IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show has announced the floor plan for IMTS 2024, which runs September 9-14, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.
“To meet the needs of a robust manufacturing industry, IMTS 2024 will have even more exhibits that feature robotics, advanced motion systems, vision and imaging, data analytics, systems integration, software, artificial intelligence and connected technologies,” said Peter Eelman, Chief Experience Officer at AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS. “Every pressure on the manufacturing industry requires OEMs and job shops to implement technologies and processes that make them more efficient.”
Eelman noted that the monthly average of capacity utilisation rates for durable goods manufacturing has remained above 75% for the last year. Manufacturing is also the beneficiary of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act of August 2022. In addition, according to the latest US Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by AMT, new orders of manufacturing technology totalled $543.2 million in March 2023, one of the largest March totals since 2008.
“The focus on IMTS 2024 remains intense because we need a strong manufacturing industry,” said Eelman. “As a result, the IMTS exhibition space rebooking rate is as high as it has ever been, outpacing even IMTS 2018 or the dot-com boom years. Prominent exhibitors are expanding their footprint, and companies that had paused their marketing plans have recommitted to IMTS 2024.” The show is on pace to exceed the 2022 show, which had 1.2 million sq. ft. of exhibit space and more than 1 800 exhibiting companies.
Eelman emphasised that IMTS has been organically growing as a digital technology destination. The show has witnessed an unprecedented number of demonstrations featuring robots, cobots, vision systems, as well as other manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing (AM), CNC machining, metrology and part handling.
Manufacturers are focused on digital technologies because labour markets remain incredibly tight despite concerns of a slowing economy. Industrial robot orders continue to increase. According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Work Survey 2020” report, 78% of companies surveyed in the United States said that they are “likely” or “very likely” to deploy robots by 2025. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, there are 9.9 million job openings in the United States, but only 5.8 million unemployed workers. Baby boomers are retiring; there are too few workers in Generation X; and manufacturing is not attracting and retaining enough younger workers.
At the same time, supply chain gaps (especially those driven by geopolitical instability in Russia and China) and a desire for greater self-sufficiency will result in the reshoring of an estimated 400 000-plus jobs in 2023, according to the Reshoring Initiative.
“The bottom line is that OEMs and job shops need to produce more products with their existing workforce and find ways to add value to their supply chains, and that describes what visitors will find at the IMTS 2024 exhibits and conferences,” said Eelman. “To better enable visitors to compare capabilities, prices and services, we are now organising IMTS 2024 by manufacturing sectors. The sector approach helps them capture everything they need to know from the world’s elite suppliers in one location.”