The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which would have been held in September in Chicago, has been canceled for the first time since World War II. The extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health and safety requirements imposed by the state of Illinois for holding conventions, led AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, McLean, Va., to cancel the show.
For the show to go on, the State of Illinois would require the availability of a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus or a highly effective treatment protocol, neither of which are likely by September.
Instead, IMTS will offer two comprehensive digital programs, IMTS Network and IMTS Spark to assist exhibitors and the manufacturing community. IMTS says it is fully committed to returning to McCormick Place as scheduled for its normal rotation, September 13-18, 2022.
“The show has been held uninterrupted for more than 80 years, but now the global coronavirus health crisis requires the cancellation of what would have been the 34th edition of IMTS for the health and safety of our exhibitors, audiences and local business community,” said Peter R. Eelman, Vice President & CXO at AMT, which owns and produces IMTS. “Our organization and its members take immense pride in presenting one of the world’s largest manufacturing technology events, one that dates back to 1927. The cancellation is especially poignant because the show was poised to offer an unmatched breadth and depth of resources to help industry rethink, reestablish and reengage with supply chains disrupted by COVID-19.”
While acknowledging that an in-person show can never be replaced with a digital event, Eelman said IMTS feels a responsibility to provide exhibitors and visitors a way to connect. “We will launch the IMTS Network and IMTS Spark to provide the IMTS exhibitors and visitors with connections, networking opportunities and technical knowledge,” he said.
The IMTS Network will live-stream a variety of features and human-interest stories from the Manufacturing Technology sector. IMTS Spark, a new program, will be a digital platform that connects IMTS exhibitors and visitors and provides educational and networking opportunities.
IMTS has also taken action to help manufacturers address supply chain issues created by COVID-19. The IMTS.com/supplychain microsite—ReBuilding the Supply Chain—shows OEMs how to rethink their current operations, how they can re-engage with suppliers and secure trading partners, and how they can re-establish connections for a more localized industrial base. IMTS has mapped out future content on securing the supply chain moving forward.
Manufacturing Engineering has responded by publishing IMTS 2020: A Show in Print, including previews of new technology that would have been exhibited at IMTS. With the show being canceled, it’s even more important to spread the word about new technology. In this August issue, ME is presenting Show in Print sections for five IMTS pavilions: Metal Removal; Tooling and Workholding Systems; Abrasive Machining/Sawing/Finishing; Controls and CAD/CAM; and Additive Manufacturing. In the July issue, we presented coverage of three sections: Quality Assurance; Fabricating & Lasers; and Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental.
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