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E-mobility, Additive Manufacturing Driving Growth in Metrology Sector

E-mobility, Additive Manufacturing Driving Growth in Metrology Sector

E-mobility, Additive Manufacturing Driving Growth in Metrology Sector

Daesuk Chung of ZEISS sat down with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News to talk about the latest technology and manufacturing trends driving the metrology sector. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Daesuk Chung is the regional sales manager for Asia Pacific, industrial metrology business group, at ZEISS. At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 event in Germany, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Chung to talk about the latest technology and manufacturing trends driving the metrology sector.

Tell us some of the technologies you are showcasing at the event.

Daesuk Chung (DC): We are actually celebrating the 100th year anniversary of our business division—IQS (Industrial Quality Solutions)—this year commemorating 100 years of the first measuring technology presented by ZEISS in an industry fair. At this year’s show, we have four different categories in our booth: first is the quality lab with our flexible bridge-type CMM solution PRISMO and new sensors.

Next, we have solutions for productivity, which is getting more and more important. We are presenting some concepts on how customers can reduce their cycle time in order to enhance their productivity. We have new machines designed for measuring—but we now understand that you need flexible solutions on the shop floor. We already have special machines designed for shop floors—but very often they have some limits in terms of measuring volumes, for instance, or there is not enough choice of different models; depending on the tolerance and measuring volume, customers have certain preferences. With our new concept and design, customers will have that flexibility.

Then, we have two sectors where we are showing our new strategic initiatives. In the past, we are only focused on bringing new products—we are a hardware-oriented company. We are now trying to be more of a solutions provider. You will see our offerings related to e-mobility solutions.

And that is a trend. Due to issues like climate change, and the Dieselgate scandal a few years ago, all of the car manufacturers now, especially in Germany, are strongly pursuing the concept of new-energy vehicles. Fuel cell cars, electric vehicles, for instance.

We are now collaborating with a lot of customers already who are manufacturing components for electrical engines, for instance. So far, not many metrology manufacturers have sufficient knowledge or experience about NEV market, but we do have from many reference projects in recent years. So, we are now showing concepts for those customers who are now entering that market; we are showing them examples and strategies in dealing with those special components.

Finally, additive manufacturing is another big trend in our industry, especially in the aerospace and medical sectors, where there is a need to bring customised products or solutions. These sectors are driving the need for additive manufacturing. But again, it’s a totally new process, and many manufacturers who are entering this segment don’t have enough experience. We are now capable of analysing the whole manufacturing processes and can suggest our customers what kind of solutions they need for whatever application they have. We have these solutions because of our wide range of portfolio and knowledge about every single step of manufacturing process.

With the e-mobility trend, how have the market requirements changed?

DC: On the one hand, many manufacturers and customers feel very unsure of the market situation in the coming years. Nobody can really predict how the market will change. Many people know that it will come, except for the real market size of electrical vehicles, for instance, and what will happen to conventional technology.

It does not mean that the number of cars with the combustion engines will not increase, the technology will stay and production will increase, but nobody can really predict.

At the moment, it is difficult to make any kind of forecast or prediction. But it will definitely come, many governments around the world started adapting regulations to put a lot of pressure on the industry, as well as introducing subsidies making the electric vehicles more attractive. Existing car OEMs who are only relying on combustion engines are now starting to enter into the NEV market, and they are all looking for new suppliers and technologies.

How different are the technology requirements?

DC: The way how they use the quality assurance tools, like the CMMS, is not different. But the truth is, we are now dealing with completely different components, so the parts that are built for the assembly of combustion engine and electric engine are completely different. While the machine usage is the same, there are more aspects that you have to consider. For instance, the hairpins inside the stator, which are very significant components of electric engines having a flexible structure and being coated with a sensitive lacquer layer and therefore create challenges for reliable tactile inspection. An automated ZEISS coordinate measuring machine, equipped with confocal light or laser triangulation optical sensor, is one option to accurately measure the shape and lacquer thickness. Another more manual, flexible tool is a standalone ZEISS optical fringe projection sensor or a ZEISS handheld laser scanner

In those kinds of special applications, you need a special sensor, a special software, or a special knowledge to solve those issues. That’s the basic concept of how we approach the customers.

From your perspective, what are the opportunities for growth in asia, and specifically, southeast asia?

DC: We are seeing that the positive economic growth in the past 10 years will now be unachievable, so everybody is a little bit worried about it, considering the trade war between China and the US; and the smaller trade war between Japan and South Korea in terms of the semiconductor segment. But for the Southeast Asian market, I am seeing big opportunities because with the trade war between China and the US, many companies who are producing their products in China are now planning now to move their production to some Southeast Asian countries. Vietnam, for example, is often being mentioned as the best alternative relocation site from China.

There are also other markets who are benefitting from this. That is why I am quite positive now of the business in Southeast Asia.

Are there industry segments that you expect to see high growth potential in the southeast asian market?

DC: The automotive sector, where we are quite strong already. We have countries like Thailand, where the market is still quite big; Vietnam brought its own brand—VinFast—this year, and we are also getting a lot of benefits from that.

In general, the automotive sector is one segment in which I expect a lot of growth in the future. But it is not the only sector that will have that potential; the aerospace sector is also quite growing, especially the MRO, where I see a big growth potential.

Medical is another sector that shouldn’t be neglected; still, maybe it is not as big as of the moment in Southeast Asia, but I expect strong growth in the coming years.

How will the additive manufacturing sector impact the metrology segment?

DC: The aerospace and medical industries—these are the two sectors that will have a big impact on additive manufacturing, because you need individual and flexible parts and manufacturing process to produce them. If we just take an example from the medical technology side, there is a growing demand for artificial implants due to ageing population in many industrial countries. Additive manufacturing can provide cost effective solution for individually customised solutions. In line with that is the growing demand for quality control of those parts produced on 3D printers. Many people only think about dimensional checks or digitise the surface freeform with a 3D scanner. But in reality, you have to start from the material itself—you have to do the internal inspection; you even have to control the quality of the metal powder. You have to use high-quality microscopes to analyse the real sizes of the powders, or the content of the powders, etc.; they all have to be inspected in detail. That is why we see a very big potential for additive manufacturing. I am very confident that we will get a lot of benefits from the developments in this sector.

 

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