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IMTS 2022. Photo: Sadi Muktadir.

As IMTS 2022 kicked off on Sept. 12th, there were questions around how COVID-19 would affect attendance and enthusiasm. The hubbub and throngs of people showed that the manufacturing industry across North America was more than ready to jump back into the tradeshow circuit, even if the numbers weren’t quite at what they were in 2018.

Over 1,272 exhibitors covering every facet of manufacturing spread across four buildings at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. continue to solicit, advertise and hawk their wares as prospective clients amble past the plush tradeshow floors.

Over 80,000 people showed up through the doors, and many of the major industrial players are expected to make announcements around new products and solutions for manufacturers to scale up in the digital age. Returning exhibitors were asked about their 2022 experience compared to its last iteration.

“There’s definitely a dip in attendance,” says exhibitor Jessica Eanes, a Research Manager with Site Location Partnership, an organization helping manufacturers move operations across states. “There were over 100,000 attendees in 2018 and there’s less this year, but it’s still been a great show.”

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Companies like Hexagon, Nikon and Faro were eager to speak to Canadian Manufacturing about their industrial 3D laser scanners, jockeying for prominence within a few blocks of one another. Their proprietary robot arms already boast clients across all industries in manufacturing, with each of them touting differences in their scanning capabilities.

IMTS 2022. Photo: Sadi Muktadir.

Additive manufacturing companies, ERP vendors, CNC and tool-making manufacturers were well represented as well, and McCormick Place’s busy corridors leading from one building to another seemed to serve as an unofficial sales floors as companies traded pitches to one another.

One of the prominent announcements made from an advanced manufacturing perspective was Siemens’ MCenter, billed as part of their Xcelerator portfolio of products, meant to help manufacturers create products through digital twins and an NC machining program. MCenter is meant to track and measure tools and reduce the set up and downtime during required during the production cycle.

A number of manufacturers across the industrial trades, from advanced robotics, tool-making and machine parts were asked about environmental efforts at their production facilities, or any sustainable products they were manufacturing themselves and their answers were found wanting.

“I’m not sure of any sustainability-related products we have,” says Manfred Keller, President of Zimmerman Milling Solutions, a German machine-manufacturer helping the aerospace industry cut parts. “We don’t really have machines focused on having a better environmental impact.”

There was a dedicated section for cleantech products, and manufacturers with sustainability-related efforts, but they took a backseat when it came to being featured compared to the pizazz of how accurately a machine could cut or measure.

IMTS continues until Sept. 17th, and continues to be an event revealing new products and solutions for manufacturers, with a heavy focus on the American economy revitalizing itself through advanced manufacturing.

Article originally appeared online on our sister publication, Canadian Manufacturing

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