IMTS, Rapid Prototyping, Snowglobes

There’s a lot of commotion around the office this week about the IMTS show in Chicago.  Admittedly, I’m eager to join the rest of the crew already making a splash.  However, my excitement is twofold.

Firstly, I’m more than enthused that EXAIR has been invited based on our social media campaigns.  Ingraining social media into the company has been a challenge with hard-fought battles, but we’ve managed to take each lesson in stride and build our brand on the digital level.

Secondly, I’m keenly interested in the rapid prototyping machines on display this year.  I feel like I can’t watch a science show without an engineer running to the 3D printer to make a one-off part that saves the day.  One of my favorite videos showing the 3D printing potential is a more artistic take by Markus Kayser.  Check out the video below.


While there are numerous potential benefits to a manufacturer when considering 3D printing, I have desires on a personal level as well.  Imagine being able to print the hand tool you need for a home project, or make a custom gift to a new homeowner.  My eyes will be wide open this year as I join my comrades in attendance.  (If your planning on going, and aren’t quite sure where to start, IMTS has a MyShow Planner feature on their site.)

Be sure to check the EXAIR Twitter feed for event photos!

Lee Evans

Application Engineer


American Manufacturing, STEM, and The Boy Scouts

If you’re a regular reader of EXAIR blogs, you no doubt know that the International Manufacturing Technology Show is in full swing. Between exhibitors and visitors, the cumulative population of Chicago’s McCormick Place is expected to approach 90,000 people this week. That sounds like an impressive number of folks are taking a keen interest in manufacturing, but we’re being led to believe that there’s room – and need – for improvement here in the American manufacturing community. Consider:

*There are an estimated 600,000 unfilled manufacturing positions across the country right now. That’s a sobering number, especially in light of the current unemployment figures.

*It’s predicted that much of the core workforce in American manufacturing will be reaching retirement age during the next 10 years, and the recent historical data hints at a looming manpower crisis. Keep in mind, that’s on top of the current deficit of 600,000 workers.

I know that statistics can be made to say whatever you want them to say, but the right ones (you’ll have to trust me on this) show that American manufacturing created much of the wealth, and much of the size of the middle class, in the 20th Century. Whether you blame NAFTA, China, Wall Street, or any/all of the above (or something else entirely) for the recent decline, there are no shortage of proponents for a resurgence in American manufacturing in the 21st Century.

It’s curious that an organization that stresses the importance of doing things outdoors would be one of those proponents, but the Boy Scouts of America (maybe you’ve heard I like Scouting) is involved. The relatively new STEM/NOVA Program is geared towards advancing, and rewarding, participation in skill-building exercises to prepare today’s youth for tomorrow’s careers.

It’s just another reason I feel privileged to be a part of such a fine organization as the Boy Scouts.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Heading to IMTS this week? Already There? If not you should be.

If you have any ties to manufacturing, then I am sure you have heard of IMTS.  Just in case you haven’t it is only the largest Manufacturing Technology show in the states and it is going on this week, in Chicago at McCormick Place.  The show has all of the latest and greatest in manufacturing and technology under one roof.  Not only can you see the newest products but you can also educate yourself through the IMTS edu booth.  Needless to say, if you aren’t there, get there.  That is unless you have a good excuse like me, wife could be having a baby at any moment.

It just so happens that EXAIR has a team that is en route to IMTS right now.  You may know them by their Twitter accounts, @EXAIR_JP, @EXAIR_KE, and even @ProfPenurious.  The three of them will be at the IMTSedu booth starting at 4:30 PM CST discussing social media in manufacturing.  This is the same time that the IMTSedu booth is hosting a tweetup.  Not only does this give you a chance to meet some of our crew face to face but it may also help you see how social media could help your business and brand.  Not to mention you may even get to hear a few of the infamous #DearJoe sayings, and see Professor Penurious outside of his lab.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

Stories from the past

When I was fresh out of college with very little idea of what I wanted in a career or a job, I landed a job in the machine tool industry.  This was for a small company that was a master distributor of CNC metal-cutting machines.  The job title I had was, Product Specialist.  This job encompassed everything from unloading the machine from the truck, inspecting the machine, adding options / customizing the machine if needed, testing, packaging, and shipping the machine.  I would then go to the customers site, install, test again, train the staff there and then provide on-site and over-the-phone technical support and warranty work.  As the business evolved, the requirements grew and more responsibilities were added.

One of the best parts of the job was trade shows.   It was always hectic, but to see something come together in a small amount of time and see the finished product always made you feel good.   The largest show I would travel to was IMTS, which just happens to be going on in another month.  This is the largest machine technology show in the states.  I would always be running a machine cutting some kind of trinket or sample part.  The main piece I was cutting my first year there was a light bulb out of aluminum.

As my knowledge of the machinery grew, I came to realize the part wasn’t that complicated but it still amazes me to this day.

A lot of our products here at EXAIR do the same thing to people who have never encountered them.  They are absolutely amazed by the Cold Gun’s ability to drop your compressed air temperature by 50° F while having no internal moving parts and only using compressed air.  Just today, I had a customer come in for a demonstration and couldn’t believe he had been struggling with a heat problem for so many years when we were right down the highway from him.

So if you have an application that is impeding your process, or if you have an interesting use for some of our products don’t hesitate to contact us.  Maybe even stop over at our Facebook page and drop us a note or some pictures.  You might be surprised at what you get in return.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer