A Little Look Ahead
Appears in Print as: 'A Little Look Ahead'
Mark your calendars for two important upcoming events: IMTS on Sept. 10-15 and Manufacturing Day, which will be held nationwide on Oct. 5.
Metalworking manufacturing has two important dates coming up that I believe deserve a mark on your calendar. Truth be told, there are probably more, but these two are stand-outs for the industry as a whole.
The first upcoming date of note is our biennial jamboree in Chicago—IMTS—which, unless you have been under a rock for a while, you probably know it kicks off Sept. 10 and runs through Sept. 15. How fast two years go by is amazing to me and even more so is the accelerating rate at which they are going by.
I’ve attended many editions of the IMTS extravaganza and speak from experience when I say it’s a much better time to see our industry all decked out when business is good. There have been shows in down economic times that felt more funerary than celebratory. I’m happy to report that the feedback and anticipation that I’m hearing so far says 2018 is going to be one “for the books” on the celebratory scale.
IMTS is an amazing collage of metalworking manufacturing. If it isn’t on display here, then it’s probably in a laboratory waiting to be shown at a future edition of IMTS. Regardless, if something is germane to metalworking manufacturing, it can be or will be available for examination at IMTS.
Obviously, not everyone in our industry uses all of the tools available to metalworking manufacturing as a whole. Shops tend to specialize in aspects of the technology that reflect their specialty. Regardless of how specialized a given shop is, there is something at this show for them. The trick is to find it.
Several tools are available for show visitors to economize their wanderings up and down the miles of aisles that it takes to access 1.3 million square feet of exhibition space. The industry coverage is so broad that it requires the show to be organized into process-specific pavilions. To simplify and help scale IMTS to your needs, tools such as “MyShow Planner” can be accessed on site using kiosks located throughout the McCormick Place complex. They are also available online at IMTS.com along with everything else related to IMTS.
If you choose to visit IMTS.com, there is information about the many changes that will occur at this year’s edition. Like our industry, IMTS, our industry’s exhibition, never stands still. Continuous improvement is at the heart of what we collectively do as an industry moving forward and likewise, it’s at the heart of our premier event. Be sure to check out the new booth numbering system, for example.
Another important date/event that is important to our industry occurs every year and is becoming a big deal for metalworking manufacturing. It’s Manufacturing Day, which will be held nationwide on Oct. 5. Check it out at mfgday.com.
Since its inception in 2012, this event has grown in shop participation to a point where if you aren’t hosting or visiting a manufacturer on this date, why not? The universal problem for all manufacturing and especially those of us in the precision machined parts segment is the recruitment of skilled or trainable workers.
The idea behind Manufacturing Day is to open the door on shops of all stripes in all parts of the country and invite potential future workers to see what we actually do. Young people, their academic counselors and even local politicians are prime candidates to attend these open houses.
A way of connecting these two events, IMTS and Manufacturing Day, is to look at IMTS as serving the hardware side of your business. Manufacturing Day is a way of serving the personnel side of your business. Obviously, these two work hand in glove.
Both IMTS and Manufacturing Day are discovery exercises. There is a symmetry between these two events. You attend IMTS to find new products and processes that can help create better ways to do the work that is critical to your shop’s success.
I see participating in Manufacturing Day as an opportunity for opening the doors and really showing what manufacturing in the 21st century is about. We have a duty to help dispel long and deep seated misconceptions of manufacturing that have roots in a time that is long gone.
If IMTS is an opportunity to show and tell what technologies are current for making things, then Manufacturing Day is a chance to show and tell what applying those things is really like and that there is a good career available in a field that has been misunderstood by too many people for too long.