Love and Dread of IMTS

By Lloyd Graff

It’s almost fourth of July, the corn is high, and everybody in machine toolville is getting stressed out because IMTS is getting close.

If you are showing in Chicago the tension is building. Are you spending too much? Will enough people show to justify the Benjamins? Will you get ripped off more than you planned to get ripped off?

On the flip side, IMTS holds the promise of giving business a big bump for the end of 2010 going into 2011. It will connect you with the foot soldiers who can make a difference for your product. It can give you a lead to drink from for a long winter. It will provide precious emails and cell phone numbers to bang away at.

IMTS is still important for showing off new machines and strutting your stuff. It establishes a pecking order in the key areas of metalworking. It’s part of playing in the Big Leagues, but still, I always agonize about whether IMTS is worth the sacrifice of tripping through the maze of McCormick Place blues. I have lived with this schizoid view of America’s machining festival for many years. When the holiday lasted 10 days it was an excruciating, foot killing, back cracking opportunity to press the flesh of the oil stained cognoscenti against Machinedom.

When there used to be tigers, contortionists (see video below), and sexy German and Japanese models in the exhibits, IMTS was live theater. In 2010, the froth will be gone. It will be all “bidness” compressed into six days of hard sell.

God willing, I’ll be there, peddling and schmoozing and wearing a tie. Oh what fun—I hope .

Question: Do you expect IMTS will be worth it this year?

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2 thoughts on “Love and Dread of IMTS

  1. Peter Eelman

    Hello Lloyd:
    I read your post this morning and thought you might want an update from IMTS on a few things.
    The “spending too much” while certainly an ongoing concern, has for the first time been addressed a bit by new legislation that I have personally spent the last ten years seeking and serving on committees, testifying, meeting with legislators, the governor, etc.
    Now exhibitors are not subject to the onerous work rules that once held sway in Chicago and as a result should see significant cost decreases in 2010 and beyond. I’d be glad to share some details with you if you are interested.
    As far as business only at IMTS, we aim to keep it interesting and fun as well. We will have an F-35 joint strike fighter jet in the lobby of the West Building, a 3D movie and 4 part Emerging Technology presentation in the Lobby of the North Building, and a Museum/Experience area in East.
    By the way, from a visitor standpoint, in addition to show attractions, food costs are going to decrease approximately 22% as a result of the new legislation, so the costs of a visit should begin to come down.
    I’d be happy to provide more detail if you wish.
    All the Best,

    Peter Eelman
    Vice President – Exhibitions & Communications
    AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

  2. Roger Last

    While IMTS and other large machine shows used to be a place to “write sales orders” and close deals, i’m afraid as with Westec & Eastec, that these shows for the time being, are just a place to gain contacts and visibility, saying “we’re still in the game, come find us when you have money to buy”. I’m glad to see that IMTS is lowering costs, previously the charges were ridiculous and unmerited. Many companies we know, including us – have decided not to put our hats in this three ring circus this year.


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