The International Manufacturing Technology Show Returns! What to Expect?

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By Ryan Martin | 3Q 2022 | IN-6656

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) returns for the first time in 4 years after the 2020 vintage was cancelled. IMTS is the largest manufacturing technology show in North America, selling out Chicago’s McCormick Place complex with more than 125,000 visitors and 2,500 exhibitors attending the last edition. The event is also home to HANNOVER MESSE USA.

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What's in Store for IMTS?


The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) returns for the first time in 4 years after the 2020 edition was cancelled. IMTS is the largest manufacturing technology show in North America, typically held every even-numbered year in Chicago. The 2018 edition hosted the highest number of exhibiting companies ever (2,563) and sold out the McCormick Place complex with 129,415 registrants and 1.4 million net square feet of exhibit space. This year’s event will be the 33rd instance of the show, held in Chicago September 12 to 17. This ABI Insight outlines key themes and what to expect, plus tips on how to optimize your time, including must-see attractions for those who plan to attend.

IMTS 2022's Tagline: Digital Manufacturing. Implemented.


This year’s IMTS tagline is “Digital Manufacturing. Implemented.” Exhibitors are categorized by technology and there are 14 pavilions, ordered below by the number of exhibitors:

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The focus throughout the show across all pavilions will be a major shift toward automation as the solution to global uncertainty. This theme will manifest in a greater appetite for a connected product development process with a goal of making new products faster, easier, and more cost effectively.

It used to be that companies would talk about flexibility/customization OR automation/throughput. Now, everyone is after a balance that calls for more flexibility/customization AND automation/throughput. The biggest overarching challenge is not new, but it is becoming increasingly pervasive as a driving force: how to go from a design to a finished product, at any scale, as fast and sustainably as possible.

Main Areas at IMTS 2022


These are the areas where ABI Research recommends clients focus their attention at IMTS 2022, including a few must see attractions.

  • East
    • HANNOVER MESSE USA: Collocated with IMTS and occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibit space (versus 114,000 square feet in 2018), this part of the show is a priority. Most of the digital-first solutions will be here, including major booth presence from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Nokia. The Solutions Theater is in the corner near AWS and will host presentations and panels with case studies throughout ( Microsoft and Rockwell will be conspicuously absent.
  • West
    • Additive Manufacturing (AM): All seven AM technologies will be represented, and potentially some new ones. Stratasys will have a major booth presence to assert its dominance in polymers as well as its foray into Industry 4.0 enablement with its connected fleet capabilities. Desktop Metal, Markforged, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and EOS will also have a major presence. HP will also host an unveiling for its metal printer. ABI Research will spend considerable time in this section, with both hardware and software vendors. Conspicuously absent is Carbon.
  • North Building
    • Emerging Technology Center (ETC): All about space; how to get to space, look at space, and a habitat to experience as if you were going to live in space.
    • Live Lab: Focused on big data and connected factories, this exhibit features twice-daily presentations, plus interactive technology displays for MTConnect, digital twins, and big data.
    • AMT’s Emerging Technology Center: Intended to highlight “state-of-the-art and disruptive technologies” for manufacturing to support a long-term presence on the moon and deep space exploration. The exhibit includes a life-sized Three-Dimensional (3D) printed lunar habitat, information on the software used to design and produce the habitat, and a live AM cell printing and milling of a prototype lunar habitat door.
  • South
    • Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental: These are the goods you need to run your plant, from the parts to service and monitor machines to the components necessary for safe and environmentally responsible operations. Many exhibitors here plan to focus on plug-and-play modularity, integrated automation, the application of real-time data management to reduce consumable waste, and cleaning methods that reduce user exposure and provide increased recycle and reclamation opportunities.
    • Metal Removal: The latest innovations in metal cutting equipment, machining centers, turning centers, drilling, boring, milling, and Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). Data will be back in the spotlight, as many technology builders provide products using connectivity standards like MTConnect.

ABI Research will have nine analysts on-site at IMTS 2022 to ensure the event is covered in full and will be happy to engage with interested clients that also plan to attend.