| 9:29 AM EST

C-19 Causes IMTS 2020 Cancellation

Massive manufacturing technology show has had a long run, now with a bit of an interruption


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The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) will not be held this September at McCormick Place in Chicago based on requirements in place by the state of Illinois for the containment of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The show has been held uninterrupted for more than 80 years, but now the global coronavirus health crisis requires the cancellation of what would have been the 34th edition of IMTS for the health and safety of our exhibitors, audiences and local business community,” said Peter R. Eelman, Vice President & CXO at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS.

IMTS balloon

The IMTS balloon won’t be rising outside McCormick Place this September. (Image: AMT)

For those doing the math: This is the first time what is one of the world’s largest manufacturing technology expos is being canceled since World War II.

Although the physical show will not be held, AMT will be holding digital events. Eelman: “In the near future, we will launch the IMTS Network and IMTS Spark to provide the IMTS exhibitors and visitors with connections, networking opportunities and technical knowledge.”

The organization has scheduled the next IMTS in Chicago for September 13-18, 2022.

For those who have registered for IMTS 2020, AMT will be offering refunds or the ability to transfer their registration to a tax-deductible donation to Miles for Manufacturing, which is a program for preparing students for careers in manufacturing technology.

An Observation

I’ve been at every IMTS since 1978 and when I try to describe the enormity of the event to people—as in it taking up seemingly every square foot of space in McCormick Place, even as McCormick Place kept expanding over the years—no one can believe it. It is hard to wrap one’s mind around a massive machining center cutting chips like confetti or a robot moving an entire car body through space—and there are remarkable things in the miles of aisles.

Given that there aren’t a whole lot of events where there is so much manufacturing tech in one place, the popularity of IMTS has grown over the years and people from literally all over the world come to Chicago for the Show. (Yes, people who have been to that rodeo more than once typically refer to it simply as “the Show.”)

Knowing how crowded it is—yes, the size of McCormick notwithstanding, it is the proverbial cheek-to-jowl crowded—I had a hard time imagining how it could have been held with even a modicum of social distancing.

But I am confident that the people at AMT will not only provide would-be attendees and exhibitors with some meaningful opportunities this year, but will go above and beyond in 2022.