“Inspiring the Extraordinary” sets the theme for IMTS 2024 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, taking place September 9-14 at McCormick Place in Chicago just one year from now.
Prepare to see cutting-edge technology, meet with industry experts, and expand your network. Don’t miss out on your chance to gear up for IMTS 2024. Secure your spot by registering to attend at IMTS.com/register. This leading industry event is known to spark new ideas to enhance efficiencies.
Every one of the IMTS Sectors offers hundreds of technologies that enable manufacturers to move beyond their typical production approach, as well as a multitude of application experts that can help solve your toughest manufacturing challenges.
“IMTS is great because we can talk to so many subject matter experts in the industry and make a lot of progress researching solutions,” says Courtney Silver, president and owner of Ketchie Manufacturing in Concord, North Carolina. “Attending IMTS is very energizing. I come back to Ketchie inspired and thinking about ways to position things differently. I look at the work we're doing and see how to do it better, faster.”
Strategic Steps “One-year out from IMTS 2024 is a good time to assess your efficiency, conduct technology research, and plan equipment acquisition,” says Kevin Wigington, the 2023-2024 chair of the IMTS show committee and general manager for Select Production Technologies – (IMTS booth #339100), a provider of CNC machine tools for high-volume production of complex parts exhibiting in the Metal Removal Sector.
To improve efficiency, Wigington cites turning centers that combine multiple operations in one machine, pallet conveyors, and systems that use a sub-spindle or multiple axes to machine parts in a single set up to reduce cycle time and minimize geometric and shape defects.
Integrating Advanced Technologies for Unattended Operations “Compliment your machine with any technology that can boost unattended run-time,” adds Markus Stolmar, president and CEO of UNITED GRINDING North America, an exhibitor in the Abrasive Machining Sector. “For example, combination machining centers, tool measuring machines, and grinders now feature integrated tool changers, metrology equipment, and the ability to laser scan a tool or part to generate a 3D model.”
The Metal Removal Sector at IMTS features dozens of turning centers that combine multiple operations and more.
Tailored Cutting Tools for Enhanced Precision To move work in-house, companies need to research cutting tools that match their needs.
“Companies may be able to broaden their applications with our new steel turning grade, KCP25C, which is designed to machine steels and PH stainless steels and has been used in P10 and P40 turning applications,” says Scott Etling, vice president of global product management at Kennametal – (IMTS booth #432324), an exhibitor in the Tooling & Workholding Sector. “New MV (medium versatile) and FV (finishing versatile) geometries also provide customers with the flexibility to take light to heavy depths of cuts. The new geometries are engineered to lower cutting forces for smaller machines in addition to offering excellent chip control when needed.”
Glynn Fletcher, president of EOS North America – (IMTS booth #432302), the leading provider laser powder bed fusion technology exhibiting in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) Sector, says that some AM processes are transitioning from lower-volume, higher-value production to medium volume, cost effective, and mainstream production applications.
“As part of this transition, AM is becoming an integrated process, not an isolated process,” says Fletcher. “Ten years ago, users had a stand-alone AM machine for high-value items, design freedom or consolidating assemblies. Now manufacturers are integrating AM as part of a bigger value chain. That’s something visitors can explore when they come to a show like IMTS, where the full breadth of manufacturing technologies are exhibited.”
Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges Melanie Lang, the co-founder and CEO of Formalloy Technologies – (IMTS booth #433018), believes the trend of adding AM equipment to move work in-house is growing, such as for replacing forgings, castings, and tooling, which typically come from overseas and with long lead times.
“The last few years opened our eyes to the instabilities in our supply chain,” says Lang, whose company provides directed energy deposition (DED) AM systems. “We can’t take delivery times for granted, the true country of origin for our products remains uncertain and some sources are subject to geopolitical issues. Fortunately, we can apply technology to solve those problems.
Faster and Smarter
“From reshoring initiatives and workspace optimization to production capacity and workforce shortages, multiple issues are often at play when companies are looking to invest in automation technology,” says Doug Burnside, vice president of North American sales and marketing for Yaskawa Motoman – (IMTS booth #236601), which is exhibiting in the Automation Sector.
“For smaller companies, collaborative palletizing and welding are two easy options for first steps into automation,” he says. “The systems deploy rapidly and have user-friendly pendants.” Other automation technologies include robots that combine AI deep-learning software with 3D cameras to create human-like vision and achieve pick rates of 1,200 to 1,700 per hour for a wide range of objects.
Navigating IMTS With so much technology to evaluate, long-time IMTS attendee Chad Sesing advises visitors to take a methodical approach to the show. Just like machining a part, success starts with the set-up.
“IMTS is a one-stop-shopping trip to improve efficiency for your current work, but also think about the parts you don’t have yet,” says Sesing, who is vice president and plant manager, JTD Enterprises, a job shop and manufacturer of precision CNC machined parts. “You also need to have your day planned out when you go there. There will be a lot of shiny toys at IMTS 2024” (see the IMTS Show Planner).
Tim Shinbara, chief technology officer at AMT, says that “Researching technology and then visiting IMTS is the most intelligent investment you can make to maximize opportunity. You can find inspiration and make connections in literally every square foot of McCormick Place, and there are more than 1 million square feet to explore.”
A limited amount of exhibit space remains for IMTS 2024. To learn more, visit IMTS.com/exhibitor.