IMTS Round-Up: 5 Technological Engagement Tools that Caught Our Eye

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016

After a week in Chicago attending the International Manufacturing Technology Show, Team Lumavate® is buzzing with excitement. Some of the industry’s biggest names came together to show off the latest and greatest in manufacturing technology at McCormick Place, and we were lucky enough to experience it all.

A couple of things that stood out to us (other than the obvious - robots, self-driving trolley and 3D printed cars) were the innovative ways that companies were engaging show attendees. Let’s put this into perspective: there were over 2,300 exhibitors at this show that spanned across four different buildings. It wasn’t a question of if exhibits would stand out, but how. And the exhibits that stood out effectively were the ones that successfully showed off their product and its function while also mixing in an element of fun. So here are a few exhibits that we feel did just that:


Fanuc’s robo-arm

Trust us when we say that there were robots around every corner at IMTS, but this one definitely drew the most attention. At any given time, dozens of show-goers would be gathered around to watch this giant robot arm fluidly lift and tilt the Corvette with ease. This thing never stopped moving the entire week! That’s nearly a full week of constant movement and this robot never faltered. Not only was the “wow” factor there, but it displayed the durability and strength of Fanuc machines.

Kuka’s robo-barista


When you’re walking thousands of steps a day (over 18,000, but who’s counting?) that afternoon lull hits hard and fast…which definitely explains the popularity of this little guy. Kuka showed off the agility and precision of its robotic arm by having it make the perfect pick-me-up: a cup of fresh brewed coffee. The arm had two prongs on the end that gently handled paper cups, K-cups, the Keurig handle and even a dust mop to clean up while the coffee brewed, because this Kuka was not raised in a barn.

The AAM's mural


There’s not necessarily a technological “wow” factor to this one, but it was definitely a great example of getting attendees involved. Each day, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) posed a question for show attendees: “Tell us what’s amazing about what you make?”, “What excites you about manufacturing today?”, and so on. As people would wander by and submit an answer on a post-it note, an artist would illustrate their answers until the whole wall was covered. Not only were the murals incredibly impressive, but it was a visual representation of the importance of listening to your customers.

Destaco’s giveaway

As far as giveaways go, Destaco stepped it up a notch. In order to show off the precision and accuracy of their grippers, they created a vending machine featuring–you guessed it–a robot! The robotic arm chose a prize enclosed in a variety of case shapes (pens in test tubes, flashlights in boxes on a shelf, etc.) and dispensed it. It was a great way to show off the adaptability of the grippers.

QR codes galore


It looks like we were in good company! From business cards to brochures to bags and even the backside of a mascot (seriously), QR codes were all over the place. We joke that Team Lumavate never lets a QR code go un-scanned, so we had our work cut out for us at this show. There were some great examples of QR codes linking to dynamic content like videos or contact cards, and some not-so-great examples of them linking to nothing. But regardless of the content, it’s no question that QR codes are definitely not a thing of the past.


There you have it! These companies had the right ideas when combining functionality with experience to create tons of engagement. Were you at IMTS this year? Tweet at us and let us know if you had a favorite attendee engagement tool!

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