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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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EJP Expands In The International Wire Industry

EJP Expands In The International Wire Industry

EJP Maschinen GmbH, based in Baesweiler near Aachen, Germany, has acquired a substantial share in Italmec Sp. z o.o. from Katowice / Poland—completing its product range with wire drawing machines for ferrous wires and offers complete production lines from a single source for the entire process chain from wire rod to finished coil.

In spring 2020, EJP founded EJP WIRE Technology together with Lothar Köppen, which supplies machines and the related process technology for the pretreatment of wire. At the same time, EJP entered into a cooperation with the Polish machine maker Italmec for the marketing of wire drawing lines.

The cooperation has developed so positively, that Italmec is now a member of the EJP Group. Also completed in January is the shareholding in WWM Technology Srl. in Conselve/Padua/Italy, which is since decades specialized in making of the full product range for the production of welding wires.

Jacques Paraskevas, the Managing Director of EJP Maschinen GmbH, sees his involvement in the two companies as another logical step towards complete solutions for the wire industry: “In the wire division of the EJP Group, we now combine German engineering with production in Katowice. From now on, we supply all machines for the complete process chain of wire production with modern technology and in the best quality at very attractive prices.”

Paraskevas continues, “There were many changes in the international market in 2020. Through the participation in Italmec and WWM, we are filling a gap that was created last year. In the wire industry, we are now one of the few suppliers that produce complete plants for the entire “wire” process chain and at the same time have a global sales and service network. We also utilize synergies between the wire industry and our traditional focus on “rods, tubes and profiles”, as many of our customers produce both wire and other long products.”

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EuroBLECH 2020 Postponed To March 2021 In Hanover, Germany

EuroBLECH 2020 Postponed To March 2021 In Hanover, Germany

EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit to take place in October 2020

Mack Brooks Exhibitions has announced the postponement of EuroBLECH, which was scheduled to take place at the Hanover Exhibition Grounds in Germany from 27 to 30 October 2020. The new dates for the next EuroBLECH, 26th International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, are 9 -12 March 2021. This decision was taken after extensive conversations with all exhibitors and partners over recent weeks and months who have expressed their preference not to hold the show in October, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Uncertainties around travel restrictions in order to maintain the truly international character of the EuroBLECH event were also a concern to many participants.

Speaking about the announcement, Nicola Hamann, Managing Director of Mack Brooks Exhibitions said: “The past months have been challenging, in particular for the sheet metal working industry and its related industry sectors. We have seen a decrease in orders of capital goods and many companies are telling us about their challenges in dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although we have recently received authority approval for our Safety and Security concept to hold EuroBLECH in October this year, we have decided to postpone EuroBLECH to Spring 2021”.

As part of a recent series of industry surveys, the participants of EuroBLECH indicated their requirement to network and conduct business in order to pave the way for the recovery of the industry following the Covid-19 pandemic. EuroBLECH will therefore offer a virtual hub for the global sheet metal working industry in October: “Following feedback from our exhibitors and visitors indicating the need to participate in an event, even if not in a physical form, we will organise a Digital Innovation Summit taking place from 27 to 30 October, our planned event slot. This Digital Innovation Summit will provide our exhibitors with a platform to demonstrate their latest machines and solutions and arrange virtual meetings with international visitors. We believe it is our duty to assist the industry through these extraordinary times by offering a market place this year as a platform for innovations and a starting point for the recovery of the industry”, continued Nicola Hamann.

The EuroBLECH Team will communicate closely with customers and partners over the coming weeks and months and thank their exhibitors, partners, suppliers and visitors for their support during this challenging time. Further information on the Digital Innovation Summit containing details on the Online Presentation Theatre for exhibitors, video on demand options and matchmaking facilities, will be available shortly.

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Blechexpo/Schweisstec 2019 Concludes With Record-Breaking Dimensions

Blechexpo/Schweisstec 2019 Concludes With Record-Breaking Dimensions

As expected, the 14th Blechexpo international trade fair for sheet metal working, together with the 7th Schweisstec international trade fair for joining technology, was an industry highlight and closed successfully with 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries. 41,152 visitors from a total of 113 countries took advantage of the trade fair duo, which in the meantime has grown to 108,000 square metres of exhibition floor space, in order to bring themselves up to date with regard to sheet metal, pipe and profile processing, as well as cutting, joining, forming and welding technologies, from 5-7 November 2019.

Record-Breaking Figures in all Categories – Nine Fully Occupied Halls – More International than Ever

The Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo broke several records this year: 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries (as opposed to 1339 in 2017) were on hand in Stuttgart. “45 percent of them came from outside of Germany”, sums up Georg Knauer with a satisfied smile. “This year’s Blechexpo/Schweisstec was more international than ever before.”

And it was bigger than ever as well: With a total of 108,000 square metres, roughly 15 percent more exhibition floor space was booked than in 2017. For the first time, Blechexpo/Schweisstec occupied new exhibition hall 10, which enhances the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre with its spacious and modern design.

“For us, this technical event is a leading trade fair of very high significance,” remarked Wolfgang Wiedenmann, deputy sales manager at press manufacturer Andritz Kaiser. Despite the fact that the industry is currently having to deal with noticeable declines in incoming orders for various reasons, Blechexpo/Schweisstec was a well-received and important technology and knowledge platform: where thermal and mechanical processing of sheet metal, pipe and profiles is concerned, as well as processing machines and systems for stamping, bending, bevelling and forming, right on up to peripherals including controllers, software and solutions for handling and quality assurance, this trade fair is a unique marketplace for the industry sector’s current challenges and future issues. As a logical consequence, subject matter covering digitalisation and automation dominated here as well. To an ever-greater extent, emphasis is being placed on modern cutting technologies: alone the issue of laser cutting was presented by 56 exhibitors, and 25 further companies exhibited technologies covering all aspects of high-pressure water-jet cutting.

Highlight for the Sheet Metal Working Sector – Process-Oriented, Practical, Forward-Looking

Held once every two years, the Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo was distinguished once again this year by its strictly practice-oriented concept and was able to cover all aspects affecting the world of sheet metal processing and metalworking, which is now more digitalised and consistently automated than ever before. The Industrieverband Blechumformung (industry association for sheet metal forming) organised a communal booth and was thus able to offer its members the opportunity of presenting themselves in a more comprehensive setting. 16 companies participated. This mutual presence drew attention and formed the basis for an adequate platform for business-related networking.

The trade fair’s topics included trends, innovations and future-proof solutions in the wake of a rapidly changing production environment. For example, modern joining and fastening technologies are becoming increasingly important because many new and hybrid materials can’t be cut or joined by means of thermal processes – as a result, more attention is being focused on mechanical joining technology in the field of lightweight design.

World-Class Supplementary Program Generates Strong Interest

The exhibitor forum in hall 9 was received once again with great interest by the expert visitors. The presentation programme was brimming full all three days, in particular with issues covering all aspects of digitalisation.

This was also the subject of the Expert Meet on the evening of the first day of the trade fair. Organiser Hans Diederichs was able to welcome roughly 50 interested parties to the event in keeping with the motto: “The Steel Industry in Times of Globalisation and Industry 4.0”.

Already for the fourth time, the “Blechexpo Award” was awarded to the most innovative exhibits in five different categories. With its MC 125 automatic stamping press, Schuler was the winner in the stamping and forming technology category. Kjellberg Finsterwalde Plasma und Maschinen won in the cutting technology category with its Q 3000 plasma cutting system. The winner in the joining technology category was Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik with their TruLaser Station 7000 – a 3D laser welding machine. The award for surface finishing technology went to Q-Fin Quality Finishing Machines for their SER600 Super Edge Rounder (a deburring and edge rounding machine). Last but not least, Cenit was distinguished in the handling and automation category for their cross-manufacturer cutting and joining software, namely Fastsuite Edition 2.

The next Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo will take place from the 2nd through the 5th of November, 2021.


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Trumpf Records Most Successful Year In The Company’s History

Trumpf Records Most Successful Year In The Company’s History

GERMANY: The Trumpf Group was able to significantly increase sales, orders received, and profits in the 2017/18 fiscal year that ended in June 30, 2018. Sales rose by 14.6 percent to 3.57 billion euros from 3.11 billion euros in fiscal year 2016/17. This is the highest figure in company history since its foundation in 1923. Orders received increased 12.5 percent to 3.8 billion euros from 3.4 billion euros in 2016/17. Operating income before taxes rose by 52.3 percent to 514 million euros from 337 euros in fiscal year 2016/17. The net operating margin amounted to 14.4 percent compared to 10.8 percent one year earlier.

Driven by an ongoing and strong global economy, Trumpf was able to significantly exceed its projections in some areas. The company’s largest business division, Machine Tools, increased its sales by 11.3 percent. The Laser Technology division achieved sales growth of 21.5 percent. EUV lithography for the exposure of microchips performed particularly well, increasing by 57.3 percent over the previous year to 250 million euros. Trumpf’s plans for the current 2018/19 fiscal year envisages further noticeable growth in EUV lithography. Even today, sales in this strategically important business segment exceed those of most of the company’s foreign sales markets.

Once again, Germany was the largest single market for Trumpf, with sales up by 15.6 percent to 719 million euros, followed by China with sales that reached 457 million euros. This was 13 percent higher compared to the previous year. Sales from the United States was also up by 5.4 percent compared to the previous year and reached 444 million euros, making the country the third highest earning market for Trumpf. Year-on-year sales in Italy grew by 31.8 percent to 173 million euros, making the country the fourth strongest single market for the first time. In addition to these markets, Trumpf also intends to intensify its business activities in countries such as Mexico and Canada as well as in the Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam in an effort to achieve an average annual growth of 10 percent.

In the current fiscal year, despite the general slowdown of the global economy, Trumpf expects to generate business with a similar level of profitability.

The group wide workforce grew by 12.9 percent in the reporting period to 13,420 employees as of the June 30, 2018 balance sheet date and has since exceeded the 13,500 mark. In Germany, there were 6,778 employees, around 3,900 of whom were employed at the company headquarters in Ditzingen. This equates to an increase of 12.5 percent. Outside of Germany, the number of employees rose by 13.3 percent to 6,642. More than half of Trumpf’s employees were stationed at the company’s German sites in Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Berlin. During the year under review, 450 young people completed a training course at Trumpf or a co-op work-study program. The training quota in the group stood at 3.5 percent.

In the past fiscal year, Trumpf invested in emerging technologies such as EUV lithography or metal 3D printing (additive manufacturing), as well as driving forward the AXOOM digital business platform. Expenditure on research and development rose by 5.9 percent to 337 million euros. The company’s R&D ratio in relation to sales amounted to 9.5 percent. The number of employees worldwide working on new products for TRUMPF increased by 13.2 percent to 2,087.

The company’s capital expenditure totaled 216 million euros in the 2017/18 reporting period. Real estate and construction projects accounted for 43 percent of the total sum invested, technical plant and machinery for 18 percent, and office and business equipment for 33 percent. More than half of this expenditure concerned construction projects in Germany, with around two thirds of this sum going toward the new headquarters building in Ditzingen, and the remaining one third to the expansion of the German manufacturing sites in Teningen and Schramberg.

Investments in other European countries accounted for 13 percent of the Group’s total capital expenditure, while 15 percent concerned the Americas. The smart factory demonstration center in Chicago is an outstanding example, representing an investment of 26 million euros. Another major investment project was the creation of the Trumpf Group’s largest-ever production site, operated by the Chinese joint venture JFY. The total cost of this investment was 14 million euros.


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Step By Step To The Smart Factory

Step By Step To The Smart Factory

At the EuroBLECH 2018 exhibition, Bystronic is presenting the networked world of sheet metal processing. Under the motto “World Class Manufacturing”, customers and visitors experience live where integrated automation and new software solutions for laser cutting and bending are heading.

In time for EuroBLECH 2018, Bystronic is systematically driving forward the vision of “World Class Manufacturing”. This is based on a comprehensive range of new products and services with which Bystronic is gearing its users’ process landscape towards networked production. “We accompany our customers step by step on the path to the smart factory,” explained Bystronic CEO, Alex Waser.

With “World Class Manufacturing”, Bystronic describes the matching supporting programme. It features innovative solutions that go far beyond the conventional idea of a machine tool. It’s about fusing the individual processes relating to laser cutting and bending into a network of intelligent components, Alex Waser said. Users can thus achieve a higher degree of flexibility and transparency in their production environment. Both are important prerequisites in order to manufacture products faster, more cost-effectively, and more intelligently than ever before.

In future, thanks to new software solutions, users will be able to create quotes more rapidly, plan their production processes in an efficient manner, and make the best possible use of their resources. Live monitoring systems represent an additional building block. They provide users with real-time information about the running processing steps from their production environment. All this will result in the optimisation of costs and processes. And this in turn, is the prerequisite for growth and sustainable competitive success.

With flexible system solutions, Bystronic is expanding the rules of the game in the field of sheet metal processing. Until now, there was always a trade-off between fast and versatile. In future, users will be able to produce small series or individual mass-produced products at conditions similar to standardised high-volume series. “With the new generation of our cutting and bending systems, users can adapt their processes much more easily and thus respond more quickly to their customers’ requirements,” Alex Waser said.

The integrated automation of production steps is another key success factor. To achieve this, Bystronic uses modular solutions for the material handling in the field of laser cutting. Automation systems that grow with the customers’ requirements and with increasing laser output. In the field of bending, Bystronic is driving forward the development of flexible automation modules that enable fast transitions between automated and manual manufacturing.

Learn more by visiting Bystronic at EuroBLECH 2018 from October 23 to 26, 2018 in Hanover, Germany. Hall 12, Booth B66.


Advanced Manufacturing Effort: Partnering Of Singapore & German Firms

Advanced Manufacturing Effort: Partnering Of Singapore & German Firms

New agreements were inked on 24 April 2018 to boost cross-country partnerships and cooperative innovation between German and Singapore companies. This move is set to enhance Singapore’s manufacturing sector.

The agreement was established at the biennial Germany-Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) 2018, held at Hannover Messe—world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, where many memorandums of understanding were signed.

“Like Germany, Singapore places great emphasis on innovation. Our complementary strengths make it meaningful for German and Singaporean enterprises to be innovation partners and build deeper technical capabilities,” said S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) signed an MOU with the German Accelerator—which helps high-potential German start-ups to enter Southeast Asia through acceleration programmes. This MOU is expected to boost market access for both country’s start-ups, while promoting Singapore as a regional launchpad for German start-ups.

Two other partnerships were announced on that day.

To collaborate on integrating Industry 4.0 technologies and microtechnology, Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association partners with German industry association IVAM Fachverband Fur Mikrotechnik.

A third MOU was by Composite Cluster Singapore, Sakura Tech and Germany’s Covestro and Hufschmied to establish a Composite Application Centre in Singapore. The CAC will work with international leaders in composites research, providing a platform for companies to leverage latest technologies and solutions.

Advanced manufacturing, or Industry 4.0, merges machines and digital technologies like data analytics and artificial intelligence, creating the “smart factory”—a key driver of Singapore’s future economic growth.



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The Robotics And Automation Industry In Germany

The Robotics and Automation Industry in Germany

Germany’s robotics and automation (R&A) industry has enjoyed unprecedented success over the last decade. With a workforce of more than 52 thousand employees, the industry’s turnover has more than quadrupled since the mid-1990s. Contributed by Claudia Gruene, Germany Trade & Invest, the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany that helps create and secure extra employment opportunities to strengthen Germany as a business location.

Global Market Growth

According to the most recent industrial robots statistics from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), global robot sales in 2015 increased to the highest level ever recorded—with the international market value for robot systems estimated to be around US$35 billion. The IFR forecasts that robot installations will have a compound annual growth rate of at least 13 percent during the period 2017 to 2019. It is also estimated that more than 1.4 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world between 2017 and 2019. The main drivers for this growth are expanding production capacities and the trend towards setting up automated manufacturing lines (e.g. by installing robot production assemblies). This development is confirmed by the findings of the KPMG Global Manufacturing Outlook study, with the majority of respondents identifying robotics as their number one research and development investment priority over the next two years.

Machine Vision—Leading Technology

As a global robotics hub, Germany is home to leading players from all market segments. Particular strengths are seen in machine vision (MV) technologies and human-machine collaboration. Germany is the most important sales market for the European image processing industry, with more than 30 percent of total industry turnover generated domestically. Automation and the implementation of MV technology help make consistently high quality, permanent traceability and 100 percent production accuracy a reality. High levels of production flexibility can be achieved and product changes quickly realised using efficient automation solutions. This has helped establish the industry as a major driver of Germany’s Industrie 4.0 advanced manufacturing initiative.

Industrie 4.0 And Human-Robot Collaboration

R&A technology provides the core elements for the development towards Industrie 4.0. The increasing application level of human-robot collaboration (HRC) represents a perfect example of the move towards connectivity within Industrie 4.0. Through its innovations, the German R&A industry contributes to further developments in machine learning, so that opportunities for HRC have significantly increased. Robotic assistance systems support human labour, with repetitive and physically demanding tasks increasingly being automated. It is expected that more than EUR 2.6 billion (approximately US$3.14 million) will be invested in Industrie 4.0 in Germany through to 2020.

Tomorrow’s Robotics and Automation Technologies

The R&A industry is one of the most innovative in the mechanical engineering sector. German original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the field of robotics and automation count among the globally leading companies in the industry. According to a recent McKinsey study, German R&A companies believe that customer-specific system and integration solutions as well as after-sales and service represent the most promising market growth fields. Advanced robotics and HRC are also considered amongst the major technological trends in the country’s R&A industry. In contrast to the rest of the mechanical engineering sector, R&A companies consider technological developments as being more important than trends; a position strongly underpinned by the high level of innovation within the industry.

Main Application Industries

The automotive industry is the leading client sector for industrial robotics in Germany. This is due to the fact that, in terms of turnover, the automotive industry is the largest industry in the country. A number of automotive OEMs and suppliers operate production facilities in Germany, thereby creating increased demand for industrial robots. The second largest customer is the electrical and electronics industry. However, the metal processing and machinery, plastics and chemicals as well as food industries also represent major R&A application sectors.

Growth Application Industries

Service and assistance robots are widely considered to be one of the major growth sectors in the automation industry. Industry analysts expect great sales prospects for the further automation of services and the respective product range. Service robots can carry out maintenance and inspection tasks, house work or the management of agricultural zones. Professionals expect that from 2020 to 2025, sales of service robots could reach the same level as that of industrial robots. German robot manufacturers in particular are among the world’s service robotics pioneers.

Stable Supplier Network

The German R&A industry is characterised by a strong industrial network, with a stable and reliable supplier network also among the success factors for the sector: Robot manufacturers, suppliers and application industries have their operations based in Germany as they are heavily dependent on electrical, mechanical and optical components for their products. High-technology component manufacturers can benefit from this industry infrastructure. In the MV industry, component turnover increased by more than 18 percent during the period 2014 to 2015 alone.

Value Chain Excellence

The sustained success of the German manufacturing industry is driven by complete value chain coverage. Numerous research institutions, close proximity to key supplier industries— including robotics, electronics, materials and software—and a strong industry base guarantee a pooling of resources of all actors within the value chain for optimal innovation and research and development excellence. This environment offers numerous business opportunities across multiple technology segments for international investors. Particular location strengths are seen in the industrial image processing, embedded vision and integrated assembly industries.

Competitive Labour Costs

High productivity rates and steady wage levels make Germany an extremely attractive investment location. Since 2005, wages in the manufacturing sector have risen in most European countries (EU-28), with the growth rate averaging 2.7 percent. While some countries—particularly those in Eastern Europe—experienced a rise of more than five percent, Germany recorded one of the lowest labour cost growth rates (2.1 percent) in the manufacturing sector within the European Union. Highly flexible working practices such as fixed-term contracts, shift systems, and 24/7 operating permits contribute to enhance Germany’s international competitiveness as a suitable investment location for internationally active businesses.

A Tradition of Engineering Quality

German R&A industry strength is driven by a combination of Germany’s proven engineering tradition, its position as a leader in technological development, and its highly diversified industrial base.

The machinery and equipment industry is one of the technological motors that drives Germany as a high-tech nation combining all of the key future technologies, such as materials, electronics, software, and robotics: Researchers, companies and employees active in the R&A industry profit from the country’s reputation and global know-how.



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Industrial Robot Sales Increase Worldwide By 29 Percent

Industrial Robot Sales Increase Worldwide By 29 Percent

Munich, Germany: Global sales of industrial robots reached the new record of 380,550 units in 2017. That is an increase of 29 percent compared to the previous year (2016: 294,300 units). China saw the largest growth in demand for industrial robots—up 58 percent. Sales in the USA increased by six percent; in Germany by eight percent compared to the previous year. These are the initial findings of the World Robotics Report 2018, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Broken down by industry, the automotive industry continues to lead global demand for industrial robots: In 2017, around 125,200 units were sold in this segment—equivalent to growth of 21 percent. The strongest growth sectors in 2017 were the metal industry (+54 percent), the electrical/electronics industry (+27 percent) and the food industry (+19 percent).

In terms of sales volume, Asia has the strongest individual markets: China installed around 138,000 industrial robots in 2017, followed by South Korea with around 40,000 units and Japan with around 38,000 units. In the Americas, the USA is the largest single market with around 33,000 industrial robots sold, and in Europe it is Germany with around 22,000 units sold.

“Key trends such as digitalisation, simplification and human-robot collaboration will certainly shape the future and drive forward rapid development,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics.

In the course of digitalisation, real production is becoming increasingly connected with the virtual data world, opening up completely new possibilities for analysis – right through to machine learning. Robots will acquire new skills through learning processes.

Correspondingly, the industry is working to simplify the handling of robots. In the future industrial robots should be easier and faster to program using intuitive procedures. Such technology is not only attractive to established users, but also to small and medium-sized companies, for example, companies who can use it to introduce automation without the need for highly experienced or expert personnel.

This development paves the way for the third major robotics trend: collaboration between humans and robots without protective barriers offers new approaches to new flexible production processes. In the future human-robot collaboration will support the flexible production of small quantities with high complexity.

InnoTrans 2018: Siemens To Present Velaro Novo High-Speed Train

InnoTrans 2018: Siemens To Present Velaro Novo High-Speed Train

Berlin, Germany: Siemens has announced its plans to showcase its latest concept for the high-speed Velaro Novo trains at InnoTrans 2018 trade show for rail technology which will be held from 18-22 September 2018. The company cited new efficiency and sustainability standards along with passenger comfort and convenience with this new concept.

Sabrina Soussan, chief executive officer of Siemens Mobility Division said: “The Velaro Novo is our answer to global demands in high-speed transport. This new train writes a new chapter in the Velaro’s success story and enables operators to offer improved passenger comfort and economy over the train’s entire lifecycle.”

“What we are presenting today is the result of five years of development: a platform offering uniquely optimised energy consumption and maintenance costs, as well as maximum flexibility and reliability,” Ms Soussan added.

Compared to previous Velaro models, the Novo can run at 300 km per hour and saves about 30 percent more energy, translating to about 1,375 tonnes reduction in carbon emission annually. Despite a 15 percent reduction in the train’s weight, the number of passenger seats has been increased by 10 percent.

The new train’s body concept is based on the empty tube concept, and the interior can be customised according to customer’s requirements. Its new configuration options also enable the trains to be adapted according to the operator’s requirements even years of operation.

Due to the integration of measurement and sensor technology, Siemens has also claimed that the overall maintenance costs for the new model will drop. Since April, the company has been actively testing components for this high-speed train. Currently, the new model’s test car is undergoing test runs across Germany. It had been integrated into the ICE S run by DB Systemtechnik.

Development of the Velaro Novo concept commenced in 2013, and Siemens had planned the model’s first service by 2023.

Siemens has so far developed four generations of Velaro train models. In service since year 2000, they are currently serving Belgium, China, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and UK, on top of its home ground, Germany. Altogether, the Velaro fleet travels more than a million kilometres each day.

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