Hypertherm has a successful raid of a counterfeiting operation in Vietnam, leading to the seizure and destruction of dozens of counterfeit Powermax electrodes, nozzles, and shields.
The raid, conducted in partnership with Vietnamese enforcement authorities at the Market Management Bureau, took place in a Hanoi facility operated by Vietmec Import Export Equipment Technology Co., also known as Vinamec Machines. Vietnamese authorities acted quickly following the discovery of the fake Powermax product. They found Vietmec guilty of selling counterfeit goods, issued Vietmec a fine, destroyed the illicit product, and put Vietmec on a regular monitoring list.
This most recent action follows an enforcement operation conducted late last year in China’s Changzhou province involving two of the world’s largest manufacturers of counterfeit product and their principle distributors. That raid, the largest in Hypertherm history, followed more than a year of investigative work and the involvement of law enforcement from two Chinese provinces.
“Hypertherm devotes an enormous amount of resources to bringing innovative products and technologies to market and is committed to ensuring those products are protected,” said Brett Hansen, Hypertherm’s Intellectual Property Manager. “This is done to not only protect our business, but to protect our customers who at best will not enjoy the performance characteristics of genuine product and at worst, face an increased risk of personal injury and permanent equipment damage if they use fake product that are not manufactured to our exacting tolerances.”
To ensure that customers do not fall victim to counterfeiting, Hypertherm recommends purchasing products only from approved and authorised distributors, and exercising caution before accepting abnormally low prices for “genuine” consumables and software. In addition, customers should carefully check the appearance of consumables and packaging for discrepancies. Though counterfeiters are often very good at mimicking the exact appearance of original products, mistakes are sometimes made. Another warning sign is poor or inconsistent consumable performance compared to what users are accustomed to.
Specific simulation import, a couple of additional reader translators, and client viewer measurements, all feature in a number of enhancements in the latest release of WORKXPLORE – the powerful high-speed CAD viewer and analyser from Hexagon’s Production Software portfolio.
The software was originally created to efficiently import and analyse all file types and sizes at high speed. It often takes less than half the time to open a file compared to the original CAD application.
Amongst the new and enhanced two-way workflow functionality in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 is the ability to import and export the IGP file format for the Hexagon I++ Simulator, which is a server-based software for multi-kinematic simulation of process-oriented inspections to automate production metrology.
WORKXPLORE can export either opened or closed solids, and mesh models as meshes. And it can also import meshes.
Additional reader translators include Solid Edge 2D Importer, and the IGES Reader Translator. The ability to read drawings has been added to the Solid Edge interface. Currently, 2D supported versions are ST1 to 2019. And the IGES translator allows users to choose between the in-house integrated import library, and the Datakit Advanced Import, giving a choice for the setting best suited to specific needs.
A Print Option enhancement gives more interactive printing functionality in the single view layout, by manipulating entities over the printing. Product Owner Luca Clerici says: “The printing zone in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 can be defined through an interactive rectangle, with the ability to move the camera in the 3D screen.
“When the command is launched, a mask corresponding to the paper ratio – for example, A4 landscape – appears onscreen. It’s then possible to move the model to precisely define the printing area. Also, another interactive rectangle provides an optional crop facility.”
A toolbar with the print options is now available on the right side of the screen, making it easier to select the target printer and define its properties, select the paper size and add headers and footers.
And he says another important new function enables measurements done in WORKXPLORE can now be export to the Client Viewer.
This release also continues the software’s tradition of constantly updating supported formats. Translators in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 support a number of main formats, including: ACIS, several CATIA products, Creo, DXF/DWG, IGES, EDGECAM, I++ Simulator, INVENTOR, Parasolid, STEP, Solid Edge and SolidWorks.
How does the aerospace industry manage to optimise its manufacturing processes and produce more parts of the highest quality in less time? Simon Côté, product manager at Creaform, explains.
The aerospace industry is known for manufacturing parts with critical dimensions and tight tolerances, all of which must undergo high-demanding inspections. Given the scale of the controls to be carried out on these parts, it is hardly surprising that quality people prefer to turn to coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). After all, this highly accurate measuring instrument has their full confidence.
However, directing all inspections to the CMM may cause other non-negligible problems: CMMs are hyper-loaded, generating bottlenecks during inspections, slowing down the manufacturing processes, and causing production and delivery delays.
Is it possible to unload the CMMs so that they are fully available for the final quality controls? How can we improve manufacturing processes to produce more parts faster and, above all, of better quality? And in the event of a quality issue occurring during production, is it possible to identify the root cause more quickly in order to minimise the delays that could impact schedules and production deliveries?
This article aims to explain how important players in the aerospace industry have managed to unload their CMMs and improve their manufacturing processes without ever neglecting the quality of parts with critical dimensions and tight tolerances, such as castings, gears, pump covers, stators, and bearing housings. Solutions developed by the aerospace industry can serve as a guide for other industries because, after all, the entire industrial sector aims to optimise its manufacturing processes and produce more parts of better quality in less time.
Bottlenecks at the CMMs
Aerospace companies, and many other industries, require that manufactured parts be inspected with the CMM, because they have full confidence in the accuracy of its measurements. This exclusive trust, however, creates certain challenges.
Indeed, the CMM is a highly accurate metrology tool that is often used to inspect non-critical dimensions, leaving little availability for final inspections and important dimensions. Therefore, quality controls are delayed due to these bottlenecks at the CMMs. Moreover, the CMM is a measuring instrument that requires a specialised workforce to build and execute the programming. If the company does not have the human resources to do the inspection programs, the parts will accumulate as they wait to be inspected. Therefore, buying more CMMs will not solve the bottleneck issue; what is needed is the specialised manpower to operate them.
But that is not easy to find these days.
Quality problem detected at the end of the manufacturing process
Too often, manufacturing companies wait until the end of the manufacturing process to perform quality controls on manufactured parts. Moreover, not only critical dimensions are inspected at the CMM, but also all other dimensions, which lengthens the process, often resulting in delivery delays.
So, what happens if a quality problem is detected only at the end of the manufacturing process? The quality assurance team must then go through the whole process to investigate and find the root cause. This analysis may generate downtime and production delays, which will impact the part delivery and customer satisfaction.
Incorporate an alternative measurement method to detect quality problems faster
Rather than inspecting all dimensions at the CMM, which requires long programming time and involves qualified resources, the aerospace industry uses a faster and simpler alternative measurement method to inspect less critical dimensions. One example of this alternative method is a metrology-grade 3D scanner called the HandySCAN BLACK.
The HandySCAN BLACK 3D scanner excels due to its scan quality, accuracy, and measurement reliability. Certified to ISO 17025 and compliant with the German standard VDI/VDE 2634 Part 3, the accuracy of the HandySCAN BLACK is 25μm. Using a safety factor of 5x, for instance (i.e., five times more accurate than the smallest tolerance to be measured), the aerospace industry uses the HandySCAN BLACK for inspecting features with tolerances starting at 125μm (5x 25μm) or more.
With its 11 blue laser crosses, combined with new high-resolution cameras and custom optical components, the HandySCAN BLACK can perform up to 1,300,000 measurements per second in addition to generating an automatic and instant mesh. This means that, unlike a cloud file, the generated mesh is already lightened and processed, which reduces the need for data filtering and lessens the variability on data processing. Thus, the aerospace industry regains the same confidence it has in the CMM, because the data obtained with the HandySCAN BLACK are consistent and repeatable.
Moreover, since the HandySCAN BLACK is a portable device, it can be moved to any stage of the manufacturing process to perform an intermediate check without having to move parts. For example, it allows a pump to be inspected before machining to ensure that there is enough material and after machining to validate that the dimensions are accurate. The HandySCAN BLACK can also be used to check the dimensions of gears before and after their heat treatment. Only a portable metrology tool enables quality and production teams to perform these intermediate checks quickly and easily during the manufacturing process.
Unload the CMMs for the final quality controls
CMMs will always be the preferred measuring instruments for final inspections. However, these highly accurate devices must be available to perform the final quality controls. In other words, they must not be loaded down by all kinds of intermediate controls during the manufacturing process or by various investigations while troubleshooting production issues.
This is precisely what the HandySCAN BLACK is doing for the aerospace industry: unloading the CMMs by diverting less critical inspections to an alternative measurement tool. An in-house survey quantified that 50 percent to 90 percent of the dimensions could be measured with the scanner, allowing the CMMs to be available and used to their full potential and full accuracy for critical dimensions with tighter tolerances.
Improve manufacturing process
The more the parts are inspected during their manufacturing process, the less tedious the final inspection will be. Indeed, if the parts—whether pumps, gears, or casting—have already been inspected before and after their machining and before and after their heat treatment, the risk of detecting unexpected problems is lessened.
The final inspection on the CMM, now widely available, will only serve to control the critical dimensions, as all other features will have already been validated during the manufacturing process. These intermediate checks, performed during production, not only accelerate the manufacturing process, but also improve the quality of parts while producing parts in higher quantity. The same in-house survey quantified that intermediate checks with the HandySCAN BLACK improved the manufacturing process by 30 percent, either by producing 30 percent more parts during the same production time or producing the same number of parts 30 percent more quickly.
Find the root cause in quality assurance
Finally, the HandySCAN BLACK helps identify the root cause of quality issues that arise during production. Since it is accurate, fast, and portable, it can find the source of problems faster in order to minimise delays that could impact schedules and production deliveries.
The aerospace industry values the CMM for quality controls because of its high accuracy and repeatability. However, aerospace companies agree that the performance of portable scanners, such as the HandySCAN BLACK, positions this alternative method as a must to optimise its manufacturing processes. This fast, portable, metrology-grade measurement tool is increasingly proving itself to be an indispensable tool for performing quality controls during the manufacturing process in order to unload the CMMs and detect problems more quickly.
Siemens has signed an agreement to acquire Atlas 3D Incorporated, a Plymouth, Indiana-based developer of software that works with direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printers to automatically provide design engineers with the optimal print orientation and requisite support structures for additive parts in near real-time. Atlas 3D will join Siemens Digital Industries Software, where its solutions will expand additive manufacturing capabilities in the Xcelerator portfolio of software.
Sunata software uses thermal distortion analysis to provide a simple, automated way to optimize part build orientation and generate support structures. This approach allows the designer—rather than the analyst—to perform these simulations, thereby reducing the downstream analysis that needs to be conducted via Simcenter software to achieve a part that meets design requirements. Siemens plans to make the Atlas 3D solution available through its online Additive Manufacturing Network.
“We welcome Atlas 3D to the Siemens community as the newest member of our additive manufacturing team. Our solutions industrialize additive manufacturing for large enterprises, 3D printing service bureaus, design firms and CAD designers,” said Zvi Feuer, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing Engineering Software of Siemens Digital Industries Software. “The cloud-based Sunata software makes it easy for designers to determine the optimal way to 3D print parts for high quality and repeatability. The combination of Sunata with the robust CAE additive manufacturing tools in Simcenter enables a ‘right first time’ approach for industrial 3D printing.”
The high rate of 3D print failures is a key challenge companies face in leveraging additive manufacturing for high-volume production. Parts often need to go through several design and analysis iterations before the optimal build orientation and support structures are determined. Typically, designers don’t have the capabilities to consider such factors as part orientation, distortion, and heat extraction uniformity in their design. This puts the onus on engineering specialists to resolve such issues.
Atlas 3D’s Sunata software solves this problem by giving front-end designers a quick, easy and automated way to get much closer to a “right first time” build. Sunata is a GPU-accelerated high-performance computing additive manufacturing software solution that can deliver results up to one hundred times faster than other build simulation solutions on the market. GPU-accelerated computing is the employment of a graphics processing unit (GPU) along with a computer processing unit (CPU) to facilitate processing-intensive operations such as deep learning, analytics and engineering applications.
Dongdong Tao, executive director and general manager of Behringer (Shenyang) Machinery Co. Ltd, speaks to Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about the company’s presence in Asia, opportunities in the market, and their latest technology innovations. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
With Behringer’s servomotor and ball spindle down-feed technology, you can get a very accurate movement of the saw frame, and you can cut into the material with a constant speed.
Behringer GmbH is one of the biggest names in bandsaws and circular saws worldwide. Celebrating its 100th year this year, the company—now run by Rolf and Christian Behringer, the grandchildren of founder August Behringer—mainly has three production bases: one in Kirchardt, Germany, the headquarters, which produces bandsaws; one in the southern part of Stuttgart, which is a circular saw manufacturer; and the third production base in France, which is a joint venture between Behringer and Vernet.
Most of the machines that Behringer produces are exported to over 80 countries. Behringer has sales and service subsidiaries in the United States, France, China, and the United Kingdom, and over 30 agencies worldwide.
At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 trade fair, Dongdong Tao, executive director and general manager of Behringer (Shenyang) Machinery Co. Ltd, speaks to Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about the company’s presence in Asia, opportunities and challenges in the market, and their latest technology innovations.
Tell us something about yourself and your role in the company.
Dongdong Tao (DT): I am responsible for the China market. Behringer has a subsidiary in China, but it is not a factory – I mean, it has no production; we do sales, service and technical support for the Chinese market. Sometimes, we also provide technical support to Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
What opportunities are you seeing in the Asian market?
DT: Behringer is one of the leading companies in sawing technology worldwide. However, its traditional markets are Europe and the United States—about 80 percent of its orders are from these regions. And then, the rest of the world accounts for only about 20 percent. Asia is also in this 20%—it is not a big share of the whole market, but I believe it should be the future of Behringer on the international market.
Considering the rapid economic development in countries such as China, Vietnam, and Singapore, and the fast-catching markets of Malaysia and the Philippines should be among the future markets for Behringer.
Are there any particular industry or industries you are seeing strong growth?
DT: The sawing machine is a universal machine tool. Our markets include those related to metal cutting. For example, steel makers, the automotive industry, or the aircraft industry require hard materials; it should be the right job for Behringer. If you need high efficiency and high accuracy, these are the advantages of Behringer.
What are some of Behringer’s sawing technologies being highlighted at the show?
DT: One of our highlights for this exhibition is the new model HBE 560A Performance. HBE Performance is a relatively new series, which was launched only about two years ago. We have different models under this series. This new model completes the cutting range of the HBE series from 560mm to 1m.
The special advantage in technology in this series is the down-feed design of ball spindle and servo-motor.
When you look at the market now, most bandsaws you will see use hydraulic down-feed. The spindle and servo design is mostly used in high-rank products, but now we use it in our regular sawing machines series.
What is the advantage of this?
DT: With this servo-motor and ball spindle down-feed, you can get a very accurate movement of the saw frame, and you can cut into the material with a constant speed. It is very positive to protect the teeth of saw blade from damage. But with hydraulic down-feed, there’s always some vibration, which results in a reduced blade lifetime. What is more, you can’t get the right cutting efficiency.
With this new design, you can significantly increase your performance. But the price of the machine is similar to previous hydraulic models. The same price, but at a higher accuracy and higher efficiency, this will be attractive for customers.
What is your outlook for the next year?
DT: Actually, there are some negative air about the global economy at the moment. During my visit to Germany, I also heard this kind of feelings from my colleagues, and they are all worrying about the next financial crisis. It hasn’t really happened.
But in this climate, it is typical for people or customers to hold off on making decisions on new investments; everything has slowed down. This is certainly a negative factor for the development of our global economy.
In Asia, I think we are also reading about this kind of topic, but it is not as critical as in Europe.
Dr. Wilfried Schaefer at VDW speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about the technology trends shaping the global metalworking industry. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Dr. Wilfried Schäfer
Dr. Wilfried Schaefer, Managing Director of German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW – Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken e.V.), speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News on the sidelines of the EMO Hannover 2019 event in Germany, where he discussed the technology trends shaping the global metalworking industry.
Tell us about VDW and its goals and mission.
Dr. Wilfried Schaefer (WS): The German Machine Tool Builders’ Association has about 265 member companies, which is 90-95% of the German production chain for machine tools. We are a service organisation supporting our members, which are more or less small and medium size companies—they don’t have so many departments which do general activities, so we support them in statistics and market research, we support them in technical means, and we run research projects. We are very strong in standardisation in all fields of relevance for our industry.
On the other side, we are a trade show organiser. We are also supporting our companies outside of European marketing activities, running technology symposia, things like these. And in addition, we have founded a youth organisation in 2009, which is an independent legal body, but is managed by us. The target of this is to support vocational training—so, writing content for teachers, trainers and companies, and upgrading the content in the field of digital technologies—because not only in the academia level but also on the level of vocational training, people must understand what digitalisation is all about, where it comes from, what it means, and so on.
What technology or manufacturing challenges have you seen or are you seeing in the metalworking industry?
WS: We have a continuous technology development in all aspects of this value chain—the machines, tooling, measurement devices—which is a continuous ongoing improvement by the individual companies, so there is no specific trend in these product categories. Overall, we are all talking about the topic of digitisation—I think this is the major topic for not only the machine tool business but for quite a number of companies in the field of intelligent tooling, intelligent clamping, controller business, measurement devices where the data come from, and also the machinery.
Are there new technology applications that have emerged over the past year or two?
WS: Besides the topic of digitisation, you mainly see that everybody is trying to optimise his processes in various terms, so increasing productivity and cost reduction for the customer. Another aspect is new software-driven solutions for automation. This is a strong activity.
What can you say about 3d printing, specifically metal 3d printing? how do you see that impacting the metalworking industry?
WS: Maybe different from what you could have read from the past years, when people are saying that the car will be printed in the future. We do not agree on this. 3D printing is an interesting technology, offering new possibilities in complex structures for example; it covers a specific need or a specific solution that is easier to achieve than with classical production means. But it is one additional technology besides all the others. That’s our thinking. It has to be integrated in the value chain, which is in some cases, on industrial perspective, different from rapid prototyping.
It is not so easy to integrate 3D printing in the whole chain of product design, production with 3D printing, post-production with cutting, because you cannot assemble a metal 3D printed piece; you need post processes.
Where does Industry 4.0 fit and what opportunities and risks does it bring to the machine tool industry?
WS: Industry 4.0 is not all about machines being connected. Machines have been controlled digitally for many years, as we have a controller; and machines have been connected in flexible systems also for years now. Industry 4.0, in addition to what we do today—you have MES systems to get data out of your system, these are available five or eight years ago (since five to eight years?) —enables us to get new volumes of data that may give you additional information to better control the machine and the process, to predict situations in the machine or the process. This will offer machine tool builders the opportunity to, out of his knowhow of the machine system and of the process, develop new functionalities which are supporting the needs of the customer.
What is the importance of the umati standard for the metalworking industry?
WS: Industry 4.0 is possible to be realised already. You take a machine with a controller, then you connect it to the cloud, and you get all the data. The problem is that this connectivity between a machine system and a software or cloud system or platform is usually proprietary. You have a data connectivity with Siemens, one with Fanuc, one for Microsoft Cloud, and so on. In each and every connection you make, of course, the customer tells you what he wants. It needs additional effort. With umati, we want to realise a standard that will enable you to plug and play machines to the cloud—the machine talks umati, and the cloud understands umati.
What do you think will ensure the success of umati?
WS: Two major aspects are needed. First of all, the controller people and the platform people will offer OPC-UA server and OPC-UA client structures so that you can upload umati easily and connect. This is important and I think we are on the right track. At least on the side of the controller business, around 80 to 90 percent of the capacity of controller producers are within the umati project.
On the other side, of course, it is necessary that the machine tool producers all over the world agree on this standard because it cannot be a German or European standard; because then we will have a European standard, a US standard, and an Asian standard—then again, this will be kind of proprietary because then, some customers would use this one, others would use another one, and still others would use a third one. Therefore, it is important that on a wide, broad base, umati will be realised and integrated in all (their) projects.
What technology developments should manufacturers look out for in the next year?
WS: We have to mention digitisation, because as people talk about Industry 4.0 for quite some time now, you really have a feeling that it has been on the shop floor and has already been integrated. But there is still a lot to do, and a lot of possibilities to take; and these possibilities are different depending on whether you are a component producer, or tool producer, or you are a machine tool builder; it has to fit in the strategies. That’s why I do not see an overall answer to this.
On the other hand, aside from digitisation, there is a transformation happening in the automotive industry. Therefore, those companies who are delivering solutions into the automotive industry have to really look at this and make sure that they adapt their production solutions to the upcoming needs of the customers.
What are the opportunities for growth that you are seeing in Southeast Asia?
WS: They are continuously developing; asking for more sophisticated production solutions. This is also driven by—which is different from country to country—the strategies of the governments supporting industry clusters and industry sectors. In those areas, we see a lot of development in automotive supply, like in Thailand; we see similar developments in electronics production in Vietnam, for example; and so on.
There are different strategies and different developments in these countries; but overall, there is the continuous growth of industrial production.
What is your outlook for the metalworking next year?
WS: The problem is that it is difficult to predict at the moment, because we have influencing factors that are out of, let’s say, classical possibilities to predict future developments. Of course, we usually have some 10-year cycles, but it’s always a question of how strong these cycles are; and what the influencing factors are. At the moment, a very strong influencing factor besides enough capacity is the free-trade problem that we have. This free trade problem, or trade war, whatever you will call them, is between the two largest consuming markets—China and the US. And these consuming markets are consuming production technologies themselves, so this, and other countries as well, are influencing the investment situation overall.
We have to wait until some politicians have, let’s say, better strategies than the current ones. In Europe we have a similar situation with the Brexit, we have a similar situation with the sanctions in Russia, so there’s a lot of political uncertainty, which is influencing our sector. This is one aspect.
The other aspect is the overall transformation of mobility. Currently there is some uncertainty as to how to invest and what to invest in depending on the strategy of the drive solutions–maybe just pure battery, maybe fuel cell, or it might be something else. If these strategies become clearer, then investments—because new car models have to be produced—are going to come up again.
Erich Timons, CTO of ISCAR Germany GmbH, speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about tooling trends and challenges, and how the industry should move forward by improving productivity. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
From its humble establishment in 1952, ISCAR has grown to become one of the biggest tool manufacturers in the world, operating in more than 50 countries and having over 50 global subsidiaries. Based in Israel, the company—a part of the IMC Group—provides innovative cutting tools for the metalworking industry.
At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 event in Germany, Erich Timons, CTO of ISCAR Germany GmbH, the second biggest subsidiary of ISCAR worldwide, speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about tooling trends and challenges, and how ISCAR is helping their customers improve their productivity.
What are the biggest tooling challenges for your customers?
Erich Timons (ET): Our customers are always asking for more productivity; how they can produce as quickly as possible. They are also concerned with how they can make their manufacturing process safer and more efficient.
Where does ISCAR come in? How are you helping your customers in their manufacturing challenges?
ET: What we do is analyse the company’s processes. What we like to do is not just to look for one tool, but to build up a new and complete process—finding out how we can save time by increasing the speed or the feed, or using a combination of tools, to reduce the number of total tools and to make the production faster.
What industries are driving the tool market right now?
ET: Germany is driven by the automotive industry. Overall in Europe, I think it is nearly the same. Fifty percent of our total revenue comes from the automotive industry, so we are highly driven by the changes in the automotive sector. Having said that, we see that automotive customers are going to be even more flexible because they must deal with a wide variety of engines right now, unlike in the past where we had only one kind. Some automotive OEMs in Germany even have four of five different engines that they are producing in one line—therefore our tooling needs to be more flexible than in the past.
Asia is quite similar to Europe. Looking at markets like China, for example, you will see a big automotive industry. Volkswagen, for instance, had opened a lot of subsidiaries and a lot of plants in China; and we are working really closely with them. I think this is one of our biggest advantages, because we are in close contact with our partners in China.
Meanwhile, Thailand is a big and growing market; the same as Vietnam, which is also growing. We also see the Philippines as a potential market. We are really strong in South Korea, not only with ISCAR but another IMC partner, Taegutec, where we have a big production unit there. Overall, we are supporting all of Asia from Germany.
As much as you want the tools to be long lasting, you still have to sell a lot of it. how do you manage that compromise, ensuring tool life but selling more?
ET: Sometimes, what I tell the customer is that we are providing a long tool life, but at the end, you have to break a tool to make some money. Besides productivity on the machine, we also see a big change in the tool setup. This is a big issue in a lot of companies—they have to invest a lot of time in making the tool setup. The reason for this is to not only to see what happens inside the machine, but also to ensure that the customer can make changes easily with the inserts or the drill, for example. So, it is really important to make the setup not too complicated.
What are some of your product highlights at the show?
ET: ISCAR is well known in parting because our roots come from this application. We have a brand-new tool here, the MULTIFGRIP. Parting is still the bottleneck in the production, so with this tool, the customer can go each feed they want in parting. With this tool, we can also measure the forces and the vibration, you can connect it to the machine, and you can adapt the influence of the feed and the speed to have a production without any vibration at all.
What is your strategy towards Industry 4.0?
ET: There are different ways to support Industry 4.0. First of all, we have an app, ISCAR World, which includes many features. For example, you can go to the electronic catalogue and build a 3D model of the assembly of the tools to use in your CAM system. You can have a recommendation on the cutting speed and feed for your application by using the ITA (ISCAR Tool Advisor). With Industry 4.0, it is not only the hardware but also the digital twin of the tool. That is one point.
Another Tool is our MATRIX System. MATRIX is not only a vending machine. Its connected to any ERP System at our customer and help to balance inventories to an optimum ratio.
With these solutions including intelligent tools we support our customers in all areas of their production.
Industry 4.0 is not one feature—it is everything working together, from the beginning until the end of production.
What is your outlook for the metalworking industry over the next year?
ET: In the automotive side, we will see a lot of changes within five to 10 years because everybody is talking about e-mobility. But I think we also have to look on new materials, as well as develop tools that are more user friendly. We also have to look for production and productivity improvement, as well as flexibility. There are a lot of things we have to cover. It will also be very interesting to see the development of Industry 4.0. Overall, it will be a challenge.
Do you have any final comments?
ET: I am very excited to see what will happen at EMO because we’ve seen a slowdown in the industry. Everybody is looking at the negative trends, but I am looking to the positive side, because I believe the metalworking industry is not going to die. Don’t look at the bad side. I think this is the year of positive things, because now, the customers have time to evaluate their production. Now is the time to be really agile, to be fast and flexible, and to look how to improve.
Don’t wait for the industry to get better; now is the time to start improving your production.
As expected, the 14th Blechexpo international trade fair for sheet metal working, together with the 7th Schweisstec international trade fair for joining technology, was an industry highlight and closed successfully with 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries. 41,152 visitors from a total of 113 countries took advantage of the trade fair duo, which in the meantime has grown to 108,000 square metres of exhibition floor space, in order to bring themselves up to date with regard to sheet metal, pipe and profile processing, as well as cutting, joining, forming and welding technologies, from 5-7 November 2019.
Record-Breaking Figures in all Categories – Nine Fully Occupied Halls – More International than Ever
The Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo broke several records this year: 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries (as opposed to 1339 in 2017) were on hand in Stuttgart. “45 percent of them came from outside of Germany”, sums up Georg Knauer with a satisfied smile. “This year’s Blechexpo/Schweisstec was more international than ever before.”
And it was bigger than ever as well: With a total of 108,000 square metres, roughly 15 percent more exhibition floor space was booked than in 2017. For the first time, Blechexpo/Schweisstec occupied new exhibition hall 10, which enhances the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre with its spacious and modern design.
“For us, this technical event is a leading trade fair of very high significance,” remarked Wolfgang Wiedenmann, deputy sales manager at press manufacturer Andritz Kaiser. Despite the fact that the industry is currently having to deal with noticeable declines in incoming orders for various reasons, Blechexpo/Schweisstec was a well-received and important technology and knowledge platform: where thermal and mechanical processing of sheet metal, pipe and profiles is concerned, as well as processing machines and systems for stamping, bending, bevelling and forming, right on up to peripherals including controllers, software and solutions for handling and quality assurance, this trade fair is a unique marketplace for the industry sector’s current challenges and future issues. As a logical consequence, subject matter covering digitalisation and automation dominated here as well. To an ever-greater extent, emphasis is being placed on modern cutting technologies: alone the issue of laser cutting was presented by 56 exhibitors, and 25 further companies exhibited technologies covering all aspects of high-pressure water-jet cutting.
Highlight for the Sheet Metal Working Sector – Process-Oriented, Practical, Forward-Looking
Held once every two years, the Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo was distinguished once again this year by its strictly practice-oriented concept and was able to cover all aspects affecting the world of sheet metal processing and metalworking, which is now more digitalised and consistently automated than ever before. The Industrieverband Blechumformung (industry association for sheet metal forming) organised a communal booth and was thus able to offer its members the opportunity of presenting themselves in a more comprehensive setting. 16 companies participated. This mutual presence drew attention and formed the basis for an adequate platform for business-related networking.
The trade fair’s topics included trends, innovations and future-proof solutions in the wake of a rapidly changing production environment. For example, modern joining and fastening technologies are becoming increasingly important because many new and hybrid materials can’t be cut or joined by means of thermal processes – as a result, more attention is being focused on mechanical joining technology in the field of lightweight design.
World-Class Supplementary Program Generates Strong Interest
The exhibitor forum in hall 9 was received once again with great interest by the expert visitors. The presentation programme was brimming full all three days, in particular with issues covering all aspects of digitalisation.
This was also the subject of the stahlnews.de/Blechexpo Expert Meet on the evening of the first day of the trade fair. Organiser Hans Diederichs was able to welcome roughly 50 interested parties to the event in keeping with the motto: “The Steel Industry in Times of Globalisation and Industry 4.0”.
Already for the fourth time, the “Blechexpo Award” was awarded to the most innovative exhibits in five different categories. With its MC 125 automatic stamping press, Schuler was the winner in the stamping and forming technology category. Kjellberg Finsterwalde Plasma und Maschinen won in the cutting technology category with its Q 3000 plasma cutting system. The winner in the joining technology category was Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik with their TruLaser Station 7000 – a 3D laser welding machine. The award for surface finishing technology went to Q-Fin Quality Finishing Machines for their SER600 Super Edge Rounder (a deburring and edge rounding machine). Last but not least, Cenit was distinguished in the handling and automation category for their cross-manufacturer cutting and joining software, namely Fastsuite Edition 2.
The next Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo will take place from the 2nd through the 5th of November, 2021.
The turbocharger has been state-of-the-art in diesel vehicles for some time. And almost all automotive manufacturers offer a turbocharged petrol engine. Why? The turbocharger makes comparable performance with a smaller engine capacity possible and that contributes to the advance in downsizing. Turbochargers also help to achieve lower fuel consumption and are therefore fundamental in meeting strict emission limits. MAPAL offers the complete process for machining these parts, including tools.
Challenge for machining tools
Most turbochargers are exhaust gas turbochargers. These look different at almost every automotive manufacturer and have a special geometry. Common to all: there are very high temperatures when they are used in vehicles with petrol engines. For this reason, the turbine housing, the so-called “hot side” is manufactured from very abrasive, heat-resistant materials. These materials represent a particular challenge for every machining tool.
MAPAL has taken up these challenges and developed new cutting materials and tools. The company offers the complete process for machining turbochargers, including all tools, for example drills, milling cutters, reamers and mechatronic actuating tools – matched to the related geometry of the turbocharger. The company also assists its customers during the continuous further development of processes, to reduce cycle times and to increase tool lives. As such, combination tools that undertake multiple machining operations in one machining step form part of the portfolio.
A large part of turbocharger machining can be implemented using tools with ISO indexable inserts. Including many machining processes on the challenging hot side. MAPAL has developed a cutting material specially matched to the machining of heat- resistant cast steel and that offers long tool lives and therefore high cost-effectiveness, despite the abrasiveness of the material.
Complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts
It is necessary to machine the V band on every turbocharger. Along with the material properties, an interrupted cut is often a challenge here during pre-machining. MAPAL relies on a complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts to pre-machine the V band as well as to pre-machine the internal contour of the turbine. The tool therefore machines internally and externally simultaneously. Multiple steps are machined. The tool operates counter-clockwise to transport the chips out of the component and to prevent damage to the internal contour of the turbine.
Complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts
Turning on the machining centre using TOOLTRONIC
A particular challenge during the machining of the turbine housing for exhaust gas turbochargers is the main turbine bore. Its manufacture is subject to close tolerances in relation to shape, position and surface finish. The bore is bell-mouthed shaped to generate the best possible flow characteristics. MAPAL undertakes this machining operation using TOOLTRONIC with the LAT attachment (linear actuating tool). TOOLTRONIC, a mechatronic tool system, is a full NC axis integrated into the existing machine controller. The mounting tool is fitted with three inserts, one for roughing and two for finishing.
Turning on the machining centre using TOOLTRONIC
New face milling cutters for roughing
MAPAL recently announced a milling range with pressed, radial ISO indexable inserts. The milling cutter for roughing the face surface on the turbocharger housing comes from this range. The ISO indexable inserts with 16 usable cutting edges are the highlight of this face milling cutter. As such the usage of the tool is particularly economical.
New face milling cutters for roughing
Diameter turning tool with tangential technology
The new tool from MAPAL for pre-machining the catalytic converter flange is also particularly cost-effective. Tangential technology is used on this diameter turning tool. Due to the upright and horizontal installation of the LTHU inserts, in effect eight cutting edges can be used per indexable insert.
Diameter turning tool with tangential technology
The four tools mentioned demonstrate, on the one hand, the different machining tasks on a turbocharger and, on the other hand, symbolise the variety of tools and know-how available from MAPAL.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp of Siemens Digital Industries talked about how digitalisation is helping machine builders and users, the utilisation of data to improve manufacturing processes, as well as how umati will help push the metalworking industry forward. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
One of the highlights of Siemens’ booth at EMO Hannover 2019 is the latest generation of its Sinumerik One, the first digital native CNC aimed at driving the digital transformation in the machine tool industry. Siemens has also extended its Industrial Edge offerings for Sinumerik Edge to include more new applications to help machine tool users improve workpiece and process quality, increase machine availability, and further optimise machine processes.
With Sinumerik One, machine tool manufacturers can virtually map their entire development processes, significantly reducing the product development phase and time to market for new machines. This helps machine builders significantly reduce the duration of actual commissioning. Its virtual model opens up new possibilities for manufacturers and operators—machine concepts and functions can be discussed even before real hardware is available.
Sinumerik One enables machine users the programming of workpieces in the virtual environment and the setup and operation of machines completely on the PC. Employee training can also be carried out using the digital twin instead of the actual machine. These hardware and software innovations help machine builders and operators speed up processing steps significantly.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp, Head of Machine Tool Systems, Motion Control Business Unit, Siemens Digital Industries, talked more about the benefits of these new technologies and how digitalisation is helping machine builders and users. He also discussed the utilisation of data to improve manufacturing processes, as well as how umati will help push the metalworking industry forward.
When we look at the current potential for these technologies and all that they involve, are they more suited to advanced markets such as Europe or the US?
Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp (UR): I wouldn’t say so. You have all kinds of industries also in Asian countries. Not everything is low-cost and price-driven; they are also technology driven, especially aerospace, automotive industries, or the upcoming additive manufacturing.
So, there’s a lot of technologies driving the industries. In addition to this, labour is not staying on this low-cost level—in Asian countries, people want to earn more money as well—so saving time, and saving cost by saving time, is also an issue for Asian countries.
How does this technology play out in the smart factory concept?
UR: It plays perfectly into that concept, because with our Digital Enterprise (DE) Portfolio we offer a holistic end-to-end solution including industrial software and automation that allows the use of a seamless value chain. This value chain consists of five steps for the machine user, and five steps for the machine builder. If you build a machine, you start with a concept, mechanics, you go to electrical design, you go to engineering, you go to commissioning, and sometimes, it also needs service.
For the machine user, there are also several steps needed to build a part. Get the machine on the shop floor, create a part, build the part, check it for quality, and ship it. And this complete concept is the basis for running a smart factory.
In a lot of these steps, Sinumerik One brings great benefits. For example, in machine engineering, people in the offices can engineer the machine. You don’t need to have a test rack next to your desk, and you don’t need to go to the shop floor to test the applications. You can do it all in the virtual world. That’s one perfect example of an Industry 4.0 application that people will get from our Sinumerik One concept.
How do you see digital twins being implemented by customers in Asia?
UR: I see a lot of customers thinking about it. We talk to many customers, including those in Asia. We, for example, are customers of our customers. We have factories ourselves. And we only buy machines where we can get a digital twin beforehand. We make it a prerequisite for purchasing a machine, that it comes with a digital twin. And I believe in future many other users are going to do the same. The benefits are huge. You can train the people, who are going to operate the machine, before the machine is even delivered. And even more, you can also do the run-ins, do the first test of the programs, and know the cycle time of the production, before the machine is delivered.
Does siemens have a benchmark so that when machine users’ data are analysed, they will determine whether they are doing okay or they are falling short?
UR: We offer from our service department a digitalisation check. Together with our customers we examine their factories and give them advise what digitalisation measures are in place to get to another productivity level. It’s a consulting approach not a benchmark.
More and more people are talking about the lights out factory. how are you helping customers go into that level of manufacturing?
UR: Lights out factories are not new. When you go into an automotive factory, for example they produce the same part over and over, it is relatively an automated production. So, what they have done, of course, is to use a CAD/CAM chain, which, out from the design of the piece, create the program to build the piece, download it into the machine, and run it. Of course, this is something we support with our DE portfolio. You can put a program into the machine remotely, and then run it automatically. But of course, it requires in-feed of the materials and taking out the material and the pieces produced. But then again, you need automation, and the complete tool chain and software, like NX for example, or TeamCenter, to have a data backbone for all the production information about the part. But there are other companies focusing on job shops, so they produce many different parts every day according to customer specifications. For them it does not make sense run a fully automated line. So, a lights-out factory for them is not possible.
One of the highlights of emo 2019 is umati. How are you supporting this initiative?
UR: We support it 100 percent. We are part of the initiative and helped it to get to the point where we are today. At Siemens our solution to serve a universal interface for machine tools is based on our industrial edge concept. Edge computing is the perfect solution for this. For example, one wants to have a central dashboard, which shows the amount of cooling liquid used per hour. Cooling liquid per hour is not stored as one piece of information in all the machines in the same way. You need to have some sort of programming that knows where that data is stored in the machine and sends it out in a uniform way. Our Siemens industrial edge concept is perfectly suited for this, because OPC-UA is built into our edge devices. This allows the machines to communicate the data provided based on OPC-UA, and the user can program a little piece of code into it to acquire the data out of the machine.
The specifications for umati is still being finalised. during its early development, what were the challenges that you experienced, and are they still a challenge now?
UR: From a technical perspective, it’s not difficult, because it is OPC-UA, and it is a definition of data. It is basically a companion stem based on OPC-UA. The difficult part was to get an agreement among all parties which data they want to support, or which use cases they want to support. Once umati defines which piece of information has to be programmed, it’s done. It’s relatively simple.