IMTS Plans For Even More Additive Manufacturing In 2020

By on May 16th, 2019 in Event

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 Crowds at IMTS 2018 [Image: Fabbaloo]
Crowds at IMTS 2018 [Image: Fabbaloo]

IMTS, the massive biennial manufacturing technology show, is set to see 40% more floor space dedicated to additive manufacturing in 2020.

Emerging technologies will, on the whole, comprise almost 40% of total exhibitors as the International Manufacturing Technology Show continues to grow with the tech times.

Of course what we’re most interested in is the growing Additive Manufacturing Pavilion.

This dedicated area first appeared in 2016 — conveniently the first IMTS I ever attended — and in 2018 the 3D printing presence was notably larger. With 51 exhibitors in the AM Pavilion in 2018, it’s not too tough to grow; those exhibitors comprised 2.2% of the floor space.

But, as we’re also seeing with formnext, growth is in the cards for these major tradeshows, mirroring the trends in industry.

Interestingly, IMTS notes:

“The plan also consolidates the EDM Pavilion into the Metal Cutting Pavilion, which has been renamed the Metal Removal Pavilion.”

Metal Removal as contrasted with Additive Manufacturing is showing both distinction between additive and subtractive technologies — and that it is appropriate that both appear at the same manufacturing-focused event.

IMTS 2020 is set to take up more than 1.42 million square feet of exhibit space, as it did in 2018, filling all four buildings in McCormick Place. Portioning out that square footage among so many manufacturing technologies requires careful calculation and consideration (a job for which I am very much not jealous of event organizers; my hat’s off to them).

“The floor plan for IMTS 2020 reflects a renewal of the manufacturing industry, with growth powered by digitization, additive manufacturing, automation and software,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President & CXO at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS.

So we come to the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion. It will again be located front and center in the West Building — but will also spread into the higher-ceilinged west side of the hall. IMTS is preparing for “exhibitors to feature larger and heavier systems” as well as more elaborate booths and signage.

The announcement notes:

“The pavilion will occupy approximately 44,765 sq. ft. of floor space at IMTS 2020, which is 40 percent larger than at IMTS 2018 and triple the size of its debut at IMTS 2016.”

The Additive Manufacturing Conference will run again in 2020, presented by Gardner Business Media, and will be located across the concourse from the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion to encourage traffic patterns.

Industry shows are important bellwethers for industry. Their growth and investments into exhibition space, speaking programs, and other ways of touching base with potential customers, partners, and media reflect areas of opportunity.

Right now focus is on the growing RAPID + TCT, the largest 3D printing-dedicated event in North America, which is attracting close to 500 exhibitors this year. In the fall, Frankfurt will again host formnext, which word on the street suggests could have 1200 exhibitors.

IMTS, for its part, welcomed 2,563 (total) exhibiting companies in 2018.

The growth in 3D printing-focused shows is significant; the growth of 3D printing at industry-focused shows is a major sign of what’s to come.

3D printing is an industrial technology, and industry is noticing.

“At IMTS 2018, Additive Manufacturing technology providers demonstrated high-volume production capabilities and other solutions that appeal to mainstream industrial manufacturing, and this trend will grow even stronger at IMTS 2020,” said AMT’s Eelman.

Another growth area at IMTS is the Quality Assurance Pavilion, set for an 11% expansion, as quality remains critical across the board as well. Manufacturing technologies, particularly in emerging areas and those tied to Industry 4.0, are growing. From a US perspective, that’s certainly good to see, as manufacturing jobs are on the rise and encompass an expanding suite of skills; it also mirrors what we see around the globe.

IMTS returns to Chicago in September 2020; I know I’m looking forward to another interesting event (and will be wearing very comfortable shoes).


By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.