【DE】In the fine thread of progress

Industry in the transformation process | AMB offers from the 13th Until 17. September 2022 important answers and innovations

For many years, the metalworking industry moved in a fine thread of optimizations: fewer substation processes in the machine, more precisely manufactured functional surfaces or optimized component feeders – usually the innovations revolved around more or less large productivity increases. Every minute in the manufacturing process was celebrated. Looking into the headlines, we have to realize that significantly more far-reaching and existential challenges have been added.


Feels like “overnight”, machine builders and users are more stuck in trapezoidal rather than fine threads: Climate change and corona crisis and now also Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine generate friction heat and an extreme increase in requirements. Quarantined employees, failing and delayed supply chains, shortages in raw materials and chips as well as entire customer industries in a system crisis affect the entire economy, but the metalworking industry in particular, it seems.


Significant growth at home and abroad

In view of these considerations, on the other hand, one is surprised when looking at the market figures: The Association of German Machine Tool Factories (VDW), reports an increase in order intake of 58 percent in the pandemic year 2021 in the person of chairman Franz-Xaver Bernhard. Foreign countries were a strong driver with an increase of 62 percent, but domestic orders also increased by more than half. Last year, the machine tool industry sold a total of around 12.7 billion in machines and services. Euro produced. And sales of cutting tools and tensioners also increased by double digits in 2021 despite difficult conditions, as the VDMA Präzisionswerkzeuge notes.


The alleged contradiction dissolves when you consider that the blank pages in the order books are mainly those from 2019 and 2020. And probably in retrospect, a more differentiated picture of the different challenges will also be drawn in a few years’ time: If you look at the individual transformation processes, which are currently so shrillly overlapping, detached from each other, it turns out that the industry reacted to the different topics early on.


Answers to the challenges

In order to optimize the processes of pressurized automotive suppliers, machine builders are developing, for example, new hybrid machines that combine turning, grinding and other processes and supplement them with automation components. Among other things, transmission components are processed completely in a machine and large quantities are produced in the field of tension between enormous cost pressure and high standards of precision.


Many manufacturers also sought and found an early replacement for the impending loss of automotive customers. With the energy transition, which has been strongly accelerated since the turn of the year, for example, the quantities of mechanical components for wind turbine generators and compressors for heat pumps and components for a future hydrogen economy are likely to increase. Some tool manufacturing specialists also focused early on on the high-precision production of components of electric motors and have been looking forward to increasing demand for some time. Last but not least, the expected massive investments in armaments will also have a noticeable demand effect on the entire metalworking industry.


Long-running digitization

The topics of Industry 4.0, digital twin and the use of artificial intelligence in the machining process have also been on the to-do lists of many manufacturers and service providers for years. More and more users are getting integrators into operation to determine information about the status of a machine tool, its downtime, energy consumption or vibrations and vibrations. Key figures that can be used to read valuable information about the condition of the machine and production. Even the demand for 5G services – for the wireless connection of data collection – has been rising above average since mid-2021 at the latest, as insiders report.


The digital twin, which for a long time could only be seen in the sketch books of the planning departments, has already become reality. At leading manufacturers, their virtual image is created in parallel with every real machine tool. This helps the user with the installation, the engineering of automatable production systems and the training of personnel. Positive effects in production are a significantly faster production ramp-up, the avoidance of collisions and overall falling costs for machining operations.


Software also contributes to progress: Special simulation programs help users, for example, to detect deviations in the zero point or in the tool stations before problems occur in operation. Complex multi-axis machining should be simplified and the user should automatically be offered the best solution for perfect processing.


Automation for turning and machining centers

Not only in response to the latent shortage of skilled workers that have existed for years, the use of automation components in metal processing is also constantly increasing. For example, the programming and setup of loading robots is no longer rocket science. In order to further automate production and thus accelerate and make it less error-prone, robots with 3D camera systems automatically load and unload turning and milling machines with the available workpieces.


Innovations and a wide variety of approaches to improving the production process in metalworking – in the end, it accounts for the sum of fine-tuning on the many links in the process chain that bring progress. And it is also they who make industry resilient and flexible for the global challenges that the entire industry has to face.


The latest developments for machining and removing machine tools, precision tools, measurement technology and quality assurance, robots, workpiece and tool handling technology, industrial software and engineering, components, assemblies and accessories will also be shown at the AMB in Stuttgart again this year. The exhibitors present their solutions on 120,000 gross square meters, supported by the ideal supporting associations VDMA Präzisionswerkzeuge, VDMA Software and Digitalisierung as well as the Association of German Machine Tool Factories. And they will take the opportunity to discuss with visitors and partners how to deal correctly with the great challenges of our time.


About the AMB

Since 1982, AMB has presented the highlights of the international metalworking industry. At the last AMB in 2018, more than 90,000 trade visitors and over 1,400 exhibitors were received in Stuttgart. On an area of around 120,000 gross square meters, they showed innovations and further developments for machining and removing machine tools, precision tools, measurement technology and quality assurance, robots, workpiece and tool handling technology, industrial software & engineering, components, assemblies and accessories. AMB 2022 is supported by the ideal supporting associations VDMA Präzisionswerkzeuge, VDMA Software and Digitization as well as VDW Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken.


Further information at www.amb-messe.de

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