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A few thoughts as a first-time attendee to IMTS by Emma Langer, Application Engineer

This past week I attended my first manufacturing trade show. I am a senior in college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio studying mechanical engineering and I am currently doing a co-op during this fall semester. I work for Precision CAM Software and Rethink Engineering. For Precision CAM software I support Wire EDM CAM from Fikus and for Rethink Engineering I build machine tool models.

My first trade show was called International Manufacturing Technology Tradeshow. It had over 120,000 attendees and took up the entirety of the McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. In the weeks leading up to IMTS, tons of mass emails were sent to my business email encouraging me to stop by a certain booth to learn about some new technology or service. By the time my three-day trip came around, I was extremely excited for my first big introduction into the manufacturing world.

Monday’s agenda was the east building where the software and technology exhibiters are set up. This was exciting for me as I had heard of many of these software programs and could now see example videos and see a glimpse into their user interface. The different softwares range from CAD/CAM to accounting types for the smaller businesses. It really opened my eyes to all the different types of businesses in the manufacturing world and their needs.

Tuesday’s agenda was the south building which had all the machine tools. This agenda bled into the next day as well since the south building is much bigger. The ones up front were the big names in machine tools and had booths larger than most homes.  Most booths had moving parts and it was very fascinating. Personally, my favorite to watch were the Grob machines. I watched how the Grob machines moved for a while because of how interesting they are and to try to figure out how to accurately build the machine tool model.

On Wednesday, after I had walked through machine tools in the south building, I went to the north building to see what was interesting in abrasive machining, sawing, finishing, fabricating, and lasers. There were certain technologies for very specific things that need to be machined. One thing that surprised me was seeing brushes that were specially designed to clean unique parts of machinery.

IMTS was a great experience especially since it was an international trade show. It was a great opportunity to see what is going on in the world of manufacturing. I am now looking forward to a smaller manufacturing tradeshow in Dayton to see what’s going on in the area around me and seeing what the Dayton area is producing.

A few thoughts I have for future first time attendees are to wear comfortable shoes, bring along a journal for note taking as it is an overwhelming experience, and overbudget your time because it is easy to get caught up somewhere.


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