All Eyes on IMTS Show Opening in Three Weeks

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) gets its first look at both the new labor scheme at McCormick Place and that recession that everyone has been talking about when it opens its doors next month.

The biennial IMTS, which takes place September 13-18, skipped the dreadful year of 2009 and takes place at a time when the economic recovery may be not be awe-inspiring, but at the very least, the economy had been going in the right direction.

Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and communications at the Association for Manufacturing Technology, said attendance projections so far in August are (8)% below 2008 and exhibit space was off (6)%. “And that’s pretty darn good,” he told Trade Show Executive (TSE). “We are coming off peak numbers in 2008, so we are seeing about what we expected for this year.”

Exhibitors this year will have a lot at stake during the IMTS. Eelman said the recovery had everyone “on pins and needles” to see if the improvement is robust enough to translate into big- ticket machinery orders. In addition, the new labor reforms at McCormick Place that took effect in August will be closely watched to see how dramatic the cost savings will be for exhibitors.

The IMTS is historically one of the largest U.S. trade shows of the year. The 2008 show drew 92,450 attendees and topped 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, which placed it fourth in the TSE Gold 100 rankings of largest exhibitions, 2009 edition.

This year’s event will include the usual mix of heavy industry and high technology. The show’s Emerging Technology Center will offer attendees a 3-D movie presentation on the budding field of cloud computing. A more nuts-and-bolts feature will be the fully assembled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being displayed by Lockheed Martin.

Reach Peter Eelman at (703) 827-5264 or peelman@amtonline.org