Viewpoints: Why Go to the Show?
US manufacturers continue to demonstrate their need for highly capable new equipment, as shown by the 18% increase in US manufacturing technology consumption in the first quarter of this year. March US consumption totaled $255.13 million, up 7% from the total of $238.85 million reported for April 2005.
Demand for manufacturing technology is now well into its third year. Consumption rose 8% in 2005, on the heels of a rise of over 43% in 2004. This demand has helped push US manufacturing output to an all-time high.
Advances in technology have made today's new equipment much more productive than older production equipment, and it is no exaggeration to say that a manufacturer could replace any machine more than 10 years old—and make money doing so. The savings come from increased output, higher quality, and reduced labor cost.
With growing global competition, today's manufacturers are faced with the ongoing task of identifying innovative ways to cut production costs. Next month, the world's manufacturers will have an unequaled opportunity to see the newest manufacturing technology at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which will be held September 6–13 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
Continued investment in manufacturing equipment is essential to remain competitive in this rapidly changing world and there is no better place for manufacturing teams to see the latest factory-floor technology than IMTS. This vast marketplace is filled with the products they need to survive and thrive.
Over 1300 exhibitors from 40 countries will bring their newest and best equipment. IMTS 2006 will showcase more than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems, and processes to improve efficiency.
New equipment purchases are often driven by a number of people within an organization, and bringing those team members to IMTS who have a role in your company's purchasing process is a smart approach. We receive testimonials after each show, endorsing the value of staff input at various levels in the buying-decision strategy.
As manufacturing engineers, you work with all aspects of manufacturing, solving practical problems and producing goods. However, the CEO, CFO or purchasing manager may be the one making the financial decision to purchase the equipment. You also need to consider feedback from the machine operator, the person who runs the equipment daily. Make sure you take full advantage of the show's role in this process by bringing the right people to facilitate your buying expedition.
In addition to seeing what's new in equipment and processes, you'll get a first-hand glimpse of the industrial future through the Emerging Technology Center (ETC), which debuted at IMTS 2004. The Center will present more exciting, innovative research in nanomanufacturing, noncontact inspection, and smart machining, as well as spotlight activities at various universities and government laboratories, and what we need to know in the next few years to compete for business on the global stage.
The Competitive Manufacturers Conference at IMTS 2006, co-sponsored and managed by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), will bring together experts with the most current technical information available. This year's focus is on keeping manufacturing operations competitive. The conference will present technologies and strategies that could change the way we produce, lean manufacturing practices and applications, and collaboration strategies and tools.
Training the next generation of workers is critical in planning for our position in the future marketplace. In 2004, the Student Summit at IMTS attracted more than 6000 students from all over the US. The National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) has assumed management of the program now referred to as the NIMS Student Summit at IMTS. NIMS is in the process of developing a strategic vision to prepare youth for the future at IMTS 2006 and beyond.
A core principle of AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology is enhancing global competitiveness and market penetration. Presenting IMTS 2006 fulfills that pledge. Here's my cordial invitation to you to bring your team to this exposition, and gain the insights and tools needed to drive your organization towards global success.
This article was first published in the August 2006 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.