Wearing IMTS Like a Badge of Honor

Throughout my week at this larger-than-life event, from hall to hall, I witnessed several attendees and exhibitors alike announcing how many IMTS events they’ve attended.


Oliver Leopold, 13 (second from right), YouTube sensation, poses with his Smartforce Student Summit team, Robotronics First Lego League. This is already Oliver’s second IMTS.


On opening day of IMTS, in the east hall, an engineer named Jim Allemann was recognized by show organizers because this year marked his 25th consecutive IMTS. His first event was in 1965, he said, and his employers understood the importance and benefits of sending him to IMTS to see and learn about what’s new in manufacturing technologies so that they might incorporate it in their companies.

Also honored in the east hall during that opening ceremony was a 13-year-old student named Oliver Leopold. This was his second IMTS and he was attending with his Robotronics First Lego League team. For many, his attendance at such a young age put an emphasis on the future of both IMTS and manufacturing.

Throughout my week at this larger-than-life event, from hall to hall, I witnessed several attendees and exhibitors alike announcing how many IMTS events they’ve attended, including one friend of mine in the machine tool sector who told me proudly that this was his 22nd. I’ve attended six IMTS events over the years, but this was definitely my favorite one because I never met so many enterprising and engaging people there before now. Undoubtedly this had a little to do with the fact that I am an editor for a metalworking publication and it’s my job to visit exhibitors to find out what’s new and exciting, but I also know this industry’s character – and it’s a wonderful and welcoming one.

It should be noted that on the main concourse between the north and south halls on opening day, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker was a featured speaker. She said, “There are three key reasons why Made in America remains the best brand in the world: our people, our business climate and our capacity to innovate.” I am inclined to agree. She also reminded attendees that October 7 is Manufacturing Day and she urged companies to invite students and career advisors from their local schools to tour their facilities and learn about advanced manufacturing and career opportunities that are available. I’d like to add that inviting parents may be just as important, since they are strong influencers with regard to career and education direction.

The IMTS Insider newsletter, which came out on Wednesday, released the final figures for the show, which are as follows: 115,612 registrants were tallied (third largest ever); a record-breaking 2,407 exhibitors occupied 1,270,256 net square feet of exhibit space (third largest ever) – and McCormick Place was 76 million pounds heavier after the exhibitors moved all of their equipment and wares into the building!

Be sure to mark your calendar to attend IMTS 2018, which will be held September 10-15 in Chicago. No matter how many times you’ve attended previously, wear that distinction like a badge of honor because this show is like no other in the world.

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