EMO Spotlight Highlighted Intelligent and Sustainable Production
By Jim Lorincz
EMO Hannover 2013, the largest global machine tool exposition, adjourned on September 21 and will reconvene as EMO Milano 2015 in Italy. EMO proved once again to be the global launching pad par excellence for productive machine tool and manufacturing technologies. According to the VDW (the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), global capital investment in 2014 will eclipse the modest gains of the transition year of 2013 in the main machine tool user sectors. Machine tool consumption is projected to reach 75 billion Euros ($ 101.2 billion) in 2014, compared with an estimated 68.1 billion Euros ($ 91.8 billion) in 2013 and twice the 2009 total of 37.5 billion Euros ($50.6 billion) in the depths of the Great Recession.
Attendance was up to 145,000 from more than 100 different nations with foreign visitors numbering 50,000. After Germany with its home field advantage, visitors from Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Russia topped the countries of origin for Europe. China, by a very wide margin, supplied the largest number of visitors from Asia, followed by Japan, Taiwan and India.
EMO is an expo at which Americans, for example, might see many brand names that seem totally unknown like the FFG (Fair Friend Group) holding company until you dig a little deeper, that is. The second largest exhibitor at EMO after DMG Mori, FFG may not mean too much until you start mentioning brand names like Feeler, Leadwell, and JOBs, which are well known in American shops. With 23 brands and 32 manufacturing centers worldwide, FFG has increased its roster of brands by acquiring MAG’s European automotive companies including Huller Hille.
At EMO, leading machine tool suppliers announced major technology and branding initiatives. Schleifring Group brought its multiple grinding machine brands under a new global umbrella brand as United Grinding. DMG Mori is the new global brand name for this increasingly tightly knit machine tool building partnership. DMG Mori introduced the prototype of its CELOS job manager with 12 APPs for seamless communication with and across all of its machine CNCs.
Smart production was the theme of this EMO. Machine builders, CNC providers, and software solutions introduced ways to connect end users with more efficient ways to achieve their manufacturing goals. In the automotive heartland of the US, Seco Tools reported how it has doubled down with significant investment in its Troy, Michigan, HQ and Custom Tooling Unit, which tailors machining solutions with a combination of standard and custom tooling.
Kennametal introduced its NOVO tool system which features tool selection, expert advice, and transferable job functionality. NOVO outlines process solutions and needed tooling based on experience and literally generations of legacy machining knowledge. Walter USA touted its Walter Express as a 24/7 way to order custom special tools without time-robbing dependence on human intervention. A price quote is delivered automatically in a PDF.
Automation flexibility through CNC integrated robot solutions got a big boost from Siemens and KUKA Roboter who detailed their joint cooperative efforts in integrated operation, programming and diagnostics of KUKA robots via the Sinumerik Operate user interface. Siemens arranged its exhibit around manufacturing custom parts for a Harley motorcycle using its three levels of CNCs: the 808D, 828D, and 840D sl.
You might say that the future for global machine tool builders and their customers was on display at EMO. It came in the form of the Blue Competence experience in sustainability. The Blue Competence initiative, launched in 2011 by the VDMA (German Engineering Federation), encompasses 38 organizations and more than 370 partner companies who have embraced the necessity for creating a platform for networking sustainable production and technologies. Nineteen European firms and research institutions spotlighted a broad spectrum of solutions designed to create energy-autonomous, emission-neutral, human-engineered production technology. In the face of rising energy costs and the risk and cost of negative environmental impacts, both small/medium and large scale users, like the automotive and aircraft industries in Europe, are recognizing the value of sustainable production. Leading machine tool builders, manufacturers, and technical universities and institutes participated at EMO.