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Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Newer Welding Techniques to Enable Growth in the Digital Age, reports that increasing competition in the global welding equipment and consumables market has led manufacturers to focus on energy efficiency, operational excellence and reducing maintenance costs. Amid the uncertain economic conditions caused by COVID-19, the industry is forecast to reach $21.74 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 1.3 percent. Growth is driven by opportunities from developing regions where infrastructure building, the introduction of new welding technologies, and automation are top priorities.

“Several new developments in welding technologies and materials are emerging due to an increased focus on energy efficiency from vendors and end-users. Advancements such as the ability to monitor and regulate the weld temperature while in the process are generating highly efficient outputs and better quality. These innovations will reduce operational tasks, improve energy management and extend electrode life,” said Krishnan Ramanathan, Industry Manager, Industrial Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

Digital transformation is gaining traction in Australia and Singapore as their communications infrastructure is upgraded. This digitalisation is expected to propel the welding market as other countries modernise. China, India, and Brazil are also vital for welding equipment and consumables suppliers as they have high energy and infrastructure requirements. However, the development rate is likely to be gradual as economies recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“IIoT is a major trend affecting equipment manufacturers as end-users continue to emphasise on improving their plant maintenance and curb operational expenditure (OPEX),” Ramanathan said. “With the global economy currently experiencing a dynamic environment, manufacturers are striving to improve operational efficiency in their existing plants and are keen to cut down the maintenance and operational costs due to unexpected failure and asset downtime. Realising that the future of manufacturing is likely to be driven by IIoT, companies today are turning their focus toward data ownership, security, and integration with existing infrastructure, with an intent to achieve returns on their investment in these solutions.”

Welding equipment manufacturers should explore these strategic recommendations to increase growth opportunities:

  • Collaborate with technology providers to enhance capabilities and meet varying end-user requirements. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and consumables will result in higher-quality welds and cost-savings for end users.
  • Expand the business approach by offering the option to rent welding equipment to reduce capital expenditure.
  • Continue working with traditional channel partners due to their wide reach while exploring alternative distribution and servicing options.
  • Focus on the Middle East, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia regions as these will witness a surge in demand due to increased urbanisation.

 

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EuroBLECH Launches Digital Innovation Summit In October 2020

EuroBLECH Launches Digital Innovation Summit In October 2020

The organiser of EuroBLECH, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, has launched a new online event for the international sheet metal working community—the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit, in order to help the industry pave and shape the way back to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted online from 27 – 30 October 2020, it will provide a dedicated virtual marketplace for innovative manufacturing solutions, knowledge transfer and worldwide business contacts in a new online format. At the same time, it conveniently bridges the big wait for the physical EuroBLECH event which has been postponed to March 2021. Visitors can participate for free and register online from the beginning of October.

DISCOVER, CONNECT and LEARN: Virtual summit offers three-in-one experience

The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit is a four-day online trading, networking and webinar event for professionals from the entire sheet metal working technology chain. Visitors can virtually meet relevant technology suppliers, watch informative product presentations, follow talks and webinars on current industry issues, and ultimately source the best technical solutions for their manufacturing processes.

DISCOVER: Virtual Presentations in the Innovation Theatre, Product Showcases and Exhibitor Directory

The Virtual Presentation Theatre, also known as the Innovation Theatre features 15-minute exhibitor presentations on their latest product innovations and technologies, followed by a live Q&A session. Virtual Product Showcases create a virtual stand experience and allow visitors to explore new products and services in more detail. The Exhibitor Directory offers an easy starting point to browse the full EuroBLECH exhibitor list by name. A simple click leads to further exhibitor information, including product showcases, product videos, contact information, and more.

CONNECT: Networking and Virtual Meetings with Suppliers

A new matchmaking system powered by the latest AI technology helps suppliers and buyers make smart networking decisions by suggesting relevant people to meet. Participants can tailor their networking activities by requesting and pre-scheduling their meetings before the event. Arranging for a meeting is very easy and intuitive, with no third-party software required.

LEARN: Daily Webinars on the latest industry and technology trends

A daily programme of webinars by industry experts provides an opportunity to gain useful insights into the latest market developments as well as technical expertise concerning new industry applications and solutions. A special series with focus on the sheet metal working industry in key geographical areas offers an in-depth analysis on the current challenges and strategies to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. All webinars feature short presentations, followed by a live Q&A session. Further details on topics and speakers will be published soon.

How the Covid-19 crisis sparks innovation in sheet metal working

The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit comes at a crucial time when sheet metal production has to deal with the massive impact of the global pandemic and its disruption to industrial production in general. The “new normal” requires companies to adapt to new regulations and restrictions, such as social distancing rules, and to master an increasingly volatile market with sudden drops and surges in demand. All this poses a huge challenge for an industry that traditionally operates with rather long lead times and complex supply chains.

“The key for post-crisis growth is agility, and this includes the knowledge and ability to find the right balance between just-in-time, lean inventory, and resilience”, explains Evelyn Warwick. “The industry will recover, but companies who want to survive and ultimately thrive really need to use the coming months to adapt and strengthen for the future. In fact, this crisis is a big moment for innovation, as barriers that once took years to overcome will become irrelevant within a matter of weeks, opening up new opportunities for those willing to adapt and meet shifting customer needs.”

Industry experts agree that the rise of formerly disruptive forces, in particular digitalisation, robotics and automation, has been significantly accelerated by the current crisis. The survival and long-term success of manufacturers will ultimately depend on how quickly they can deploy this new technology to boost their productivity and ensure full scalability of their operations.

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Machine Shops In A Challenging World

Machine Shops in a Challenging World

The world may seem a very different place to what it was a few short months ago.  Yet from a manufacturing point of few, many of the trends identified before the coronavirus crisis are just as relevant today as they were before. In this article, John Young, APAC director at EU Automation, analyses some of the latest manufacturing challenges faced by machine shops and what manufacturers should do to improve their processes.

It has already become a cliché to say that the coronavirus pandemic changes everything. Yet if we step back from the present moment, we find that many of the key challenges and trends that will continue to impact manufacturing most in the months and years ahead are the very same things we have been talking about before the current crisis. 

The key challenge—or opportunity—is the potential impact of new technologies, particularly those associated with the fourth industrial revolution. The question was if and how these technologies would fundamentally transform machine shops. Will the impact of coronavirus slow the adoption of the technologies of the future, as business uncertainty leads companies to think twice about expensive upgrades? Or will it speed up the revolution that was already underway, as there now appear to be even greater reasons for automating manufacturing processes? The answer, if I could tentatively suggest one, will be a bit of both.

Accelerating the Uptake

We have read regularly in these pages about the marvels of new technologies. Whether we are talking about additive or subtractive manufacturing, or the latest machines combining greater functionality into a single footprint. Five-axis CNC machining, for example, allows machines to work with more complex geometries and produce cuts that would have been inaccessible for an older machine working on three axis.

Machine shop owners must judge if and when to invest in these upgrades. It is arguable that the lure of increased automation will be stronger now than ever before. Machine shops that require less human input because more basic processes are automated had their appeal before. Many machine shops were opting for greater automation when making purchasing decisions, even if it took a year or so to fully integrate. 

The early adopters will feel that their course of action has been validated by recent events and they now appear more resilient in the face of contemporary challenges. With a reduced need for direct human involvement in the manufacturing process, they are less vulnerable to the impact of shutdowns or prolonged social distancing measures.

Similarly, digitalisation not only offers gains in efficiency and removes the risk of human error, but also more easily allows for remote monitoring. Factors such as these give many of the technologies associated with the fourth industrial revolution an added bonus right now. We told you so, you might hear their advocates cry.

If the current crisis does precipitate an accelerated uptake of new technologies, then that is to be celebrated. However, those who cannot afford expensive upgrades or systems overhauls need not feel like they are being left behind. It is probably more sensible to talk of evolution rather than revolution and its unfolding will be far from uniform. 

Manufacturers therefore need to carefully tread the middle line between enthusiastically accepting the benefits of new technology on the one hand, while on the other knowing that a one-size fits all approach would not be appropriate. 

The Inevitability of Obsolescence

Obsolescence is a logical consequence of this technological evolution and managing it is a major challenge for machine shops and manufacturers. Technological obsolescence takes place when a particular technology is rendered less useful by new technologies becoming available. In machining, punched tape technology was made obsolete by the emergence of modern CNC machines.

Product obsolescence is the term we use to refer to a situation where an OEM no longer supplies a part. This is set to become a greater problem in the coming years.

One factor driving this trend is the increased reliance on computers and electronics. Industrial systems are typically built to last for many years. Many electronic components have shorter life spans because development is driven by the needs of a consumer market, not the needs of industry. This is a dilemma that the previous generation of machine shop owners did not have to contend with.

Managing Obsolescence

For manufacturers looking to improve their processes, the first thing to understand here is that the word obsolescence has too many unwarranted negative connotations. Say obsolete and people think, useless, redundant or out of date.

 

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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. 

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CMM With Mass Technology: Versatility In Focus

CMM With Mass Technology: Versatility In Focus

The demand for measurement tasks in which tactile and optical sensors are jointly used is set to rise more and more in the future. Here’s a technology that saves time and operating costs without compromising on reliable, precise measurement results. Article by ZEISS.

CMM With Mass Technology: Versatility In Focus

When it comes to maximum precision, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an indispensable tool in industrial applications. To date, they have mainly been used for tactile measurement. In recent years, the need for and use of optical sensors is becoming increasingly significant. There are many reasons for this: the technical advancements being experienced in many sectors require increasingly complex parts; digitalisation and Industry 4.0 are changing manufacturing processes and thus also quality assurance; and customers have higher quality and efficiency demands, in general, nowadays. Many companies are therefore expressing the need for an all-round solution, that is, tactile and optical measurement on a CMM.

One example is the ZEISS CONTURA. Already in its fifth generation, ZEISS CONTURA is equipped with mass technology (multi-application sensor system) as standard, enabling tactile and optical measurement on a single machine. The multisensor platform means it is compatible with a variety of sensors from the ZEISS portfolio: sensors on the continuous articulating unit, star styluses or long styluses, optical or tactile, and scanning or with single point measurement. Thanks to the mass technology from ZEISS, the user acquires maximum flexibility.

Simple Sensor Switch

With ZEISS mass technology, when the sensors are operated on the continuous articulating unit, they are switched automatically. This applies to all optical sensors as well as the ZEISS VAST XXT and XDT tactile sensors.

During the sensor switch, the continuous articulating unit aligns itself in a 90 deg position, with the sensor pointing downwards. It then moves to a free place in the sensor magazine, which is usually attached to the reverse end of the measuring stage, pushes the safety flap back, moves downwards into a groove, and releases the magnetic locking mechanism in order to unlock the sensor. The new sensor is picked up in a similar way: the continuous articulating unit moves backwards and opens the safety flap, moves downwards and picks up the sensor magnetically. On the plate holding the sensor, there are three cylinder-shaped rollers which ensure that the counterpart is precisely positioned on the sensor.

Therefore, even after frequent switches, the sensor is reproducibly situated at the correct point. The measurement uncertainty is not increased by any significant extent due to the sensor bracket. Users do not need to worry that the accuracy may get out of hand if the sensor is switched repeatedly. Due to the high repetition accuracy during the sensor switch, it is not necessary to recalibrate the sensor after the switch has been carried out. Since the automatic exchange itself takes only a few seconds, ZEISS mass technology means an enormous boost in productivity – and thus time and cost savings. 

The continuous articulating unit itself, as well as tactile probes from the ZEISS VAST XT gold series, are attached to the ZEISS CONTURA by means of a dovetail mechanism. This is a groove which the counterpart on the sensor or on the continuous articulating unit is pushed into and which, due to its shape and precise processing, does not allow any leeway whatsoever. Handling is easy too: the measuring technician loosens a screw mechanism and pulls the sensor or the continuous articulating unit out of the groove and inserts the new sensor. The sensor switch is completed within seconds. However, a repeated calibration is crucial during a sensor switch and is especially useful when using an active tactile sensor such as ZEISS VAST XT gold, which offers high measuring accuracy, short measurement times and long stylus lengths. All other sensors—passive, tactile as well as optical—are ideally operated on the continuous articulating unit—with all the advantages of the automatic sensor switch of ZEISS mass technology.

Optical Measuring Procedures

CMM With Mass Technology: Versatility In Focus

Optical measuring procedures are particularly interesting in parts with complex shapes if the user is required to record the surface quickly. This is useful in production in order to safeguard the quality of process steps, such as casting metal blanks or after grinding, in order to obtain a quick comparison between the current and target values of the CAD file. Optical sensors are also ideal for reverse engineering, that is, in order to generate CAD data from a prototype. Optical measurement procedures are often faster than tactile procedures and nonetheless sufficiently accurate. For sensitive parts which may not be touched, there is no alternative to optical sensors.

Various optical sensors can be more suitable depending on the application:

  • Chromatic-confocal white light sensor: This type of sensor is used in the area of application of workpieces with sensitive, soft, reflective or low-contrast surfaces. It records the surface of sensitive parts which may not be touched—where tactile styluses are obviously excluded. This sensor even detects transparent painted surfaces above underlying metallic layers and is suitable for transparent layers with various refractive indices. For this purpose, the sensor uses white light, which includes all wavelengths of the visible spectrum. Even strongly reflective surfaces such as glossy metal parts either in automotive and engineering or knee implants do not need to be sprayed with a contrast medium, which other optical measurement methods usually require.

ZEISS offers such a pioneering chromatic confocal white light sensor: DotScan. The sensor can be rotated and swiveled in 2.5 deg steps so that it is always optimally aligned towards the surface. In conjunction with the optional rotary stage, it is suited, for example, to the quality control of parts with complex shapes as well as glass surfaces. 

  • Triangulation laser: suitable for the fast recording and inspection of freeform surfaces such as those required by casting tools or castings, bent sheets or plastic covers also require non-tactile measurement. The sensor moves above the part at a distance of a few centimetres and projects a line with laser light, which is thrown back from the surface into a sensor chip. Based on the angle, the sensor determines the distance from the part and therefore its surface shape. Each time the light is projected, the sensor determines hundreds of points in a line. 

The maximum possible number of points with ZEISS LineScan is 700,000 measurement points per second—the number of rough points which are then calculated to provide actual measurement points in the software. Thus, point clouds which fully record the complex surfaces of even larger parts can be created in just a few minutes. Based on the point cloud, the ZEISS CALYPSO software calculates a chromatic representation using the CAD target data record as a comparison.

  • 2D camera sensor: for very small or two-dimensional parts such as circuit boards or flat parts made of sheet metal that cannot be measured using contact means because it may result in deformation of their surfaces, the ZEISS ViScan 2D rotatable camera sensor is the ideal solution. It is capable of recording height-related information, thanks to the Autofocus function, as well as features various objective lenses, enabling increased flexibility in the working distance, area being recorded and accuracy. 

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