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Top 10 Technologies from IMTS 2016

The show floor hosted more than 76 million pounds of equipment, so there had to be something cool, right?

IMTS 2016 has come to a close, and after the final tally the 31st edition of the show was the third largest in history. More than 115,000 people registered for the event, and it was the highest number of exhibitors ever, with 2,400+ taking up more than 1.3 million square feet of floor space.

The show floor hosted more than 76 million pounds of equipment, so there had to be something cool at the show, right?

Here’s IEN’s top ten from IMTS 2016.

10. Rethink Robotics’ Cobots

One of my favorite booths at IMTS was Rethink Robotics, the home of cobots Baxter, and his younger brother Sawyer.

Baxter and Sawyer are collaborative robots designed to safely work with humans, so they don’t require any machine guarding, and can also be trained to perform a task in a matter of minutes.

With a train by demonstration method, they learn new tasks when a worker takes the cobots “wrist” and shows them how to do it. This allows employees with little to no technical background to deploy and redeploy the robot on different tasks quickly and effectively.

9. CyberOptics Goes Inside Out

CyberOptics, a division of Minneapolis-based Laser Design, unveiled their CyberGage360 3D Scanning System, which uses their Multi-Reflection Suppression technology to generate 360-degree part scans in less than 3 minutes.

Once a part is placed on the 8” x 4” diameter work envelope, the push of a button delivers a report comparing scan data to CAD models, templates or other specifications. The machine works at a speed of eight million points/part pose and comes equipped with Polyworks Inspector reporting software.

8. Wohlhauping Is Boring

Dover, OH-based Allied Machine & Engineering (AME) wanted to expand globally, so at IMTS 2016 the holemaking company announced that it purchased a majority share of boring tool specialist Wohlhaupter, which is particularly well-known in Germany, where according to AME Executive Vice President Steven Stokey, machinists actually call boring "Wohlhauping."

AME also wrapped up a $16 million expansion of its state-of-the are training facility where it will offer three-day technical education seminars for guests flying in from around the globe.

7. More Data for Managers

Key players in the industrial controls marketplace, such as Rexroth, ABB and Festo, are looking to generate even more data for plant and maintenance managers by advancing the Sercos automation bus.

The communications interface has been in place for more than 25 years, but has not been universally adapted. The benefits include an ability to track equipment performance down to the drive level – which could offer key insight for troubleshooting and maintenance. The challenge is that it would require some key manufacturers to re-engineer many of their component-level offerings when overall equipment performance data is still more than enough for many.

6. Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing

Fabrisonic showed off its ultrasonic additive manufacturing technique, an interesting 3D printing tech that uses sound to merge together layers of dissimilar materials.

What does that mean? It means that you can join aluminum, copper, and bronze together to create custom materials without changing their properties or making them brittle. The company's unique machining process can fabricate complex internal geometries and even embed sensors into solid material.

We’re not just talking about new weight efficiencies, but parts that you couldn’t build in any other way.

Here's where we round out our Top Ten from IMTS 2016.

This is IEN Now with Jeff Reinke, Anna Wells, and David Mantey. 

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