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New Solid Carbide Milling Cutters For Tool And Mould Making

New Solid Carbide Milling Cutters For Tool And Mould Making

Under the product name OptiMill-3D, MAPAL is announcing a new high-performance programme of solid carbide milling cutters specially developed for tool and mould making. Along with extremely heat-resistant coatings and special carbide substrates, these tools are characterised in particular by the dimensions and geometries specifically adapted to mould making.

High-feed machining with high material removal rate

Suitable for milling hardened parts with a hardness of 45-66 HRC, with the OptiMill-­3D-HF-Hardened with four or six cutting edges MAPAL is announcing two new high-feed milling cutters for hard machining. So that the tools also work reliably even in difficult application conditions such as an interrupted cut, MAPAL has developed a special face geometry.

The milling cutter with four cutting edges is used above all for roughing as well as for pre-finishing. Due to the fewer number of cutting edges and the related more generous dimensioning of the chip flutes, reliable removal of the chips is ensured. This milling cutter is also the tool of choice for machining with long projection lengths and in deep cavities.

The milling cutter with six cutting edges can be used optimally for roughing and pre-finishing, as well as for finishing flat surfaces with a high feed rate. It produces the best surface finishes and flatness. The equivalent, the OptiMill-3D-HF, with three and four cutting edges is available for soft machining. The dimensions here are matched to the OptiMill-3D-HF-Hardened.

Highly accurate corner radii for maximum precision

The corner radius milling cutter OptiMill-3D-CR-Hardened is used for finishing 3D moulds up to a hardness of 66 HRC. It produces very good, smooth, high-gloss surface finishes with maximum feed rate. Crucial here are the highly accurately manufactured corner radii. The OptiMill-3D-CR-Hardened is available in the diameter range 4-12 mm with different lengths and corner radii.

Efficiency in pre-finishing and finishing on 5-axis machines

The new circular radius milling cutters OptiMill-3D-CS are predominantly used in mould making in deep cavities, for complex free-form shapes as well as for the manufacture of turbine blades and impellers. The special feature of the tools is the optimal geometric combination of radius and form cutter that makes a larger path spacing during pre-finishing and finishing possible. The machining time can be significantly reduced and the quality of the surface finish on the parts significantly improved. For machining deep, difficult-to-access cavities, the OptiMill-3D-CS in droplet shape is the first choice. Large surfaces and surfaces with tool restrictions are machined highly efficiently using the milling cutter in the tapered shape.

 

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The E-Mobility Roadmap: Speeding Up Tool Development With A High-Accuracy CMM

The E-Mobility Roadmap: Speeding Up Tool Development With A High-Accuracy CMM

The time saved on measurements helps MAPAL Dr. Kress KG develop innovative tool solutions even more quickly for trends that will play such a pivotal role in the future. Contributed by Carl Zeiss Pte Ltd.

These days, employees from the development department at MAPAL Dr. Kress KG generally know within an hour if new tools will offer the level of precision their customers require. Instead of having to wait days for a service provider to deliver the measurement results, the company started performing onsite measurements at the beginning of 2018.

With the high-precision coordinate measuring machine (CMM) ZEISS PRISMO ultra, MAPAL inspects the workpieces machined with the new tools it manufactures. The time saved on measurements helps this global company develop innovative tool solutions even more quickly for trends that will play such a pivotal role in the future like e-mobility.

With the high precision coordinate measuring machine ZEISS PRISMO ultra, MAPAL inspects in-house the workpieces machined with the new tools it manufactures and generally gets results within one hour.

With the high precision coordinate measuring machine ZEISS PRISMO ultra, MAPAL inspects in-house the workpieces machined with the new tools it manufactures and generally gets results within one hour.

How a Workpiece Ensures a Precise Tool

“We need extremely exact measurement results to develop high-precision, innovative tools and tool solutions,” says Dr. Dirk Sellmer, vice president of R&D at MAPAL. For years, the company had an external service provider measure its workpieces and tools. Seller compares MAPAL’s tools to “Lego blocks that are combined to create complex solutions.” To deliver these bespoke products to the customers more quickly, the company invested in an extremely precise CMM from ZEISS.

In January 2018, two employees began working with the ZEISS PRISMO ultra. Almost a year later, Sellmer has reached the conclusion, “The investment has paid off.” The measuring machine provided MAPAL with the necessary precision and was immediately running at full capacity. The two employees from the development department, who alternate between the measuring system and the production machines every two weeks, inspect the department’s tools on the CMM.

Most importantly, however, MAPAL employees measure workpieces that are machined in the development area with the company’s own tools, thereby determining the workpieces’ precision and stability under manufacturing conditions. Precision is on everyone’s mind because most MAPAL tools and tool solutions are used when components need to be machined with a very high level of accuracy.

The stator housing for an electric motor is one example of how MAPAL is successfully meeting its customers’ requirements. The challenge with this cast part is to create the primary, large-diameter borehole that runs through the entire component—all with an accuracy of just a few microns. For perpendicularity, the tolerance is just 30 microns (0.03mm) and, for coaxiality, 50 microns.

The Right Tool for Stator Housings

These are extremely narrow tolerances for such large boreholes. Yet, a closer look at the design of the electric motor illustrates why these stringent requirements are necessary. Take for example the permanent magnet synchronous motor, the most frequently used motor design in new energy vehicles (NEVs). The stator is the stationary component within the motor. Coils or copper wires known as hairpins are attached. These generate a current that creates a rotating magnetic field. The rotor is located within the stator and, thanks to its own constant magnetic field, follows the magnetic field of the stator. The three-phase current of the rotor causes it to rotate in synch with the magnetic field.

The rotor cannot move unless there is a gap between it and the stator. However, the rotor is subject to considerable magnetic resistance, which in turn reduces the magnetic flux density and with it the power of the motor. Thus, designers make this gap as narrow as possible.

To ensure that the manufacturing process does not compromise the component’s design, MAPAL offers its customers a high-precision tool which is also very light for its size.

First, a borehole is made in the cylinder for the stator housing. This means that a tool approximately 30cm long creates a hole in the outer die-cast layer of the housing. Then, the surface is carefully ground down. Tools for the highly precise machining of primary boreholes for stator housings have been part of MAPAL’s product portfolio for one-and-a-half years. And since not all housings are identical, these tools are customised for each customer.

On-site Measurements for Reduced Wait Times

Automotive manufacturers generally provide 10 to 30 housings that MAPAL must then machine with the corresponding tools in its testing area. The measurements performed after multiple rounds of machining serve as the basis for optimising the highly complex tool solutions in line with the customer’s needs.

Before purchasing their own CMM, MAPAL had an external service provider measure its workpieces and tools. However, the company’s measuring expenses rose significantly within the span of just 10 years. MAPAL increasingly manufactures the tools for its customers and takes on pre-series production. Numerous measurements are performed to ensure that the customer has all the information they require. The need for more measurements also increased outlay.

Yet as the company considered whether or not to invest in a CMM, it was not the costs that ultimately tilted the balance, but time.

“We used to have to wait two to three days for measuring results. This is no longer the case,” explains Sellmer. Now, these are generally available within an hour.

Since the employees performing measurements at MAPAL have also received metrology training, there are fewer artefacts. “Since our team also works with the machines used in production, they have a highly developed intuition and know, for example, where contaminants might have impacted the measurement result,” says Sellmer.

Moreover, the components are now clamped in the machining fixtures for measurements and measured on the company’s premises. This reduces potential artefacts caused by removing the workpieces from the fixtures or preclamping them. Another significant benefit for MAPAL is the ability to intermittently perform unplanned measurements, such as with thin-walled components like a stator housing. This way, the company can see how fixturing impacts machining.

Dr. Sellmer highlights yet another key advantage: the improved communication between engineers and technicians. They can now discuss the results at the measuring machine, rather than relying solely on measurement reports. And this promotes knowledge sharing. “We now achieve our goals significantly faster,” concludes Sellmer.

 

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Significantly Better Surface Finishes Thanks To Vibration Damping

Significantly Better Surface Finishes Thanks To Vibration Damping

Vibration often occurs during machining. This leads to dynamic instability of the system. Inadequate surface finishes, insufficient accuracy, high machining noises, shortened tool lives and, in extreme cases, broken tools and cutting edges can be the result.

In order to minimise these vibrations and their consequences, MAPAL has now developed an innovative system for vibration damping in the tool shank, as particularly tools for boring and milling with very long projection length tend to vibrate due to an inadequate dynamic rigidity of the overall system. When designing the new system, the developers took into account all factors arising from the interaction of the machine tool, the tool and type of clamping as well as the component. The result: A system for vibration damping that is matched to all common types of machine stiffness. It can be used for machining different materials with different tools.

The self-contained system of auxiliary mass and several steel spring packages counteracts the deflection of the tool body and minimises it. The vibrations can be up to 1,000 times lower compared to tools without absorber system. Despite the long projection length, quiet, stable running is achieved. This makes it possible to work at higher cutting speeds and significantly increases the material removal rate.

In addition, significantly better surface finishes are achieved thanks to vibration damping. When milling case hardened steel (16MnCr5), for example with a 250 mm long combination of milling cutter arbor and milling cutter with five cutting edges and ISO indexable inserts (diameter 50 mm), the Rz value was halved from 7.8 µm to 3.9 µm for material removal ae of 18 mm and ap of 3 mm compared to the same tool system without vibration damping.

 

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MAPAL Group Reports Growth, Expansion In 2018

MAPAL Group Reports Growth, Expansion In 2018

MAPAL Group has posted a growth of almost five percent in 2018. Consolidated group turnover climbed from €610 million in 2017 to €640 million in 2018. In addition, the number of employees also increased—the precision tool manufacturer now has more than 5,500 employees worldwide, with over 3,600 in Germany.

MAPAL has consolidated and further expanded its position in all major regions. To achieve this, substantial investments in the locations were made in the past year.

“In Asia, we founded a new joint venture in Vietnam and acquired the majority stake in ADICO, a manufacturer of PCD and PcBN cutting materials,” said Dr. Jochen Kress, president of MAPAL Group. Asia is still the second most important market for MAPAL after Germany, even though growth rates in China have decreased somewhat in line with the country’s overall economic growth.

The Group is also strengthening its presence in the Americas. “We have expanded our location in Fountain Inn, South Carolina,” explained Kress. A completely new plant was also opened in Mexico in February 2019.

In Germany, capacity at the Centre of Competence for solid carbide tools in Altenstadt is currently being increased with a new production hall. In addition to new buildings and expansions, there are continuous investments in new machinery all around the world in order to maintain the highest level of quality and productivity.

MAPAL is increasing its involvement in various industries, including tool and mould making. There are challenges ahead in the automotive industry, too, according to Kress. “We intend to build on our leading position in machining components for electric vehicles,” he said.

There is also a continued focus on digitalisation and thus, on MAPAL’s subsidiary c- Com, which has broadened its focus.

“We have seen in practice what many companies are lacking, especially small companies, and that is something that makes access to the digital market easier for them,” said Kress. For this reason, c-Com offers a range of modules that help companies get started in this area. These include the module for efficient regrinding handling and the new c-Connect Box to make machine monitoring easy.

“2019 is certainly going to be an interesting year, both economically and politically,” concluded Kress. “Whatever it brings, we have confidence in our capacity for innovation and our flexibility, which are based on our employees’ skills.”

 

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The Perfect Combination For  Structural Parts—Faster, Better, Lower Cutting Forces

The Perfect Combination for Structural Parts—Faster, Better, Lower Cutting Forces

The optimum machine tool combined with the optimum tool results in a perfect combination. And that makes cost-effective processes and impressive machining results possible. Article contributed by MAPAL.

 

Figure 1: Dietmar Maichel (left), project manager 3D milling at MAPAL, and Steffen Nüssle, sales director export and head of applications engineering at Zimmermann, in front of the FZH horizontal machining center (HMC).

The optimum machine tool combined with the optimum tool results in a perfect combination. And that makes cost-effective processes and impressive machining results possible. One good example of this is the cooperation between machine manufacturer F. Zimmermann GmbH and MAPAL.

F. Zimmermann developed its first horizontal machining centre (HMC) especially for the machining of structural parts for the aerospace industry. The aluminium structural parts, such as wing parts and frame ribs, are generally milled from solid material—with up to 95 percent material removal.

Fault-free machining with respect to dimensional accuracy and surface finish is crucial here. And the component structure that becomes more and more delicate with increasing material removal represents an additional challenge.

In order to make the milling process as efficient as possible even in these areas, Zimmermann has developed the FZH machining centre that offers maximum rigidity and features a robust, water-cooled travelling column. Whereas conventional machine concepts suffer from lever-related deviations with increasing slide, the guide carriage distance of the FZH increases with increasing plunging depth into the material.

In order to achieve maximum efficiency, Zimmermann employs its own patented M3ABC three-axis milling head in the machining centre, especially in the pocket corners of a workpiece. This milling head has to perform only very small swivel movements, allowing the feed rate to be kept constant and hence, the machining time to be significantly shortened.

The Beginning

At an open house in June 2017, Zimmermann demonstrated its machining centre with tools from competitors. These tools failed to meet the expectations, however, and were unable to exploit the performance of the machine.

“Why not test the performance of the MAPAL tools?” thought the project managers at Zimmermann, as MAPAL was presenting its milling cutters for high-volume machining at the event. A short time later, representatives of the two companies carried out extensive milling trials with different tools together.

Figure 2: MAPAL tools used at Zimmermann (from left to right): SPM-Rough ISO shoulder milling cutter with indexable inserts as roughing solution for diametre ranges above 25mm; SPM-Rough solid carbide milling cutter with wave profile as roughing solution for diametre ranges up to 25mm; OptiMill-SPM solid carbide milling cutter for multi-stepped semi-finishing of thin-walled structures; and SPM-Finish solid carbide milling cutter for finishing of deep pockets and delicate structures in a single pass.

The Milling Cutters

“Our goal was to choose the optimum tools from our portfolio for the machining operations on the Zimmermann machine,” explains Dietmar Maichel, project manager 3D milling at MAPAL. The tool manufacturer’s portfolio contains different milling cutters for the different tasks during the high-volume machining of aluminium structural parts. The tools are perfectly designed for use on such high-performance machines as the Zimmermann machine.

In particular, the SPM milling cutters, which are available in a solid carbide design and with PCD and ISO inserts, are being used today—a total of four tools, to be exact—at Zimmermann for the different demands of the roughing and finishing operations.

The Interaction

“The perfect combination of the machine, the three-axis milling head and the tools from MAPAL give the user a real performance boost,” says Steffen Nüssle, sales director export and head of applications engineering at Zimmermann, immediately after the first tests. “With the SPM-Rough ISO shoulder milling cutter, we achieved the best results that we have ever achieved with a tool with indexable inserts.”

The ISO tools with polished indexable inserts are the latest addition to the MAPAL SPM product range. The SPM-Rough with wave profile also surpassed the expectations for material removal with excellent smooth running.

“The complete machining of a 190x190x40 mm pocket is now effectively possible in less than a minute,” explains Nüssle.

The Present

The experts at F. Zimmermann are convinced by the MAPAL tools. “The use of the SPM milling cutters has given us a quantum leap forward in the aluminium machining. And it shows us what the perfect combination of tool and machine means in terms of performance,” says Nüssle. The tools are the first choice when it comes to machine acceptance tests or demonstrations for customers from the aerospace industry at Zimmermann.

The Future

The Zimmermann machines are suitable not only for the machining of metals. “Many of our customers manufacture parts of composite materials,” says Nüssle.

Zimmermann, therefore, also wants to mill trial parts of these materials using MAPAL tools.

“We are optimistic that with the MAPAL milling cutters for composite machining, we will also find a new secret weapon to exploit the performance of our machines even better,” says Nüssle. The corresponding plans are already in hand.

 

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Miniaturisation In Clamping Technology Thanks To Additive Manufacturing

Miniaturisation In Clamping Technology Thanks To Additive Manufacturing

Miniaturisation plays an important role in many industries, including machining manufacture. Therefore, clamping chucks also have to become smaller, more precise and more powerful. The requirements cannot be met with conventional manufacturing – MAPAL therefore relies on additive manufacturing by selective laser melting. Article by MAPAL.

Whether in electrical engineering, medical technology, the aerospace industry, the watch industry or robotics and mechanical engineering – many products are becoming ever smaller, yet smarter, more user-friendly and more powerful. The topic of space is therefore crucial. Because space is not only limited on the wrist, in trouser pockets, on board an aircraft or in the human body, but also in the production halls of companies.

This requirement gives rise to the demand for productivity in the smallest possible space, which transfers the cycle of miniaturisation to the entire value-added level. Machine and tool technology in this small sector requires more and more functions having to be fulfilled in the smallest space, also in the area of clamping technology.

Perfect Radial Run-Out And Optimum Balancing Value

The radial run-out accuracy of the clamping chucks for a chipping thickness in the range of a few thousandths of a millimetre must be almost zero. This is the only way to achieve good surfaces at maximum spindle speeds with a long tool life. In addition, it must be ensured that any contamination due to microparticles is excluded. Another important topic for machining in the miniature sector is the supply of coolant lubricant. Too much medium means complex downstream part cleaning, too little or no cooling leads to a loss in quality and productivity.

If handling should also be simple, conventional manufacturing reaches its limits. The smaller the tool and clamping chuck, the easier handling must be. Because with each reduction, the handling of external peripheral devices becomes more complicated and more difficult. With shrink or collet technology, it also takes considerably longer for the tools to be ready for use. In the case of multi-part attachments, the individual deviations of the components also add up to a considerable error chain.

Additive Manufacturing By Selective Laser Melting

At MAPAL additive manufacturing by selective laser melting is used in all product areas. And this is the case in all situations where additively manufactured products can offer clear added value for the customer. Thanks to this innovative manufacturing process, MAPAL has succeeded in manufacturing clamping chucks in miniature format with HSK-E25 connection, for example for direct clamping of tools with a diameter of 3 mm. And these miniature clamping chucks meet all of the above requirements.

The Smallest Clamping Chucks With The Best Properties

In order to guarantee radial run-out accuracy, the clamping technology specialists have integrated innovative clamping chamber systems into the new clamping chucks, which fit snugly against the tool shank. They are equipped with dirt grooves to displace microscopic dirt. The required balancing value is ensured thanks to internal balancing geometries including support structures, which also optimise weight and strength. Overall, with the chucks in a small format, there can be achieved a more homogeneous and spindle-friendly acceleration and braking of the entire tool system consisting of clamping chuck and tool.

Thanks to additive manufacturing, MAPAL has succeeded in equipping the clamping chucks for the miniature sector with decentralised coolant outlets. Using parameters such as coolant pressure, setting dimension and spindle speed, these outlets are designed in such a way that they convey the coolant lubricant directly to the cutting point. In the best case, a dosed loss lubrication, which makes subsequent cleaning of the parts superfluous, is achieved.

Very Easy Handling Without Peripheral Devices

The new clamping chucks from MAPAL in a small format enable simple and quick clamping of the tool. Neither training courses nor high retooling costs or expensive peripheral devices are required for implementation. Because the hydraulic chucks are operated using a simple screw.

New Possibilities – Not Only For Tool Clamping

The new small hydraulic chucks also open up new possibilities for workpiece clamping. For example, for clamping hip joint balls. Here the external hydraulic clamping technology is used. Specially shaped chip flutes inside the chuck and a special external geometry ensure that the balls are clamped very precisely and gently at the same time. In medical technology in particular, topics such as reproducible precision are of enormous importance. And this is ensured during machining thanks to the new chucks.

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TTD-Tritan – Machining Of Heat Exchangers Taken To The Next Level

TTD-Tritan – Machining of heat exchangers taken to the next level

Many versions of heat exchangers are used in different industries. After all, they help to make heat generated usable for other processes. In the case of recuperators, two liquid or gaseous media with different temperatures are pumped into separate circuits. A heat exchange takes place without mixing the media. Recuperators include bundle heat exchangers, which are usually made of metal and consist of a tube bundle that conducts a medium and an orifice baffle with a front tube plate through which a second medium flows. Depending on the size of the heat exchanger, the front tube plate has a large number of bores. To ensure that the medium does not escape at this component transition, high requirements are set at the bores with regard to position accuracy and dimensional accuracy.

Triple edge drill is the method of choice

The triple edge replaceable head drill TTD-Tritan from MAPAL has been tested in the petrochemical industry and is convincing right down the line when machining a tube plate. On the TTD-Tritan, tool head and tool holder are joined by Hirth serration. This connection is easy to operate and particularly stable, so that all the drill reaches the performance level of the solid carbide equivalent. In addition, it guarantees the best torque transmission with simultaneous high changing and radial run-out accuracy. The TTD-Tritan is optimally centred via its pronounced drill tip and ensures very good circularity. In addition, the cost-intensive carbide is limited to the tool head for the replaceable head system, which leads to low tool costs even with large diameters. The replaceable head system has a positive effect on stock, as the wear parts are mainly limited to the drill heads: As a result, the capital tied up in stock is also reduced.

In a specific case, the customer needs each diameter version in several lengths to machine the different versions of tube plates. The complete MAPAL range makes it possible to provide all desired versions. In addition, smaller diameters are served with the solid carbide design.

Machining time reduced by 57 percent

The customer’s tube plates made of carbon steel are drilled into the solid using the TTD-Tritan. The bore diameter is 25.6 mm and the bore length is 63.5 mm. Here the TTD-Tritan operates with a feed rate 59 percent higher than the double edge replaceable head drill from a competitor used to date. For the solid drilling operation described, the TTD-Tritan achieves a tool life of a good 53 metres while the drill previously used only achieved almost 28 metres. In addition to this significant increase of 90 percent, the MAPAL tool performs the solid drilling operation in one machining step and only takes 29 minutes for the complete tube plate with 550 bores. In contrast, piloting was necessary in the previous machining process. The tube plate also had to be manually cleaned to remove the partly very long chips after piloting. Overall, the TTD-Tritan reduces the machining time by 57 percent.

QTD indexable insert drill with new pyramid tip for stack machining

In addition to the two front tube plates, slightly thinner intermediate plates with the same bore pattern are also installed in shell & tube heat exchangers. These intermediate plates are stacked above one another for machining, spot welded together, drilled and then separated again. With the QTD indexable insert drill with innovative, patented pyramid tip, MAPAL has the optimum solution for even this application in its portfolio. The newly developed indexable insert with pyramid tip has a very small chisel edge and a tip angle of 120°. Furthermore, the indexable insert is self-centering and ensures a controlled bore entrance. The intermediate plates can thus be reliably drilled in a single machining step.

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Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

In 2018, we witnessed the rise of Southeast Asia’s manufacturing industry as the Trade War pressured manufacturers into shifting production from China to Southeast Asia. A trend that is expected to continue on in 2019 as Southeast Asia continues to develop its manufacturing capabilities and uncertainties over a US-China truce continue to loom. Through this market outlook series, eight industry leaders share their thoughts on how the regional market will grow and develop in 2019 amidst the changing economic background and the increased presence of disruptive and intelligent technologies. 

  

Armin Kasper

Vice President, Asia-Pacific Area, MAPAL

2018 was a successful year for MAPAL and the company grew once again although growth in the Chinese market, which had previously been strong, flattened somewhat in the last quarter of 2018 due to factors such as punitive tariffs. For 2019, we have set a goal of generating a turnover of €650 million, and this will be achieved through free trade, the development of country specific expansions, the enhancement of digital capabilities and electric mobility machining capabilities.

Development Of Country Specific Expansions

For the companies under MAPAL Group in Southeast Asia, two new regional branches will be established in Indonesia where we are seeking to build a regional presence. While in the case of Malaysia, the country recently became our Southeast Asia production hub and has been equipped with a dedicated manufacturing facility. Additionally, we are actively investing in Malaysia and expansion is set to continue in Thailand too, where a new facility was established in 2017.

Enhancement Of Digital Capabilities

Digitalisation is a pressing issue globally, and in the face of increasing demands for efficient data management systems, we have identified this trend as a potential growth area. That was why we will be using 2019 to make further refinements to c-Com and to showcase the SaaS solution to interested parties as an open cloud platform for efficient data management.

MAPAL’s new tool management 4.0 is also based on c-Com. The interconnectivity that tool management 4.0 offers means that data can be provided consistently to all those involved – manufacturing, procurement, planning, tool managers and suppliers. That makes the overall process more efficient and digitalises tool management.

We also see great potential in our re-tooling service. Customers use this when they are setting up a new manufacturing facility for a part or re-tooling existing machinery to manufacture a new part, or when optimisations need to be made while production is running.

Electric Mobility Machining Capabilities

Alongside digitalisation, another significant trend at the moment is electric mobility and we have a diverse array of innovative machining solutions available for manufacturing the various parts within the different electric drives. The importance of the automotive industry is growing all the time, as is the number of vehicles being produced with electric drives.

 

Carsten Haecker

Head of igus Asia Pacific, igus Singapore Pte Ltd

The Asia Pacific region will remain as the growth driver for us in 2019 but we may see regional differences in development. This is due to uncertainties related to tariffs and trade, Brexit discussions and regional tensions may cause some interruption on a global scale. However, in terms of long term sustainability, the opportunities in Asia far outweigh the challenges and we will continue to invest into new markets or expand existing manufacturing facilities.

Combining Digitalisation With Industrial Development

The world is changing faster than ever before, new trends are coming up and past solutions may disappear. Artificial intelligence, complete process automation, remote monitoring of machine performance, intelligent robotics and driverless vehicles are some of the trends in which we see a potential in. The clear objective for us moving forward is to concretely implement automated processes that range from online configuration to digitally supported manufacturing for all product categories. This is a difficult path to take because ready-made solutions usually cannot be bought but have to be developed individually.

Additionally, IoT continues to drive development. And igus as an early adopter, has developed the intelligent cable, energy chain and linear guide which are able to monitor their own condition during use and open up new possibilities of predictive maintenance.

Additive Manufacturing And Low Cost Robotics

Additive manufacturing would be another key trend to mention, with 3D or SLS printing being good examples of the technology. Also, low cost robotics are another trend to watch out for in 2019 and the igus robolink modular robotic system is an example of this.

 

Israel Gonzalez

Asia Pacific Regional Director, Hypertherm

2018 marked Hypertherm’s 50th year and we have grown from a manufacturer of plasma systems to a global provider of cutting solutions. Moving forward, our continued investment in research and development is part of our efforts to bring more breakthrough technologies to the market, such as the recently released X-definition class plasma system.

In 2019, Asia Pacific will continue to be a promising region for the industry due to rapid population and economic growth, industrialization and business-friendly measures introduced by governments. Besides the major markets in Oceania and Japan, the rapidly growing industrial manufacturing sector in India and Southeast Asia are also expected to contribute significantly to the region’s economic growth.

Change In Business Models In The Metal Cutting Industry

The metal cutting industry will shift from a demand driven model to a more competition driven model, where the key driver is automation and customers are increasingly looking to reduce reliance on labour. In fact, automation will continue to be the biggest development in the metal cutting industry as manufacturers in the region continue to balance technology with capacity and competitive demands.

Industry 4.0 Innovations

IIoT will continue to shape the manufacturing industry in 2019. Rising technologies such as machines, robots and other equipment on a production floor will be able to communicate with each other and gather data in the cloud for analysis. And with the data, a manufacturer will have greater insights which allows for predictive analysis to occur. This aligns to the shift in the industry from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.

In the future, fluctuating raw material prices will also impact the industry and transformations within the manufacturing sector will also be further propelled by the rapid evolution of technology. To achieve growth targets in the coming year, manufacturers will increasingly see the need to prioritize investments in technology that will enable them to improve their business agility.

 

Terence Oh

Senior Vice President. EOS, Singapore

The additive manufacturing (AM) market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 27 percent between 2018 (USD 1.73 billion) and 2023 (USD 5.66 billion). In fact, AM in Asia Pacific is expected to have the highest CAGR due to the region having the fastest growth for the automotive and printed electronics sectors. This offers more opportunities for AM adoption in the manufacturing industry.

Decentralised, Distributed And Domestic Manufacturing Models

Rising protectionism and trade conflicts will increasingly push global supply chains towards decentralization and regionalization when it comes to manufacturing. And this, coupled with the digitalization of manufacturing and AM will serve as an enabler for distributed manufacturing. Businesses that adopt smart technologies like AM to 3D print parts and components will also be able to reduce production costs, processes, and time through part redesign and integration. This makes domestic manufacturing more practical than importing from abroad.

Continued Innovation And Adoption Of AM Across Industries

AM is reported to have a global economic impact of USD 250 billion by 2025 and the aerospace and defense industry is expected to continue leading AM adoption. Moreover, the global aerospace AM market is reportedly expected to register a CAGR close to 22.3 percent during the forecast period of 2018 to 2023.

In terms of the healthcare industry, AM adoption is expected to increase and with the aging population expected to rise, this trend is set to continue due to an expected increase in demand for personalized healthcare and treatments, as well as customized 3D-printed medical devices. For the automotive industry, AM’s ability to decrease production lead time, increase efficiency in logistics management, and ensure effective use of components/materials will result in its increased adoption. This trend is set to continue and the global automotive 3D printing market is predicted to be valued at over USD 8 billion by 2024. On the other hand, tooling and robotics are also expected to drive AM’s market share in APAC from 2018 to 2023.

 

Douglas Foo

President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation

The manufacturing industry in Asia is polarised into three categories – the “factories of the world”, the factories supplying to “factories of the world”, and the “middleman”, where most manufacturers in Asia are a part of. In Singapore, the industry is undergoing a two-part transformation – digitalisation and servitisation.

Due to Singapore’s relatively high labour cost compared to the region and talent shortage, the industry is also moving up the value chain and exploring the use of AI, IoT, robotics, automation and other digital tools to keep costs low and to increase productivity. Digitalisation itself is expected to quite significantly alter and remake the landscape of the industry.

Digitalisation Of Manufacturing And Supply Chains

To be digitalised is to implement these few technologies – additive manufacturing, AI, advanced manufacturing, blockchain, cloud computing, big data, e-commerce and future technologies (robotics, advanced automation, etc.).

Therefore, as manufacturing becomes increasingly digitalised, supply chain models must also become increasingly digitalised by implementing the above technologies. And this will lead to end-to-end integration. Furthermore, with this evolution of the supply chain model, shorter lead times, increased flexibility through real-time optimisation, increased efficiency and increased transparency and personalisation of services will be observed. A digitalised supply chain model is one in which processes are connected through a sensor network and managed through a central data hub and analytics engine.

Adopting The Right Technologies Amidst Economic Uncertainty

Due to the ongoing trade war, there is a fear that demand and investments will shrink. Protectionist attitude and interest rates are also on the rise. Thus, manufacturers can make use of technologies and innovate their business models to improve their productivity, efficiency and competency in order to overcome the adversities ahead. With the right technologies, the industry may even disrupt and affect other sectors, causing a ripple effect that could accelerate the advancement of businesses embracing Industry 4.0 sooner rather than later.

 

David Chia

Automation Charter Chair, The Singapore Industrial Automation Association Managing Director, Beckhoff

In 2019, at the mass market stage, enterprise digitisation will penetrate deeper into the manufacturing floor. This will cause enterprises to look towards obtaining data from as many machines and sensors as possible, which is a trend that has continued on from past years.

Overcoming The Barriers To Digitalisation

In order to digitalise more effectively, companies have more to gain from standardisation than competition. Currently, Germany is leading the effort to create common industry wide standards and they have done quite well as the VDMA is leading the machine standardisation for Germany. Countries in the ASEAN region may need to follow on their footsteps. Next, governments across the region should also help in funding digitisation initiatives and this is especially important for SMEs.

Finally, re-training and upskilling the workforce is needed. We are facing shortages in data engineers, data scientists, data analysts in the region and re-training and upskilling is especially important as older manufacturing jobs disappear and newer ones are created in their place.

The Importance Of Data Collection, ML And AR Technologies

On top of sending data over standardised communication protocol, companies will increasingly look towards getting standardised information from each machine type. This so called “information modelling” and is relevant to a production line today as there is hardly a “homogenous” production line containing the same machine model from the same manufacturer.

Another focus for the metalworking and CNC world will be the use of AR technologies. While still a cutting edge technology today, this technology holds a lot of promise from speeding up operators to training, to advancing maintenance work. At the bleeding edge, we are seeing an increasing trend of ML implementation directly on a premise or machine. While this is on early stages, we feel that this would be the internal focus of many bleeding edge suppliers moving forward.

 

Alex Teo

Managing Director and Vice President, Southeast Asia, Siemens PLM Software

The outlook in Asia Pacific continues to be favourable in 2019. With a dynamic economy and an extremely fast-growing internet population, Southeast Asian markets are good options for companies looking to diversify and add to their operations in China. Especially as rising labour costs and increasingly volatile market conditions in China cause more firms to relocate their production in order to spread out risk and gain access to new markets.

The Growth Of Mass Customisation Focused Technologies

The shift towards a knowledge-intensive economy in Southeast Asia is a by-product of the global movement towards a more individualized and personalized consumption economy. Therefore, the region is expected to transit from the age of mass-production, to one of mass-customisation which is a trend that has been highlighted at the ASEAN Summit. Due to this, we are expecting manufacturers to adopt and implement technologies such as cloud-based product lifecycle management solutions, as well as Digital Twin technologies, in order to be able to produce meet the level of rigour and scale that is required for mass-customisation.

The Development Of Disruptive And New Technologies

Disruptive technologies such as robotics, computer numerical control (CNC) machines, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, scanning technology and smart devices will persist and will be ubiquitous across the product value chain. In the case of additive manufacturing, markets such as Singapore, China and South Korea have already identified it as a growth potential and are actively investing in the technology to create high-end jobs and services.

Additionally, Dyson has also announced plans for its first electric car, to be built in a new automotive manufacturing facility in Singapore that is set for completion in 2020. The selection of Singapore as a site for this facility – which has not seen automotive manufacturing since Ford closed its factory 40 years ago – is a surprise for many. This investment which is part of Dyson’s USD 3.3 billion global investment drive in new technology, is a game changer for the electronics and heavy machinery industries in the region.

 

Ian Roberts

Regional Executive Director, UBM

In 2019, the ASEAN region will remain as an attractive area for investment. The ongoing trade war between China and the USA is creating problems and opportunities within the ASEAN region as although foreign investment companies are starting to relocate their manufacturing plants away from China, countries within ASEAN particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, are benefiting from the relocation of manufacturing plants into their countries.

The Rise Of Indonesia And Vietnam 

Most of UBM’s trade shows have continued to grow, particularly in Vietnam where there are numerous opportunities in both HCM and Hanoi. Currently, the biggest problem for the organisation of events in Vietnam is the size of the venues in both HCM and Hanoi which restricts UBM’s expansion plans. However, this also reinforces Vietnam’s position as UBM’s strongest market since 2018.

In Indonesia, the economic growth in the short term will be modest due to the Rupiah depreciation as we all as the impact of the upcoming presidential elections in April.  This will affect overseas investment as investors take a “wait and see” approach. Thus, investments will be halted for at least the first half of the year. For this reason, Indonesia is expected to rely on domestic consumption and household spending to drive the economy. However in the long term, Indonesia remains a strategic and lucrative market for investors as it continues to offer strong economic fundamentals to spur the growth of the middle class and fuel consumer spending which is a key driver of growth.

Growth Of Smart Factories And Smart Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s main selling point can no longer be its low wages if it is to remain competitive. Implementation of new technologies are needed to help close the productivity gap. This means factories will need to integrate technologies such as robotics to maximise productivity, minimise human failure and prevent work-related accidents. Aside from that, companies could integrate AI and data analytics to make automation processes more intelligent and to improve efficiency.

A report by McKinsey & Company has highlighted that Southeast Asia needs to embrace Industry 4.0 to unlock its potential in manufacturing. Through this report, it is stated that disruptive technologies associated with Industry 4.0 would have an impact on productivity on a scale that is similar to the introduction of the steam engine had during the first Industrial Revolution. Globally, if the digital technologies of Industry 4.0 were to be embraced and integrated efficiently, it is forecasted that it could contribute between USD 1.2 trillion and USD 3.7 trillion in business profits. Meanwhile in ASEAN, the impact of Industry 4.0 could see productivity gains of between USD 216 billion to USD 627 billion.

 

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Norbert Seo

Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia, Bystronic Pte Ltd

2018 was one of the most successful years for Bystronic due to numerous product launches in the gold, silver and bronze segments of the market as well as international business expansions.

In 2019, the economy is uncertain because of market turmoil and currency slumps but sheet metal continues to have a wide application in industries that are set for growth such as the automotive, semiconductor and electronic industries. Additionally, governments across Asia are continuously building and developing infrastructure and new industrial areas which create indirect opportunities for the sheet metal fabrication market.

The Growth Of Automation

The industry is currently in the age of automation. This is because automation allows for shorter lead times, greater accuracy, higher quality and competitive pricing. In the field of laser cutting, automation makes it possible to process not only large series but also small batch sizes, while maintaining the flexibility that users require to always respond to changing order situations.

Implementation Of Networked Production

With automation drastically changing the outlook of the sheet metal industry, 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. 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.

 

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MAPAL’s New UNIBASE System

MAPAL’s New UNIBASE System

MAPAL offers various UNIBASE dispensing systems for optimum storage and management of tools, components and accessories, which can be individually networked with one another according to a modular principle. These systems are often situated in a central location in the manufacturing system. Therefore, in order to store and manage frequently required consumables in a decentralised and space-saving manner, MAPAL has developed the new, cost-effective UNIBASE-S single automatic dispenser. This can be connected to existing UNIBASE systems or used as an individual solution.

Thanks to its compact dimensions, the UNIBASE-S stock dispensing system can be installed directly on the workbench. For example, the 96 or 192 compartments are ideal for storing indexable inserts, tools, chucks or personal protective equipment. This saves the employee a trip to the central warehouse and ensures production-related article procurement. In addition, logistics costs are reduced.

Article removal is quick and uncomplicated in just a few steps. To do this, the employee logs on directly to the device via the integrated touchscreen. Only registered employees can remove articles. If no employee is logged on, central locking is active. After the desired article has been selected via the pre-installed software, the search function of the software supports this and an LED illumination identifies the compartment with the corresponding article. The dispensing drum is rotated manually so that it is at the removal position and the article can be removed. The system automatically registers the withdrawal – in this way, the current status is always used.

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MAPAL: ISO Indexable Inserts

MAPAL: ISO Indexable Inserts

MAPAL’s radical ISO indexable inserts have been developed with the idea of withstanding specialised applications including huge stock removals, unstable conditions or as disc milling cutters. Positive and negative indexable inserts have also been built from four different PVD cutting materials and possess novel carbide substrates and coatings. Making them highly adapted for incorporation into milling cutters. The inserts also possess an increased tool life and allow for smooth running of machinery with minimal noise pollution. This can be attributed to ability of the inserts to be adjusted accurately to the requirements mandated by the materials and applications involved. For example, the most economical version of the insert contains eight and 16 cutting edges that can be utilised for face milling and between two, four and eight cutting edges for shoulder milling.

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