IMTS 2018 to offer ‘unprecedented concentration of Additive Manufacturing resources’
July 16, 2018
The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), taking place in McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 10–15, 2018, will offer visitors an “unprecedented concentration of Additive Manufacturing resources,” according to Peter R Eelman, Vice President, Exhibitions & Business Development, at the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT), which owns and produces the show.
“In such a short time, the history of IMTS has become synonymous with AM technology breakthroughs,” stated Eelman, who predicts that one of the hottest AM topics of discussion will be how to extend the digital thread from design through processing to final part.
This year’s IMTS will include the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion and a second Emerging Technology Center, focused strictly on Additive Manufacturing, both located at the entrance to the West Building in an expanded exhibit space. The AM Pavilion now boasts 56 exhibitors, up from 21 two years ago, plus several exhibitors in other Pavilions who will showcase additive-related technology.
During show years, IMTS hosts the Additive Manufacturing Conference presented by Gardner Business Media on Sept. 11-12 and the AppliedAM – Where Additive Minds Meet symposium presented by EOS North America on Sept. 12. In addition, at least six of the technical sessions presented as part of the IMTS Conference will focus on AM technology.
“IMTS is valuable for any company that wants to stay competitive,” stated Glynn Fletcher, President of EOS North America. “Moving into production with Additive Manufacturing is a new experience for everybody. That’s why we bring a large team of experts who know the technology and equipment, from engineers to service techs. There’s no other place where you can have access to so many experts at one time. It’s a truly unique experience.”
The theme for EOS’s IMTS 2018 exhibit is an “Additive Mile” that takes visitors through the progressive steps of a journey in Additive Manufacturing: prototype, looking at material options, selecting and optimising part design, scaling up, production, integration into a facility and ongoing service and upgrades.
Learning about new trends
“Additive manufacturing is about solving the problem of high-cost, low-volume manufacturing,” added Ed Israel, President and co-founder of Plural Additive Manufacturing. “There’s been a huge void in the marketplace for companies that couldn’t afford the technology but would benefit from producing good prototype parts and serial manufactured parts using 3D printing. IMTS 2018 is the best place to learn how.”
Israel says that he thinks of Plural as an Additive Manufacturing integrator that works with customers to help them with any aspect of AM, from parts design all the way through high volume parts production. To help people find the right ways to apply AM, whether within an existing assembly or for new product development, Plural has developed a cost-per-part calculator.
“The big issue that will drive Additive Manufacturing is bringing cost per part down to a point where it can open up new markets, improve margins or accomplish other business objectives,” believes Israel. “We can help companies determine whether additive has value before they invest in it.”
Glenn Redding, Director of Engineering for ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, agrees, saying that, “Additive Manufacturing can be investigated and explore for unique applications and pain points for manufacturers dealing with high-mix/low-volume parts and who are driving for improved operational efficiencies.”
Redding notes that AM could help manufacturers provide additional resources to manage special requests from customers, respond faster by eliminating the need to produce tooling and do so without disrupting primary production capacity. In fact, many believe that today’s fastest growing segment for AM, both polymer-based and metal-based, is for creating jigs, fixtures and other job aids that reduce cost and time-to-market.
Ted Toth, Senior Technical Advisor, Rosenberger North America, has attended every single IMTS since 1974. He says that, “from a job shop perspective, you can see additive as a threat or an opportunity. Job shops need to embrace and understand additive processes, so they can support post-process machining of metal additive products.”