Six Questions for the 2010 IMTS

1) Will the Japanese and European builders be raising prices in dollars for their products? With the yen at 85, the pressure on margins must be heavy. But world-wide competition is brutal. A domestic producer like Haas has an advantage in North America, particularly with a bread and butter product like a vertical machining center.

2) Will buyers show up for the show? Ignore the supposed attendance numbers offered by show management—are there real people in the aisles and real customers talking to the exhibitors? Is IMTS now a super-regional exhibition, or is it still the really big national show worthy of the big bucks being spent by the exhibitors?

3) What is really new? Is there a hot new technology? Is there a game changing new company? Is the long-term deterioration of the productive workforce of baby boomers giving way to a hungry wave of men and women who see the factory floor as an opportunity?

4) Is money available for the expansion of small and medium contract shops? If 20 percent of America’s shops were wiped out in the recession, is there credit available so new and existing shops can fill the void?

5) Is this the year of deflation at IMTS? Will prices be lower than in 2008 or 2009? Will list prices be similar, but discounting rampant?

6) Will exhibitors and visitors be happy to be in Chicago, or revert to the familiar whine about the McCormick place unions pushing them to Orlando or Vegas?

Chicago's McCormick Place, Site of IMTS

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2 thoughts on “Six Questions for the 2010 IMTS

  1. Lynn G. Schneider

    I am a very small job shop specializing in engineering prototypes and tooling. When all goes well these jobs sometimes get extended into short run beta. The emphasis is on quality, and time. Being small helps us be responsive like working through the Labor Day weekend to make delivery (No extra charge for service). Last year I desired to put a new HAAS vertical on the floor because of a pending contract. The contract fell through because of funding. Engineering wanted it but the bean counters nixed the budget. It has been like this for a while. Long story short was I did put a machine on the floor. It was a 9 year old HAAS vertical I bought at auction for cash thus no payment as the job fell through. The machine set on the floor for nearly 6 months before I put electricity to the panel because of a shortage of work. I considered putting the machine on ebay every month and was glad I did not have the 5 years of payments of a new machine. The tax breaks for new machinery are only great in the advent of a profitable business climate. I continue to tread water until something changes regarding what this country will become in the future. I have tremendous respect for the machine tool makers who offer new products of which in better times I would avail myself but I will not be attending IMTS 2010 because being a realist rather than an rosy glassed optimist starts with correcting what has become the real problem of the economy which has nothing to do with productivity. Two years there may not even be an IMTS. That is not a prediction but it is a real possibility. So if you go enjoy the show for me because it may be the last. Like PT Barnum said. “Greatest show on earth.”

     
  2. Dan Murphy

    Lloyd,

    1) Japanese and European builders probably won’t be raising their prices in the sense that they will still charge the same number of yen or euros for them as they did last year. It will just take more US dollars to pay for them. Thanks to record deficit spending by the current administration, you can expect to have to spend more weak dollars for foreign built products. Many well known machine tool builders have opened factories in China and are offering models built there at a lower or similar price that they used to charge.

    2) There will be buyers at the show, but July was a great month for us and August was spectacular. Which leaves me wondering if September will hold up. A lot of companies that I’ve talked to are sending people to the show, but many are sending fewer people. My thinking is attendance will be a little weak but the quality of the visitors will be high.

    3) Expecting revolutionary technology every two years is unrealistic. I expect to see more evolutionary technology. Faster machines, better controls and software, more multifunction machines and tooling, etc. I also expect to see more Japanese and European builders showing machines with well known name plates that are actually manufactured in China.

    4) Money is available for shops with really good credit. Otherwise credit is tight.

    5) There is little or no old inventory of machine tools as far as I know. I expect prices will increase either at the show or shortly afterward due to the weak dollar. Builders have adjusted production and staffing levels to the reality of the market and aren’t looking to build and sell at a loss.

    6) Whine away! As far as I know, IMTS is booked into McCormick Place for 2012 and 2014.

     

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