After living in the Chicago area for 10 years I have made peace with the congestion, high prices, long commute times and crazy sports fans. There are even some things I love about the place, like its two convenient airports and hundreds of flights per day to just about anywhere on earth. For a consulting engineer it is an ideal location; lots of local gear shops and an affordable flight to everywhere else.
But perhaps my favorite thing about Chicago only happens every other year. At great expense and inconvenience the machine tool industry builds an amusement park for engineers down at McCormick Place. The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) brings every imaginable type of technology to the Lake Michigan shore for our entertainment and education.
Every machine tool builder you have ever heard of and many you haven’t will bring their best current thinking to town and allow you to see it close up. In many cases you even get to see it making sample parts. Most booths are staffed with knowledgeable people who can explain what is going on and suggest ways it can improve your product.
As a young engineer it was such a treat to get out of the office, pile into a car with my betters, and drive from Milwaukee for my first IMTS. Several years I actually went job hunting at IMTS and later conducted job interviews there for clients. People from all over the world attend the IMTS, each with their own agenda. One thing that unites them is an appreciation for fine machine tools and advancing technology.
So don’t let the traffic scare you. Wear comfortable shoes and pace yourself. But don’t miss IMTS 2014, September 8-13, at McCormick Place in Chicago. Gear Technology and Power Transmission Engineering will be in Booth N-7214 all week. We’d enjoy meeting you and getting feedback on the blog and the magazines.