IMTS cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic

June 11, 2020

An IMTS balloon welcomes guests to the show’s last edition, IMTS 2018, at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Courtesy AMT)

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), formerly scheduled to take place from September 14–19, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, has been cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19). In an official statement, the organisers noted that this is the first time the biennial show has been cancelled since the outbreak of World War II made it impossible to hold. 

In place of the physical event, IMTS will now offer two comprehensive digital programmes, IMTS Network and IMTS Spark, over the next several months to assist exhibitors and the manufacturing community. The organisers added that IMTS is fully committed to returning to Chicago as scheduled from September 12–17, 2022.

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

“Our organisation and its members take immense pride in presenting one of the world’s largest manufacturing technology events, one that dates back to 1927,” he continued. “The cancellation is especially poignant because the show was poised to offer an unmatched breadth and depth of resources to help industry rethink, re-establish and re-engage with supply chains disrupted by COVID-19.”

Visitors who have registered for IMTS 2020 have the choice to receive a refund on registration or transfer their registration to a tax-deductible donation to Miles For Manufacturing, where the funds are given to programmes that prepare students for careers in manufacturing technology. Exhibitors will receive direct communications from IMTS.

IMTS added that it has taken action to help manufacturers address supply chain issues created by COVID-19. The microsite, titled ReBuilding the Supply Chain, is designed to show OEMs how to rethink their current operations.

The site includes guidance on how OEMs can re-engage with suppliers and secure trading partners, and how they can re-establish connections for a more localised industrial base. It also includes a brief history of why and how supply chain disruption occurred.

IMTS Network and IMTS Spark

Eelman stated that, while an in-person show can’t be replaced with a digital event, the organisers of IMTS feel a responsibility to provide exhibitors and visitors with a way to network despite the show’s cancellation. 

“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,” he stated. 

The IMTS Network will livestream a wide variety of features and human-interest stories from the manufacturing technology sector. IMTS Spark, a new programme set to launch soon, will offer a digital platform to connect IMTS exhibitors and visitors, and provide educational and networking opportunities.

More details will be announced by IMTS shortly. 

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