IMTS Insider

IMTS: A Catalyst for Reenergizing the MT Industry

Category: Supply Chain May 4, 2020

Since the first show in 1927, IMTS, under its former name, the National Machine Tool Builders’ Exposition, has had a history of reenergizing the advanced manufacturing industry after challenging times. As we live through this time of uncertainty and doubt, it may be a signal that IMTS will once again be relied upon to lead the industry out of a crisis as it did in the following examples. 

1935 - Hope during the Great Depression 
The Exposition of 1935 was the first show after the 1929 stock market crash and three years after the U.S. economy hit rock bottom.1 The event introduced manufacturers, eager to work, to new machines with advances in metalworking gained from the auto and aircraft industries that greatly increased manufacturing production.2 

1947 - First post-WWII show 
After a 12-year hiatus, the 1947 show was instrumental in helping manufacturers retool worn equipment and transfer production from wartime requirements to civilian needs. 

1950s-1970s: 2 wars and 5 recessions 

Despite almost two recessions per decade and two overseas conflicts from the 1950s to the 1970s, the show was held consistently every five years from 1955 to 1970 and continued to serve as a stable platform for those invested in the industry to connect advances in technology to production efficiencies.  



After two recessions in the early 1980s, IMTS 1984 revealed the roll call of the survivors and pushed the industry forward. In the 1990s, after sustained growth, IMTS prevailed as the venue for manufacturers to experience significant technical breakthroughs in manufacturing technology.

The 1980 Ribbon Opening Ceremony.

After 9/11, IMTS 2002 saw more than 85,000 visitors and more than 1,350 exhibitors occupy almost 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space. In a world that had been knocked off kilter, IMTS 2002 provided energizing familiarity and ignited renewed enthusiasm for our industry. 


Emerging Technology Center

After the Great Recession, IMTS 2010 marked a strong comeback in manufacturing. Both visitors and exhibitors were looking for signs that the economy was coming out of its doldrums, and the show invigorated the beleaguered machine tool industry. From 2012 to 2016, IMTS saw a surge in numbers and broke all the records at IMTS 2018 with 129,415 visitors. 

Interested in IMTS History?


Looking ahead
We know that you rely on IMTS to connect you with the technology knowledge, and contacts to help your businesses prosper. We are working to bring you IMTS Spark and IMTS Network, two initiatives focused on giving you information and connections for your business to thrive. As we manage through this pandemic, IMTS 2022 may be the most important show in our recent history.


  3., July 31,   2000. 
  4. Albert Albrecht, The American Machine Tool Industry (Ashland, Ohio: Bookmasters, 2016), 172.  

Rebuilding the Supply Chain
Whether you are an advanced manufacturer, job shop owner, or OEM, you are in the midst of your own supply chain challenges, uncertainties, and questions. In an extraordinary effort to support you, AMT and IMTS are dedicating significant staff and financial resources to help you rethink, reengage, and reestablish supply chains. Visit to learn more!

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