The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) debuted in 1927 and is considered the largest manufacturing show in North America. In its 32nd year, the show will host more than 2,400 exhibitors and more than 115,000 attendees.
The show also hosts five co-located shows: Surface Technology USA, ComVac USA, Industrial Supply USA, Integrated Automation, and Motion & Drives USA, in addition to an ever-increasing presence of the Hannover Messe Show in the USA. IMTS brings the industry major players under one roof to highlight and discuss new innovations with industry experts, designers, and manufacturers.
One highlight of the show has been the adoption of automation into the machine space. To meet a shop’s needs five to 10 years from now, manufacturers need to address the concerns of a declining labor force. For the last ten 10 years, there have been great efforts to reinvigorate the skilled labor pool when it comes to manufacturing and machining. CNC and shop classes have been on the rise in community colleges, and companies like Festo and Rockwell Automation have created internship programs to help train individuals. However, even though we have started to increase the skilled labor force, it may not be enough to meet the demand that global manufacturing is placing on the engineering industry. That is why automation is key.
The power of robots lies in their ability to help reduce the repetitive and mindless tasks that humans do on a daily basis. By using robots, we can free up workers for other higher-level tasks and help reduce the demand on skilled laborers. Here are some images from IMTS on how robots and automation are joining forces to help user in a new era of manufacturing.
ABB’s Yuri: A Collaborative Robot
Yumi is a collaborative robot (cobot) and is designed for small parts assembly. Cobots allow robots and humans to work side-by-side, which creates the most efficient work environment possible.
Wes-Tech Automation Solutions and FANUC
Wes-Tech is an automation solutions provider for the factory automation, automotive, and medical device industry. It is a “Top 100” system integrator and use robots like FANUC’s robotic arms to help factories reach a high level of automation.
Universal Robots Put on a Show
Universal Robots (UR) are a leader in the cobot world. As the first to introduce cobots to the market, UR has expanded its tool catalog working with end effectors manufacturers like Robotiq. It also has an online training platform for end users.
Universal Robots Move with the MiR Platform
The MiR is a mobile robot that introduces artificial intelligence combined with factory mobility. A MiR robot can guide itself around the factory floor to help deliver tools and robots where needed. Here the UR cobot is placed on top of a MiR robot to demonstrate its mobility.
NACHI Robot Can Dance
The NACHI robot here is auditioning as he dances to the YMCA. The lineup from NACHI Robotic Systems include advanced automated features such as force control functions and integrated vision detection to help create a safer workplace.
Yaskawa Doing the Heavy Lifting
The large scale Yaskawa robotic arm is lifting a 4×4 truck metal frame. Robots like this are mainstays of the automotive industry and are necessary to help handle large-scale parts. Yaskawa offers a lineup of robotic arms that range from small-part assembly to large-scale production.
FANUC Helps You Look Under the Hood
The FANUC robotic demonstration here shows how different robots can work together. One robot lifts the car and moves it into position for the smaller FANUC robotic arm to perform maintenance under the car. Both tasks are either impossible for a human or help prevent a human worker from injury.