Machine Tools and More

If bigger is better, then enormous is excellent, and this year's International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 98) will be one of the best ever.IMTS 98 will be highlighted by more than 1,400 exhibitors occupying in excess of 1.4 million ft2—making it the largest event in the show's 71-year history.

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING August 1, 1998


Computer numerical control (CNC)

Machine controllers

Motion control

Linear motors

AC/DC motors

If bigger is better, then enormous is excellent, and this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 98) will be one of the best ever.

IMTS 98 will be highlighted by more than 1,400 exhibitors occupying in excess of 1.4 million ft2—making it the largest event in the show’s 71-year history. Sponsored and managed by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (McLean, Va.), IMTS 98 will be the first to fill much of McCormick Place’s three halls.

The show is expected to draw more than the record-breaking 121,600 visitors at IMTS 96. Sales by exhibitors at that show also hit an unprecedented $861 million—a third more than the 1994 event.

To help attendees manage time effectively despite the show’s magnitude, IMTS 98 will again organize exhibitors into 10 product pavilions. The intent is to make the show more approachable for visitors and guide the most interested attendees to the most applicable exhibitors. This year’s lineup features three new pavilions:

Abrasive Machining/Sawing/Finishing (North building, halls B1, B2);

Metal Cutting (South building, halls A1, A2; East building, halls D1, D2, E1); and

Quality Assurance (East building, halls D1, D2).

Other pavilions are:

Electrical Discharge Machinery (North building, halls C1, C2);

Environmental, Safety&Plant Management (North building, halls C1, C2);

Factory Automation (East building, Lakeside ballroom);

Gear Generation (North building, halls B1, B2);

Laser&Laser Systems (North building, halls B1, B2);

Metal Forming&Fabrication (North building, halls B1, B2); and

Tooling&Workholding Systems (East building, hall E1).

IMTS 98 will also be complemented by Manufacturing ’98—a manufacturing conference cosponsored and organized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Manufacturing ’98 includes sessions by more than 200 industry experts organized into 13 technology tracks. These tracks include: Assembly & Welding; Finishing Systems, Forming & Fabricating; Injection Molding, Machining, Tooling & Workholding; Management; and Manufacturing Systems Automation. In addition, a one-day session, “Workforce Skills Standard,” will be offered by the National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

Product highlights

The show’s 1,400 exhibitors will present thousands of products during IMTS 98. Some of the notable items and exhibitors include:

ManualTurn software from Siemens Energy&Automation Inc. (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), which lets users select optimal automation levels for operating turning machines manually, combining manual and computerized numerical control (CNC) machining, or using CNC-supported machining alone. ManualTurn is based on Siemens’32-bit CNC Sinumerik 810D, which permits straightforward CNC entry while providing full CNC functionality. Siemens is also showing its ShopMill software, and its CNC-Series 840D controller. Booth D2 4230

Thyssen Production Systems/Giddings & Lewis (Fond du Lac, Wis.), which will feature its NumeriPath 8000 CNC operator station, including a Microsoft Windows NT upgrade, and a Warner&Swasey lathe retrofitted with Giddings&Lewis’PC-based CNC controls. Thyssen’s other show offerings include its NBH 110 high-production, horizontal machining center, and about 25 other machines. Booth A1 8218

An array of 60 new CNC products will be introduced by GE Fanuc Automation (Charlottesville, Va.), many based on the company’s ” i series” that uses laptop computer technology advances to produce smaller, sophisticated CNCs. Featured items will include GE Fanuc’s Power Mate i Models D and H motion controllers, as well as the company’s 15,000N linear servo motor and its Series 16 i and Series 18 i CNCs, which reduce CNC size by 75%. Booth 4101

Olfex Wire & Cable Inc. (Fairfield, N.J.) will exhibit its new Olflex-Servo-FD 755P, a continuous flex cable that can be used in automated servo systems, and its Olflex-Servo-FD 785P cables, a continuous flex motor supply cable featuring a minimum bend radius of 5X cable diameter. Booth D2 4370

Mastercam Version 7 from CNC Software Inc. Tolland, Conn.) is a CAD/ CAM release featuring 2.5-axis machining for associativity, as well as rematching and enhanced solids-based toolpath verification. The Microsoft Windows-based software’s geometry and toolpath are linked for immediate toolpath updating. Booth A1 8600

Norstat Inc. (Rockaway, N.J.) will show the Series 107 Panel Mount Buzzer by Werma Signal Technology . The buzzer has a minimum 80-decibel continuous or pulse tone (1,750 Hz), plug connector, and a 22.5-mm housing. D2 4683

Robust Safety Light Curtain from Leuze Lumiflex Inc. (Rockaway, N.J.) is an active optoelectronic testing or monitoring protective light grid available in double beam with passive/active reflecting mirror, triple beam with transmitter and receiver, and quadruple beam with passive reflecting mirror. Booth D2 4683

Baldor Electric Co. (Fort Smith, Ark.) will exhibit linear motors and stages: single and multi-axis vector and servo drives with a common keypad language; its Mint motion control products; spindle driveand brushless servo motors; and its SmartMotor. Booth D2 4692