The International Manufacturing Technology Show is the latest major trade show to close up shop due to the global pandemic.
The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), which stages the biannual show in Chicago, said late Monday that the 2020 edition of IMTS has been cancelled after show officials said they could not get assurances from state or city officials that the venue would be cleared to open in time for the September show.
“In early May, [Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker] introduced a five-phased plan to reopen Illinois businesses. As it reads, the plan specifically states that conventions are included in phase 5 of the plan,” wrote AMT Vice President Peter Eelman in a letter on the IMTS website. “The conditions that must be met for the implementation of phase 5 feature either the availability of a vaccine for the COVID 19 virus or a highly effective treatment protocol, neither of which are expected to occur in the coming months.”
Citing the “difficult and challenging circumstances” around the ability to open the show on time, AMT announced the cancellation. “While this saddens us, the health and safety of our exhibitors and audience remains our top priority,” Eelman wrote.
IMTS is the largest North American manufacturing show and was expected to fill more than 1.6 million square feet of exhibit space at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Hannover Messe USA, the first branded Hannover Messe show outside of Germany, has been co-located with IMTS for the past eight years and brought industrial automation and control systems to be part of an event that already included machine tools and CNC machines.
As has happened with other global trade events affected by the 2020 pandemic, IMTS officials plan to introduce a live-streaming version of its existing IMTS network and a new digital platform, called IMTS Spark, that Eelamn wrote would be launched shortly.
“We know a live in-person IMTS show can never be replaced with a virtual event,” Eelman wrote. “We do, however, realize and understand that even though there is no physical event in 2020, it is our responsibility to provide the IMTS exhibitors and visitors with connections, networking opportunities and technical knowledge.”