops operate.”