|Bruce Vernyi |
The 2008 International Machine Tool Show is approaching us with the speed of a summer storm, and the show organizers are hard at work to expand the range of activities to increase its value.
The show will be held Sept. 8 through 13 in Chicago’s sprawling McCormick Place, and it’s the largest manufacturing technologies exhibition in North America.
The biennial show makes metal cutting, metalworking and automation technologies and equipment and the tooling available for close-up viewing and analysis. And, more than any other event it gives sharp-eyed attendees the opportunity to compare and contrast features on machines and tooling to determine which manufacturers have leading technology, and who is lagging.
The IMTS organizers have established an interactive website — www.imts.com — that has numerous features designed to help attendees take full advantage of the event, and to make it easier to attend the show and to get the most benefits from it.
However, besides putting electronic communications to good use, the IMTS organizers have developed an ambitious plan to restore the conference role that IMTS has had in the past, and they have developed plans to present a new feature, the IMTS Innovation Center. The Innovation Center will highlight a relevant theme each day of the show with presentations sponsored by several trade publications.
American Machinist is sponsoring the Innovation Center’s Job Shop Day on Saturday, Sept. 13, based on the idea that every manufacturing opportunity is a job shop opportunity. The presentations for that day will focus on helping job shops to be more competitive and profitable, and ways to operate and thrive in today’s fierce markets.
The IMTS Innovation Center will provide live presentations on daily topics to complement the show’s floor exhibitions, its Emerging Technology Center, where new technologies will be showcased and discussed, and its new Student Summit that will host the next generation of manufacturers and machinists.
We all know that we’re living with threatening economic conditions, but this year’s IMTS promises to be highpoint in the event’s 81-year history as a forum for all of the producers of manufacturing technologies, and we all should be making plans to get the most out of it.
The demand for components for medical applications continues to grow, and those parts are becoming more sophisticated and demand advancing technology to make them.
We are featuring two articles in this issue of American Machinist that deal with the technologies that machinist have to develop and the cutting tools that they are doing the work with to meet the demand for improved parts that are being called for in medical devices and as replacements for our own body parts.
Associate Editor Jim Benes talks about how the micro cutting tools are made (Page 24). These tools are being used to cut smaller and smaller medical implants and components, and are vital for the advances that medical science continues to make.
Meanwhile, Senior Editor Charles Bates talks about machining all sorts of the polymer materials that are replacing metals in medical instruments (Page 44). The approaches to machining plastics are different from metals, and the demand for these materials is rising.
Both of these articles are reminders that someone is always raising the bar of expectations and, that if you don’t keep up the pace, you are going to quickly lose your place.