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Manufacturing Technology with an Austrian Accent



September 24, 2008

International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago

Outside the show, headlines of financial crisis and economic crises dominated. Inside the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), held over six days in September in Chicago, the mood was upbeat: manufacturing has resurfaced as a critical segment of the U.S. economy and has its eyes on the future, with demand for products “Made in Austria”.

Held every two years, IMTS was attended by over 90,000 visitors in a four exhibition halls with 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space. It is the primary U.S. show in manufacturing technology, covering metal cutting, tooling, forming/fabricating and machining/finishing and related industries. This year it boasted approximately 1,300 exhibitors, which included the Association of Austrian Machinery and Metalware Industries and the following Austrian firms:

-Alicona Corp.
-Bohler Uddeholm Specialty Metals, Inc.
-Ceratizit USA, Inc.
-Emco Maier Corporation
-LMT USA, Inc.
-WFL Millturn Technologies GmbH & Co. KG
The Austrian Trade Commission provided local representation at IMTS, as well the Clean Technologies & Sustainability conference during the same week. The Austrian Business Agency also participated in both events.

The U.S. is an important market for Austrian machine tools, second in volume only to neighboring Germany. Although exports to the US were down in 2007, the future looks bright due to the dynamics of the U.S. market. For high-tech and other products that aren’t labor intensive, manufacturing is making a strong comeback. Today, flexibility, market collaboration and ground-breaking solutions are dominating manufacturing engineering in the U.S. According to Peter Eelman, Vice President, Association for Manufacturing Technology, “Innovation and productivity are leading manufacturing technology today. Increasing shipping and logistics costs also play a factor in locating manufacturing in the U.S. The next generation of machines focuses on the ability to multi-task through automation.”