Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hanging with the big boys...

No. This is not about cycling - shocker I know. This is about where I have been spending my time - hanging with the big boys.

International Manufacturing Technology Show.

This is the largest (that I know of) show for manufacturing. It is a strange mix of old and new. Those of you not familiar with manufacturing let me just tell you that the machine tools available today are nothing like your father's South Bend lathe. The technology is totally over the top and exploding at a rate not seen since probably WWII.

The there is the old side of it. It still smacks of a 1970's convention full of scantily clad models hocking tooling wearing things like shirts that say "big ones" across the chest in reference to the company's new big tooling. One poor model was paid to stand outside of the booth and ask everyone in a conversational voice, "would you like to touch them?" to which everyone responded, "whaaaa??!!", and she would follow with, "do you want to touch the new tools from company XYZ???"

There was even a bearded lady at one booth. Seriously. This is an example of marketing gone wrong. Everyone remembers the bearded lady. It was a side-show theme. Everyone remembers that....but no one remembers what company it was or what they were selling. I remember it had something to do with drilling becaus eht bearded lady was handing out condoms and putting them on the drills....seriously folks. You can't make this crap up.

I mostly hung out around tooling because those are "my people", but the big boys (machine builders) are like the big auto guys in terms of what they are capable of. All of the auto guys go to the same machine builders....and so does everyone else who makes anything. They are the real powerhouse of every economy. I hear storys about what it used to be like before they cleaned the show up - back rooms where machine deals were closed/signed.....on certain body parts of the "models" involved....seriously.

I kind of walked around in shock until I realized these guys just know their audience. They have cleaned it up, but the efforts are thinly veiled. One company had a string trio play - wonderfully talented - every hour....stopped traffic cold....but that's because the entire trio was a collection of drop dead beautiful blondes.

I was hosted by Sandvik over the last 2 days. They do an amazing job and everyone else in that building was jealous of them. Sandvik is a Sweedish company that makes the majority of our cutting tools (carbide). Building on the Sweedish theme they bring in a lot of ice from some pure river in Sweeden and brought in an ice bar from the "ice bar" in Sweeden. We drank drinks from glasses made of ice and watched a true artisan sculpt ice into amazing forms.

Well this turned into a longer post than I meant to....I am fryed. I will take a day off of the show and head back to work tomorrow. Hopefull the excessive standing and walking for the last two days won't wipe me out for the BH ride tomorrow.


CyLowe said...

I was hosted by Sandvik

You were 'hosted' by them? Is that what they're calling it these days?

You crazy kids and your fancy heavy metal toys....

aham23 said...

tooling. big boys. hosted. so many wayts to go with this that i cant decided......

L*I*S*A said...

If you can get me Corona,

can I go next time?