Oak Brook, Ill. — The first-ever IMTECH — "I-M" for injection molding — came together in just six months, as organizers quickly swung into action.
IMTECH drew 185 attendees to Oak Brook on Aug. 1-3. They heard 41 technical presentations on topics such as molding simulation, Industry 4.0, material additives and mold issues that included tooling for liquid silicone molding, conformal cooling and valve gating.
IMTECH guests also could attend plant tours of injection molding press makers Sodick Plustech Co. Ltd. in Schaumburg, Ill., and Wittmann Battenfeld Inc.'s Midwest Tech Center in South Elgin, Ill.
Conference Chair David Okonski said 200 people registered for the inaugural IMTECH, sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers' Injection Molding Division.
"So we're very happy with those numbers for the first time for the conference," he said. "But we want to develop it into the conference of choice for manufacturing engineers within the injection molding industry."
Okonski said he wants IMTECH to grow to around 400 to 600 attendees within the next three to five years.
But just two weeks before the SPE injection molding conference, only 68 people had registered.
"We were worried, I tell you. Very," said Peter Grelle, the technical chair for IMTECH.
Canceling a first-ever conference would have cost the Injection Molding Division big bucks. And then you have a critical loss of credibility for a new event.
Okonski and Grelle, who have known each other a long time through plastics events, are SPE veterans who had been tossing ideas back and forth for an injection molding conference. Grelle, a 45-year SPE member, handled the presentations, and Okonski, who joined SPE's Injection Molding Division, was the point person for questions and headed up marketing.
Grelle has lots of conference planning experience, including technical program work. "I've been involved with the SPE conferences as well as other organizations over the last 25 years. And I've done almost 25 conferences in that period of time," he said.
"The thing I learned, over that period of time, is you have to spend a good year if you want to do the planning. If you want a program to be established, getting the papers, and doing all that type of legwork. One year. And if you try less than that, you're in trouble," he said.