The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) concluded September 17 and First American was there to experience how industrial manufacturing is radically changing. From connected devices driving remarkable efficiencies to cobotic demonstrations to the abundant presence of additive manufacturing, use of technology is clearly on the rise. Here are our key discoveries from the 2016 IMTS conference.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted how consumers control the temperature in their house, order household products, and manage energy consumption. Smart devices, sensors, smart plugs, and detectors are revolutionizing everyday tasks. The vision of the future in manufacturing involves the collection and processing of data from connected devices in a way that will transform operations. After attending the IMTS conference two weeks ago, that vision has never been closer to reality. Manufactures that embrace this change could be the companies that thrive in this new digital era. As John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Cobots, or collaborative robots, were impressively displayed all around the exhibit floor. From serving ice cream to playing games against show attendees, exhibitors demonstrated how versatile robotics have become. Robots are an increasingly important part of the manufacturing process and will drive productivity for decades. Attendees at IMTS were excited to interact and learn about them.
Music, travel, retail. These industries have been disrupted in recent history. 3D printing may just have the same disruptive impact in certain segments of the manufacturing industry. IMTS attendees gathered in the North Building of the conference to observe the latest 3D printing technologies in the new additive pavilion. We walked through a 3D-printed building sponsored by the Department of Energy and observed passengers riding in a 3D-printed shuttle. Already being used in plants around the country, 3D printing is no longer a technology of the future. The pavilion demonstrated how additive manufacturing is helping companies manage just-in-time inventory, produce parts in remote locations, improve design processes, consolidate parts, and advance innovation. In addition to the pavilion, various machine tool companies displayed their own additive manufacturing technologies in their booths. 3D printing has arrived.
There was a great deal of energy at the 2016 IMTS conference. The future of manufacturing is here!