IMTS is the place to check your wish list

Author Michael Deren
September 01, 2016 - 03:15am

Yup, it’s that time! It’s kind of like Christmas ... except it happens only once every 2 years and lasts for 6 days. The trade show of trade shows—IMTS—is coming to Chicago’s McCormick Place. 

From Sept. 12 to 17, attendees will have their pick of more than 15,000 machine tools, controls, tooling and other manufacturing technologies to see and touch. More than 2,000 exhibiting companies, representing every sector of the manufacturing industry, will be there. If you don’t see it at IMTS, you probably don’t need it.

Each of the 10 pavilions is geared toward specific technologies. They focus on abrasive machining, sawing and finishing; additive manufacturing; fabricating and lasers; gear generation; machine components, cleaning and environmental-related products; metalcutting; CAD/CAM and controls; EDMing; quality assurance-related products; and tooling and workholding.

Once I enter the pavilions, I stand in awe of how large the show truly is—about 1.3 million sq. ft. of technology. For those who have not attended IMTS, that’s considerably larger than other U.S. manufacturing trade shows, which typically have around 500 vendors and last only 3 days.

When I go to IMTS, I usually attend for 2 days and target two pavilions: the one that focuses on metalcutting equipment, and the one for cutting tools and workholders. The metalcutting pavilion usually consumes the better part of my first day because there is just so much to see and so many people to talk to. 

On the second day, I’ll hit the pavilion for the tooling and workholding products. There’s always something new there. Then, I will visit the Industrial Automation North America co-located show, which is being held for the third time at IMTS. I always enjoy checking out the robots and automation systems. And, if time allows, I’ll visit the QA pavilion and see the additive-manufacturing equipment. I am not involved with AM, but I like the technology and what it can offer.

Let’s not forget the show also offers nine conferences, more than a dozen exhibitor workshops and training activities.

In addition, there’s the Smartforce Student Summit. Registration is free for students and educators.

If you’re going to attend IMTS, just remember to wear the most comfortable shoes you have. If you don’t have a suitable pair, get a pair. And keep hydrated. I’m always surprised at how much this show takes out of me. So, make your wish list and check it twice. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Related Glossary Terms

  • abrasive


    Substance used for grinding, honing, lapping, superfinishing and polishing. Examples include garnet, emery, corundum, silicon carbide, cubic boron nitride and diamond in various grit sizes.

  • abrasive machining

    abrasive machining

    Various grinding, honing, lapping and polishing operations that utilize abrasive particles to impart new shapes, improve finishes and part stock by removing metal or other material.

  • metalcutting ( material cutting)

    metalcutting ( material cutting)

    Any machining process used to part metal or other material or give a workpiece a new configuration. Conventionally applies to machining operations in which a cutting tool mechanically removes material in the form of chips; applies to any process in which metal or material is removed to create new shapes. See metalforming.

  • sawing


    Machining operation in which a powered machine, usually equipped with a blade having milled or ground teeth, is used to part material (cutoff) or give it a new shape (contour bandsawing, band machining). Four basic types of sawing operations are: hacksawing (power or manual operation in which the blade moves back and forth through the work, cutting on one of the strokes); cold or circular sawing (a rotating, circular, toothed blade parts the material much as a workshop table saw or radial-arm saw cuts wood); bandsawing (a flexible, toothed blade rides on wheels under tension and is guided through the work); and abrasive sawing (abrasive points attached to a fiber or metal backing part stock, could be considered a grinding operation).


Machinist's Corner Columnist

Michael Deren is a manufacturing engineer/project manager and a regular CTE contributor. He can be reached via e-mail at