With handshakes, hugs, high-fives, and hearty backslaps as people greeted each other after four years apart, the connectedness of the manufacturing community was the literal showstopper at IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show. Held from Sept. 12-17 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, IMTS 2022 achieved a total registration of 86,307, including 11,715 students, and featured 1,212,806 million square feet of exhibit space representing 1,816 exhibitors and 1,603 booths. The North American visitor-to-exhibitor ratio increased by more than 10% compared to 2018’s record-breaking show, reaffirming the need to meet in person.
“While the excitement and electricity were clearly evident in every aisle of the show, what was most gratifying for the industry and the country was the scope of commerce taking place as visitors sought out, and found, key technologies and productivity solutions to move their businesses forward,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS.
“At IMTS 2022, the manufacturing community achieved something that hasn’t been done since World War II: it brought our industry back together after a worldwide disruption. We proved our resiliency, but we achieved much more,” adds Peter R. Eelman, chief experience officer at AMT. “The digital technologies and other new products at this show aren’t just advanced: they are accessible, inclusive, and ready to be implemented by small and medium-sized businesses regardless of their workforce composition.”
The show attracted 7,647 people to its educational and networking events. The IMTS Women Make Manufacturing Move specialty program attracted more than 1,213 people, representing 400 companies and 52 countries, to its three events. Three IMTS Job Shops specialty programs attracted 293 people and covered topics such as taking shops digital, the Top Shops award winners, and the Top Shops benchmarking program, presented by AMT, Modern Machine Shop magazine, and Additive Manufacturing magazine by Gardner Business Media.
The inaugural IMTS Investor Forum, powered by AMT, featured curated tours on additive manufacturing, digital technology, machining, and automation and was designed to help the investment community understand the opportunities in manufacturing. Presenter David Burns, principal and founder at Global Business Advisory Services, notes, “With the number of innovative products hitting the market now – cutting across the entire swath of automation and digital technologies that change the way we manufacture parts – we’re in a period of time that will not be paralleled again for decades.” Burns points out that manufacturing technology orders per sale continued to increase from 2019 through 2022 and that they will continue to accelerate as companies use technology to compensate for a smaller labor force.
The AM4U Area, presented by Formnext, a new venue for IMTS, featured well-attended daily presentations such as a panel of nine additive manufacturing experts discussing the benefits and drawbacks of various AM technologies. Formnext is the leading industry expo platform for additive manufacturing and industrial 3D printing.
AMT and Gardner Business Media have collaborated with Mesago, the organizers of Formnext, and Messe Frankfurt Inc. to launch Formnext Forum Austin (Aug. 28-30, 2023), the Formnext Forum co-located at IMTS 2024, and Formnext Chicago (April 8-10, 2025) at McCormick Place.
“We hosted several successful conferences at IMTS 2022,” says Allison Kline Miller, chief events officer, Gardner Business Media. “The Additive Manufacturing Conference at IMTS 2022 featured the kind of quality technical content our attendees have come to expect. It served as a perfect launching point as the AM Conference evolves into Formnext Forum Austin next August. Modern Machine Shop was thrilled to bring its Top Shops program to IMTS. Our annual benchmarking program (see award winners video from the IMTS+ Main Stage) helps job shops better understand how their peers are implementing best manufacturing processes and business practices to make their shops more successful.”
“After a four-year gap due to the pandemic, we were happy to bring back HANNOVER MESSE USA as a co-located show with IMTS 2022,” says Ed Nichols, CEO of Hannover Fairs USA. The show is a leading knowledge and networking event focused on Industry 4.0, AI, robotics, automation technology, logistics IT, and industrial software. “While personal emotion is not commonly associated with trade shows, this year really reinforced how much exhibitors and attendees appreciated reconnecting. Everyone expressed gratitude and grace for their support in coming to HANNOVER MESSE USA and IMTS."
IMTS 2024 will take place Sept. 9-14, 2024, at McCormick Place, Chicago, so mark your calendar. In the meantime, more news, photos, and videos from IMTS 2022 will continue to be posted on IMTS.com. You can stay even more connected at IMTS+, our multimedia content destination.