Photo: Me with Sri. P. Chidambaram, Union Cabinet Minister, at IMTEX.
IMTEX stands for Indian Machine Tool Exhibition. To be more specific it is Indian Metal-cutting Machine Tool Exhibition with International participation. The Exhibition showcases the latest trends in Metalworking Machine Tools and Manufacturing solutions. The Exhibition is organized on a very large scale by IMTMA – Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association. Earlier it used to be held alternatively once in three and four years but now it is being held once every two years. For many years IMTEX was held at Godrej premises in Mumbai and then till recently at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. IMTEX 2007 and 2009 were held at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Bangalore. The Exhibition is held in January or February for duration of one week. Normally there are over 800 exhibitors and about 50 percent of them are overseas participants. In huge sheds small and large, spread over an area of over 45,000 square metres, Machine tools of every type are on display and are functional with live demonstration. Almost everyone associated with Machine Tools in India makes it a point to visit this Exhibition.
Since 1981 to 2001, I had an opportunity of being at almost every IMTEX, participating in the Stall of my company – Praga Tools Limited. Firstly I used to have a role to play in the assembly of Machines being sent to the Exhibition, then the task of erecting these machines at the Exhibition. Once the Exhibition is inaugurated, there was the task of explaining the features of our Machines to innumerable visitors. And lastly at the end of the Exhibition we had to dismantle the Machines and dispatch them to our Company. The entire duration of my stay at IMTEX used to be a minimum of 15 days. Transporting the machines to the Stall, providing power supply for the machines, Carpeting, Lighting and Furniture for the Stall, had to be arranged by us in coordination with the IMTEX appointed contractors. Our team at IMTEX consisted of persons from our Sales office at Mumbai or Delhi, my colleagues from Marketing and Production at Praga Tools– Hyderabad. While shifting the Machines to our Stall and during erection the Exhibition environment looked very dusty and shabby. But by the day of inauguration it looked spick and span with every inch of the gangways carpeted in red and stalls carpeted in different colors. With ornamental plants everywhere, excellent lighting and a variety of modern Machine Tools on display it is a spectacle to watch.
At Delhi, IMTEX was always inaugurated by the Rashtrapathi. As Exhibitors, we were invited to this ceremony. Thereafter thousands of people visit the Exhibition every day. We were not required to be in the Stall all the time. We used to go around a lot visiting other Stalls, learning about new trends in the field and attend seminars. Even after retiring from Praga Tools Limited, I am visiting every IMTEX for two days to keep in touch with the developments in Machine Tools.