CHICAGO, IL—Results for the 29th edition of The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2012 prove the continuing leadership of manufacturing in the overall economy as show management reports the strongest results in more than a decade. Hosting exhibitors and visitors from 119 countries, IMTS 2012, which ran Sept. 10-15 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, covered 1.248 million net square feet of exhibit space with 1,909 exhibiting companies.

Total registration for the six-day event was 100,200, which is a 21.6% increase over 2010, marking the largest show-to-show increase ever for IMTS.

Additive manufacturing, multi-spindle machines and multi-tasking machines were stars on the show floor. Spotlighted both in the IMTS Emerging Technology Center (ETC) and in several exhibitor booths, additive manufacturing continued to gain traction as a production process and excite visitors to IMTS. Recognized as the next major manufacturing breakthrough, this technology can reduce prototype and part development as well as eliminate waste.

The productivity improvements and accuracy showcased by dozens of exhibitors with new offerings in multi-spindle and multi-tasking machines and automation drew serious attention.

“The energy level among visitors and exhibitors was at an all-time high,” says Peter Eelman, IMTS vice president, exhibitions and communications. “The most exciting take-away from IMTS 2012 is what it says about the prospects for manufacturing over the next year. The overall activity and buzz indicates that we are entering a period of sustained growth that will fuel economic prosperity and job creation. Visitors came to find solutions and innovative approaches to their manufacturing challenges. They found immediate answers throughout the four halls and long-term possibilities in the ETC.”

The show had a remarkable display of new and emerging technologies that will continue to revolutionize the manufacturing world. These innovations, coupled with traditional equipment, offer solutions to all manufacturers who seek increased productivity and lower cost.

“Sold” signs on machines could be seen throughout the show.

Exhibitor MAG enjoyed tremendous success booking a $36 million order during the show. To support its Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programs, Aerospace Dynamics International launched a major capacity increase in titanium machining with an order for eight MAG five-spindle, five-axis XTi profilers – 40 spindles total on a new machine platform that will increase ADI’s Ti machining capacity almost 40 percent, as part of a $90 million expansion that includes new facility. According to MAG, ADI’s machinery purchase is one of the largest single aerospace orders in the history of the company in terms of total value and number of spindles.

IMTS teamed up with Deutsche Messe AG to co-locate the first-ever Industrial Automation North America with IMTS. Industrial Automation North America showcased products and solutions for production automation, complementing IMTS’ focus on manufacturing technology, metalworking and precision manufacturing. Exhibit space sales exceeded expectations and as part of the agreement to extend the partnership to IMTS 2014, Industrial Automation North America will occupy additional space.

IMTS has answered the industry call for education with an increased offering of opportunities. “We’ve come full circle because in the early years IMTS was actually an educational event, and only turned into a buying/selling forum after World War II,” Eelman explains.

Along with the IMTS 2012 Conference that featured 72 sessions and educated more than 500 participants, the show co-located six conference programs: IANA Global Automation & Manufacturing Summit, The International Society of Automation (ISA), The Motion, Drives & Automation, the EHS Today America's Safest Companies Conference, TRAM³ Aerospace Conference — Trends in Advanced Machining, Manufacturing and Materials, and Midwest Clean Tech 2012.

Organizers of each conference agreed that the education component was well-received. Across the board, the quality of speakers and presentations received high marks from participants.