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WALTER EWAG’s Michael Schmid On Thailand, Trends, And Future Of Grinding Industry

WALTER EWAG’s Michael Schmid on Thailand, Trends, and Future of Grinding Industry

Michael Schmid of WALTER EWAG discusses the Thailand market, opportunities and challenges, and trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Michael Schmid

WALTER EWAG Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, part of the United Grinding Group headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, specialises in tool grinding, laser machining, eroding, measurement, and software. Its machines are used in fields such as the watch industry, the dental, electrical, automotive and aviation industries, as well as in the manufacture of precision micro-components.

READ: Reducing Cost-Per-Part of Your Tools

WALTER EWAG is a system and solutions provider for complete tool machining. It offers an extensive product range  for manufacturing  and re-grinding  of rotation symmetrical  tools and inserts made of tungsten carbide, HSS , PCD PCBN   or any other super hard materials  like MCD , CWD and even natural diamonds.

At the recent METALEX 2019 event in Thailand, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Michael Schmid, managing director of WALTER EWAG in Singapore, to discuss the Thailand market, opportunities and challenges, and trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region.

WHAT ARE YOUR ACTIVITIES IN THAILAND?

Michael Schmid (MS): We have been doing business in Thailand for more than 20 years now. In fact, we installed our first CNC machines here in Thailand in 1996.

Currently, we have a training and demo centre in the country, where we do test cuts and demonstrations for customers. Our customer care, service engineers, and applications specialists, are all based here.

READ: Walter Enables Automatic Detection and Alignment of Tools and Blanks

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THAILAND, AND WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE DRIVING GROWTH?

MS: With our substantial product portfolio and the specialised team of technicians, we can actually cater to all needs in terms of tool making and resharpening required in the industrial environment—which Thailand has, such as the automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, and all kinds of metalworking industry.

WHAT ARE TOP CHALLENGES OF YOUR CUSTOMERS?

MS: Some of the challenges are finding skilled people and developing know-how in cutting tool technology. But also, major challenges include productivity and quality, and being innovative in tool design.

READ: Walter Strengthens Tool Offering With Acquisition Of Melin Tool Company

HOW ARE YOU HELPING CUSTOMERS ADDRESS THESE ISSUES?

MS: Our aim is to help customers, educate them, and train them, through our software and machine design. There are a lot of possibilities to be creative. We help them become more creative in utilising our machines.

WHAT MAKES YOUR PRODUCTS UNIQUE IN THE MARKET?

MS: If you look, for example, at our Helitronic Series, these machines are extremely  powerful and  have  very unique and efficient kinematics, which provides an ultimate stability and accuracy. All  that, together with our in-house developed Tool Studio software, open all kind of possibilities in terms of flexibility, dynamics and performance for our customers in today’s modern tool manufacturing  world.

READ: A Look at Walter’s Two-in-One Machining Concept

Last but not least our  tool grinding know how of over 50 years  has of course  influenced our todays  products in  unique way  as well.

WHAT TRENDS ARE SHAPING THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?

MS: One of the big topics is Industry 4.0.  In this show, VDW is having a presentation about umati, a standardised interface linking machines. Besides that, of course, automation is always an issue. Lights-out production, smart manufacturing—these are something we hear every day from our customers, and a lot of companies are now working towards this. Apart from that, there are also new, innovative tool geometries, machines, tools, software—there’s a lot of possibility to change.

Of course, there are also new materials coming—lighter materials for e-mobility, for example. There industry is changing a lot—and I think that’s the interesting part in our business.

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS YEAR?

MS: I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I also can’t be too optimistic, because when I talk to people here at the show, and the customers throughout the year, we saw some declines here and there. But some industries are still doing well.

READ: Tools At The Touch Of A Button

It will be an interesting time to come in the next six to 12 months, because of all the changes happening. Maybe, we’ll have more time to think about new things for the industry. Considering this, I would not say it will be bad; I would say let us be all optimistic and look forward to a promising, interesting time.

Like I said, in the last years, we’ve been very busy. Maybe, now we have a little bit of time to think about how to do things differently, how to increase our efficiency; I think it should be a target for everybody because, if there is a crisis coming, and we get out of it, we should be fresh, more efficient, and more powerful.

 

Check these articles out:

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Hexagon Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Philippine Metrology Market

Renishaw Shares Outlook On Vietnam And Philippines

Bystronic On Flexible Automation

Walter Launches Double-sided Indexable Inserts

With Additive Manufacturing To More Productivity

Schunk: Tendo Slim 4ax Toolholder

Walter To Close Frankfurt Facility

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Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics

Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking News, Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs at ASTM International, discusses the benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) in manufacturing and the role of data analytics in AM.

Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs, ASTM International

  1. Tell us more about ASTM International, for those who may not be familiar with the organisation.

ASTM International is one of the world’s leading standards development organisations, founded in 1898.  We have 150 technical committees that oversee about 13,000 standards that are widely used around the world.  Several of those committees are in emerging industries, including one for additive manufacturing technology that now has nearly 1,000 members, known as F42.  For over a decade, this group of the world’s top additive manufacturing experts has been meeting and working through ASTM to develop groundbreaking standards that have begun to form the technical foundation for the future of additive manufacturing.  Furthermore, ASTM International has made a dramatic investment in front-end research to develop even more standards through our Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, a network of high-profile partners around the globe which includes Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).  Please visit our website for more detailed information.

  1. In the Industry 4.0 era, greater efficiency and product innovation are key priorities for manufacturers. How can they leverage additive manufacturing/3D printing to achieve both?

A big challenge for manufacturers is the lack of communication between stakeholders at different steps in the process chain. Smart, digital manufacturing could allow manufacturers to effectively transfer the most relevant information across all stages of product development, from designers to end-users. Additive Manufacturing is an integral part of Industry 4.0 and is an excellent technology for product innovation that could significantly reduce the time for product development through iterative design capabilities.

Also, Additive manufacturing can substantially improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process by parts consolidation. This will enhance the effectiveness of a system as a whole in terms of weight reduction, material optimisation, and reduction in fuel consumption.  For AM, digital manufacturing means integrating physical system-oriented manufacturing with digital system-oriented Industry 4.0 technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence (AI), big data, robotics, cybersecurity, and Internet of Things [IoT]). To fully unlock the potential of smart, digital manufacturing, there are still issues to address, which include cybersecurity concerns, data management challenges, and other critical gaps. ASTM uses various roadmaps to develop standards to address these gaps and to meet the industry needs.

  1. Which end-markets do you see increasing adoption of additive manufacturing?

AM has the potential to impact all manufacturing-related sectors—from aerospace, medical and automotive to oil/gas, maritime and other sectors—and we anticipate adoption will increase exponentially across the board in the next 10 years. In particular, AM holds great promise for aerospace/defense and medical applications. Both of these sectors require complex, specialised parts, which AM is capable of producing. More importantly, the demand for AM qualification and certification in these high-tech areas/end-markets is high. This is because successful qualification and certification provide end-market users with increased confidence (i.e., improvements in quality and reduced safety concerns). According to a recent survey, the three most significant challenges to adoption of AM for end-market users over the next ten years are: 1) the certification of finished parts and products, hindering its mainstream commercial uptake in the future; 2) the quality and standardisation of material inputs; and 3) unknown quality of printed components.

  1. What are the biggest challenges when it comes to additive manufacturing?

As an emerging field, the AM industry still needs a shared language and framework for addressing problems. Lack of standards is one of the biggest challenges for additive manufacturing in addition to other challenges such as lack of qualified workforce, limited availability of materials, and the lack of full-fledged certification programs. Standards provide a common reference point to help the industry avoid the time and expense of solving problems by trial and error. For example, there is an ongoing need for a better understanding of feedstock properties, methods for in-process monitoring and control, machine-to-machine variation, and rapid inspection methods for AM parts, among other topics. In addition, standards are a key enabler of the qualification and certification procedures that were mentioned above.

To accelerate the development of standards to address these challenges, we launched the AM Center of Excellence (CoE), a collaborative partnership among industry, academia, and government that integrates research and development (R&D) with standards development. By initiating R&D projects that target specific high-priority standards needs, I believe we can speed the overall advancement and adoption of AM technologies. Detailed information will be available in our upcoming external R&D roadmap, which will be released this spring. In the meantime, our annual report provides an overview of the AM CoE’s activities.

  1. Why is analytics a feasible solution?

One benefit of analytics is that it presents decision-makers with the key information required to make informed decisions. Manufacturers have access to a wealth of data about their products and processes but are not always able to use it. Analytics is a great tool to convert data into actionable knowledge that can be used to optimise product development. In the case of AM, solutions such as data-enabled material screening, build monitoring, and post-build characterisation ensure the product meets its specifications with as few iterations as possible, helping minimise production time and cost.

  1. How will data analytics make additive manufacturing more efficient?

AM generates more data than any other manufacturing field—this data has great value, but there are challenges to extracting useful information. Structuring data in a way that adheres to FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) will be vital to the success of AM. Data analytics holds the key to processing and making sense of vast stores of data, which will ultimately accelerate the AM development timeline. Data analytics is a solution that cuts across all sectors and is already shaping the future of technology as we know it.

Through AI, which encompasses machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), the AM industry can quickly decode quantitative structure/process/property/performance relationships, which is a core challenge in the AM field. For example, it is possible to use AI to sift through potential AM materials to find those with optimal properties or functionalities. AI can also enable data-driven in-situ/real-time monitoring for identifying better processes. However, to enable these data-driven advances, the AM community needs an AM data ecosystem that enables the easy and secure generation, storage, analysis, and sharing of data. ASTM and America Makes recently convened a workshop on manufacturing data management and schema to identify and prioritise challenges and potential solutions for strengthening the AM data ecosystem.

  1. What is your outlook for additive manufacturing/3D printing this year?

It is very hard to predict the future of AM because technology is rapidly changing, but I would like to see 2020 as the year of standards. There is an exciting opportunity for more integration between AM and other elements of industry 4.0, in terms of automation, robotics, cybersecurity, and big data—creating these links is a great way to connect the physical world and digital world. I believe that the best way to create synergy between these critical technologies is through standardisation to add trust. The more we can focus on developing standards, the sooner we can see these advances.

 

Read more:

Bosch Rexroth, Siemens Joins Sodick, PBA Group in JID’s Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem

Hexagon Releases Complete Solution For Laser Scanning On The Machine Tool

How Big Data Is Changing The World Of Manufacturing

Top 4 Industry 4.0 Trends In Manufacturing

MVTec HALCON 19.11: Standard Machine Vision Software With New Functions

ZYFRA Showcases AI Predictive Maintenance Software At EMO 2019

ISCAR CTO Stresses On Productivity Improvement

TRUMPF To Unveil Automated Mass 3D Printing Solution At Formnext 2019

 

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Hexagon Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Philippine Metrology Market

Hexagon Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Philippine Metrology Market

Taveesak Srisuntisuk of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence speaks about the metalworking trends and opportunities for growth in the Philippines. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, part of Hexagon AB, helps industrial manufacturers develop the disruptive technologies of today and the life-changing products of tomorrow. A leading provider of metrology and manufacturing solutions, Hexagon’s expertise in sensing, thinking and acting—the collection, analysis and active use of measurement data—gives its customers the confidence to increase production speed and accelerate productivity while enhancing product quality.

At the recent PDMEX 2019 event, Taveesak Srisuntisuk, General Manager of the AEC and Pacific Region for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, speaks about the metalworking trends and opportunities for growth in the Philippines.

Tell us about your activities in the Philippines.

Taveesak Srisuntisuk (TS): We are a provider of 3D measuring machines—all kinds of three-dimension measuring machines, not only the traditional CMM that uses tactile probes. We also have vision measuring machine, multisensor measuring machine, portable measuring arms with laser tracker, white light scanner systems, and so on.

We are in the quality control business, but we are more and more getting involved into manufacturing because we also have hardware for the machine tools, software for design, CAD/CAM, and so on. We can see that quality control still has a very good opportunity for improvement here. In other countries, we are already well known when it comes to quality. Quality also can increase productivity—and here, we can see the same direction.

Which industries here are you seeing strong growth?

TS: We have been in the Philippine market for many years. In fact, I have been taking care of the Philippine market since 2010. And yes, we see the market growing, but maybe not as much as its peers in Southeast Asia. There are a variety of industries here—mould and die, electronics, aerospace, and automotive. While we don’t see any specific industry that is growing rapidly at the moment, we can see growth especially in the mould and die, and electronics markets.

With the trade war happening between China and the United States, we are seeing some comments that the Philippines is also getting opportunities from Chinese investments here.

Are you seeing smart factory adoption in the Philippine metalworking industry?

TS: Not a lot of customers are mentioning these things. In Southeast Asia, the countries that talk more about smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 are Singapore and Malaysia. But we definitely need to speak to the customers, we need to show them that Hexagon is one of the companies that are involved in this trend. All our devices support the smart factory trend.

 

How do you help customers move toward smarter manufacturing?

TS: We offer our customers smart solutions so that if they decided to do something tomorrow, their processes will be smarter. We always ensure that our software, hardware and products will help customers in transforming their production processes.

Tell us some of the products being highlighted here.

TS: Our devices can be integrated into a smart factory environment. We are showcasing our traditional CMMs, we have two CMMs here: one is with the scanning, and the other is with the traditional tactile probe. We have the portable measuring arm, a vision machine, as well as a new product, which we are showcasing here first time—the laser tracker with scanner.

How do you encourage small- and medium-sized job shops to adopt high-end solutions?

TS: Even if they are job shops, they are providing a service to somebody. And they have to ensure that their manufactured parts are good. The trend now is towards digitalization. Even the job shops, they can reduce a lot of work by investing not in high-end systems yet, but in entry level solutions.

However, in this market, you also have multinational companies such as Nidec Philippines, Hyundai Philippines, and so on. These are the companies that we are supporting in many countries as well. So, both customer sides—multinational companies and job shops—we are all supporting here in the Philippines.

What advice would you give customers when it comes to selecting measurement solutions?

TS: For the measuring machine, the most important is the accuracy they need. If they need more than 20 microns, they can use portable arm scanners. If they have a lot of work related to geometry, then maybe a CMM can help them. If there’s a lot of 3D, or CAD/CAM design and so on, a scanner solution would be the best.

We need to know their requirements—only then can we offer the right solutions for them. We have many kinds of 3D measuring machines to offer, but we have to know their applications, what they need, before we can ascertain the correct solutions.

Finally, what is your outlook for the metalworking industry next year?

TS: It’s very difficult to forecast because now, in Southeast Asia, even if we are becoming one community—AEC or ASEAN Economic Community—but we are still competing against each other. The governments are trying to showcase their benefits and bringing the foreign investments in their countries.

I can say that the Philippines is one of the markets we are seeing growth, especially now that the government is becoming more stable, leading to the market becoming more attractive for investments. We just hope that the country will really sustain its good growth.

 

Check these articles out:

Hexagon Intros Modular Metrology Fixtures to Online Shop

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence Division To Set Up New Canadian HQ In Toronto

Overcoming Challenges In Production With Multisensor Measuring Machines

Hexagon Production Software Portfolio Merges Virtual and Real Manufacturing at EMO 2019

 

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TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

At the recent MTA Vietnam 2019 trade show in Ho Chi Minh City, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke with Patrick Kemnitz, General Director of TRUMPF Vietnam and Head of Business Development for Southeast Asia, and Edward Yuen, General Manager for Singapore and Vietnam, about the trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region, challenges and opportunities for growth. They also provided their insights on where the Southeast Asian market is headed in the next years.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN VIETNAM?

Patrick Kemnitz (PK): Vietnam is a strong and steadily growing market, with a GDP of around five to seven percent. Vietnamese companies have been getting more and more jobs from foreign markets, especially with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

This is the current situation. But in the long run, we see huge potential in the Vietnamese market. Its huge population of labour entering the workforce is also a very high potential for growth.

In almost all industries where sheet metal products are needed, such as furniture, elevators, construction, automotive, bicycle, there is an opportunity for doing these metal products locally instead of importing them. So, the increasing localisation of all the industries is a very high potential for businesses.

Edward Yuen (EY): The market now is driven by infrastructure development. You see a lot of construction happening all over Vietnam. Tall buildings, highways, bridges are built—for all these infrastructures, sheet metal works are required. Also due to the tariff issue between China and the United States, you will see a lot of these industries basically restructuring their businesses instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, and some of the international companies investing strongly in Vietnam.

ARE YOU SEEING ANY CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET?

PK: For our customers, one of their challenges is having skilled workforce for their factories.

Therefore, education needs to be tackled: Vietnam needs to have the right education on future technologies. In line with this, we are working with educational organizations like universities and technical colleges to support them with technical input from the industry as investing in people is important for future growth of the whole country.

There are other issues, but I think the opportunities are bigger than these challenges. There is also the opportunity brought by Industry 4.0 and smart factory. This is our theme in this exhibition, ‘Your Smart Factory’, which is about how we can help our customers make the first steps in the direction of a connected production process and to provide all the advantages of having a smart factory. This is really a process that will require a step by step approach. And now is the time for our customers and the industry in Vietnam, because many new factories are being set up here. They are not just expanding their existing factories, but also building new ones. If you have these greenfield projects, you have the opportunity to plan really well from scratch.

HOW IS TRUMPF ADDRESSING THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF MANUFACTURING LEVELS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?

PK: We established our product portfolio in such a way that we have a solution for customers from all levels. For instance, our entry level machines are strategically positioned to help customers grow their manufacturing process. We also have machines which allows our customers to upgrade into a combination machine to extend their production. And on the very high-end sector we offer fully automated machines and storage systems.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

PK: Three to five years in Vietnam, or maybe Southeast Asia in general, is a long horizon. At the moment we mainly still have a positive outlook for the economy. Of course, there are signs that the global economy is slowing down, especially in the machinery industry, but so far these still might be part of the cyclical developments over time. Here in Vietnam, there is positive development. Mostly, all the industries that are relevant for sheet metal production are growing, so we are quite positive for our customers, that they can develop their business in a very positive way as there is still a lot of space to grow. In this environment, we consider TRUMPF as an enabler of this growth.

EY: For Southeast Asia, I think there are good prospects for the next three to five years. The continuing trade war between the United States and China which is not going to end soon are driving a lot of companies to move to Southeast Asia. Whatever products that you are now manufacturing in China and if you have to export it to the USA, you want to avoid getting entangle into this tariff game. Now we see lots of job-shops in Vietnam are loading up with jobs that are shifted over from plants in China. Going forward I believe more manufacturing companies in China will slow their expansion there and instead build up their expansion in SEA instead. In a way you don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket. The other impetus, the cost of manufacturing in those big northern Asian countries are not getting any cheaper and it only makes sense to capitalise on the cheaper labour force; huge available cheaper land and better infrastructure of SEA to grow a business.

 

Check out these articles:

AMendate Acquisition Helps Hexagon Minimise Time-to-Print for Additive Manufacturing

Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

Trumpf Steps Up Expansion Of Smart Factory Solutions

 

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Increasing Automation, Connectivity And Energy Efficiency In Metal Cutting

Increasing Automation, Connectivity And Energy Efficiency In Metal Cutting

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Armin Stolzer, Owner & CEO of KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG regarding current trends in the metal cutting industry.

APMEN: What trends are shaping the metal cutting industry?

The current favourable situation in widespread parts of the global economy and in the metalworking sector is leading to many companies increasing their production output. However, for the most part, additional capacity is usually necessary to enable the larger number of orders to be processed on time. More and more users are therefore deciding to automate processes, including in the sawing and storage technology sector. This offers considerable potential and, at the same time, the necessary flexibility to be able to respond to changing requirements.

 

APMEN: How are you helping your customers keep up with these trends?

We help companies to achieve significant improvements in production efficiency while at the same time reducing their costs – two outcomes which in today’s economically challenging climate are in especially great demand. Our sawing machines and storage systems can be easily integrated into a digitalised and automated material flow. We also offer combined sawing and storage systems in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically with the help of industrial robots – from putting the raw material into store through to the picking of the cut parts. With our customised complete systems, metal-processing companies can fully utilise the potential of their production and logistics facilities.

At the software level we also have innovative solutions that are perfectly adapted to industry needs, for example in the form of our well-designed machine control systems and KASTOlogic Warehouse Management System. With KASTOoptisaw, we have developed a cutting optimisation tool which considers various machine parameters as well as the workload. It generates one or more cutting plans that determine the best item sequences. This results in less waste and as few material movements as possible, saving users both time and money.

 

APMEN: What are the latest technology developments in KASTO’s metal cutting saws and storage systems?

Just recently, we have launched an innovative solution for maintaining our machines and systems remotely: KASTO VisualAssistance. By means of a tablet, smartphone or smart glasses, users can send live videos to KASTO’s service experts and receive visual assistance and information in real time in the event of a fault or maintenance work. Downtimes can be reduced to a minimum, which has a positive effect on the cost balance.

For our automatic bar stock and sheet metal storage systems, we have developed a concept in which excess kinetic energy can be converted into electric current, stored temporarily and then be used flexibly as required. Consumption of electric power can be reduced by as much as 40 percent compared to conventional drive systems and the connected load can even be cut by more than 50 percent. This reduces operating and investment costs and cuts CO2 emissions.

Also, we have comprehensively re-engineered our KASTOtec automatic bandsaws. In doing so, we have clearly focused on the optimum use of carbide metal saw blades. Further innovations relate to the saw feed, the main drive, and a system for automatically adjusting the feed speed. This all contributes to a further increase in sawing performance.

 

APMEN: What sets your solutions apart from competition in the region?

KASTO is the market leader for metal sawing machines, semi-automatic and fully automatic storage systems, as well as automated handling equipment for metal bar stock, sheet metals and parts cut to size. Our portfolio includes high-performance sawing machines that not only enable the user to achieve a supreme cutting quality but also the best cost per cut. Our products feature a high degree of automation and therefore offer the best prerequisites for the megatrends Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things. Besides, we are the only supplier of combined sawing and storage systems and have extensive software know-how. Customers therefore benefit from the full range of equipment for the provisioning, production and distribution of material from a single supplier.

Our products and solutions stand out due to their high level of innovation and ideally fit the requirements of our customers. Top-quality workmanship causes the saws and the storage systems to be particularly rugged and durable. Being a family-owned and -managed company, KASTO stands for quality “Made in Germany”. At the same time, we offer comprehensive and personal service, short response times and expert local advice to all our customers everywhere in the world. In 2015, we opened a subsidiary in Singapore to strengthen our position in the Southeast Asian Market.

 

APMEN: How do you see the metal cutting industry developing in the next year or two?

Connectivity and automation are increasing. Machines, goods, raw materials, load carriers, transport equipment and locations are no longer isolated; they are globally linked and interconnected by means of information networks. Production and logistics are merging, and the integration of processes is increasing. Handling tasks are becoming more and more automated. Digital technology controls the value chain from the producer of raw materials to the final customer. Other important trends include a greater emphasis on safety in materials handling and machine control, which is why we focus in particular on developing effective solutions.

Also, the question of energy efficiency is becoming ever more important. Ultimately, the increased levels of automation mean that users are also taking account of power consumption as a decisive cost factor. The demands placed on machines and systems are therefore not only growing in terms of flexibility, speed and precision, but also at the level of the savings they can bring. To meet these needs, KASTO’s portfolio includes efficient energy recovery and storage methods that allow users to reduce the electricity costs resulting from system operation and, at the same time, to improve the quality of the power supply.

 

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Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends

Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Jacob Harpaz, ISCAR CEO, IMC President and Chairman of the Board, discusses the current trends in the metalworking tool industry, and how the company is helping their customers address their manufacturing challenges.

Jacob Harpaz

APMEN: Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping the metalworking tool industry?

Jacob Harpaz: Developments such as electric vehicles and powertrains in large volumes, additive manufacturing and cyber connectivity will mean significant changes in the style of machining and the materials being used. Workpieces will be produced more commonly at near net shapes for final machining and finishing.

By 2030 there will be big changes in the automotive sector. The major OEMs are moving away from the internal combustion engine which will mean much less metal removal will be required. There will be wider use of composite materials and the introduction of 3D printing will also mean less metal removal. At ISCAR we are preparing for these changes. Cutting tools will have to adapt to remove less metal but at much faster speeds and feeds.

Industry 4.0’s impact will not just come through sophisticated new technology such as sensors, process monitoring and acquiring machining data, but in the integration of factories and the supply and distribution of consumables used in manufacturing and products leaving the factory.

APMEN: How has ISCAR kept up with these trends?

Harpaz: ISCAR’s motto of “Machining Intelligently” represents the ongoing process of developing new products for increased productivity.  Our aim is to provide our customers with the latest technology to bring down costs.  ISCAR’s strategic philosophy is ongoing R&D that drives our business growth. As soon as we introduce to the market our newest tooling families, another team from the R&D division focuses on designing tools that will compete with these latest tools

ISCAR recently launched its “LOGIQ” cutting tools campaign featuring highly advanced cutting tool solutions for productive, high quality and efficient manufacturing in all sectors.

APMEN: What are the top three challenges that your customers are facing?

Harpaz: First, machining logically and intelligently is closely connected to today’s smart factories and the current cyber age. The cyber revolution is here, and Asian shops should quickly embrace what Industry 4.0 really means. They need to move beyond seeing Industry 4.0 as just a slogan, and this will take open-mindedness.

Next, companies need to maximise efficiency to stay ahead. They should be developing methods to collect, analyse and leverage data and utilising appropriate tools to cut faster or reduce setup, as well as implementing inventory systems that reinforce the aim of 24/7 machining. ISCAR’s “LOGIQ” product range helps to realise these goals.

Third, the ISO 13999 standard affects CAM procedures on production floors all over the world. Producing metal parts productively and profitably requires many technological changes to ensure that the process is followed correctly. To address this challenge, customers need online data such as the information that appears in ISCAR’s electronic catalog, which features assembly options.

APMEN: How are you helping them address these challenges?

Harpaz: ISCAR embraces a business culture that nurtures, strengthens and maintains strong ties with our customers. We aim to improve profitability and productivity for large and small manufacturers alike, facing every challenge as an opportunity to expand our range of solutions through focused R&D, production excellence, and close cooperation with customers to ensure the right product for their needs.

ISCAR introduced a milling tool assemblies option in E-CAT, its comprehensive electronic catalog. This new option represents a highly valuable instrument for the preliminary process in selecting tools at the design and planning stages of machining. Cutting tool data can be gathered accurately and used to create twin representations of the tools. Creating a digital twin representation of a tool assembly based on ISO 13399 facilitates the accurate communication of tool information between software systems. The assemblies are accessible in both 2D and 3D files, and the files can be downloaded directly from E-CAT on the ISCAR website.

Integrating this new function into the user’s CAM software can prevent errors on the shop floor during machining, while the ability to plan multiple tool assemblies saves time and costs in the planning process.

While we always provide the latest technology to machine the part, the productivity advantage of this technology only matters if you have the tool at the right place at the right time.

APMEN: How do you position ISCAR in the metalworking tools market in Asia?

Harpaz: The Asian market is important and presents its own challenges and opportunities; ISCAR welcomes every challenge as an opportunity for continued research and development of effective cutting solutions that match market developments and requirements.

Our commitment to combining innovation with reliability and cost consciousness, together with our wide market knowledge and penetration and a uniquely strong – and global – corporate culture, enables us to stay at the forefront of the industry and to provide our Asian customers with optimal, cost-effective solutions to their needs.

 

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Importance Of Process Control

Importance Of Process Control

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr Lim Boon Choon, President of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, APAC, regarding current trends in metrology.

Lim Boon Choon

Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding metrology in metalworking?

Metrology continues to be important to assure quality in the final products, but customers are beginning to see the importance of process control, not just quality control.  By process control, I mean getting metrology into the production area as well, and not just the quality room.  By installing hardware and software in the production area, customers can check critical dimensions directly during the production process and ensure that the products are within specifications.  This will help to ensure that there is less chance of products getting into the metrology room a few hours later and finding that the products do not meet the requirements and must be scrapped or re-worked.

Another trend is the use of non-contact scanning.  Customers are coming up with very highly polished materials or mixture of different materials that may be sensitive to scratch marks.  Non-contact scanning prevents scratches and speeds up the inspection very quickly.

The third trend is the increasing use of additive manufacturing as a complement to traditional manufacturing.

How has Hexagon kept up with these trends?

Over the years, Hexagon has developed or acquired various technologies that allowed us to implement in-line, next-to-the-line, or off-line inspection.  We help customers build quality into their process from Design and Engineering, to Production and to final inspection.  Increasingly, we also provide automated inspection systems that allows customers to use metrology in the shop floor to control the process and reduce scraps and rework.

For example, our AICON TubeInspect solution is a unique equipment for customers producing tubes.  They can place their tubes in our system which measures the bending angles within a second and calculates the correct bending parameters to be sent back to the tube bending machine.  This kind of close loop process helps customers to get their tubes right quickly and saves a lot of time and cost of rework.

We also have software like NC-SIMUL that simulates the machining process, Hexagon production software for finding the best cutting strategy, SIMUFACT for CAE simulation of additive manufacturing, Q-DAS and eMMA to monitor the manufacturing process and manage the relationship between parts, shop floor and portable CMM that allows us to measure the parts directly in the production area.

Another example of our products being shop floor ready is that we designed our CMM to have in-built message lights (Global S CMM), and pulse sensors that monitor vibration, humidity, temperature in real time.

Hexagon is now helping customers to optimise product innovation at various stages like Design, planning, production, quality assurance and post Production, and also our ability to link and integrate all data through our Smart Factory solutions and Assets Management system.

What are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry?

With the market going for more innovative products that may be highly customized, manufacturers are faced with high mix low volume situations.  They need solutions that are easy to implement, robust and well connected to their manufacturing systems.

Many customers know that they need information to make good decisions, but there is a general lack of understanding of what can be done to tap in the information from various equipment (connectivity problem), and how to get actionable data; not just data, but actionable data.

How can they be overcome?

It boils down to leadership.  Leaders have to be bold, have vision and courage to change.  Start small and scale up quickly.

Rethink quality.  Quality is not just in the quality room but should be built into the products right from how we design the product, how we ensure the design is strong, can be produced cost effectively, and the equipment and software are suitable to produce the product consistently.  Look into process control, and not just quality control in the Quality room.

Moving forward, where do you think the industry is headed in the next 5 to 10 years?

With the push towards Industry 4.0, and especially with government encouragement and funding, I think manufacturers will want to implement more and more smart systems – automated solutions on the shop floor and monitored with software that gives them smart diagnostics and even artificial intelligence built in to identify problems early.  Process control and non-contact scanning will also be increasingly prevalent.

 

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Efficient Machine Tooling

Efficient Machine Tooling

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Dr Christian Kober, Senior Vice President Asia at Hoffmann regarding current trends in machine tooling.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping machine tools in the metalworking industry?

The machine tool industry is at the heart of Industry 4.0. Globally, labour cost is on the rise, even in so called ‘low cost countries’ and efficiency is coming to the forefront. Efficiency means not only the speed of machining, but also continuously looking at retooling times and how to improve them. Efficient machine usage would require the appropriate tools available at the right time and in the right quality. Gains might be incremental or worse when taking increasing time and labour cost pressures into account.

  1. How has Hoffmann kept up with these trends?

Hoffmann is actually central to these trends. Hoffmann provides industrial quality tools and quality tested items, own brand and from third party suppliers. This allows the customer of machine tool makers to focus on his core competences rather than wasting time and effort on sourcing the right quality C-items. Hoffmann also supports modern tool management with tool dispensing systems like our Tool24 and PickOne systems, making traditional tool counters inside the factory unnecessary. An efficient supply chain ensures that modern machine tools can reach their full productivity potential.

Our Garant ZeroClamp systems allows the most rapid changing of workpieces, saving expensive machine and worktime. We will continue to improve this system while adding additional services like repair service and customised base plates.

  1. What are some challenges faced by this industry?

3D printing will be an obvious challenge to this industry. Currently 3D printing cannot fulfil the volume requirements of large-scale production and also rely on relatively expensive raw materials. However, similar to other disruptive technologies, change might happen fast.

  1. How can they be overcome?

The machine tool industry has to face these realities by clearly understanding which areas will face disruption, which 3D printed articles will still require post processing and where new opportunities might arise for modern machining—be it in glass processing or increased processing of high-density engineering plastics.

  1. Moving forward, what do you think is the outlook of the machine tool industry in the next five to 10 years?

In the coming year, the machine tool industry will continue to face pressure to be more completely integrated into the supply chain of their customers, with tooling machines being integrated into electronic supply chains, reordering processes and sensor technologies tightly supervising wear and tear, leading to higher levels of automatisation and the use of robots to replace human labour. Thus, from the perspective of a customer, the machines will become more capital intensive and increasing in utilisation requirements.

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Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Wagner Turri, Sales Leader Southeast Asia & Taiwan at Hypertherm, regarding current trends in the metal cutting industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping industrial cutting in the metalworking industry?

Initial industrial trends could foresee more challenging times for the regional metalworking industry, in which competitiveness will be driven by customer’s needs and prompt feedback for opportunities and improvements. In this scenario, industrial automation and digitalisation will be the key drivers of change, and it would be more demanding in Asia Pacific due to the future economic growth and competitive landscape. It will push the metalworking industry to new arenas, where product quality is considered a ‘standard’ feature and customers’ requests are influenced by positive experiences in their interaction with these products, services, or solutions.

In this full perspective, industrial automation and digitalisation will help the metalworking industry understand and improve the performance of any equipment throughout its life cycle. This includes production effectiveness leverage based on new sets of equipment and technologies—which can provide real-time feedback on performance and propose necessary adjustments.

Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of solutions that encourage the introduction of automation and digitalisation to the metalworking industry. Technologies that are related to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are enabling companies to build up smarter job shops, and allowing the industry to establish a smart machinery eco-system.

  1. What are the latest technologies developed by Hypertherm to keep up with these trends?

Automation and digitalisation embedded on the IIoT platform have given manufacturers enhanced equipment and process capabilities, while staff aim to improve production effectiveness with additional cost management. In the last three years, Hypertherm has been addressing these industrial demands and trends with the development of a new set of plasma source and controllers, and by improving on-time operations support to customers. Our new solution — the X-Definition plasma source and NC industrial controller—provides real-time feedback on performance to job shops via a WiFi connection. This WiFi connectivity enables metalworking job shops to connect to these machines with a single device (e.g. smart phone or computer) to collect data on machine performance and maintenance. In addition, our new set of NC industrial controllers can receive cutting nesting jobs through WiFi. Furthermore, Hypertherm employs the most advanced communication protocol (i.e. EtherCAT) to provide faster information flow when our products are integrated with an automated solution, such as a NC plasma machine, for straight or bevel cutting, or a plasma robotic arm for 3D cutting or pipe cutting.

These continual technological advances elevated Hypertherm’s plasma cutting capabilities. Furthermore, our wide range of solutions for automation and portability include new sets of our robotic cutting tools and applications, delivered by our new rotary sleeve mechanical solution and the introduction of our off-line robotic software. It is relevant to highlight that all these new technologies rely on plasma source architecture. In this way, Hypertherm offers unmatched cut quality and precision (up to ISO 9013 Range 2) through our latest X-Definition class plasma system. This solution offers users reduced operation costs with its new electronic feature that extends consumable life, avoiding premature damage or misuse. With its new process technologies that deliver high cutting performance at optimal costs, the X-Definition plasma system is a stellar example of how we are able to address the changes ahead for manufacturers.

  1. What are some challenges faced by this industry?

The traditional metalworking industry is in the throes of digital transformation, which is accelerated by exponentially growing technologies on a smarter machinery eco-system. These new eco-systems are covered by offerings or needs such as smarter robots, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance feedback, and collaborative manufacturing. These companies and their industrial processes must adapt to this rapid consolidation that has been happening the last few years. The industry needs to unleash new possibilities offered by the IIoT platform. This usage will transform operations and processes into new ways of conducting business, such that it becomes more scalable, profitable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly.

The rising expectations and demand for better customer experience is also another challenge that the metal cutting industry must face. More and more, product quality is becoming a given, or a ‘standard’ feature. Customers’ expectations are shifting and they are beginning to value the experience delivered over their project life cycle.  Soon enough, this will become a crucial priority and businesses will redirect their focus from merely selling products and services to creating an exceptional overall customer experience.

  1. How can they be overcome?

To achieve their growth targets in a more complex and competitive environment, the metalworking industry will increasingly see the need to prioritise their capital expenditures, to spend on technology that will enable their businesses to be more agile — by increasing productivity, speed, responsiveness, and connectivity.

These capital expenditures must be followed-up with a compelling analysis of operational expenditures, which needs to bring operational costs reduction to justify investments on automation and digitalisation. In this perspective, Hypertherm is totally aligned to metalworking industry trends. We are a company focused on helping our customers reduce operating costs with additional cutting performance improvements. That way, they can enhance their profitability and business sustainability. Our continued investment in research and development is part of our mission to bring more breakthrough technologies to the market, so that we will keep delivering with new launches in coming years.

  1. Moving forward, what do you think is the outlook of the metal cutting industry in the next five to 10 years?

Automation and digitalisation will definitely still play a big part in bringing the metal cutting industry to new heights. An increasing number of manufacturers will develop, adopt, and implement technologies in their industrial processes, where their equipment can effectively interact in a collaborative and smart eco-system. Customers will see more usage of software solutions in order to keep their hardware in a high-performance state. To achieve growth, manufacturers need to become digitally savvy and develop new, successful innovations in the ever-changing landscape of the metal cutting industry.

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Tapping On Additive Manufacturing

Tapping On Additive Manufacturing

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Terrence Oh, Senior Vice President at EOS, regarding current trends in additive manufacturing.

 

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends in additive manufacturing?

The global additive manufacturing (AM) market is currently predicted to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 27 percent between 2018 and 2023. In the APAC region, the AM industry is continually growing and is set to have the highest CAGR due to the fast-growing industries like the automotive sector.

With that in mind, as the fourth industrial revolution continues to gain traction, the economics of manufacturing are changing—the industry looks towards moving to smart factories of the future. Digitalisation in manufacturing is emphasising the necessity to assimilate advanced software capabilities in AM, such as AI, automation and machine learning, to name a few—combining all these technologies together to elevate the AM industry to its full potential. This changes the fundamentals of how products are developed, scaled and manufactured.

  1. What are the newest innovations in metal 3D printing technology developed by EOS?

EOS M 300-4 is the latest addition to the EOS M 300 series for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). It is designed to be a future-proof, automation-ready system which is scalable, configurable and secure. The system’s full-field overlap with four scanners, enables the lasers to reach all spots on the build platform and offer flexible component orientation. Customers are able to customise between different solutions to meet their needs. Customisable features include choosing between one, two or four lasers that come with configurations of 400 or 1,000 Watt, different types of recoaters and fixed or variable focus. The EOS M 300-4 increases production productivity by a factor of four to 10, resulting in considerably lower costs per part.

  1. What are some challenges manufacturing industries face when adopting these technologies?

Amidst rising protectionism and trade conflicts, higher tariffs would put Asia’s manufacturing scene at risk due to higher operating costs. This could also impact the decentralisation of the region’s manufacturing sector.

While AM usage in various industries are increasing, a skills gap is still prominent within the industry due to the niche expertise required. As a whole, Singapore’s manufacturing industry still operates rather traditionally with most companies looking to match specific job requirements with those that have specific skills and experience. The emergence of new technologies has unavoidably led to changes in job scopes, forcing the manufacturing industry to acknowledge the need to be versatile. If not addressed earlier, the lack of adequately-skilled talent could adversely impact the AM industry’s growth and other industries that tap on AM.

  1. How can these challenges be overcome?

Despite trade tensions and volatility, businesses that embrace advanced technologies can leverage AM to transform and grow. Manufacturing domestically would be more practical compared to overseas imports. With that said, AM adoption can also help businesses reduce part-to-production costs, production processes and time.

An industry’s success highly depends on the skill of the workforce. Manufacturing demands across verticals move much quicker and efficiently than ever before now, thus the need to strengthen the AM industry’s competency and readiness. Employees need to be open to upskilling and reskilling themselves with up and coming technologies like AM. This could be done through training programmes provided by their companies.

An example of a training programme we have undertaken is the Joint Industry Program (JIP) for Capability Transfer. Done in collaboration with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), the initiative addresses the skills gap needed in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry across a myriad of sectors such as aerospace, medical and tooling.

  1. Where do you think additive manufacturing is headed in the next five to 10 years?

Industry 4.0 will continue to be a main focus in manufacturing as the industry makes way for smarter and intelligent manufacturing solutions and processes. As digitalisation becomes increasingly integrated into manufacturing, this will impact the production chain. For example, the way parts are designed will start to evolve to become more complex, functional, sustainable and even aesthetically-pleasing.

AM has already established its presence in the aerospace, healthcare, automotive and consumer-goods industries, and will continue to do so as these sectors are predicted to experience higher market growth according to McKinsey. More industries will also tap on AM to optimise its full potential and to make manufacturing more efficient and affordable.

 

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