Chicago (September 20, 2018) — A rapidly transforming industry sparked IMTS 2018 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, to set all-time records for show metrics.

The 32nd edition of the show drew a record registration of 129,415 people and featured 1,424,232 square-feet of exhibit space representing 2,123 booths and 2,563 exhibiting companies. Previous records were 121,764 registrants (IMTS 1998), 1,415,848 square-feet of exhibit space (IMTS 2000), 1,808 booths (IMTS 2016) and 2,407 exhibiting companies (IMTS 2016).

“Connectivity, the digital transformation of manufacturing, automation, additive manufacturing and a strong economy drove record numbers at IMTS 2018,” said Peter R. Eelman, vice president, exhibitions and business development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS. “Digitization collided with a robust manufacturing industry to create our most dynamic show ever.”

Historically, years between IMTS lead to incremental machine improvements, which are now reaching physical limits.

“The velocity of change has become different,” observes Tim Shinbara, AMT vice president of manufacturing technology. “Analog technology yields linear improvements. Digital technology creates exponential growth and transforms how manufacturers and job shops operate.”

An Expansive Show

Notable growth areas at IMTS 2018 included an expanded Additive Manufacturing Pavilion that featured 51 exhibitors and covered 31,550 square feet, the partnership with HANNOVER MESSE

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner addressed the IMTS audience on Sept. 12, stating that “There are four reasons that manufacturers from around the world are coming to the state of Illinois to build great products….people, transportation, innovation and energy. We’re driving great manufacturing growth in this state.” He noted that Illinois is the 17th largest manufacturing economy in the world, generates 600,000 manufacturing jobs, produces $100 billion dollars in manufactured products and creates the “most exciting and dynamic part of prosperity for everyone.”

Governor Rauner toured IMTS and rode Olli, a self-driving, digitally manufactured, 3D-printed, electric shuttle by Local Motors designed to streamline shared transportation systems around the world.

At the national government level, the Department of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) held advanced manufacturing meetings and workshops at IMTS 2018 in order to continue the dialogue of ensuring U.S. industrial strength and readiness regarding technology, workforce, and furthering public-private collaborations. The IBAS team engaged more than 26 companies, with more than a dozen participating in the follow-on workshop.

Co-Located Shows

The HANNOVER MESSE USA co-located show hosted 510 exhibitors from around the world. At the center of HANNOVER MESSE USA was the Solutions Theater, which hosted more than 60 learning sessions that dove deeply into important topics such as IIoT, intelligent manufacturing and next-generation technology.

Dell Technologies, Microsoft and SAP joined other innovators in a new Digital Factory exhibition that showcased breakthrough products and solutions focused on integrated processes and IT solutions for plant operations. The show has increased its exhibition space by 26% over IMTS 2016 and by more than 440% since its first appearance eight years ago.

“We want all visitors to be more competitive in this global world. People need to connect and collaborate,” said Dr. Jochen Koeckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, HANNOVER MESSE’s parent organization.

AMT President Douglas K. Woods added that, “HANNOVER MESSE USA and IMTS bridge the gap between Silicon Valley technology and main street manufacturing. People find technologies here that change the spaces we work in.”

Two AMT’s Emerging Technology Centers

With digital technology, the pace of change makes it difficult to fully grasp the possibilities. IMTS 2018 directly addressed that issue with AMT’s Emerging Technology Center (ETC) on digital transformation, which featured demonstrations of how new science impacts manufacturing.

Additive Advances

“Additive manufacturing is one of the most revolutionary technologies ever brought to IMTS, and that’s reflected in the ETC focusing on additive manufacturing,” said Eelman.

This ETC also featured a “Knowledge Bar” hosted by America Makes where visitors learned about the development of education roadmaps, an online platform for members to exchange information and establishment of industry-wide additive manufacturing (AM) standards and specifications.

Additive Presence Grows Exponentially

Multiple companies chose IMTS 2018 as their venue to debut high-volume AM systems, including Matsuura USA.

Matsuura exhibited for the first time, their hybrid additive-manufacturing machine, the Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25. The Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 metal laser sintering hybrid milling machine is a powder bed metal AM platform with subtractive machining capability. The Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 combines selective laser sintering (SLS) along with high speed milling (HSM) commonly called Hybrid AM.

The Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 relies on one-machine, one-process manufacturing of complex molds and parts by fusing metal laser sintering (3D SLS) technology with high speed milling technology. The Hybrid technology creates a “finished” part with machined surface finish and accuracy, without inducing the additional variation caused by multiple machine set-ups and part handling.   The machine enables production of complicated parts and molds through total manufacturing by digital engineering, using 3D data.

“The Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 achieves the highest accuracy in part fabrication since metal powders are melted and sintered via laser, while surfaces are precisely milled at high speeds. 3D cooling channels can be incorporated into molds in the single setup, thereby increasing cooling efficiency and enabling high-cycle injection molding with better than ever quality and precision, reducing costs and improving efficiency,” said the Matsuura USA Marketing Director.

Perhaps more than any other technology at IMTS, AM represents the opportunity for small and start-up companies, from the U.S. and abroad, to gain exposure to a large audience and grow their dreams.

Smartforce Student Summit

The IMTS 2018 Smartforce Student Summit broke its previous record with 23,000 registrants, 6,000 more than IMTS 2016 event.

“The national conversation around STEM education has had a positive influence on our ability to attract more schools to the Student Summit,” said Greg Jones, vice president of smartforce development for AMT.

The 2018 Student Summit gave students the opportunity to experience 25 different job functions available in manufacturing (view career pathways at

“Students engage with the people who are in those manufacturing jobs right now, as well as see the technology and equipment they would use on the job. Technology is making manufacturing careers cool again,” said Jones.

High school junior Kaitlyn Ludlam addressed the Student Summit as one of Top 24 Under 24 Leaders and Innovators in STEAM and Space, an annual awards program presented by The Mars Generation.

“I’ve been doing a lot more with STEAM, reaching out to other kids who are being told they can’t do things, especially young women” said Ludlam. “I want to help them understand that they can do these things and not to listen to people who discourage them.”

“Matsuura USA hosted the next generation– students from elementary through post-secondary schools in our booth all week.  We invited students to learn about Matsuura technology and to connect school with real-world challenges. Our hope was to inspire the students to pursue high-tech careers in the manufacturing industry,” the Matsuura USA Marketing Director added.

The Miles for Manufacturing 5K fun run and fundraising event on Sept. 12, drew a record 486 runners. The 5K run generated almost $20,000 in proceeds, which will be used to acquire a STEM kit called Bionics4Education from Pesto-Didactic and donated to 14 STEM middle schools in the Chicago area.

Technical Conferences

In total, more than 2,500 visitors attended conference sessions during the week of IMTS. The largest event, in terms of both content and visitors, was The IMTS Conference. 

Presented by AMT and managed by GIE Media, The IMTS Conference attracted more than 850 people and featured 71 different sessions, each selected by a review board. Collectively, The IMTS Conference and the co-located events provided IMTS visitors with more than 142 hours of educational programming.

“The two most popular themes from the conference sessions were additive manufacturing and connected/digital manufacturing,” said Bill Herman, director, international exhibitions and sponsorship, AMT. Many conference attendees were looking for ways to begin their “digital journey” within their shops or how to implement next steps, as well as how they might harness additive manufacturing into their processes.

“The Additive Manufacturing Conference was a tremendous success and our largest event to date with more than 575 attendees,” added Travis Egan, publisher, Additive Manufacturing magazine. “This included both current and future adopters of AM technology looking to deepen their knowledge base and learn more about the latest technologies in order to grow their manufacturing businesses.”

Based on feedback from the job shop and contractor community, IMTS created a program to address the challenges they face to help diminish their daily struggles.

“Our new Job Shops program attracted 405 participants,” said Michelle Edmonson, senior director, exhibitions operations and marketing, AMT. “With such strong interest at this show, we plan to continue our focus on jobs shop at IMTS 2020.”

Presentations included a seminar on the unending search for qualified labor hosted by four job shop owners. “The part of the discussion on reaching out to high school-level and community college students was good. I hadn’t thought about going to those sources to find kids interested in manufacturing,” said Aaron Collier, general manager of Liberty Bottleworks in Yakima, WA.

Seeking New Approaches

Visitors walked the floor of IMTS focusing on technologies, ideas, business practices and face-to-face conversations that advance manufacturing.

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Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business. For more information on Matsuura products, contact: [email protected] or visit: