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IMTS 2012 Show Reflects Manufacturing Outlook

The IMTS 2012 trade show is being held at McCormick Place this week, and exhibitors and attendees seem to reflect the general manufacturing outlook so far this year, a mixed bag. Through Thursday, however, the event has seen more than 95,000 attendees visit this international event.

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IMTS 2012 is one of the largest trade shows centered around machine toooling, but for the first time, it now includes an industrial automation pavilion called Industrial Automation North America (IANA). At a press briefing on Monday morning, Wolfgang Pech, Senior vice pres., Deutsche Messe, said,"It seemed to be the ideal time to include an industrial automation component to the IMTS show."

Also present at the media event was Larry Turner, ceo, Hannover Fairs, and Pete Alles, director of services and technology, where Mr. Alles announced the introduction of the IFPE Fluid Zone. The Fluid Zone is also part of the IANA pavilion and spotlights new trends in the fluid power, hydraulics, pneumantics and linear drive categories. 

Here's an brief overview from some of the automation suppliers at the show: 

Eaton Corp - The automation and power supplier had its SmartWire-DT panel wiring product displayded at the booth. The SmartWire-DT approach includes “smart chips” and ribbon cables to simplify connection and eliminate point-to-point wiring. 

Mitsubishi Electric - On display at the company's booth were its control series offerings for CNC machines and die and mold applictions, including the M70V control series, M700V, M70V with high-end CNC features added into the control platform.    

Universal Robots - This Danish company features a small to medium robot solution for primarily CNC applications. The UR5 robotic arm utilizes a unique patented technology to measure electrical current in its joints to determine force and movement. This innovation enables the robot to undercut the price of automated solutions. 

ABB, Inc. -  The swiss-based company is promoting its robotic solutions for mulitple applications, including its four robot simulated production cell. The company used this application with Harley Davidson to assemble the body main frame and peform spot welding. Utilizing a single controller, the MultiMove standard programming instructions move the robots in fully coordinated motion to collaboratively work on the same part or within the same manufacturing process. MultiMove also allows the robots to move independently of each other or in subgroups of any combination.

Conferences at the Show
Other conferences at this year's IMTS 2012 show include the Motion, Drives and Automation Conference, IANA Automation and Manufacturing Summit and the Midwest Clean Tech conference, to name a few. The Clean Tech Conference, on Wed., Sept 12, offerred a look at emerging clean tech applications, the state of the smart grid in the Chicago area and a panel discussion on electric vehicle progress. 

Tony Reinhart, regional dir. of government and community affairs for Ford Motor Company, mentioned that the new Coporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulation has "Ford looking at all technologies to achieve 54.5 mpg by 2025." He cited many breakthroughs were needed to achieve this new standard: powertrain improvements, a lighter aluminum body, micro-hybrid concepts and more adoption of electric vehicles. 

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