What does it really take to participate in the largest international machine tool show – IMTS 2012?
For most people, the show starts Monday, September 10, 2012, but for the Okuma engineering team, the show started when the last one ended. That means we began getting ready for IMTS 2012 on September 19, 2010. It has taken months and months of preparation to be ready for this show. Let me share with you what it takes.
Did you know that Okuma has one of the largest booths at IMTS? The booth is 100 feet wide by 170 feet long. That's 17,000 square feet, with an additional 2,800 square feet on the second floor. It’s huge!
The Okuma booth (S-8500) is in the South Hall, where the majority of the metal cutting machines are located. This year, Okuma will display 15 CNC machines in our booth (with an additional 3 machines in partner booths). The largest machine, the MU-10000H 5-axis horizontal machining center, required 5 truckloads to get to McCormick Place, and many of the machines required 3 or more truckloads each. This meant 29 truckloads to haul all the equipment and accessories this year, and on top of that, there were 7 more truckloads for the booth structure.
Like any other trade show, "watching your weight" is not easy at IMTS. We came in at over 825,000 pounds with all the machines and equipment. However, with all the chip cutting taking place, we’ll be leaner when the show is over.
Not only will we be cutting metal in the booth, but all 15 machines will also be networked. In today's competitive environment, connectivity and CNC machine status monitoring are vital, and Okuma's proprietary, open-architecture THINC®-OSP Control allows engineering and management to "Go Beyond" just cutting chips. The THINC CNC Control is a powerful management tool that monitors your machines' vital symptoms. We will be demonstrating this throughout the booth, both on the machines and at our "Try It" stations.
After all this talk about preparation, I thought it would be fun to share what our booth at McCormick Place looks like during the days leading up to the show. The work began on Monday, August 27, with the electrical and hoist cabling installation. But the big event was at 12:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when the trucks were allowed into the hall. Unloading 36 tractor-trailer loads of CNC machine tools, technology and booth structure is a well-choreographed dance. Fortunately, the Okuma crew has years' of experience and everyone knows just what to do.
Take a look at these exclusive photos, and you'll get a glimpse into how the magic happens.
8/27 - McCormick place is a blank slate just waiting for all those IMTS booths!
8/28 - Let's make sure that sign lights up before we hoist it up there (lesson learned hanging Christmas lights).
8/29 - All the big rigs are lined up and ready to deliver the Okuma CNC machines and booth structure.
8/30 - Crates, crates, and more crates...there's hardly room to walk.
8/31 - The first sections of the booth are starting to go up.
9/1 - It takes several days to set up a big machine like this VTR-160A double column turning center.
9/3 - This MULTUS B750 multitasking CNC lathe will be on display with the covers off.
9/4 - The booth is starting to take shape...we now have a second floor!
At the time of this writing, we only have 5 days left until the show starts, and there’s still a lot of work to be done. Stop by booth S-8500 to see how we complete the transformation. I promise – we'll be ready.
We welcome comments on the photos. More to come!
Rod Tojdowski is Chief Engineer at Okuma America Corporation