The 2010 International Manufacturing Technology Show, or IMTS, signaled a strong comeback in manufacturing, according to show organizers. The six-day event, which ran from Sept. 13-18 at the sprawling McCormick Place in Chicago, drew more than 82,000 registrants. Plus, IMTS covered 1,137,375 square feet of exhibit space with 1,728 companies exhibiting in 1,180 booths.

“We are ecstatic that IMTS 2010 met and, in many cases, exceeded our exhibitors’ and visitors’ expectations,” said Peter Eelman, IMTS vice president, Exhibitions and Communications. “The show was lively and exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the quantity and quality of attendees. Manufacturing professionals were searching for confirmation that manufacturing in the United States is not dying or dead and, in fact, found that it is robust, poised for growth, and clearly understand that investing in the latest technology is the key to being competitive.”

Customers also came with very specific objectives and were looking for solutions to make them more productive, according to Daniel Janka, president of MAG and Chairman of AMT, The Association for Manufacturing Technology. “This show had a remarkable display of new and emerging technologies that will be the catalyst for the revitalization of manufacturing,” he said. “Our company’s booth traffic met our expectations, and I have heard from many of our exhibitors and visitors that they are leaving IMTS 2010 more optimistic than when they arrived.”

Exhibitors agreed there were more than “tire-kickers” at IMTS. Specifically, they cited a significant number of orders booked during the show. In fact, observers said “sold” signs on machines could be seen throughout the exhibit area. Case in point: Clearfield, Utah-based ATK Aerospace Systems made a major investment in two automated fiber placement systems, which will be used to produce wings and nacelles for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. “The performance and cost of the MAG systems provided ATK with the confidence to move ahead on this project,” according to Christopher Walden, ATK Aerospace Systems Program Manager, Military Programs.

IMTS 2010 Highlights

Along with the healthy traffic on the show floor, other highlights for attendees and exhibitors included the Emerging Technology Center, the Advanced Manufacturing Center, the reinvented Industry & Technology Conference, a Manufacturing Museum, and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Student Summit.

During IMTS 2010 the Emerging Technology Center was a hub of excitement featuring MTConnect®, additive manufacturing, cloud computing and micro- and nano- manufacturing. The MTConnect Institute demonstrated the MTConnect software protocol using 22 remote locations and nine apps ranging from shop floor productivity and production monitoring to maintenance. On the show floor, MAG, Mori Seiki, Okuma and Mazak had 60-70 machines tied to the demo at any given moment.

ITAMCO, a Plymouth, Ind.-based contract manufacturer launched an MTConnect iPhone app during IMTS. It can be used to connect multiple MTConnect agents so the user can view real-time data from their machines and controls on the iPhone.

Seeing the end result of manufacturing technology was more prominent than ever during the 2010 show. More than ever before, exhibitors featured parts and products made by their equipment and products. Two exciting end products featured by GIE Media were the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and Tesla Roadster. Lockheed Martin brought the full-scale model of the F-35 to the show floor where visitors could learn about the plane’s construction and the manufacturing technology behind it. The Tesla Roadster is a two-seater that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and proves that electric cars can be performance cars.

Another exciting new addition to IMTS 2010 was the Manufacturing Museum. Visitors to the museum were treated to a spectacular retrospective of manufacturing technology. The display included a self-guided tour of machinery and artifacts from different points in the history of industrial development that were on loan from the American Precision Museum, and a "social media encounter" in which visitors video-recorded their experiences and thoughts about manufacturing.

For more on the event, please visit