While the conference is in fact still going on, I spent only Monday and Tuesday at Chicago’s McCormick Place, attending this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). The show was, in a word, massive. From the physical — 1.3 million square feet of exhibition floor space over four buildings; more than 2,000 exhibitors; 113,747 registrations (and counting); five co-located shows — to the conversational, IMTS 2016 had a lot to offer. The show, held every even-numbered year, saw a dramatic increase this year in additive manufacturing. For example, the last IMTS, held in 2014, saw one 3D printed car on display; this year, I counted no fewer than six of them (and one motorcycle). 3D printing also has its own pavilion, a cluster of booths focused on AM technologies, with a few other booths here and there showcasing other hardware, software, and/or autonomous vehicles.
So what was IMTS like this year? Check it out with a look at this major manufacturing conference in photos!
Monday morning was 3D Systems‘ major launch event, in which CEO Vyomesh Joshi (VJ) and an array of 3DS employees and partners presented the vision of taking 3D printing from prototyping to production. The event was a huge to-do, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The company was well represented on the showroom floor as well, with a major booth showcasing hardware and software, including the Figure 4 system, as well as a presence at a few other booths, including partners’.
It simply wouldn’t be a major event in 3D printing these days without HP. I had the pleasure of attending HP’s Voxel Vision dinner Monday night to casually discuss the company’s views on 3D printing as well as the technical capabilities of their recently-unveiled 3D printing system. Guest speaker Chris Connery, Vice President of Global Analysis and Research of CONTEXT, presented (ahem) a global context through which to understand today’s 3D printing industry and its potential place in the larger world of manufacturing. While the company’s booth at IMTS was substantially smaller than their all-out mega-booth setup at RAPID earlier this year, the vision was certainly no smaller.
Stepping toward the 3D printing area in Hall B of the North building, it was impossible not to notice Stratasys‘ booth setup; expansive and exciting, they certainly stood out. They were set with major announcements at IMTS, and they clearly delivered with their ‘3D Demonstrators’ on display.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
ORNL is an organization we cover often. With their recently-announced WHAM system that will enhance the size capabilities of 3D printing, ORNL shows no signs of slowing down in the additive arena. At IMTS, the front-and-center booth was filled with not one or two, but three 3D printed vehicles. Included here was their famed AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy) system, linking energies between a structure and a 3D printed car.
Keeping up with 3D printed cars, Local Motors had a lot to show for themselves! The innovative company, always busy on their quest to get 3D printed cars on the road, held a dedicated area far back in Hall C — far back to allow for a driving track with Olli, their autonomous vehicle, offering rides to curious attendees. Unfortunately, by the time I realized where the track was, a massive line of students had formed and I did not have the chance myself to hop on Olli. A friend I new did, though, and assured me the ride was smooth
3D Platform, which we follow closely, was one of few 3D printing companies not located in the North building at all. Standing at the front of the exhibit hall in the West building, 3D Platform was capturing crowds with its eye-catching displays of huge 3D printing technologies. From a large delta 3D printer to their 3DP Workbench, 3D Platform was busy showing off their impressive offerings.
More 3D Printing Companies
Germany’s EOS held a prime spot in Hall B, with a large footprint filled with offerings — and, each time I walked by, filled with people. The company, known as a leader with quality always in mind, is often in the headlines. At the booth was the impressive 3D printed electric motorcycle from APWorks, too, drawing plenty of attention.
ExOne, known for their quality metal 3D printing, is a leader in industrial 3D printing. With quite a lot to offer, the company’s booth was consistently crowded with those gathered eager to check out what might be possible in the industrial realm.
Famed for their professional-grade 3D printers, with more than 40 machines available, EnvisionTEC offers incredible technologies to several industries. The company is currently running a busy autumn technology tour, the Made to Matter Tour, showing off their expansive offerings. The company, becoming known as a leader in manufacturing, holds around 120 patents, which they strive to protect. The EnvisionTEC booth at IMTS was constantly full of crowds, and it’s no wonder, as this stop on the Made to Matter Tour showcased some of the best the company has to offer.
CLIP technology is becoming a go-to in 3D printing, with the speed and resolution the M1 3D printer has to offer becoming ever more in-demand. Carbon is at the forefront of many minds these days — and even more so with this week’s announcement of $81 million in funding. The capabilities of the M1 are receiving great reviews, and the company’s booth at IMTS, while smaller than many others, was constantly filled with the buzz that only great tech can generate.
As a manufacturing show, IMTS certainly held a lot to see as far as robotics goes! We knew ahead of time that KUKA would have a major presence there, and they certainly delivered, with a busy booth full of industrial robotic arms capable of, well, pretty much everything. Also on display on my speed walk through the South building was FANUC, with a large robotic arm waving a full car around like it was nothing.