IMTS exudes excitement, technology and business opportunities

IMTS exudes excitement, technology and business opportunities

 
By Bill Lydon - Editor, October 2010
 
The IMTS show was very active and the general feeling is business is starting to pick up. Many exhibitors and attendees shared this view, but people remain cautious. A total of 1,728 companies from 30 countries displayed with 1,180 booths in 1,137,375 sq. ft. of the latest advances in manufacturing technology.  There were over 82,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. The special features and attractions at this year’s show included The Emerging Technology Center, Advanced Manufacturing Center, the re-tooled Industry & Technology Conference, Manufacturing Museum and NIMS Student Summit.

Busy Exhibits
 
 
Attention Grabbers: F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter and Tesla Roadster
 
Industry Barometer
Manufacturing technology consumption is up 58.9% in 2010 based on the United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption (USMTC) report compiled by the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). July U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $266.08 million was up 10.1% from June and up 72.6% from the total of $154.13 million reported for July 2009. These numbers are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program.
 
Here are the regional breakouts:
 
Northeast Region - $52.54 million, July manufacturing technology consumption in the Northeast Region was up 2.7% from June’s $51.15 million and up 139.4% when compared with last July.  The $262.84 million year-to-date total was 45.9% more than the 2009 total at the same time.
 
Southern Region - With a total of $26.37 million, July Southern Region manufacturing technology consumption was down 23.6% when compared with June’s $34.50 million but up 20.7% when compared with July a year ago.  At $215.35 million, 2010 year-to-date was 65.9% higher than the comparable figure a year ago.
 
Midwest Region - Midwest Region manufacturing technology consumption in July stood at $95.07 million, 30.3% higher than the $72.96 million total for June and 132.7% higher than the July 2009 total.  With a year-to-date total of $430.34 million, 2010 was up 64.1% when compared with 2009 at the same time.
 
Central Region - At $62.72 million, Central Region manufacturing technology consumption in July rose 9.0% when compared with June’s $57.54 million and was 22.9% higher than last July’s total.  The year-to-date total of $392.34 million was 71.5% more than the comparable figure for 2009.
 
Western Region - July manufacturing technology consumption in the Western Region totaled $29.37 million, up 14.8% when compared with the $25.58 million total for June and up 59.1% when compared with July a year ago.  The $172.93 million 2010 year-to-date total was 36.6% higher than the total for the same period last year.
 
PDF and Excel versions of the Economic Handbook report are available to AMT members free of charge.   Non-members may download the PDF version for $295.00 or may purchase a CD containing the entire PDF document for $345.00 plus shipping and handling. 
 
Improved Machine Communications – MTConnect
MTConnect is a set of open, royalty-free XML standards intended to foster greater interoperability between controls, devices and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol. The MTConnect Institute (www. mtconnect.org ) is a not-for-profit independent organization established to further the development of MTConnect standards and materials. At IMTS there were a number of vendor demonstrating the use of MTConnect.
 
OPC Foundation /MTConnect® Institute Cooperation
The OPC Foundation (www.opcfoundation.org ) and the MTConnect® Institute (www.mtconnect.org) announced a joint Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in developing standards called MTConnectOpcUa. MTConnectOpcUa is a set of companion specifications to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and OPC specifications, as well as the manufacturing technology equipment, devices, software or other products that implement those standards.
 
Legacy Machine Tool Connectivity Working Group
The MTConnect Institute announced the Legacy Machine Tool Connectivity Working Group during IMTS 2010. This group will address issues of providing best practices and overall guidance for the physical connectivity of the thousands of legacy machine tools in manufacturing shops around the globe.
 
Hannover, AMT Partnership
The Association for Manufacturing Technology (www.AMTonline.org ) and Deutsche Messe AG (www.messe.de ) announced the formation of a strategic partnership and created a new industrial automation event, Industrial Automation North America, co-located with IMTS in 2012. Industrial Automation North America will showcase products and solutions for production automation, complementing IMTS’s focus on machine tools, metalworking and precision manufacturing. Deutsche Messe is one of the world's largest and most active trade fair companies based in Hannover, Germany and annually produces approximately 100 trade fairs and conferences.
 
 
Douglas K. Woods, President, AMT and Wolfgang Lenarz, Sr. Vice President, Global Fairs - Deutsche Messe AG officially form a strategic partnership that will co-locate Industrial Automation North America with IMTS in 2012.
 
The Emerging Technology Center
The Emerging Technology Center offered visitors and exhibitors a chance to see what technology is coming next and included a 3-D Theater, as well as the technology-specific pods, included Cloud Computing, MTConnect, Additive Technology, and Micro/Nanotechnology.
 
 
Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is starting to provide ways for taking advantage of embedded diagnostics and data in automation systems. One example of this is Siemens ePS Network Services. ePS Network Services is an internet-based service from Siemens for remote monitoring of machine parameters. Information is made available from equipment to a server in the “cloud” over a secure internet connection.   The information is available to authorized users for many reasons including problem diagnosis, predictive maintenance, and machine optimization. This is a growing trend.
 
Integrated Machine Design & Programming
There has been a growing trend to link modeling and simulation tools directly to implementation of real world controls. At this show, the Siemens Mechatronics Concept Designer put this into practice.   These integrated design tools allow the interaction of experts from different disciplines including mechanical, electrical, and software in a virtual environment, and offers a much more efficient design cycle. This approach eliminates the problems created when each design group “throws” their part of the design over the wall to the other groups.   Using traditional, isolated methods, the design issues don’t get resolved until the machine is built, when it’s very expensive to make changes.  Read more about Siemens Mechatronics Concept Designer
 
Thoughts & Observations
The IMTS event was upbeat and companies were selling machines – both are very good signs. While discussing the economy with exhibitors, many of them report that sales are improving but they remain cautious.
 
The new design tools including simulation, design, and rapid prototyping are investments in technology to improve competitiveness and deliver more value.