U.S. machine shops’ new orders for capital equipment have been lagging for much of the past two years, but this month’s International Manufacturing Technology Show offered some evidence that demand may be building: over six days, September 12-17, IMTS 2016 drew 115,612 registered attendees and over 2,400 exhibitors.

More detail on sales of equipment in connection with IMTS 2016 will be available in November, when the September U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report is issued by AMT - the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

The 2,407 exhibitors at IMTS 2016 were the most in the history of the event, and filled the largest volume of exhibit space (1,370,256 sq.ft.) at Chicago’s McCormick Place. 

The number of registrations represents the third-highest total of the 31 presentations of the biannual manufacturing technology expo.

“IMTS has grown not only in size, but in the overall scope of manufacturing,” commented Peter R. Eelman, v.p. – Exhibitions & Business Development for AMT, which owns and manages IMTS. “There are more compelling reasons for people to attend. Whether they come to research new technology, evaluate vendors before purchasing, find solutions or connect with the leaders in the manufacturing industry, there is simply no substitute for attending IMTS.”

In addition to exhibits of new machining, turning, and grinding machinery, as well as cutting tools, software for programming and networking, and automation equipment and systems, IMTS 2016 demonstrated the industry’s new awareness of additive manufacturing, as well as robotics automation, and the increasing significance of machine-to-machine communication and data sharing.

According to Tim Shinbara, AMT v.p. - Manufacturing Technology, “Four years ago, only one company exhibited a hybrid machine. At IMTS 2016, we had multiple companies demonstrate machines with both additive and subtractive capabilities, meeting the supply side demand for structural metallic components.”

The six-day schedule also included a variety of parallel events and conferences planned to appeal to specific needs and concerns, including the Smartforce Student Summit, AMT’s Emerging Technology Center, and 159 different conference sessions, which drew 2,296 attendees over more than 150 hours.

Other parallel events and exhibits were devoted to Additive Manufacturing, EOS North American User Day, Fluid Power, Industrial Laser, Integrated Industries, Global Automation & Manufacturing Summit, OPC Foundation, and TRAM Aerospace.