The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) Comes To Chicago

Michael Reader

From September 10 through the 15th, over 80,000 industrial decision-makers will be attending the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) at McCormick Place in Chicago.  There, ideas will spark and answers will be found, ranging from technology challenges to innovative ways to succeed in a globally-competitive market.

More than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems and processes that can improve efficiency will be showcased by over 1,800 exhibitors representing the finest manufacturers in the world.

The show will feature distinct pavilions catering to specific applications or processes, including metal cutting, tooling and workholding systems, metal forming and fabricating/laser processes, abrasive machining, controls and CAD-CAM,  EDM, and environmental /quality assurance among others.

There will also be conferences throughout the duration of the show.  According the organizers, “Sessions will explore innovative as well as revered technologies, business development and optimization, plus workforce efficiency and productivity.  Special emphasis will be placed on maintaining focus on short- and long-term goals during a tough economic environment.”  The show will also focus on the subject of “Reshoring” or bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

The Upper Midwest, which includes Chicago, has had a long history in the manufacturing industry,  with factories and shops  beginning to appear shortly after the expansion of the railroads in the mid-1800s, and quickly developing into a highly influential area for our country.  It seems only appropriate that one of the most important manufacturing shows in the world take place in the Midwest.  Attended by thousands of interested people from around the world, IMTS is truly a spectacle not to be missed.

Midwest’s Rockford, Illinois: A Shining Star In The Aerospace Industry

Michael Reader

The Rockford, Illinois region is located in the middle of North America, equidistant between Milwaukee and Chicago and part of the third largest economic corridor in the U.S. According to the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, “The region offers abundant land for development at a low cost per acre, much of it within Foreign Trade Zone #176. This strategic location provides excellent direct access to markets via four interstates (I-90, I-88, I-39 and I-43); Global III, Union Pacific Railroad’s intermodal hub; and Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD), the 18th largest air cargo airport in the United States and home to the second largest UPS hub in the nation (parcel and heavy freight).”

The Greater Rockford Area is also a hub for the U.S. aerospace industry, hosting over 170 aerospace suppliers and employing over 6,000 people.  The Rockford region is home to five major tier one aerospace supply companies: Hamilton Sundstrand, Woodward, B/E Aerospace, Mag Aerospace Industries, Inc. and Supplycore. Additionally, local universities strive to bring science to the area. Rockford’s nearby Northern Illinois University (NIU) awards over 400 engineering degrees each year and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – a world leader in aviation and aerospace education – which established a campus at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport in 2008 and offers a number of aeronautical degrees, including masters in aeronautical science.

Jeff Kaney, an entrepreneur who has founded two aerospace companies in Rockford, and who is chairman of RAAN (The Rockford Area Aerospace Network)  says companies in the Rockford cluster constitute all elements of the aerospace supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software.

Kerry Frank, president of Comply 365 Solutions, a software firm that develops software for the Kindle Fire, iPads and other portable devices used by pilots and flight attendants, says the cluster has brought a great awareness regarding aerospace to the Midwest.

Local news  reported that the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) reported a strong start to 2012 with a 14 percent increase in first quarter passenger traffic year-over-year. Each month in the quarter saw strong passenger growth with March being the busiest month in RFD’s history. During its record-breaking month of March, 32,473 passengers came through RFD. March also had the largest increase in year-over-year traffic for the quarter, posting a nearly 18 percent jump. The previous busiest month at RFD was in March 2008 with 29,361 passengers.  Punta Cana and Denver destinations have really helped drive passenger growth with their strong bookings,” said Mike Dunn, RFD Director of Economic Development and Government Relations.

Precision Plus is a proud supplier to the aerospace industry, supplying mission-crucial components that are used from single-engine aircraft to the Space Shuttle.