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LAMIERA 2021 Offers Favourable Outlook For Machinery Consumption Recovery

LAMIERA 2021 Offers Favourable Outlook For Machinery Consumption Recovery

The collection of exhibitors’ applications is going on for LAMIERA 2021, the international exhibition dedicated to the industry of sheet metal forming machine tools and innovative technologies related to the sector, which will be on the scene at fieramilano Rho from 26 to 29 May 2021.

More than six months before the trade show, all the major players of the sector already confirmed their participation in the exhibition that will be the first event for the sheet metal forming world after about one year and a half.

Initially scheduled earlier than the usual period, then LAMIERA has been relocated again in May. The new date of LAMIERA, set just before the beginning of the summer, gives a full guarantee today that the exhibition will really take place and, at the same time, offers an even more favourable outlook on the recovery of machinery consumption.

Based on the data of Oxford Economics, the year 2021 will mark a consumption recovery worldwide, also regarding Italy, where the demand for machine tools is expected to grow by 38.2 percent to over 3 billion euro.

After all, in May, the operators attending the trade show will be able to consider new investments and renewed business projects in a more concrete way, in comparison to what they could have done at the beginning of the year, also due to the distance from winter, which will be probably the most complicated period for the health emergency.

“Vaccines, forecasts of demand growth and strengthening of incentive measures for investments in new production technologies included in the Budget Law 2021 are all elements that make up a considerably encouraging context for LAMIERA” – pointed out Barbara Colombo, president of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE”.

To the further benefit of those who will exhibit at LAMIERA 2021, also for this edition, there is a concomitance with Made in Steel. An exhibition dedicated to the iron and steel sector and also addressed to operators interested in the technologies for sheet metal working and forming, Made in Steel will be held from 26 to 28 May, besides the halls occupied by LAMIERA.

The 2021 edition of the event will be organised according to the now well-established model: around the offering of metal forming machines and technologies displayed, there will be dedicated Innovation Areas like Robot Planet, Fabbricafutura, Fastener Industry and Saldatech.

Moreover, following on from the success of the past edition, LAMIERA will combine its exhibition with opportunities of in-depth cultural thematic analysis, developed through the initiative called LAMIALAMIERA: a programme of conferences on specific issues and side events with discussions among opinion leaders and experts, as well as presentations of innovative technologies by the exhibitors.

In addition to the above initiative, LAMIERA will launch LamieraDigital”, the special project dedicated to the applications 4.0 and their integration on sheet metal machine tools, which are becoming increasingly remarkable also for this sector.

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Profound Machinery Benefits Of A Multi-disciplinary Design

Profound Machinery Benefits Of A Multi-disciplinary Design

All engineering disciplines need to work in close collaboration to ensure a design is completed on time and manufactured and commissioned cost-effectively. Article by Alex Teo, Siemens Digital Industries.

In manufacturing, building a machine is a complicated process. Historically, the focus was on the mechanical CAD, and the functioning mechanical arrangement and assembly. Today’s sophisticated machines are still mechanical marvels, but over the last two decades, electrical power is now a part of motors, rotary equipment, and camshaft gears. Moreover, all are driven by advanced computing via the software, controlled by PLCs and CNCs. Gone are the days of addressing the mechanical design in one space and the electrical design and schematics in another. The software must be part of the equation in providing optimum design.

A multi-disciplinary design approach

Now more than ever, all the engineering disciplines need to work closely together to ensure the design is completed on time and cost-effectively manufactured and commissioned. That’s why machine manufacturers are leveraging a multi-disciplinary design approach, spurring manufacturing to greater efficiency. Multi-disciplinary design is assessing the complexities of machine building, including engineering design and manufacturing. 

For decades the machine manufacturer’s number one focus was on CAD and manufacturing parts within tolerance for everything to function mechanically. The machine was primarily a mechanical piece of equipment, such as yesterday’s automobiles or airplanes.  Therefore, the mechanical design resided in one area, with the electrical design, schematics, and software development in silos.

However, this dynamic is ever-changing with motors and equipment transitioning to gears driven by software and PLC codes, thus accelerating the desire for performance-based programs. The software must be adaptable to conditions on the floor with the machine reacting to real-time sensor readings. Simplistic processes, like a cylinder, extending and retracting, can be based on the pressure differential and flow regulation—technologies unavailable in the past to small and medium-sized businesses due to cost. This scenario increases mechanical capabilities and features with software – a game-changer for machine designers.

The multi-disciplinary design blends all the capabilities and skillsets needed for advanced machine engineering into a collaborative environment. It pays dividends for the output quality of the machine design with everything working together in its place. It is a type of art form as opposed to merely bolting on electrical, sensors, and cable runs. It is more than that—it is an integrated solution. This dynamic creates harmony in the multi-disciplinary design when each discipline has separate areas.

All engineering disciplines need to work in close collaboration to ensure a design is completed on time and manufactured and commissioned cost-effectively.

A new approach to machining

Manufacturers can no longer follow the established method: “we used to design it – build it and then see if it actually worked by testing it.” Now machinery companies have aggressively compressed timelines to get their more sophisticated machinery to market. That is why there is a substantial increase around embedding simulation into the design process, and incorporating multi-discipline domain, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, vibration, and harshness. 

Machine builders are also relying on a comprehensive digital twin. The digital twin holistically is a representation of the physical machine, its performance, and the recipe for manufacturing it. So, it corresponds to everything that constitutes the machine:  mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, fluid, pneumatics, design domains, performance, simulation, and automation code. Moreover, the digital twin encompasses manufacturing and service life, basically taking the machine from the point of origination through to the end of life, when it gets recycled.

There is a blurring of lines between mechanical, electrical, and software, so there cannot only be a digital twin of the mechanical, without representing all the other domains as well. A comprehensive digital twin is imperative because of the emphasis on machinery driven by the software and electrical. Therefore, these domains must be included in the digital twin to help and assist in creating and maintaining the most comprehensive digital twin.

Furthermore, design exploration is more profitable when simulating the entire digital machine for displaying performance in the virtual world. Therefore, items like Mechatronics Concept Designer, which is a digital industry software with specific capabilities around kinematics to define PLC code, use these capabilities to portray a virtual twin. Realistically, this entails the same work traditionally completed as a team, now achieved in a synchronised, collaborative manner but with the enhanced capability which allows designers to find failures quickly. 

Manufacturing companies are attaining improved levels of optimization within the mechanical system by performing kinematics with the electrical and software teams before the physical product or prototype even exists. This setting allows for uncovering the limitations of the desired mechanism and building that knowledge into the mechanical behavior—a compelling paradigm shift in machine design.

By taking advantage of collaboration parts of the mechanical system that have reached a level of maturity can be opened and exposed to the electrical and software teams for performing kinematics upfront in 90-degree motion. For example, already knowing the limits of a mechanism’s function, affords the ability to build that knowledge into mechanical behavior for use during the simulation. Since the teams are mindful of the behavioral action from the mechanical, they can incorporate that knowledge into the PLC software.

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A Look At The Used Machine Tool Sector

A Look At The Used Machine Tool Sector

Southeast Asia’s dynamic growth has created a thirst for machine tools that is driving an ever-growing trade in used machine tools, and creating an eagerness among suppliers in countries such as the United Kingdom to meet that demand. Companies from the region that are buying these equipments have a wide choice of supply channels. By David Wiggins, sales and marketing director at Machinery Market

As well as experienced dealers who can provide a fully supported export service, there are online auctions that are opening up new opportunities for buyers world-wide. With its links to the region and export experience, the UK is ideally placed to deal with ASEAN buyers, although there is also much on offer from other parts of Europe and North America.

Time To Buy

David Gadsden, managing director of Electro Motion UK (Export), says the increased level of competition across the world for used machinery means that pricing can be a sensitive issue.

“Currently, there is strong demand from Southeast Asia, but many buyers do not readily accept the price of the equipment available. I think such acceptance is still a year or two away, but there is only a limited window of opportunity. In the longer term, prices are only going to go up. The message to ASEAN buyers is that if they do not take advantage of the current buying opportunities, they may have difficulty sourcing the required equipment at competitive prices in the future,” Mr Gadsden said.

He also added that if people want a machine immediately, a new machine may not be available “off the shelf”, in which case a used machine may be the best option—provided they are prepared to be a little flexible with their specification.

“Few machines are now built for stock, so lead times are getting longer. Buyers should be considering both the cost of a second-hand machine compared to a new one and its availability, but they should be prepared to take what is available and fit it to their job, rather than expect to find an exact match for their specification.”

That said, Mr Gadsden says visitors to the UK will have plenty of opportunity to find the right machine. “In the UK, there are some 200 machine tool dealers, and it is possible to visit most of the major players in about a week and they are all experienced in exporting. Indeed, UK dealers are predominantly exporters.”

Dealing With Dealers

Steven Mooney of Steven Mooney Machinery says that most of his ASEAN customers are dealers themselves, and that the UK market can provide the two types of machinery that are particularly attractive to them: manual machines that are no longer economical to operate in the UK, and large equipment, such as big presses and machinery from industries (such as shipbuilding) that are no longer active to any great extent in the UK.

“ASEAN companies can still take manual machines and make them work. In the UK we cannot, and we have had to close those plants down because our overheads are too high. Countries in Southeast Asia can still use cam autos to make basic parts cost-effectively, whereas the UK cannot; no matter how fast UK manufacturers run these machines, they can never match the price of an ASEAN manufacturer. Southeast Asia is a natural market for this equipment,” Mr Mooney said.

Association Partners

Mr Mooney, former vice president of the EAMTM (European Association of Machine Tool Merchants), says that one way to find a dealer you can trust is to talk to Association members. “The EAMTM is a very strong organisation that polices its members. If an ASEAN dealer or buyer had a complaint against one of the Association’s members, the matter would be thoroughly investigated.”

The Association represents more than 250 dealers in used metal-working machinery in 25 countries worldwide. Most of the members are small or medium-size companies that can supply machines from their stock. They are also bound to trade according to a strict code of ethics that includes requirements to honour contracts and agreements, describe machines accurately and honestly, and uphold guarantees. Any company failing to live up to this code, or failing to honour the precept of mutual trust implied by membership, can be suspended or expelled.

In addition, publications such as Machinery Market supply the industry news and technical information, while websites such as Machinery-Locator.com also give access to the machines advertised for sale in its classified pages.

Another area of machine tool sales that has seen tremendous growth in recent years is the online auction.

Online Auctions

One of the companies in online auction sales is Apex Auctions, which operates in the UK. Stephen Dugard, managing director of the company, says that the business has changed dramatically in recent years as online auctions reach into new markets.

Mr Dugard added that this trend has brought obvious advantages to anyone in Southeast Asia who is interested in buying second-hand machines: “The power of the online sales process is that it allows people from all over the world to participate in the auction. Historically—going back around thirty years—we have always had a lot of overseas buyers at our engineering sales. With the advent of webcast auction bidding—introduced around the millennium—people could participate in a live auction from their home. Webcast was the first step that allowed people to actually bid into the auction room.”

While webcasts did increase the number of overseas buyers, Mr Dugard says that the real boost came with the move to pure online auctions, because overseas buyers seemed to feel much more comfortable with these.

“Auctions have been done in the same way for thousands of years, but the advent of online auctions has dramatically changed the world in which we now operate. Online auctions has also allowed a much greater number of participants to join in the auction process—a process that is growing fast.”

“We do not tend to sell individual items by auction, although we might sell the occasional big machine,” Mr Dugard said. “Some dealers are now using online auctions to sell, so rather than buying machines for stock, they are selling them on very quickly. After a sale, we often have to clear the site quite quickly, and one of our challenges is to help ASEAN buyers pay quickly and organise things such as transport.”

The company runs auctions in the UK, the US and Europe, and these auctions are now conducted almost exclusively online. Moreover, it has tailored its online sales more in the style of a live auction rather than the strict cut-off auctions found on the likes of eBay.

“The disadvantage of eBay is that an expert buyer can win out over someone who is less used to bidding. Our system has overtime bidding, so when the closing time comes, the system will carry on until all the bids run out. This ensures that people who are interested in buying, and might have been prepared to pay more for a machine, are not beaten by someone getting in at the last minute without having a chance to bid higher.

Market Value

As a general rule, Mr Dugard said that one of the arguments in favour of buying at auction is that the buyer knows that he is paying a fair market value: “Historically, overseas buyers have seen online auctions as a way to get cheap deals, and indeed there are still bargains to be had, but users are paying market value for good machines that they would not necessarily be able to get anywhere else. For ASEAN buyers, European sources give them access to machines they cannot get elsewhere.”

He says that if buyers want a higher level of service, with warranties and after-sales support, then these are available through the dealers that back the online auction company. At an auction, buyers purchase machines with their eyes open. They know that the machines have been in production, and they are given as much information about the equipment as is possible, but once they have bought it, then it is their own responsibility. That said, the company will do as much as possible to help, including offering advice on transport.

“The key to successful participation in an online auction is preparation. Work out what you want, how much you are prepared to pay for it, and what questions you want answered—well in advance. It is important to get all the information you want in good time; certainly, do not leave it until the day of the sale,” said Mr Dugard.

He also added that bidders should have the means of payment in place and be prepared to pay quickly. Because of the time taken to clear payments, and because a site has to be cleared soon after a sale, there is generally only a five-day payment window for buyers from Southeast Asia.

Furthermore, only certain payment methods are acceptable—essentially debit cards and wire payments such as CHAPS and BACS—so buyers may need to make arrangements with their banks ahead of the sale. Transport will also need to be arranged quickly.

Used machinery can be cost-effective for manufacturers from Southeast Asia.

Used machinery can be cost-effective for manufacturers from Southeast Asia.

Steven Mooney of Steven Mooney Machinery says that most of his ASEAN customers are dealers themselves.

Steven Mooney of Steven Mooney Machinery says that most of his ASEAN customers are dealers themselves.

Through convenient methods such as online auctions, ASEAN buyers can purchase used machinery from Europe and North America.

Through convenient methods such as online auctions, ASEAN buyers can purchase used machinery from Europe and North America.

Stephen Dugard, managing director of APEX Auctions, says bidders should be prepared before making bids for used machines online.

Stephen Dugard, managing director of APEX Auctions, says bidders should be prepared before making bids for used machines online.

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