Were you one of the 100,000?

My feet still hurt. After two days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago's McCormick Place, I'm pretty sure I'd walked more miles than Harold Fry.

Make no mistake. Manufacturing in the United States and abroad is alive and well, and so is the technology to automate it. The last count I'd heard had the event flirting with 100,000 registrants for the trade show and conferences. It was indeed a sea of attendees flooding the venue's 470,000 square ft.

This would explain the slowing orders of manufacturing technology preceding IMTS. AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, which issues the monthly U.S. manufacturing technology orders (USMTO) reports, notes that July orders were just under $450 million, down 2.3% from June and down 10.5% from 2011. Still, this year’s orders are up 5.4% compared to last.

Douglas Woods, president of AMT (www.amtonline.org) says it’s common for orders to slow during the summer months, and that’s further exaggerated by manufacturers bringing their shopping lists to IMTS every two years instead of making their usual orders through traditional channels. AMT predicts order activity to come back strong in the coming months with orders from the show leading the way.

One of the advantages of IMTS is being able to visit with a variety of people and companies all in one place, albeit a very large place. This year, we also were able to speak with four manufacturers of compressed air equipment, who provided us with information that perfectly complemented Stanton McGroarty’s article on purchasing a new system. The videos are embedded in the article at http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2012/07-compressed-air-legacy.html.