Digital transformation: METAV shows measurement technology trends under the sign of Industry 4.0
Frankfurt am Main/Düsseldorf, 08. June 2022. – METAV 2022 shows from 21st to 24th June in Düsseldorf measurement technology solutions that strongly support the user in the digital transformation. The bandwidth ranges from the software app to the “measuring servant”, who works fully automatically and error-free with one finger after a short tap. Which smart concepts their companies will show at METAV 2022, report Dr. Heike Wenzel, Managing Director of Wenzel Group GmbH & Co. KG, Wiesthal, and Hermann Diebold, CEO of Helmut Diebold GmbH & Co. in Jungingen.
“The turbulent times we are currently experiencing pose great challenges for almost all companies,” explains Dr. Heike Wenzel. “But despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, after the successful conclusion of the 2021 financial year – we continue to see growth.” Regardless of the crisis mode, the managing director of the Wenzel Group has seen many catch-up projects since the beginning of 2022. She is pleased to note that “many companies are now investing in future topics such as e-mobility or sustainability.”
“Horrendous price increases” and procurement problems
For Hermann Diebold, the procurement of materials and electronic components is the biggest problem. Intensifyingly, there are “horrendous price increases” that “it is difficult for us to pass on to customers.” The corona pandemic has hit the company hard because employees were out, but this problem has now been overcome. The Ukraine war is only noticeable in the southern German tool factory in the increased energy costs. Diebold: “Currently we are going back to trade fairs and meeting many people. Let’s see if the topic of Covid flares up again as a result.”
Both managing directors will show solutions at METAV 2022 that support users in the digitization of the factory. “Especially in times of digital transformation, we not only see measurement technology as important and interesting, but also positioned in the center,” emphasizes Managing Director Wenzel. She describes the IT tool WM|Generator as revolutionary development, with which CAD models can be automated with the product and production information and thus much more productive measurement programs can be generated.
Errors happen thanks to built-in measurement and control technology
Automating the measurement process also plays an important role for Diebold. For example, the company in Düsseldorf is showing new devices for hot shrinking tools, the operation of which goes beyond the pure data-controlled Industry 4.0 solution by simply tapping the touch screen. This so-called one-touch operation starts the process, which is then carried out by the built-in measurement and control technology: The device recognizes the tool contour and automatically regulates energy input and exposure time.
“With one touch, the process runs fully automatically and errors are absolutely excluded,” says Diebold. “This ensures real sustainability, because only the minimum necessary electrical energy is consumed. In addition, the tools are protected from damage, which has not been the case so far.”
Online measurement in real time and with balancing machines
The Düsseldorf trade fair is also about the still ongoing trend towards online measurement, which ideally even takes place in real time. For this task, the Bavarian Wenceslas Group already created a real-time software for the analysis of the measurement tasks and the machines used in the process four years ago. “The WM|SYS analyzer offers the full range of data transparency for measuring machines and measuring environment,” says Managing Director Wenzel. “All necessary information is provided to authorized users in real time in an appealing interface.”
Diebold also observes a demand for online measurement. For this purpose, the Baden-Württembergers offer their customers a quality check of the Diebold tool holders. “The tool holders are measured electronically in our house and each individual part receives a digital measurement protocol. This allows the customer to recognize which HSK cones are in standard quality and which are not or no longer.”
The other solution is a new machine series for balancing tools and grinding wheels. Diebold: “Our decades of experience in tool production and spindle construction have enabled us to develop digitized balancing machines that measure significantly more accurately than previously marketable products.”
“Spring fairs are capable of indicators”
Interview: Markus Heseding, Managing Director VDMA Mess- und Prüftechnik, Frankfurt am Main
Mr. Heseding, what are the biggest challenges for companies at the moment? Do the corona pandemic or the Russian attack on Ukraine count?
Markus Heseding: Our VDMA member surveys on the current situation show that 97 percent of machine builders are at least indirectly affected by the Russia-Ukraine war. The current conflict thus exacerbates the situation due to problems in the supply chain. There are bottlenecks, especially in electronic components, in times of increasing digitization. Length measurement technology companies do not seem to know these problems yet. 70 percent of them assessed the order situation better in April than in the previous year. Overall, the situation is challenging for the industry. The spring trade fairs are an indicator of the situation on the demand side.
How do metrological solutions contribute to the current trend towards the digitization of the factory and what can be seen at METAV 2022?
Markus Heseding: The length measurement technology companies have developed an OPC UA Companion Specification for geometric measuring systems, which is published as VDMA unit sheet 40210 for commentary. This enables the smart integration of measuring systems into digital manufacturing processes. Experts are at our METAV booth on this topic. The practical application is presented with the umati brand on its own stand. With the standardized OPC UA interface, live data of issued measuring machines can be accessed directly and used via dashboards.
Are you also observing a demand for online measurement, perhaps even in real time?
Markus Heseding: Measurement technology is increasingly moving from the measuring laboratory to production. This requires the automation of the measurement, the need for standardized interfaces, keyword OPC UA, a feedback of the measurement results to the production control and ideally to the production machine. These closed-loop solutions will increase and they can be seen at our member companies.