Giant Industrial Robots
I love giant robots, and the M-2000iA is about the biggest industrial one there is. It has a 2.3-ton payload, but it's a shame it only really lifts up, never smashes down on anything. Missed opportunity.
Giant Paper Ball
The software company InspectionXpert is making a point that we waste a lot of paper, and it of course has a simpler software solution for all those endless reams of spreadsheets stacked on your desk. The Raleigh company is also trying to break a Guinness World Record with it. (And is that a FANUC employee challenging them to a giant robot-paper-scissors match?)
High Speed EDM Drilling Machine
Double-Column, 5-Face Milling Machine
This behemoth, the MVR 30Ex, from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries doesn't sacrifice accuracy for productivity while it creates large parts.
Double-Column, 5-Face Milling Machine
It also finishes them, saving time and space.
Sandvik Coromant developed the Silent Tools line of cutting tool adapters and bars that sense and dampen vibrations. On the low end, they increase productivity by 50%, and have reached as much as 300%.
Machined Lion head
Titans of CNC created this for Kennametal's booth, and to show off the machining prowess of owner Titan Gilroy, who spoke at IMTS about the importance of teaching kids skilled trades.
Machined Chess Board
Gilroy also machined this chess board, representative of his aggressive-yet-cerebral machining strategy.
Hurco's Black Panther Bust
Large Workpiece Machining
Like every major machine manufacturer, DMG Mori had tons (literally) of machining equipment on the show floor. This Porsche, made by the DMU 200 Gantry in 115 hours, was a standout.
Yaskawa Motoman Bartender
If you have an uncanny ability to get ignored by bartenders too busy talking about mustache wax, you know this is one human job that can and should be replaced. Or at least install a collaborative bot like this Motoman to work side-by-side to improve their productivity, like they do on the plant floor.
Vero Software's CAD CAM tools allow companies such as Detail Technologies to create bright and shiny pieces such as Mr. Incredible, as well as Hurco's Black Panther.
Outdone Not, I Will Be
To show you the level of competition, leading CAM provider Mastercam was stationed a few feet from Vero. Master Yoda could obviously beat Mr. Incredible in a fight, though is that important enough to base critical design tool decision on? Impossible to know, this question is. But you can see the making of Yoda here.
Teaching Old Machines New tricks
Machine Metrics is fairly new on the scene, but has a knack for turning even decades-old legacy equipment into endless founts of data generation. That info can be used on the shop floor to inform operators of their real-time progress, or looped to the C-Suite for deeper insights.
Ready for a Close-Up
Keyence demonstrated the VHX-6000 Digital Microscope Controller, which could focus on one or many sections of a small part at the touch of a button. The seamless zooming and ease of use made me jealous of quality inspectors for once. Normally, I feel that's a terrifying job, because all it takes is one screw up, and your dun four. I can make three in a row and nobody gets hurt.
This fully autonomous forklift, unveiled at IMTS and the first of its kind, uses the same sensing tech as self-driving cars for obstacle avoidance, and can be trained to learn new skills. With all the trouble finding drivers, and when you do dealing with accidents, this could be one of the major revelations of the show.
NASA's Tech Transfer
Speaking of space and the future, did you know NASA wants to lend you patents the government's brightest engineers created while figuring out how to explore the cosmos? You just have to commercialize it. You can search here: NASA Tech Transfer Portal.
OnRobot Gecko Gripper
The Gecko Gripper was developed as a NASA replacement for Velcro, and a former Jet Propulsion lab engineer figured out how to use the van der Waals force to create a non adhesive, but super 'sticky" gripper.
VR/ AR Training
A company called Sify invited me to the outer rim of the IMTS galaxy (the very farthest point in North Building) to check out their training solution, and I'm glad I spent the four years in hypersleep to see it. Using the HoloLens, I could assemble or disassemble a motorcycle. Meanwhile, a man with an HTC Vive was holding and manipulating objects in the virtual world. It took a bit getting used to, but I could tell instantly that this is the crude ancestor of the device that will change how people access the digital world.
VR in the Plant
At Ecoclean's booth, they were running a similar program with the Vive, but specifically to allow potential customers to see how the industrial cleaning filters and equipment could be positioned before buying. as the tech becomes more ubiquitous, it's hard to imagine more companies not doing this for IMTS 2020.
Portable Coordinate Measuring Machine
CMMs are vital to ensure the accuracy and quality of parts. The Metronor TrackScan uses cameras, not stickers, to quickly get accurate measurements.
The Polyscan XL can measure parts up t0 1,300 mm, or more than 4 ft. at a time, making it perfect for the auto industry. I suspect it could also be used for interdimensional travel with the right set of tools and know-how.
There were enough eye-catching 3D-printed parts and machines for an entire slideshow, but I just found these fine hairs (or feathers) on these plump birds made by XYZprinting particularly fascinating.
HP Metal Jet Printing
The biggest news coming out of IMTS was probably HP's Metal Jet 3D Printer. The company previously introduced the high speed Multi Jet Fusion to make durable, lightweight end-use parts from Nylon. Now they're doing it for stainless steel, at a speed 50 times faster than other metal printers, at an affordable cost of $400,000.
HP Metal Jet Printer
Working with GKN Powder Metallurgy, HP will put these Metal Jet Printers in Volkswagen factories. The automaker has long term plans for the technology due to its push for e-vehicles, which need to be light to conserve energy. Gearshift knobs are only the beginning.
Autodesk's Fusion 360 added Generative Design as feature, but it's more of a new philosophy for the company. If given certain engineering needs and constraints, the software's algorithms will figure out dozens or thousands of possible solutions from which to choose. This insect-like rear assembly of a motorcycle is stronger than a solid part, while using significantly less material. Paired with the additive manufacturing tech HP Metal Jet, this could totally change what IMTS might look like in four to six years.