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Automation On Demand

Automation On Demand

Bystronic’s Bendikt Kreisel describes the benefits of a fully automatic bending cell in today’s sheet metal processing. 

Not long ago, automation was associated only with repetitive tasks. High and consistent quality as well as reliability over very long periods are decisive factors that ensure the profitability of automation in production environments. However, more complex jobs that require a high degree of customisation in the manufacturing process are still often performed manually. This is currently a widespread approach in the sheet metal processing sector.

Our industry has experienced a major transformation over the past five years–indeed, one could say it has been forced to transform. Increasing price pressure in the markets and the lack of skilled personnel are just two of the reasons for this, in addition to increasingly dynamic and uncertain business environments.

Automation Backlog

However, the unique advantages and disadvantages of manual processing by a human operator and automated manufacturing cannot be dismissed. Every decision in favor of or against automating a process is a balancing act involving many production-relevant variables. Besides productivity and quality, flexibility is another undeniable competitive advantage of any supplier in the manufacturing industry, especially in view of increasingly dynamic business environments. 

This is a dilemma that has led to a backlog of automation, especially in the sheet metal processing industry. However, when users do not wish to accept any compromises in terms of flexibility, productivity, and consistent high quality, the demands on the machines increase.

Intelligent Technology Solution

Bystronic’s Mobile Bending Cell addresses these demands and implements them by applying intelligent technology. The users’ requirements are particularly wide-ranging when it comes to bending technology. Being able to bend parts with extremely complex geometries in small batches while simultaneously being capable of handling the high-volume processing of simple geometries is a major challenge that many companies are currently facing. Also known as automation on demand, the Mobile Bending Cell is capable of overcoming these challenges—ensuring high flexibility as well as high quality and productivity. 

This is achieved by means of the Mobile Bending Robot, which can be positioned in front of the press brake or detached to allow manual operation. Thanks to an intelligent and fully automated measuring system, the robot references itself in front of the press brake without requiring manual intervention. Laser sensors measure the precise position of the robot relative to the press brake and it is referenced accordingly. This allows the press brake to be converted from manual bending to fully automated bending in less than ten minutes. The relative position of the press brake to the Mobile Bending Robot is determined so accurately that the need for manual calibration is completely eliminated. 

Once individual parts have been bent automatically, the process can be repeated without adjustments once the press brake and the Mobile Bending Robot have been connected. Depending on the requirements, the system can either be operated completely manually or fully automatically.

However, the “marriage” of press brake and Mobile Bending Robot is not the only critical factor for an efficient production process. The preparation of the parts that are to be bent is another process that incurs costs in every production run. For the automation on demand concept to really pay off, the process of programming the robot automation needs to be innovative and fast. 

With the Mobile Bending Cell’s programming system called Robot Manager, the robot’s movements are programmed using algorithms that factor in comprehensive collision models for each relevant application. All that is required is the definition of basic positions and all the other movements are automatically defined by the software. This increases quality and reduces process idle time.

Automatic measurement of the press brake and bending automation system in combination with intelligent robot programming makes the Mobile Bending Cell the ideal solution for bending automation on demand.

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First Trading Day As Bystronic On SIX Swiss Exchange

First Trading Day As Bystronic On SIX Swiss Exchange

At the Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2021, the share-holders of Conzzeta AG (“Conzzeta”) approved the change of name to Bystronic AG (“Bystronic”). The name change is the result of the strategic realignment of the Conzzeta Group. The shares of Bystronic (ticker symbol: BYS) are being traded for the first time on SIX Swiss Exchange.

By pursuing its growth strategy, Bystronic aims to further expand its leading position as high-tech solutions provider for the sheet metal processing industry: New smart factory software solutions meet the growing demand for automation and digital processes and support customers with the networking of their manufacturing processes. The company intends to open up new fields of application, strengthen its position in the individual regions and increase its focus on services. As a result, Bystronic’s market share is to continue to grow organically, by means of strategic partnerships and based on targeted acquisitions.

As already communicated on occasion of the Capital Markets’ Day on November 25, 2020, Bystronic is aiming for an annual organic sales growth of five to eight percent in the medium term (baseline year: 2019). By the end of the strategy period (2025), revenues are thus projected to increase to approximately 1.3 billion Swiss francs. The company has also set itself a profitability target with an EBIT margin in excess of 12 percent. Thanks to a capital-efficient business model, a return on net operating assets in excess of 25 percent is to be achieved. The service business is to grow from 19 percent (2019) to 26 percent of total revenues by 2025.

“Today is a special day for Bystronic and all our employees. I am very proud of the entire Bystronic team and their commitment to implementing our ’Strategy 2025`. We look forward to demonstrating that Bystronic is a modern, sustainably managed and agile company, and we share this moment with our employees, customers, investors, partners, and other stakeholders,” said Alex Waser, CEO of Bystronic.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to sincerely thank the Conzzeta team and all employees involved and congratulate them on the successful completion of our transformation – towards a company with a focus on high-tech solutions for the sheet metal processing industry. We all wish Bystronic a great start and, as a company now listed on SIX, continued success with the implementation of its ambitious growth strategy,”said Ernst Bärtschi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bystronic.

 

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Germany’s First Electric Car Factory Sets New Standards

Germany’s First Electric Car Factory Sets New Standards

The world’s largest car manufacturer is getting ready for the future. Over the next few years, Volkswagen will make a radical transition to e-mobility, and the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, Germany, will play a key role in this process. With the ID.3 model, the blueprint for the new generation of electric cars is being created here. And the bending experts from Bystronic are also on board. Article by Stefan Jermann, Bystronic.

Much of what happens in the automotive industry goes on behind closed doors. This includes the realignment of the manufacturers towards e-mobility. But when German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself fires the starting signal for the production of the new Volkswagen ID.3, everything is already very much in the open. This was the case in Zwickau, Germany, where the production lines for what could be the most ambitious current project in the entire automotive industry kicked into motion.

The ID.3 is more than just a new model; this new electric car embodies the future of Volkswagen and is intended to usher in a new era. The group has set itself the objective of becoming the leading global manufacturer of e-vehicles. And this mission is being pursued with a vengeance. With investments of €1.2 billion, Volkswagen wants to turn Zwickau into the home of Europe’s largest e-mobility factory. This year, more than 330,000 electric cars are scheduled to roll off the production line—a total of six models from the Volkswagen, Audi, and Seat brands.

Platform for the Whole Family

So far, sales of electric cars have been sluggish. The ID.3 is designed to change this—thanks to an attractive price of below €30,000, rapid charging capability, and a range of up to 550km. Jürgen Stackmann, a member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, promises, “The size of a Golf on the outside, the space of a Passat on the inside, and the acceleration of a GTI.” 

The ID.3, the first model in the ID. family, forms the basis for a zero-emission generation of vehicles. The modular electric drive matrix—MEB for short—offers the necessary scalability from the compact car to the bus. By 2022, it will be incorporated in 27 models of four Group brands. The “ID.R Pikes Peak” prototype has already proven that the sky is the limit. On June 24, 2018, at the mountain race in the United States bearing the same name, the supercar with its 680-horsepower electric four-wheel drive made motor racing history and beat the previous record set by rally legend Sebastien Loeb by a large margin. This sports car will remain a racetrack dream, but it shows in an impressive way what the ID family can achieve.

76-second Cycle Time

Kati Langer stands in Production Hall No. 12. She is inspecting the Xpert 40, which is connected to two Kuka robots in a production cell. The passionate Bystronic saleswoman, who has accompanied the ID.3 project with Volkswagen from the outset, is proud of the system. In order to seamlessly integrate the bending systems into Volkswagen’s workflows, we had to overcome a number of structural challenges,” she explains while we watch the two bending robots at work. 

The first robot removes the part from the container station and deposits it on the centring system. The second robot picks it up, swiftly feeds it to the bending machine, and performs the first of two bending steps. Then it returns the part to the centring system and the first robot completes the remaining bending steps. Subsequently, a stationary system welds two ball nuts to the part. The gripper then picks up the part and places it on the conveyor belt. 

The entire process takes exactly 76 sec. Watching the robots perform their bending sequences is a genuine delight. If you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes, you would hardly believe how elegantly and nimbly the two robots work hand in hand—or rather, gripper in gripper. Subsequently, the bent part is installed in the support structure of the chassis where it stabilizes the undercarriage. A second fully-automatic bending cell manufactures a component that is installed at the front of the car chassis.

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Bystronic Opens New Subsidiary In Thailand

Bystronic Opens New Subsidiary In Thailand

In the immediate vicinity of the international airport Suvarnabhumi in the east of the Thai capital Bangkok, Bystronic has opened a new office as of March 22, 2021. With the new national company, Bystronic is moving closer to its Thai customers and can provide them with even more direct support with a motivated team.

After a decade of partnership with the local representative, the newly founded Bystronic Thailand Co. Ltd. enables Bystronic to work even more closely with customers in Thailand, to support them even more directly, and to advance into segments that could not be tackled before. The experienced team of engineers has been supporting customers for years. A new and dynamic sales team will further increase the awareness of the Bystronic brand in Thailand.

The company is headed by General Manager Mr. Thitipan Hirunpataya. He was instrumental in setting up the Thai subsidiary, building up the sales and service teams and fine-tuning new operating strategies to meet the needs of the market.

“The integral part of a local office is the direct link to our customers. We get to know their manufacturing needs, we offer solutions, we listen to their feedback and we are able to offer them the best service directly from the manufacturer”, said Thitipan Hirunpataya.

With the opening of the new office in Bangkok, Bystronic will have a further sales and service center in an important region for Bystronic. Sales, service, consulting and hotline services form the core services. In addition, the location will also include software and hardware training as well as spare parts. Customers will thus benefit from the comprehensive know-how of the leading technology provider.

 

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Bystronic’s Johan Elster: Get Ready For The Upturn

Bystronic’s Johan Elster: Get Ready for the Upturn

Johan Elster of Bystronic Group discussed the impact of COVID-19 in the overall metalworking industry, what manufacturers learned amid this pandemic, and whether the industry is already seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Bystronic is one of the leading providers of sheet metal processing technologies, focusing on the automation of the complete material and data flow of the cutting and bending process chain. Its portfolio includes laser cutting systems, press brakes, and associated automation and software solutions. 

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Johan Elster, President Business Unit Markets, Bystronic Group discussed the impact of COVID-19 in the overall metalworking industry, what manufacturers learned amid this pandemic, and whether the industry is already seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

OVER THE PAST YEAR, HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC IMPACTED THE OVERALL METALWORKING INDUSTRY?

JOHAN ELSTER (JE): The impact was certainly there, but we were not hit as hard as, for example, the tourism, the airline business, or restaurants. It affected us about as much as it affected many other industrial businesses. A big problem was that a lot of materials produced in China no longer arrived worldwide, so the supply chain was interrupted. This also affected our customers who, therefore, had to stop their production. They were forced to look for local suppliers at short notice. In the meantime, this has calmed down in recent months because China is able produce again.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD MANUFACTURERS HAVE IMPLEMENTED BY NOW AS THEY RESUME PRODUCTION?

JE: Everyone should generally have a plan B. For instance, everyone should have a dual-supplier concept so that it can be switched to local suppliers if necessary. On the other hand, digitization has generally begun. Maybe, the world should have pushed ahead with it a bit earlier, because the technology was already available.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY TRANSFORMING AMID THIS GLOBAL ISSUE?

JE: Man gets used to many things and always learns to live with them. Of course, something has changed in general, but it was especially severe in the industry. We are currently experiencing the effects that we saw already before the lockdowns: smaller and smaller batch sizes, automation, increasing digitalization—also for our customers, low-cost products from China… These are the trends we are currently seeing.

WHAT OTHER ISSUES HAVE YOU SEEN IMPACTING THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY, PARTICULARLY IN ASEAN? IS THE US-CHINA TRADE WAR STILL RELEVANT?

JE: The China-U.S. trade war is not necessarily relevant in the rest of Asia. After the boom in 2018, the global economy has been in a steady decline—and that has nothing to do with this trade war. The recession would have happened anyway. China recovered relatively fast after the pandemic. Today, the industry there is practically at the same level as before, but the punitive tariffs of the U.S. are still effective. This has a significant impact on the country, but not on ASEAN countries.

PLEASE DESCRIBE THE STATE OF THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY IN SOME OF YOUR MARKETS IN ASEAN AMID THIS PANDEMIC.

JE: In Malaysia, for example, we see a trend towards automation. This was not the case two or three years ago. In Indonesia or Thailand, however, this is not the case yet. But in the ASEAN region, too, Chinese manufacturers with their lower-priced products are increasingly coming into play. There are many small companies in the ASEAN region that have the opportunity to invest now in such low-cost machines, which was not the case before. The initial investment is often a big obstacle for young and small companies, so this obstacle is naturally decreasing now.

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Tube Processing Made Easy

Tube Processing Made Easy

Bystronic’s laser cutting system offers manufacturing companies an easy entry into tube processing—a field of business with a bright future.

For sheet metal processing companies that want to expand their portfolio to include tube processing, to capture a wider market including automotive and construction industries right through to furniture, machine, and equipment manufacturers, Bystronic’s ByTube 130 is the optimal solution.

The automated system reduces the need for manual interventions to a minimum and thus makes the entry into the field of tube processing particularly easy. At the same time, the machine covers a very wide range of requirements: Since 85 percent of the market potential lies in the small tube segment, the ByTube 130 is geared toward the processing of tubes with diameters between 10 and 130 mm. The machine has a loading capacity of 17 kg/m. The 2D cutting head allows a large proportion of customer requests to be processed, since vertical cuts account for 90 percent of the market.

Fibre Laser Ensures Speed and Flexibility

The wide processing spectrum offers users the flexibility required to process a diverse range of orders. In addition, the ByTube 130 has the potential to replace complex and cost-intensive processing steps: A growing number of manufacturing companies are discovering laser cutting as an alternative to the two separate processes of sawing and drilling. The fibre laser performs both at once – and considerably faster. Thanks to clean cutting edges, deburring is also a thing of the past. This not only results in reduced labor costs. The costs per part are also reduced thanks to higher throughput speeds, which constitutes a huge advantage in the competition for the best price.

Available in two performance levels – 2 or 3 kilowatts – the fibre laser aggregate of the ByTube 130 excels with outstanding energy efficiency. While fibre laser technology has already established itself for the cutting of sheet metal, it is now also gaining popularity in the field of tube processing for both thin and thicker materials. The consistent cutting quality is another compelling argument in favor of fibre laser technology. And due to its shorter wavelength compared to CO2 laser technology, it has no problems with highly reflective non-ferrous metals, such as copper and brass.

Users thus benefit from three key advantages: variety of materials, efficiency, and cutting precision. Because companies that are able to process a wide variety of materials, meet tight deadlines, and deliver consistently high quality stay ahead in the competition for orders.

Software Turns Beginners Into Pros

Visualizing parts and models, creating cutting plans, and monitoring production processes: State-of-the-art sheet metal processing is not possible without high-performance software. With the new ByVision Tube user interface, Bystronic unites all the functions associated with the laser cutting of tubes on a touch screen. Entry-level users do not require extensive experience to be able to start producing with the ByTube 130. Cutting jobs are set up rapidly, and the interface is highly intuitive.

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Bending In The Smartphone Era

Bending in the Smartphone Era

How exactly do newer CNC press brakes create more parts than older mechanical or hydraulic press brakes? Find out in this article by Marcel Fiedler of Bystronic Inc.

Older controls required manual numerical programming.

Do you remember getting your first cellphone? What was the first thing you took out of the box and spent time with? It was probably the user manual. The cellphone was a new technology, and you needed time to understand and learn to use it. It wasn’t intuitive, and you absolutely needed that manual.

What happens when you get a new smartphone today? You unwrap the well-designed package, admire your shiny new device, turn it on, and get started. It’s probably already charged and just waiting for you to use it. That’s it. It doesn’t have any buttons or dials; the entire surface is a human-machine interface, or HMI. And it probably doesn’t have a manual. A pop-up notification shows you received a new message, and you just tap to see what it is. It’s intuitive.

Press brakes last much longer than cellphones, of course. That’s why in many job shops today you might find both mechanical and hydraulic press brakes with old controls. They can last 30 years or longer and still bend parts. Of course, just because a machine turns on does not mean it can produce parts efficiently. If you see less seasoned operators attempt to run the shop’s oldest brake, you’ll probably hear them say, “Does anybody know how to operate this machine?”

Learning and understanding bending theory is probably as challenging as learning to be a good welder. It takes time and patience to learn the differences between every machine. Those differences can be significant, especially in a bending department with both old and new equipment. They require different training strategies, all driven by technology that has literally changed how operators learn about sheet metal bending: the software and machine control.

The Pre-Smartphone Era

Imagine starting a new job as a press brake operator around the same time that you received your first cellphone, before the smartphone era. You spend most of the time going through the manual, guided by a veteran who knows the machine inside and out. You read the blueprint and adjust the machine settings as necessary. You learn how to adjust the position of each axis, determine where the backgauge needs to be, dial in the part, make other adjustments by typing nominal values into the controller, then run production until you need to switch over to the next part. Once you understand the basic concept of one machine, you walk to the next press brake and learn this process from the beginning again, with your experienced tutor and the manual right next to you.

You receive a printed blueprint, and you write the program at the machine control. You determine the material type and thickness, define your bend angle, then position your backgauges manually for each bend. If not provided on the print, backgauge positions are defined as an actual absolute value that needs to be calculated manually

.

Overall you spend 10 minutes (or longer) getting the press brake ready to make the first bend—and that old machine control gives you no indication of how to do this. By looking at the control alone, you don’t know which tools to pick or how to set them up. That’s why you need an experienced operator by your side. He knows the setups and best ways of doing it by memory. Still, even with all his knowledge and experience, he pays very close attention to his choices so he doesn’t make any mistakes. Setup is time-consuming, and the old machine control doesn’t give much if any assistance.

At some point, you’re on your own. You position the peripherals of the machine first so you know where to place the tools. What tools do you select for this job? You’d better have a quick guide or “little black book” close to the press brake to know which tools to pick.

The Smartphone Era

The control shows other relevant information, including raw material location, customer information, and due date.

Fast-forward to today. Imagine you just graduated from school and you’re now looking for your first real job in the sheet metal industry. Thing is, you aren’t on the shop floor with an experienced employee who has operated just one machine his entire career.

Instead, you’re in a classroom environment. You sit by a desktop PC with the press brake operating software installed. You don’t have a printed machine manual, and on some days you might not work with someone with decades of press brake experience, especially if they’re needed on the floor. But that’s not a problem—and here’s why.

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July/August 2020 Issue Of APMEN Magazine Is Now Available

July/August 2020 Issue Of APMEN Magazine Is Now Available

The July/August 2020 issue of Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) magazine features the latest developments happening in the world of metalworking, including new tool materials, the right spindle repair, CFRP tools, intelligent punching heads, CMM with mass technology, and the trend towards smart, automated manufacturing, and more.

Another feature in this issue is a collection of insights from industry leaders regarding their outlook for the rest of the year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—what to expect, what the business landscape could be like, what they are doing to navigate these challenges. Hear what key executives from Bystronic, igus, Siemens ASEAN, VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, and Mastercam have to say.

Read the July/August 2020 issue of APMEN magazine, now on our virtual newsstand, and available for delivery in your e-mailbox by subscribing here.

 

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Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Now that markets are slowly opening up and manufacturing activities are gradually restarting, many are wondering how the manufacturing industry would look like, what the new requirements will be—for customers and suppliers alike—and what the manufacturing industry should do in this ‘new normal’. In this Outlook special, six industry leaders share their thoughts on what to expect, and how to navigate through the challenges in a post-pandemic environment.

Bystronic

Norbert Seo
Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia
Bystronic

We are yet to see the breadth and depth of the impact of COVID-19.  Economies are slowly opening, but there is an overhung of the second wave.  We are still in a quagmire of uncertainties, but after more than six months of descent, data shows that we are seeing recovery slowly play out.   

Recently, we see a changing outlook wherein business owners are deciding to invest in new machines in order to have full control of their manufacturing processes and minimize reliance on third party providers.  

Additionally, we are anticipating a shift from worker-dense shop floors into automated processing wherein production continues unhampered while lightly manned/operated.  Coronavirus has advanced the need for automation in factories.

We are living a new normal.  Companies who are most agile and able to adapt will eventually thrive in these new circumstances and I am determined that this will be the case for Bystronic. 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Lim Boon Choon
SVP Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
Korea, ASEAN, Pacific, India

 

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the important role of technology in helping people and companies rapidly adapt to fast-changing and unforeseen circumstances. Most of us have personal experience of relying heavily on cloud-based communications and data transfer during lockdown to continue collaborating and doing business remotely. At Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, for example, we moved swiftly to provide our customers with the online support, training and software they needed to remain productive as they adopted new work practices driven by the need for social distancing, as well as changes to supply and demand within their industries. 

As manufacturing operations pick up again around the world, there is a clear desire among a growing number of our customers to accelerate their automation and digitalisation journey. Workplaces may look very different post-COVID-19, both on and off the shop floor. Among the changes we’re discussing with customers is a shift from on-premise systems to secure, automated, cloud-based systems that facilitate remote data analysis and exchange. 

At the same time the economic situation means manufacturers have to weigh up any capital expenditure plans extremely carefully. Technology will play a key role in helping companies remain competitive during challenging times, but businesses are only ready to invest in automation solutions if they demonstrate a clear business benefit and can deliver results quickly. The other message we’re hearing is the importance of providing open, scalable technology systems that give our customers the flexibility to evolve in line with new market requiremets. 

igus

Carsten Haecker
Head of Asia Pacific 
igus

Optimism for the year 2020 was surrounding our thoughts before the global COVID-19 impact brought several businesses to a standstill, selectively today fighting for survival. Optimism and motivation are what drives igus in the post-COVID-19 environments.

No doubt, the crisis has also impacted our global business outlook and order intake across various industries. However, it has taught us very valuable lessons and generated ample opportunities. The crisis will not end globalization. Rather, it will lead to the questioning of some of its assumptions. In particular, it highlights the need for shorter supply chains in critical areas and the relocation of some activities closer to ‘home’.

We learned from the crisis that the supply chain can be disrupted at any time. Now, we are learning that for other critical resources like pre-materials for medical supply, we also need to stockpile in case there is a cut in supply. This was demonstrated when we witnessed the global shortage of surgical masks and other medical essentials that were taken for granted during normal times. We have learned how vulnerable they are, how concentrated the supply capacity is, and how critical these products can be. Globalization will continue because it is of common interest.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has been accelerating the push to invest in new, labour-substituting technologies. Here, in particular, 3D printing technologies, cobot support, and factory automation with smart condition monitoring will see an accelerated demand to reduce dependency on humans.

igus motion plastics products are today used in several of these applications and will continue to play a major part in all motion and moving energy demand. We accelerated product development, we managed to change our way of working, we adapted quickly to changing needs, and we never stopped investing in growth, be it space or technology.

Our online tools are readily available and our products can be completely configured via our homepage and delivered within 24 hours. Our virtual booth, showcasing our latest 2020 innovations is online and the team is ready to welcome you. Any crisis generates opportunities—we are convinced to manage this for our customers!

Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

Ben Mund
Senior Market Analyst
Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

As developers of Mastercam CAD/CAM software, we talked with shops directly as the impact of COVID-19 began taking hold. Our global manufacturing community generally sees the post-pandemic process in three stages: assessment, refinement, and expansion.

The ‘assessment’ stage moved very quickly. Shops stopped most major (and even minor) expenditures, evaluated what business they could maintain, and worked with their partners as things started to go on hold.

Many shops we speak with have moved past assessment into the ‘refinement’ phase. This is where shops say they expect many lasting changes as they aggressively re-evaluate their processes. Examples include deeper looks into their machine and software capabilities to maximize existing investments, training up staff, and refining jobs they maintain during the crisis to ensure they are as efficient as possible when new work starts coming in.

When the ‘expansion’ phase begins, it is likely the efficiency and creativity shops built up during the crisis will mean smarter capital expenditures, broader skillsets, boosted productivity and more business flexibility. These are certainly lessons we as a company have also learned as we work with our manufacturing community to help prepare shops for the next steps.

Siemens ASEAN

Dr. Thai-Lai Pham
CEO
Siemens ASEAN

COVID-19 has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalization. It has also brought down the resistance to change and collaborate, reduced the fear of new technologies, and accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.

For Siemens, our investment in digitalization in the last few years have allowed us to be in a position to contribute to the community during this crisis:

  1. In March, Siemens opened the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network for hospitals and health organizations worldwide. This digital platform brings together suppliers and customers in the field of additive manufacturing to help print spare parts for medical devices.
  2. In Singapore, we helped a hotel group to build isolation rooms for guests tested positive for COVID-19. Our team supported with HVAC optimization, ensuring proper circulation of air to avoid any risks of virus-spread.

Both of these instances would probably have taken more time to plan and execute in the past. But the COVID-19 situation forced us to expedite the process.

Moving forward, I’d expect more businesses to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalization to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable.

VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)

Dr Wilfried Schäfer
Managing Director 
VDW

In 2019, the ten-year boom phase in the global machine tool industry had already come to an end. That was long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expectations for the development of the machine tool industry were characterized by a sharp drop in international demand for 2020. A decrease in production of 18 percent was forecast for Germany. 

From today’s perspective, this will not be sufficient. However, due to the uniqueness of the crisis, it is currently not possible to foresee which result the industry will obtain at the end of the current year. The companies are now working intensively to learn their lessons from the crisis and prepare for a new start.

The machine tool manufacturers, for example, are systematically pushing ahead with digitization internally in their own production and in cooperation with their customers. Now that travel has been restricted nationwide, it has proven to be very advantageous for a company to access its installed machine base online. That could be necessary, for example, to ensure service and maintenance or to install software updates. With the universal interface umati, manufacturers can also offer their customers added value in order to optimize their production. umati now stands for machine communication in the entire mechanical and plant engineering sector and is meeting with great interest worldwide.

COVID-19 has also shown that the organisation of a resilient production is important in order to ensure the company’s own ability to deliver. After supply chains were interrupted worldwide when more and more countries went into lockdown, the establishment of robust supply structures is becoming increasingly important. This applies both to the supply of intermediate products and components and the ability to manufacture certain core components in-house.

Finally, customer contact has been interrupted by the cancellation or postponement of many trade fairs worldwide. Trade fair organizers, trade journal publishers from our industry and individual companies quickly made an effort to offer alternatives. The VDW was one of them. With the METAV Web Sessions in mid-June, we succeeded in offering exhibitors a platform that, at least, allowed them to make virtual contact with their customers. These formats will be further developed in the future.

These are just three examples of several areas that will change. They have not to be reinvented but, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, they are increasingly gaining momentum. 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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Bystronic Building New Experience Centre For Southeast Asia

Bystronic Building New Experience Centre for Southeast Asia

Not far from the capital of South Korea, Bystronic Korea celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for its new Experience Centre. With the new business location, Bystronic Korea is moving closer to its customers and, thanks to the newly created infrastructure, will be able to offer even more comprehensive customer support.

During the ceremony on April 23, which was attended by representatives from the construction company, the architecture firm, and the engineering company, Youngchul Choi, Managing Director of Bystronic Korea Ltd, broke the ground for the new Bystronic Experience Centre. The event was held in the form of a small traditional Korean celebration and in full compliance with the current safety regulations.

The new headquarters of Bystronic Korea is being built at the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) in Songdo-dong, located 50 km from Seoul and 30 km from the Incheon International Airport—making it easily accessible for customers from the entire Southeast Asian region. For Bystronic, the new site is located in a strategically important area, since the economic output of this region accounts for roughly 65 percent of the entire South Korean economy. This makes it the ideal hub from which to provide customer services, since many of Bystronic Korea’s customers are also based there.

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The move to a newly constructed building originally came into consideration because sales in South Korea have increased massively over recent years. The new headquarters will lay the foundations for consistent and sustainable growth. On a floor space of 3,360 m2—roughly three times the size of the previous area—a striking building with a glass façade characteristic of Bystronic is being constructed with an 820 m2 Experience Centre for Korea and the entire Southeast Asian region. Completion is planned for the spring of 2021.

Another reason was the demand for a universal service centre in this region that is so important to Bystronic. Consulting, hotline services, live demonstrations, and software and hardware training courses constitute the core customer services. In addition, the business location will offer sales, maintenance and spare parts. Customers will thus benefit from the comprehensive know-how of the leading technology supplier.

With the opening of the new business location in South Korea, Bystronic will gain an additional centre of expertise where customers can experience the latest manufacturing systems, software applications, and services first-hand.

 

For other exclusive news and information, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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