By Jim Lorincz
I’ve always thought that experiencing technology by putting the suppliers of technology together with the buyers of technology under one roof at a trade show/exposition made as much sense for editors as it did for the intended target audience: the users of manufacturing technology. These expositions eliminated the need to visit many suppliers off-site and made it easy to compare notes with other users of technology. Most users of technology have relied on these expositions for many years and have attended back to when the initials MT meant "machine tool" and not "manufacturing technology." Of course, in those days going to Chicago, Los Angeles, or West Springfield, MA, were perks that might be earned by top performing machinists in the shop. Or a troop of individuals would be sent in hope that exposing many in the shop to myriad solutions would result in finding the best way to improve process, productivity, and profitability. As times changed and purse strings tightened, though, the numbers being sent diminished. Manufacturing management and engineers were joined on newly formed decision-making buying teams of process engineers, designers, capital equipment buyers, and newly important programmers. Their function grew with the near universal application of CNC technology for hardware (robotics) and software for third-party processes. Technology was changing fast. New manufacturing solutions are complex and require time to understand and assimilate how they will fit with your application. And what if your contact is tied up? Discussions are longer with larger buying teams needing time with the experts that leaves their schedules tight during the exposition.
There’s a new way of experiencing technology on the horizon. Leading manufacturers from virtually every industry will learn about innovations in technology delivered by suppliers of that technology at imX, the Interactive Manufacturing Experience to be held September 12-14 in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Eight Partner Companies—DMG / Mori Seiki USA, FANUC, Kennametal, MAG IAS LLC, Makino, Methods Machine Tools Inc., Okuma America, and Sandvik Coromant—will create Experience Zones, around which more than 100 imX exhibitor partners will cluster. Collaborative experience-sharing activities will provide an exchange of information at the highest executive levels about how technology can increase manufacturing productivity and profitability. imX is co-sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the publisher of Manufacturing Engineering, and AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. For more information about imX, go to www.imxevent.com
This article was first published in the August 2011 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.