IMTS 2012 & Chicago

Manufacturing is alive and well. That statement is particularly true for the high precision sectors of aerospace, medical, energy, and power generation. Horst Engineering is fortunate to have exposure to these industries, especially commercial and defense related aerospace.

After my short trip to Dallas, I headed to the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. This bi-annual gathering was well attended and the activity level was very high. Three Horst colleagues joined me in Chicago to look at the latest technology offerings.

We were interested in machine tools, metrology, shop software, tooling, and shop supplies. The show was jam-packed with vendors from all over the world. I think we walked five miles in two days and it felt like we never left the McCormick Center.

We stayed at the Inter-Continental on Michigan Avenue which was pleasant. The bus ride to the convention center wasn’t bad at all. I used the CTA, like I usually do, to get between the airport and downtown. The weather was fantastic, with only a little rain on Thursday night. Sadly, my schedule was so cramped that I never got out for a run along Lake Michigan.

However, the hotel had an amazing and historic pool on the 14th floor that was built in 1929. The moment I walked up the steps, I knew that the pool was built in the roaring 20’s, and it is one of the most architecturally significant pool’s I’ve been in. Originally, it was part of the Medinah Athletic Club. I spent 30 minutes swimming on Friday morning before heading over to IMTS. Chicago is loaded with architectural gems. The buildings are lovely.

There was so much cool stuff to se at the show. It seemed like the equipment manufacturers were pulling out all of the stops. We visited many of our key suppliers and checked up on the competition. Some automation technologies just aren’t affordable for the kind of work that we do, but it’s fun to look.

In past years, I never made it to the tooling building, so this year, I made it a priority and I wasn’t disappointed. I was most impressed by some of the fun displays, like the Wright Brothers aircraft replica. I also liked the 800 horsepower electric vehicle.

There are always cool cars to check out. From NASCAR stock cars to F1 open wheel racers to sports cars.

I always enjoy seeing Chicago and one of these days, I’ll get there with Debbie. I was bummed not to get out for a run, but I did enough walking at the show. IMTS 2014 is only two years away!

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