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giant yellow robot With a payload capacity of 2,000 platforms rotating in the air; a Desktop 3D Printer Build eight arms of a drone in just 16 minutes; And the otto lifter, Smartest Autonomous Forklift – These were just a few of the great innovations that grabbed attention at the longest and largest industry trade fair in the Western Hemisphere.
Having previously been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is back, from September 12-17, at McCormick Place in Chicago, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry.
There were more than 85,000 registered at IMTS this year, with visitors outnumbering exhibitors by 35%. At IMTS, professionals, students, and technology enthusiasts have the opportunity to explore technology created by industry leaders, attend group discussions on hot topics in manufacturing, and network with like-minded thinkers to further advance Industry 4.0.
Below, we delve into three key highlights from this year’s IMTS.
Hosted by The Onshoring Project, this year’s inaugural IMTS smart resource symposium Offer actionable insights and tools to increase local sourcing profits by strategically selecting suppliers.
Paul Eriksen, Supply Chain columnist at IndustryWeek, delves into critical manufacturing path time (MCT), which can be used to identify areas for improvement in sourcing and identification of true lead time. Adding to the conversation, Kathy Ma, Vice President of Platform Development and Engagement at Thomasnet.com®, A Xometry The company explained how the AI-powered Xometry Marketplace, along with Thomasnet.com’s 500,000 suppliers, allows buyers to skip unnecessary questions like, “Do you make this part?” And go directly to the production stage.
“When [users] Register as one of our suppliers, we provide them with all software and all tools. Ma said as she explained Xometry’s machine learning platform.
Robots are transforming manufacturing
With robots serving a variety of industries and jobs, IMTS has showcased the many uses of robots and robot bags in industry.
Eric Voelmer, Vice President of Marketing at Boston Dynamics, brought Spot, an agile mobile robot, to IMTS stage. With incredible mobility and accuracy, Spot automates inspection tasks prone to human error and captures critical data.
Using simplified operation and programming features, bots are making waves in the industry. Robotics company FANUC has demonstrated this in full with their CRX series of collaborative cobots. Designed for small to medium manufacturers that haven’t yet automated any processes, FANUC’s pods automate entire assembly lines and lift up to 77 pounds.
Additive manufacturing shapes industry
Additive manufacturing was not always seen as accessible. In the past, 3D printers took up too much space, cost a lot of money, and required a lot of training to use them. But the leaders in additive manufacturing are set to change that.
On September 15, the IMTS 3D Printing Workshop demonstrated how using the low-cost 3D printing capability can make machine tools more efficient and improve workflow. An example is Nexa3D’s easy-to-use desktop XiP printer. The printing process takes less than 20 minutes, and XiP can quickly produce important parts for the engineering, dental and medical industries.
However, people who do not own a machine shop can also benefit from the flexibility of additive manufacturing. Greg Poulsen, Director of Applications Engineering at Xometry, explained how digital markets are paving the way for a new era in manufacturing. Being a two-sided market, Xometry benefits both buyers and suppliers, stays open 24/7 for instant quotes on 3D-printed parts, and is powered by AI, which means it’s always improving.
Image Credit: Brooklyn Kiosow
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