I attended the International Manufacturing Technology Show earlier in the month at Chicago’s McCormick Place. IMTS is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world. Morgan Burris and I were two of nearly 116,000 attendees who checked out manufacturing technology from around the world spread over 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space.

  Morgan with the Cloud Gate Sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. 

Morgan with the Cloud Gate Sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. 

Morgan and I were on a mission: to discover new technologies that could be implemented at UCEC. Interestingly, the type of technology that we ended up being most excited about wasn’t even on our radar. I can’t blog about it now, but hopefully, I can soon.

My plan of attack was to walk the show quickly the first day and return the subsequent three days to dive deeper at exhibits that looked promising. The enormity of the offerings at the IMTS made this plan impossible. With more than 2,000 exhibitors, it took us two days to walk the entire show.

There are five convention halls at IMTS and they are grouped by specific industries, technologies and solutions. One hall was nothing but CNC machines. All of these machines were up and running, making wheels, gun parts, engine components—you name it! It was overwhelming but so very interesting.

  Zach up close with a Co-Bot. 

Zach up close with a Co-Bot. 

We saw “Co-Bots” at work. These are smaller, almost delicate robots that are designed to work with humans in a shared space (rather than crush them on assembly lines). The Co-Bot does the monotonous work and the human does the fine motor skills work. It was fascinating and a completely different way to look at manufacturing.

We saw people from all over the world, but especially Asia and Europe. We watched machines the size of a house all the way down to about sedan-sized. A lot of manufacturers bring 10 or 15 of these huge machines and they are all operating. It’s wild.

I’m glad that UCEC is willing to invest in sending employees to events like IMTS to learn and discover technology that will improve our products. After all, new technology that we implement at UCEC helps our customers and that’s why we’re here. It was worth every mile we walked!

Zach is an Operations Support Manager at UCEC.


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