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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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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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Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Hendrie Viktor, Regional Director at ZEISS Southeast Asia regarding current trends in the manufacturing and metrology industry.

1) Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry in Asia?

In an attempt to soften the effects of globalisation, productivity and quality gain drives are most evident. Competing with neighbouring companies are no longer enough to secure one’s business interests. Through globalisation and commoditisation to some degree, the bar on price and quality has been raised exponentially. As a result, some manufacturing industries were adversely affected by consolidation. In my opinion, Asia in particular has been subjected to this harshly but responded well over the past decade—a great example are the quality gains on “Made in China” over the last few years. The relentless expectations on price competitiveness and quality standards has reached a point where traditional, incremental cost and quality gains are no longer enough and reaping the benefits of smart manufacturing or industry 4.0 is crucial.

2) To keep up with these manufacturing trends, what are the newest developments or technological advancements in ZEISS’s metrology solutions?

We address our customer’s ever-increasing productivity and quality requirements through solutions that enable manufacturers to inspect or measure faster and more frequently than before. Gone are the days of random sampling in a quality lab. In-process inspection and shop floor metrology have brought significant time savings and quality gains. Multi-purpose measuring instruments have replaced the need for multiple set-up’s, and workflow solutions have brought insights into manufacturing processes and quality that were previously unseen.

ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions has been and still is at the forefront of the inspection and dimensional metrology transformation and plan to keep it this way moving forward. We continue to make significant investments, at least 10 percent of our revenue, into R&D annually in order to continue to deliver market-shaping innovations.

3) With increasing digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, what are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry?

Firstly, the sudden shift can be overwhelming and we’ve seen countless processes being digitalised for the sake of it—with huge amounts of digital data being collected, but not put to good use. Determining where, when and how frequently digital data needs to be collected as well as how it will be put to valuable use is crucial but it remains a great challenge for many since skill shortages in the field of digitalisation exists. There is also data and platform incompatibility, or rather standardisation hurdles to overcome as suppliers mostly develop their own Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms. Lastly, data handling and security still deters many companies from taking that leap.

4) How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

Relevant education and continued learning will go a long way towards addressing hesitation and will help ensure digitalisation efforts pay off. I see the need for industry and universities or technical schools to work hand in hand. That will stimulate the need for faster adoption. Alliances between machine manufacturers can address platform and standardisation issues to unlock IIoT benefits. Such an example can be seen in the recently founded ADAMOS alliance, of which ZEISS is a founding member of.

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

With the pace of today’s change, it would be difficult to even predict this with some degree of certainty. I think the value-add from productivity and quality gains through digitalisation and new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing is going to be tremendous that consolidation is going to happen on a much broader scale. I see low volume, high mix through flexible manufacturing becoming a norm and thus bringing manufacturing closer to the end user, further reducing non-value-added costs. This will call for a very different approach to metrology.

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Digital Transformation Of The 3D Measurement Industry

Digital Transformation Of The 3D Measurement Industry

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Quah Beng Chieh, Head of Marketing (Asia Pacific) at FARO Technologies regarding FARO’s achievements for 2018, the company’s aims for 2019, and the trends that will shape the industry in 2019.

1. Can you sum up your company’s focus and achievements in 2018?

FARO is well-attuned to the industry’s trends and demands, and we continually invest efforts into developing new 3D measurement technology to cater to our customers’ needs. In 2018, FARO launched several cutting-edge measurement solutions that were developed with our customers’ challenges in mind. The 8-Axis Quantum FaroArm, the world’s only eight-axis portable metrology arm solution, seamlessly integrates with any FaroArm to enable operators to rotate a part in real-time, relative to the arm. When used in conjunction with the newly launched Prizm Laser Line Probe, which scans objects in high-resolution 3D color, users can speed up and simplify the inspection of dimensional and surface character quality issues for molded parts due to the Prizm’s true-to-life functionality. Another significant product launch is the introduction of the 6Probe for the FARO 6DoF Laser Tracker — a fully integrated hand-held probe for easily probing hidden, hard-to-reach features. Together, the patented FARO Super 6DoF and 6Probe total solution addresses a wide range of large scale metrology applications across a variety of manufacturing focused industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, heavy equipment and shipbuilding. All these have contributed to significant revenue growth on over 2018, despite a poor economic environment.

 

2. What are your expectations on the regional economy in 2019?

According to a report by Grand View Research, the 3D metrology market is gaining importance due to an increasing demand for improved products and services across end-use sectors such as industrial, automotive, and power generation. This rise in demand can be attributed to growing adherence to international quality standards across the entire industry domain which has also encouraged greater demand for metrology equipment and services. Likewise, we are also expecting the Asia Pacific 3D metrology market to grow significantly due to continued economic growth in emerging countries like China, India and Southeast Asia.

 

3. What business trends in Asia capture your interest for growth next year?

The 3D measurement industry is constantly evolving due to increasingly complex market needs and requirements, and thus requires constant innovation to ensure a steady introduction of varied solutions. Digital transformation of the manufacturing industry continues to gain prominence, urging manufacturers to look for solutions that will allow them to digitise information and digitalise processes in order to improve their organisation’s response to market changes. Solutions with advanced technology that empower customers to tap on data-driven collaborations for improved productivity are also expected to rise to prominence in the market.

In addition to solutions that enable manufacturers to efficiently digitise product designs and relevant 3D measurement data, FARO will also continue to introduce solutions like the FARO Visual Inspect — which offers companies new opportunities for enhanced collaboration across departments and production processes. Using complex 3D data previously unavailable in a production line, and an augmented reality function that is suitable for all working environments, 3D measurement technology like the Visual Inspect can help manufacturers streamline their processes to be more flexible and nimble, while taking into account increasing cost pressures.

 

4.What do you think is the key industry trend to watch out in 2019?

Over the last decade, manufacturers’ measurement needs have grown to become increasingly complex as the designs of their products have become more complicated. This will likely continue to be true as manufacturers push boundaries in the product development process. Effectively, we expect that customers will require even more innovative, advanced technologies that meet their sophisticated measurement needs.

Manufacturers’ preferences are also shifting from off-line quality inspection to near-line or in-line measurement techniques in order to enable higher sampling rates and shorter inspection times. This will drive growth in the integration of CMMs and optical scanners with assembly lines for greater effectiveness, efficiency, and improved quality control.

 

5. What potential and opportunity do you see in the industry next year?

The manufacturing industry is ever-evolving. Customers today are much more aware of what they want and need, demanding improved efficiency and innovative products, and this trend is catalysed by the accelerated development in technology. Organisations, regardless of their size and shape, can survive and grow if they adapt quickly and stay abreast of the current manufacturing industry trends. To better equip our customers to do just that, FARO is actively working to offer solutions with advanced technology that allow them to enjoy greater efficiency and convenience. As the economy continues to grow in Asia, companies will seek to expand their operations, optimise to reduce cost, and expand capabilities to capture new markets. We expect a rise in manufacturers’ demand for measurement and imaging solutions to tackle their evolving metrology needs, and our team will be ready to respond by educating users across Asia, about our solutions and how their businesses can benefit from incorporating our technology.

 

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The Future Of Manufacturing Lies In Transparency And Connectivity

The Future Of Manufacturing Lies In Transparency And Connectivity

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Wong Seng Yeow, Business Development Manager at TRUMPF regarding current trends in the metrology and manufacturing industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry?

The manufacturing industry has evolved significantly over time – from steam engines to mass production with electricity, then automation and in recent years Industry 4.0. The latest trend may be described as the digital networking of manufacturing technology with big data and analytics, autonomous robots, Internet of Things, etc. Sometimes known as the fourth industrial revolution, it signifies the combination of traditional industrial practices with digital technology.

A key driving force for Industry 4.0 applications is the increased transparency and flexibility for the manufacturing industry. In the model of a Smart Factory production line, companies may analyse and respond optimally to fluctuations in production capacity and factory utilisation. Flexible production layouts allow them to deal with increasingly individualised products and reduced batch sizes, coupled with the possibility of reducing costs through increase in the degree of automation and improved efficiency. Another advantage is production stability through the adoption of predictive maintenance. Self-monitoring and regular evaluation of machines helps in preventive maintenance which leads to increased productivity and quality.  In cases of machine breakdowns, remote servicing may be done at significantly lower cost.

In a nutshell, the trend toward Industry 4.0 enables digitally managed product assembly, inventory management, resources management and service maintenance. Ideally, human intervention will be considerably reduced as processes will be largely managed and performed with artificial intelligence.

  1. With increasing digitalisation, how has TRUMPF kept up with these trends to remain competitive?

Amidst challenging business environment, TRUMPF has always managed to rise above its competition by upholding one of the company’s guiding principles “Courage to transform”. From the development of plasma cutters to EUV laser, this notion has played an integral role in empowering the company to take courageous, transformative decisions over the past decades. In the same vein, it sets the right framework for an effective digital transformation.

Over the years, digitalisation has already permeated many areas of our business. An example of this trend is the conceptualisation of TruConnect, TRUMPF Machine Tool’s advanced range of solutions for connected sheet metal fabrication, comprising of hardware, software and services. The suite of products lays the foundation for production facilities to streamline control with minimal human intervention. Within TruConnect, key products such as TruTops Fab software are testaments to TRUMPF’s dedication to commercialise solutions based on its digital ambition. They are our answers to customers’ rising expectations of quality as they struggle with diminishing batch sizes, fast delivery times and low prices.

  1. What are the main challenges faced by this industry in Asia?

Key challenges for digitalisation of the manufacturing industry in Asia include inadequate infrastructural readiness, awareness and knowledge competency.

In mature markets such as Europe, the knowledge and infrastructure required to reap the benefits of technology are present. However, in regions such as Southeast Asia, the extent of adoption of new technologies is limited as information technology infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped in emerging markets such as Myanmar.

Digitalization might still be a foreign topic to some companies as well as the potential advantages that follows, such as achieving operational transparency through data analytics. To the less-informed, digital transformation is a process which translates into unsavoury repercussions such as job displacement.

The unwillingness to embrace digitalisation also stems from the fact that employees are not sufficiently trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge. Without fully appreciating the advantages of digitalisation, decision makers will not be willing to incur cost to train employees with the required skillset means placing additional strain on their tight budgets.

  1. How can they be overcome?

Adoption of Industry 4.0 applications in Asia can be successfully implemented when the government, local companies and key industry leaders such as TRUMPF work together.

On the part of local manufacturing companies, it is first important to implement the digital strategy from top down. Decision makers should proactively analyse the process, tools and benefits of digitalisation. It is also crucial to address the unfounded insecurity of employees who have concerns about being replaced by new technology. In this regard, companies may seize the chance to train its labour force to be digitally-skilled, thereby enabling them to handle higher level processes. With a supportive workforce, companies can achieve a smooth end-to-end integration of their data and operational process.

As a market leader in the manufacturing industry, TRUMPF intends to continue empowering manufacturing companies in their digitalisation journey by offering solutions and services which suit their various needs. For instance, TRUMPF is committed to develop the South East Asian industry by educating manufacturers in the region on digitalisation through the TruConnect solution. Advance production-planning softwares and Smart Factory consultancy services are designed to support customers in their digitalisation journey through a step-by-step approach – first assessing existing manufacturing layout, identifying bottlenecks and challenges, then proposing technology solutions to optimise manufacturing processes and operations. That said, digitalisation should not be perceived as a one-time process but as a continuous transformation which should be sustained.

Naturally, TRUMPF also works closely with government agencies such as the Singapore Economic Development Board to develop the market infrastructure and constantly nurture companies in the region.

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

Over the next years, market condition will be increasingly difficult as companies compete not only on price but on efficiency as well. In such a market environment, a company’s success will depend on its courage to transform. As digitalisation allows the creation of new businesses and growth opportunities, a shift in dynamics can be expected as the industry consolidates – only players who are able to successfully digitalise will survive and thrive.

The future of manufacturing lies in transparency and connectivity. For TRUMPF, the majority of sales is still expected to come from machinery, but software and digital services will play an increasingly significant role. With an eye on growing our market share, we will continue to be the leading provider of new digital solutions in the manufacturing industry.

 

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Increasing Electromobility In Automotive Sector

Increasing Electromobility In Automotive Sector

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Stefano Corradini, Group Director Sales & Marketing at Marposs regarding current trends in the metrology and manufacturing industry.

  1. Could You provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding metrology in manufacturing?

In general, the trends in metrology follow those in manufacturing, so the most important trends are the increase of precision, flexibility and full process control. In the automotive sector, the new challenge presented by electromobility is shifting the focus to upgraded leak test controls to protect batteries and electric components from deteriorating conditions. Marposs provides a wide range of metrology solutions and is able to give answers to all above challenges.

  1. With increasing digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, how has Marposs kept up with these trends to remain competitive?

IoT, smart factory and industry 4.0 focuses on the same objective: providing every possible information on the manufacturing process to the controller. Marposs provides measuring devices to be fitted on virtually every type of manufacturing line, including cutting and deformation machines, as well as die casting and extrusion lines; those provides electronic information to the machine controller which can be used to improve the manufacturing efficiency. Marposs also provides dedicated softwares to help customers elaborate, manage above data and improve production quality.

  1. What are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry in Asia?

Asia is not much different from other part of the Industrial world as described in the first question. Compared with other areas, some countries in Asia have a bigger growth rate in the industrial sector. This makes improved production quality even more critical since it goes in combination with production increase, thus creating a bigger challenge for every player involved.

  1. How can they be overcome?

The answer is much easy: investments! To be able to provide successful solutions and to be an appreciated partner for the manufacturing industry, it is necessary to invest in new technologies, solutions and in human resources to support the growing demand. Marposs has ventured into both paths by investing in both internal R&D and acquiring hi-tech companies providing solutions complementary with our traditional ones, thus increasing our proposal to the market as well as our organisation. Today, Marposs is a group of companies accounting more than 3,500 employees and is present in 80 locations across 25 different countries. In Asia, we are present in China (with more than 700 people and local production site), Japan (since 1970 and with 150 people), South Korea, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and also Vietnam since 2016, where the market is growing really fast. Almost 50 percent of Marposs sales per year are delivered to Asia.

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

Really difficult to say, given the multiple uncertainties of these days. For sure, the trend moving towards increase electromobility will contribute to manufacturing challenges in the next few years, changing not only the life of people living in the big towns, but also the industrial paradigms in all sectors relating to automotive. Marposs is also ready to face the challenge, having developed dedicated solutions to improve manufacturing of main EV components such as batteries (modules, packs, trays, etc), drive units and ultra-light chassis components.

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Interview With Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development At UTAC

Interview With Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development At UTAC

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development at UTAC regarding UTAC’s achievements for 2018, the company’s aims for 2019, and the trends that will shape the industry in the following year.

  1. Can you sum up your company’s focus and achievements in 2018?

2018 has been a very good year for UTAC, especially with respect to winning some key strategic customer engagements which will likely drive revenue for years to come.

For example, UTAC has achieved a very key business win with a major fabless company involving WLCSP requiring leading-edge wafer process technology, which we are now in the process of developing and qualifying.

Furthermore, we have had major lead frame business off-load from one of the top Integrated Device Manufacturer (IDM)’s internal facility which was won this year. These are just some examples of the many key engagements that we have with IDMs and Fabless Semi companies.

Our automotive as well as industrial business continues to grow and we are in line with increasing our revenue for both of these market segments this year.

In 2018, we are also very proud of our significant market share gain in power packaging, which utilises Cu-Clip technology in our Thailand factory. The demand for these power devices have been growing due to the growth in cloud computing servers and also in the automotive space. We have also made very good progress in increasing our high-end MEMS packaging business with top major MEMS players in Europe. MEMS products continue to grow, driven by the growth in IoT, automotive and mobile applications.

We have also enjoyed the highest number of RFQs, (or Requests for Quotes for new business) in 2018 which is essentially a testament of potential pipeline business. We had a record number of automotive RFQ wins in the second quarter of 2018.

We are very pleased with our higher level of engagement with customers and growth in our focus areas in 2018 and beyond.

  1. What business trends in Asia capture your interest for growth next year?

The semiconductor sector is a very global business even though many of the activities, especially manufacturing, are focused here in Asia. With the waves of consolidations in recent years, one trend that UTAC follows in Asia is the consolidation of IDM factories located here.

The streamlining of manufacturing activities by IDM factories provides opportunities for OSATs to gain market share. In fact, UTAC’s last acquisition was three Panasonic assembly and test facilities in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We will continue to follow and keep our eye on such trends, particularly in Asia.

Beyond that, we are also following the trade issues between the United States and China closely. With eight assembly and test manufacturing locations in Asia but outside China, we will be focused on taking advantage of or perhaps even help facilitate our customers who are looking to decrease their footprint for assembly and test in China if the tariffs continue.

  1. What do you think is the key industry trend to watch out for 2019?

As we exit in 2018, there are some concerns about how the semiconductor market will perform in 2019 and also perhaps in 2020. The industry has been enjoying consecutive growth for the past few years with double-digit growth in 2017 and also 2018. However, there is a sense of overall pessimism – which is apparent from the negative performance of many of the semiconductor companies’ stocks during the last month.

The memory market is cooling especially from a pricing standpoint both for DRAM and Flash. Additionally, even though the inventory level for IDMs and fabless companies have steadily come down, it is still on the high side. While the Q4 numbers are not out yet, we expect that the average inventory days will still be well over 100 days.

From the semiconductor market performance and overall market chatter, it seems like we might be going into a market slowdown in 2019 – the question is how significant this will be. Our industry is cyclic, however, the amplitude of these cycles has come down significantly since 2014. We are optimistic that even if 2019 turns out to be a down market, it will be a low single digit. We will be watching our customers’ forecasts and overall market demand very closely as we go into 2019.

  1. What potential and opportunities do you see in the semiconductor industry next year?

Despite the possible market slowdown, there will be pockets of opportunities in 2019 and beyond. Analog products continue to show the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR), in the high single-digit through 2022 driven by demand for semiconductor products in the Automotive, Industrial, IoT market and Power products.

UTAC is well-positioned in all these segments with both packaging and test solutions. Automotive semiconductor products are estimated to grow by over 10% CAGR through 2022, especially with the potential of the proliferation of both electric and autonomous vehicles. Despite the current slowdown, we expect automotive semiconductor demand to continue to be relatively strong.

From a technology perspective, we will be keeping a close eye on the deployment of both 5G infrastructure and handsets towards the end of 2019. UTAC has been investing in the development of packaging and test technologies which are key for the 5G wave.

The server market will also continue to grow in 2019, fuelled by continuous demand in cloud computing. Our Cu-Clip power package solutions are well suited for this as well as automotive power application.

Finally, we are also keeping an eye on wafer technology such as silicon carbide (SiC) which could be a potential growth engine for the semiconductor industry.

 

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Interview With Andrea Ceretti, CEO At Faccin S.p.A

Interview With Andrea Ceretti, CEO at Faccin S.p.A

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Andrea Ceretti, CEO at Faccin S.p.A regarding current trends and outlook of the manufacturing and metal forming industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry?

There will be an increase in the demand of metal formed products in the market, but due to the current geopolitical situation, the high volatility will push metal fabricators to be as flexible and as reactive as possible. The metal industry will attempt to standardise as much as possible with measures like industry 4.0 in order to maximise the production capacity of each equipment, to apply energy saving measures and lobby/demand the governments for more tax reforms and incentives to stay competitive and improve the workforce development.

 

  1. With increasing digitalisation, how has Faccin kept up with these trends to remain competitive.

It is our core business to develop top technology to help manufacturers maximise from our machines and we realise industry 4.0 is one of the ways to capitalise on the technology we already provide. Our machines are ready for industry 4.0 thanks to SMART packages that offer features like systems diagnosis, teleservice, management control, drawing imports, rolling and production lot statistics and flexible network solutions between others, helping the manufacturers of today, face the challenges of tomorrow. Indeed, we have started thinking about industry 5.0 as our company attitude.

 

  1. What are the main challenges faced by this industry in Asia

The fluctuations in the market and the struggle to find skilled workers are driving fabricators to replace their old equipment with high quality gear, principally looking for accuracy and automation to increase their production output, which is precisely what our group proposes. We focus in providing metal forming companies with equipment that is of the maximum quality, powerful, cutting-edge and most importantly, accurate.

 

  1. How can they be overcome?

As steel prices increases and the margins grow smaller, accuracy is the answer. We design our machines to offer a return of investment centered on the accuracy of the forming process and avoidance of metal waste, always integrating powerful forefront technology that increases the output cycle and return of investment.

 

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

The metal forming industry in general is subject to the cycles of the market economy like any other industry. In today’s world, these cycles are much shorter than in the past and companies that do not adapt and do not prepare beforehand with the latest technology will struggle when the markets fluctuate. Today, it is emerging regions and their rising demand in energy like Asia that are backing the global growth in the demand for the metal forming industry.

 

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