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Outlook 2021

Outlook 2021

Experts in the metalworking industry provided their outlook for the coming year and their insights on how manufacturers should navigate whatever challenges the industry might still have along the way to recovery.

The year 2020 had been an extraordinary one, with the COVID-19 pandemic basically putting the global manufacturing industry on a standstill—at least except those essential industries that have scrambled to create medical equipment such as ventilators, and testing kits, as well as personal protective equipment including face masks and face shields.

The pandemic put into spotlight the agility and resiliency needed in every manufacturing industry, as supply chains get stuck and manufacturers are at a loss as to how to obtain their raw materials and parts. 

Nevertheless, the show must go on. And as vaccines are now being developed, it won’t be long until we see light at the end of this tunnel. In this special feature, experts in the metalworking industry provided their outlook for the coming year and their insights on how manufacturers should navigate whatever challenges the industry might still have along our way to recovery.


Simon Côté, Product Manager

The metalworking industry will continue to undergo major transformations in 2021. As customers continue to require more complex and sophisticated parts, it is becoming even more crucial for metalworking firms to implement new strategies and technologies to monitor the quality and compliance of final products—all while accelerating throughput due to demanding timelines.

Click here to read Simon’s outlook! 

Faccin Group

Rino Boldrini, Metal Forming Machine Specialist

There is no doubt 2020 will be remembered by most as a year to forget due to the pandemic and the global uncertainty, but it will also be considered as a starting point by those that were able to adapt to the market challenges by implementing or accelerating innovation-focused plans.

Click here to read what Rino expects this year! 

TRUMPF Asia Pacific

Chong Chee Ter, Managing Director

The outlook for the global economy in 2020 deteriorated significantly primarily due to the massive economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, we nevertheless are expecting global GDP growth to return back to the level of 2019.

Click here to read Chee Ter’s insights for 2021! 


Carsten Haecker, Head of Asia Pacific

Metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years now—albeit some levelling was and is still visible in the current pandemic.  To hold their own fortress against international competition, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks. One solution is the digitalization and networking of production and logistics processes—the basic technologies surrounding Industry 4.0.

Click here to read Carsten’s outlook! 


Eran Salmon, Executive Head of Research and Development

“Business as Usual” is constantly being redefined at ISCAR to meet the varying needs of global metalworking industries. In such a reality, innovative technologies and business opportunities emerge to meet all the challenges ahead. 

Click here to read Eran’s insights for 2021! 

Marposs KK Japan and SEA

Marco Zoli

2020 has seen the COVID-19 pandemic act on top of the existing geopolitical factors and on the shift to e-mobility, with the result of accelerating the evolution of the manufacturing environment. The trend of focusing on production resilience is set to continue, resulting in a more localized supply chain and a higher concentration on global players. 

Click here to read what Marco expects for the year! 

Paul Horn GmbH

Lothar Horn, CEO

Despite the restrictions predicted for 2021, most businesses have not stood still. In industries where exhibitions play a major role, it was more a question of how to bring innovations to market—especially with regard to communication. Many of the people I spoke to were initially very excited about the digital possibilities, and certainly rightly so. 

Click here to read Lothar’s outlook for 2021! 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Boon Choon Lim, President, Korea, ASEAN, Pacific, India

The year 2020 was characterized by virtual work and learning, as individuals and businesses reinvented themselves to maintain productivity. Optimising the digital landscape will continue in 2021, as companies embrace innovation to meet their needs. 

Click here to read what Boon Choon expects in 2021! 

Sandvik Coromant

Rolf Olofsson, Global Product Manager

To stay competitive, manufacturers need to rely more on digitized processes and less manual interaction. To meet the new requirements, we need to continue to drive the development and digitalization of the manufacturing industry. Sandvik Coromant have a unique venture with Microsoft, combining Sandvik Coromant’s expertise in machining with Microsoft’s technical solutions. 

Click here to read Rolf’s insights for 2021! 

Siemens Digital Industries Software

Alex Teo, Managing Director and Vice President for South East Asia

2020 underscored two important pillars of manufacturing: adaptability and resiliency. With COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, manufacturers need to inject their production chain with the agility to pivot and adapt to constantly changing market conditions. 

Click here to read what Alex expects in 2021! 

SLM Solutions Singapore

Gary Tang, Sales Director, Southeast Asia

“Change is the only constant in life” and this is characteristically so for 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Though businesses were disrupted, but in the same fast pace, opportunities arose for additive manufacturing (AM) in the medical frontline, responding quickly to severe restrictions in supply chains and traditional manufacturing bases.

Click here to read Gary’s outlook for 2021! 

Renishaw ASEAN

Steve Bell, General Manager

Unusual times in 2020 have brough significant difficulties in all walks of life, and manufacturing is no exception. The downturn in industrial activity has been evident during these COVID-19 times—mandatory closures, disruptions to the supply chain, and the stringent social distancing regulations imposed a devastating impact worldwide including the ASEAN region.   

Click here to read what Steve expects this year! 

VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)

Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Managing Director

The coronavirus pandemic is leaving deep scars in the German and international machine tool industry. For 2020, the VDW expects a decline in production of 30 percent. After economic data and economic indicators showed an upward trend in the third quarter, uncertainty in the economy is currently increasing in view of the second wave of the pandemic.

Click here to read Dr. Wilfried’s outlook for this year! 

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Industrial And Manufacturing 2021: The Year For Additive, Digital Threads, And Industry 4.0

Industrial And Manufacturing 2021: The Year For Additive, Digital Threads, And Industry 4.0

In its new whitepaper, 68 Technology Trends That Will Shape 2021, ABI Research identify 37 trends that will shape the technology market and 31 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months. “For success in 2021, especially after a very challenging 2020, one must understand fundamental trends early, and take a view on those trends that are buoyed by hyperbole and those that are sure to be uncomfortable realities. Now is the time to double down on the right technology investment,” says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research.

Additive Manufacturing Software Innovation Will Play Catch Up

“Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an ecosystem starting to open to third-party developers, and we will see this in 2021 with broader support for AM systems in IoT platforms, a much greater emphasis on simulation and integration of process parameters, and a market that will start to realise the disparity between hardware and software innovation and react with new solutions, and new programs that improve awareness, education, and integration. The reason these actions are inevitable is that production AM simply cannot happen without them,” says Ryan Martin, Industrial & Manufacturing Research Director at ABI Research.

Simulation Will be the Needle for Digital Threads

Manufacturers and industrial firms have been focusing efforts on creating a digital thread that keeps data flowing in a continuous loop between the engineering, manufacturing, and fulfillment teams. “However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital threads failed to anticipate demand surges because machine learning was looking at historical patterns and did not provide firms with the ability to maintain production. In 2021, simulation will provide firms with an overview of their operations and stress test them to build resilience. Projects will look to simulate scenarios and run what-if analysis that covers both downstream events (in end markets or individual customers) and upstream events to simulate how to accommodate supply chain events in engineering and production departments,” explains Michael Larner, Industrial & Manufacturing Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

Smart Manufacturing Builds Momentum

“Smart manufacturing will continue to build on its momentum in 2021, but not until factory owners embrace 5G for their smart factory connectivity layer will they reap the operational benefits. Factory owners have been deploying industry 4.0 tools, such as condition-based monitoring, inventory management, and building automation using ethernet cable, but deploying wireless-enabled Industry 4.0 tools will bring smart manufacturing to its full potential. Applications like wearables (health and location/safety trackers) and AR are only possible with wireless connectivity,” states Jake Saunders, Vice President at ABI Research.

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Bystronic’s Johan Elster: Get Ready For The Upturn

Bystronic’s Johan Elster: Get Ready for the Upturn

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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Light In Thailand’s Economy Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

Light In Thailand’s Economy Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

The recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 is threatening the global economy outlook. Thailand’s finance ministry has recently cut its 2020 economic growth forecast to 2.8 percent from 3.3 percent projected three months ago, owing to weaker exports due to ongoing US-China trade tensions and fall in tourism numbers due to the spread of the virus.

READ: Thailand Sets Sight on Industry 4.0

Despite this gloomy outlook, Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research) predicts that the impact of the virus on Thailand’s GDP will be moderate as the country is not as reliant on China’s economy as other economies like Vietnam or Singapore. The novel coronavirus could lower Thailand’s nominal GDP by 0.09-0.13 percent if the outbreak lasts longer than three months but less than six months, according to K-Research.

READ: GPSC Invests THB 1.1 Billion In Developing Thailand’s First Semi-Solid Battery Plant

In light of this, the government has taken several initiatives and measures to alleviate the impact of the virus, according to Fitch Solutions. This includes plans to introduce tax cuts and subsidies for the tourism sector and supporting domestic consumption and travel by extending the Taste-Shop-Spend programme. Moreover, kick-starting work on the delayed high-speed rail link, which is part of the Eastern Economic Corridor initiative, could spur some construction and investment activity in the region.

READ: Mitsubishi Motors To Invest Seven Billion Baht In Its Thailand Facility

Another encouraging sign is the movement of productions out of China to Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand due to the trade war and the virus outbreak. Google and Microsoft are accelerating efforts to shift production of their new devices away from manufacturing plants in China to Vietnam and Thailand. Toyota Boshoku Corporation are also considering moving production of auto seat covers to Japan or Thailand.


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Thailand Sets Sight On Industry 4.0

Thailand Sets Sight on Industry 4.0

Thailand is gearing up for Industry 4.0. Here’s a look at the opportunities and strengths that the second largest economy in ASEAN has to offer, and its manufacturing outlook for this year.

Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, consistently achieving robust economic growth driven by its strong fundamentals and diverse industries. Its GDP expanded by 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2019, driven mainly by increases in private and government final consumption expenditure and investment, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). From January to September 2019, Thailand’s economy expanded by 2.5 percent overall, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The industrial sector represents between 35 percent and 40 percent of Thailand’s GDP, with manufacturing as its main component. Top manufacturing products include automobiles and electronics products. During the first three quarters of 2019, automotive parts and accessories, and computer, equipment and parts are the country’s top two exports, according data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Thailand’s exports to the United States has somewhat benefited from the trade diversion caused by the continuing trade tensions between China and the United States. According to data from the US Census Bureau, Thai exports to the United States reached $27.77 billion from January to October 2019, up by 4.23 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. This accounted for 5.3 percent of Thailand’s total exports during the period.

Many companies in China that export to United States have relocated to ASEAN to circumvent tariffs. Thailand is the second highest recipient of the relocation, with Japanese companies being the majority, particularly in automotive parts and electrical appliances.

The impact of these relocations to Thailand will be more evident in 2020 and is expected to be among the main drivers of the country’s economy, together with greater government spending.

Dr. Djitt Laowattana

Dr. Djitt Laowattana

Gearing Up for Industry 4.0

At present, there are a lot of investments from mainland China, South Korea, and Japan, coming to Thailand, according to Dr. Djitt Laowattana, Executive Advisor, Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EEC) of Thailand. And most of them are already Industry 4.0, he adds.

“But the local industry is still not acquainted to it. We are still lagging. We are at around Industry 2.5 or 3.0, so, it is a big change in the landscape of the local industry,” says Dr. Laowattana. Based on his recent study, he notes that the necessity for implementing and adopting robotics and automation is a reality now in Thailand.

“Before, when you install one robot, the breakeven is maybe around four or five years. But now, when you install one robot, the breakeven can just be around six or seven months. There’s no need to convince factories anymore,” Dr. Laowattana explains.

EEC Infra Projects in Progress

Dr. Laowattana is currently responsible for five clusters that will be set up in the EEC: Robotics, Aerospace, Medical/Health, Digital Hub, and Biofuels/Biochemicals. “I am responsible for the investment strategy and the human resource development at EEC. We projected that for the 10 clusters, within five years, Thailand will need about 475,000 workers for the industry,” says Dr. Laowattana.

While training and education are important to take advantage of these new manufacturing and technology developments, those already in the industry will also be able to enhance their knowledge on these new technologies through trade events and exhibitions, for instance, the Manufacturing Expo 2020, which is ASEAN’s leading machinery and technology event for manufacturing and supporting industries; as well as trade publications.

The Thai government has earmarked THB1.7 trillion for the development of the EEC. One key development is the upgrading of the U-Tapao International Airport into an “aviation hub”, which will include a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) centre.

The region currently has spearheaded three smart cities, which aims to be smart cites for logistics, financial hub and aerotropolis. According to Dr. Laowattana, when investors look at the EEC, they are not looking at it as a portal of Thailand, but as a portal for CLMV—Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

“The FDI [foreign direct investment] is expected to be about THB4 trillion for the next five years,” says Dr. Laowattana. “Right now, the investments are about THB800 billion—of which, 58% is from China, followed by Japan. We are in a good track. With the investment of THB1.7 trillion for the infrastructure and expected FDI of about THB3 or THB4 trillion for the next five years [in the EEC], anybody can compute and collate that the GDP will be up 2 or 3 percent easily.”

Evolving Manufacturing Landscape

The necessity for implementing and adopting robotics and automation is a reality now in Thailand.

The necessity for implementing and
adopting robotics and automation is a
reality now in Thailand.

Thailand’s EEC aims to promote industries that are considered to be key driving forces for sustainable economic growth. And one key area of further development is the automotive manufacturing sector.

Thailand has developed from an assembler of automotive components into a top automotive manufacturing and export hub. It ships to more than 100 countries and has an established presence of almost all the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, assemblers and component makers.

In fact, by 2020, Thailand aims to manufacture 3.5 million units of vehicles to become one of the top performers in the global automotive market.

According to Dr. Laowattana, because Thailand’s automotive industry is huge, the challenge for new technologies such as hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) is the development of the supply chain around it. “But because this is a global trend, we cannot avoid it. Some of the part suppliers, we have to convert them to become precision parts manufacturers for the aerospace industry. When vehicles become EVs, the precision parts of the engine will be obsolete; so, the suppliers, manufacturers of precision parts, they have to move from the automotive to the aerospace,” Dr. Laowattana says. “My responsibility is to convert them to be the parts manufacturer for the aerospace industry. And there will be a major MRO set up in the EEC. MRO will be a critical component in the aerospace cluster.”

Regarding the transition to EVs, automotive leaders such as Toyota and Honda have already applied for investment incentives for EVs in Thailand. “It seems to me that they are finally doing it, while still maintaining the traditional automotive business. They are now trying to come up with prototypes to test whether EVs and hybrid vehicles will be practical in the Thai market.”


Thailand’s economic outlook is set to pick up this year because of improving state investment after the 2020 fiscal budget is disbursed, which is set to kick off in February. Another thing to note is the investments earmarked for the EEC. Likewise, private investments are also expected to rise despite myriad uncertainties, while exports are seen to improve. In addition, TDRI notes that household consumption is expected to grow at around 3 percent in 2020.

Productivity, in particular, is expected to improve in 2020. “New players are coming; in fact, we have one of the global leaders in robotics coming to Thailand,” says Dr. Laowattana. “I think the outlook for industrial automation will be better.”

Manufacturing Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a new chapter in manufacturing.

Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June
at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a
new chapter in manufacturing.

Such optimistic outlook bodes well for technology suppliers to Thailand’s high-tech industries, including automotive manufacturing. As Thailand gears up to enter the Industry 4.0 area, system suppliers and equipment makers will find a lot of opportunities to help Thai manufacturers upgrade their manufacturing capabilities, further improve their efficiencies and quality, and take their production to the next level.

As the world changes significantly and the manufacturing industry enters a new era where every single production process is being connected together with Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and big data solutions, Manufacturing Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a new chapter in manufacturing by gathering the newest manufacturing technology innovations and solutions from 2,400 brands from 46 countries. The event aims to highlight the latest breakthroughs and changes happening in the manufacturing industry, and be the industry’s platform to further empower manufacturing development in Thailand.


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Looking Ahead Into 2020

Looking Ahead Into 2020

Market outlook 2020: The year 2019 has been quite a challenging year for the manufacturing industry, with geopolitical tensions impacting investment decisions and shifts in manufacturing centres, and trends such as e-mobility, Industry 4.0, and additive manufacturing creating industrial transformation. In this Outlook 2020 special, six industry leaders share their thoughts on what to expect in 2020, how the industry will develop, new opportunities and market drivers, and how to navigate through the challenges and issues from these dynamics.


Lim Boon Choon, President, Asia Pacific, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

The year 2019 was a time of economic uncertainty in global manufacturing. But the Asia Pacific region is well placed to capitalise on new opportunities in 2020, as increasing adoption of disruptive technologies shows organisations are facing market challenges by pursuing innovation-driven competitiveness. The growing recognition of the efficiency and operational excellence to be gained from digitised metrology offers long-term, sustainable investment and expansion in the Asia Pacific market.

The Growth of the Smart Factory

Increasingly connected enterprises will be a continuing trend throughout 2020 and beyond. The digital transformation of quality is a central part of this smart factory vision. Approaches to metrology data are maturing, and companies are focused on gaining actionable insights from real-time data. Growing demand for data analysis software is expected, and the adoption of platforms offering advanced big data and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities will enable far more predictive and proactive manufacturing.

Across the region, new business models will emerge with the prevalence of cloud computing, connecting quality systems to machines throughout end-to-end processes and across factories. Streamlining the analysis and communication of metrology data is essential to breakdown operational silos and drive growth by enhancing product customisation capabilities and throughput.

The trend of automating metrology operations will continue to grow with the increasing adoption of robotics, measuring cells, and automated part loading, enabling manufacturers to scale up their autonomous capabilities. And as manufacturers look to increase their application flexibility, demand for non-contact 3D scanning technology will increase.

Driving Additive Manufacturing Capabilities

Additive manufacturing, also known as industrial 3D printing, is still emerging in sectors such as medical, transportation and logistics, construction, aviation, automotive, and shipping. But according to research from Thyssenkrupp, 3D printing is expected to create $100 billion in value in the ASEAN region by 2025. Quality will play a central role in expanding this developing process, with technologies such as 3D scanning and computed tomography (CT) for measuring internal geometries. Additive manufacturing is a key area of strategic importance for Hexagon. The recent acquisition of CT software provider Volume Graphics adds advanced measurement capabilities to Hexagon’s already comprehensive solution portfolio in the additive space, which also includes software for generative design and additive process simulation.

The expected widespread adoption of smart technologies suggests 2020 will mark a major step forward on the industry 4.0 journey.



Meir Noybauer, Business Development Manager, ISCAR

Throughout the year 2020, the industry as we know it will shift towards smart factories with IoT (Internet of Things) cyber connectivity, and AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics technologies, that will most likely be developed in the main industrial hubs as part of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).

3D Printing

Additive Manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies will continue to grow and replace conventional methods for machining automotive, aerospace and energy parts, and facilitate new opportunities for complicated part designs that were previously unrealizable.

Clean Energy

The global search for clean energy and low-emission mobility is leaning towards newer and harder materials, which challenge ISCAR to develop advanced machining technologies, such as SiAlON ceramics and super alloy materials, while using high and ultra-high coolant pressure to boost productivities to higher levels never seen before.


The medical sector will be one of the emerging industry segments, with sophisticated implants using advanced materials and machining technologies jointly developed by ISCAR engineers and leading medical implant companies throughout Europe, the US and Eastern Asia.


The automotive segment will continue to be a global industry leader, while transitioning from conventional combustion to small hybrid-high efficiency engines and electric e-drive cars and implementing other clean mobile technologies, specifically for electric charging infrastructures which have not yet been applied in many countries.



Stefano Corradini, Group Director, Sales & Marketing, Marposs

The year 2020 appears to be one of the most challenging years of the last decade, both in the Asia Pacific and worldwide.

The combination of trade wars and their impact on several geographic areas and market sectors, social turmoil in various countries, and many technological changes as consequence of increased environmental concerns, may have a significant negative effect on the general economic situation.

Automotive Manufacturing Evolution

Being a significant part of Marposs business somehow related to the automotive sector, we see the evolution from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electromobility as one of the biggest driver of the economic uncertainty. We prefer, anyway, to see this as an opportunity to offer our existing and new customers an extended panel of solutions, which are moving from our traditional measuring sector to a broader concept including several type of testing equipment (mainly leak test using different type of tracer gas extended also to fuel cells), as well as inspection applications (non-destructive, vision, and similar), and control systems to monitor the whole manufacturing process of the core components of the NEVs/BEVs (new/battery energy vehicles), such as battery cells, modules and packs, battery trays, and electric drive units (EDU) including electric motors; and end of line testing.

We are willing to become a preferred partner of BEV manufacturers and suppliers as we have been for decades for traditional combustion engines, offering them our technical know-how, our innovation culture, and our worldwide organization for sales and after sales.



Steve Bell, General Manager, ASEAN, Renishaw (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Smart manufacturing technologies increase visibility and transparency to manufacturing operations, allowing manufacturers to get the overall picture of their productivity and competitiveness, to make faster changes in response to market-based threats or opportunities. This requires a range of intelligent process control solutions throughout the factory, to ensure high standards of repeatability. The key is going digital—connecting physical manufacturing processes with the digital technology to make decisions about process improvement on the shop floor, or on mobile devices.

Flexible and Customised

Additive manufacturing plays a major role in the Industry 4.0 revolution, allowing manufacturers the flexibility to build highly customised parts. Renishaw’s additive manufacturing technologies continue to evolve, aiming to provide users the flexibility to use, change and manage different metal materials, enables users to adapt to meet market demand and configure processes to achieve optimal performance.

Focus on Automotive Industry

Ensuring businesses are equipped and ready to navigate the evolving automotive manufacturing landscape, Renishaw’s manufacturing solutions provide the speed, flexibility, and ease of use to help companies adapt their production capabilities for the evolving electric future. From multi-sensor rapid scanning of machined castings to material analysis of fuel cells, we will continue to support customers on the road from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV).



Alex Teo, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Siemens Digital Industries Software

The maturity of manufacturing supply chains in Asia has undoubtedly exerted pressure on the metalworking industry to be more competitive than ever. Demand for steel in Asia is expected to rise by an average of 1.5 percent in 2020, and will likely see effects such as rising operating costs necessitating the move for businesses to look for technology driven solutions to relieve some of these operational strains. In particular, Southeast Asia is an exciting region for growth, with markets such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore making strides in realising their Industry 4.0 visions through digitalisation. In 2020, we also launched a Technical Competency Hub in Penang, the first in the region, which serves as a platform for Siemens to help companies, especially SMEs, begin their digitalisation journey in order to meet the needs of the new economy.

Digital Twins

Using digital twins, manufacturers will be able to explore more economical and structurally enhanced materials. By leveraging physics-based simulations, supported by data analytics in an entirely virtual environment, the expansion of production capacity in Asia can be further encouraged. This means that manufacturers can optimise their choice of materials by testing and analysing combinations of different metals and alloys digitally before using additive manufacturing technologies such as powder bed fusion to produce these components faster and more reliably, reducing the need and cost for real prototypes.

Additive Manufacturing

Siemens’ end-to-end additive manufacturing solutions cover CAD/CAM/CAE models that enable product design and simulation of production processes and planning, preparation, and verification of the print jobs. Simulation and 3D modelling allow for advanced complexity of design and quality, ultimately resulting in fewer distortions and errors. The goal is flawless execution when parts come out of a factory, ready for certification. The full additive challenge covers the entire value chain: product design, production process, and performance.

Using customisable solutions for pressing, transporting, positioning and press safety, in combination with simulation for the entire spectrum of metal forming, businesses can proactively advance with components working seamlessly together. This collaboration increases the cost-effectiveness of all production processes in all sectors, reducing energy costs.



Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director, VDW (German Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association)

The economic environment for the international and German machine tool industry remains difficult now and in the coming months. After eight years of high economic activity in the international machine tool industry, global demand for capital goods has calmed considerably after the fourth quarter of 2018. The reasons for this have already been identified and discussed many times. The economic distortions, in particular the trade war between the United States and China, are boosting the already sharp drop in demand. The increasing protectionism at all levels is affecting world trade and international supply chains. Finally, the structural shift in the automotive industry towards new drive technologies is causing further problems. It is still questionable at what pace and extent development is progressing and which technologies will be used in the future. The entire scenario is unsettling the industry worldwide. Companies have become very cautious, and they are shifting their investments.

Because of these, incoming orders in the international machine tool industry fell sharply in all regions in the first nine months of 2019. According to initial estimates, orders worldwide fell by 21 percent. Asia declined by 24 percent, while Europe lost 19 percent of its orders. Contracts in America, which is particularly the United States, held up best, if we can say so. They went down 18 percent in comparison to the previous year. In Germany, with its high dependence on exports, incoming orders fell by 23 percent by October in 2019, the most recent available data. This applies equally to domestic and foreign orders.

Markets to Stabilise

Oxford Economics, the VDW’s forecasting partner, expects this trend to stabilise in the best case scenario for 2020. At 2.5 percent, global economic output is expected to be slightly below the increase in 2019. With 2.1 percent, industrial production will grow more strongly than the current year. This also applies to investments. Stabilisation is also expected for the whole German economy. Industrial production, which is expected to shrink in 2019, is likely to turn slightly up again. This means that incoming orders in the machine tool industry will probably go through the bottom in the course of the coming year.

Machine tool consumption, a late indicator, will remain negative in all regions. Asia is the exception. Manufacturers can draw new hope from the fact that the election results in Great Britain have now provided certainty about the island’s exit date from the European Union. Then, the negotiations on a tariff agreement can begin and hopefully lead to a good end. There is also movement in the trade conflict between the United States and China. Should a consensus be reached, the world economy will reach new momentum as well.


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Metalworking Fluids Market To Cross US$15B By 2025

Metalworking Fluids Market to Cross US$15B by 2025

The metalworking fluids market is expected to cross US$15 billion by 2025, according to research by Global Market Insights. Rapid urbanisation coupled with swelling automotive sales across the globe, especially in the emerging economies, are the key factors driving the metalworking fluids market during the 2018–2025 forecast period.

The specialty fluids can be used in various ways in processing metal workpieces. The most common three ways include spray, continuous jet and hand dispensers. Sprays can be manually operated and are generally used in cases where the workpiece rotation speed is varied frequently by the operator. These are extensively used in applications such as turning, grinding, drilling, reaming, tapping and broaching. The end-use industries using these applications are aerospace, automotive, marine, defence and manufacturing companies.

Metalworking fluids are used to protect, lubricate and cool the machine during stamping, drawing, roll forming, cold heading, extruding and welding tube rolls in the production process. The robust growth in the metal and steel fabrication is expected to boost demand for the forming and removal metalworking fluids, thereby propelling the market by 2025.

Meanwhile, the increasing usage of alloys of non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and titanium in the aerospace industry, would hamper the demand for specialty fluids as these alloys do not require specialty fluids in the machining process. Furthermore, workers can also be exposed by breathing in the vapour, by getting the fluids on their skin, or by ingesting them.

However, rising usage of bio-based metalworking fluids has lowered environmental issues and health risks for workers. This will likely influence the metalworking fluids market size over the forecast timeframe. The product segment is divided into synthetic fluid, soluble oil, neat oil, and semi-synthetic fluid. Neat oils are composed of animal, mineral, synthetic, marine, or vegetable oils. These are not diluted with water, but other additives may be present. These oils are applicable in gear cutting, threading of alloys, and broaching operations.

Based on the product applications, the metalworking fluids market is classified into forming fluids, treating, protecting fluids, and removal. Removal fluids are used in grinding and machining operations to prolong the tool-life, transport debris and safeguard the work piece surfaces from frictional wear. They account for one percent to three percent of the total manufacturing cost, and provide substantial savings through an extended tool life, protection of the work piece surfaces, and reduced machine downtime. The segment will register over US$7 billion by 2025 owing to the growth in the OEM industries in the coming years.

The established automobile market in Europe, especially in Germany offers a promising growth of more than four percent CAGR by 2025. As metal is broadly used in vehicles to provide stability and structural strength. Thus, metalworking fluids will be essentially required in the automobile business as a coolants and metal protection purposes in the future years. Also, due to flourishing automobile industry, metal and steel fabrication industry is booming in Europe. In this industry, steel and metal undergo bending, cutting, and assembling processes, which essentially require specialty fluids for effective and efficient operations.



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Global Aerospace Materials Market To Reach US$10.8 Billion By 2025

Global Aerospace Materials Market To Reach US$10.8 Billion By 2025

The global aerospace materials market is projected to grow to US$10.8 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 percent. According to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc., growth is mainly driven by increasing demand for sophisticated military aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Of the aerospace materials market, the aluminium alloys segment displays the potential to grow at over 7 percent and is poised to reach over US$11.2 billion by 2025.

Representing the developed world, the United States will maintain a 5.6 percent growth momentum. Within Europe, which continues to remain an important element in the global economy, Germany will add over US$380.2 million to the region’s size and clout in the next five to six years. Over US$995.6 million worth of projected demand in the region will come from other emerging Eastern European markets.

In Japan, aluminium alloys will reach a market size of US$497.2 million by the end of the forecast period. On the other hand, as the world’s second largest economy, China exhibits the potential to grow at 9.8 percent over the next couple of years and add approximately US$3 billion in terms of addressable opportunity for the picking by aspiring businesses and their astute leaders. Several macroeconomic factors and internal market forces will shape growth and development of demand patterns in emerging countries in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.



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Global Sheet Metal Fabrication Services Market To Register 3% CAGR From 2019-2023

Global Sheet Metal Fabrication Services Market To Register 3% CAGR From 2019-2023

The global sheet metal fabrication services market is expected to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 3 percent during the period 2019-2023, according to the latest market research report by Technavio.

A key factor driving the growth of the market is the increasing demand for fabricated metal parts from major end-user industries. Despite the emergence of carbon fibre, sheet metal forming plays a crucial role in the automotive and aerospace and defence industries. Metals are the major raw materials used in these industries as they can easily be transformed and made into shapes as per application requirement.

With the current focus on lean manufacturing and increasing operational efficiency, including cost-cutting, sheet metal forming process will be a valuable service for OEMs. Since automotive and aerospace and defence industries are the major end-users in the global sheet metal fabrication services market, the increasing investments in these industries will drive the global sheet metal fabrication services market during the forecast period.

As per Technavio, the increasing adoption of cobots (collaborative robots) in metal fabrication process will have a positive impact on the market and contribute to its growth significantly over the forecast period.

Global Sheet Metal Fabrication Services Market - Technavio

Global sheet metal fabrication services market outlook.

A cobot works alongside humans without physical separation or any caging requirement. These cobots use specialised sensors and robot controllers for operation, thereby increasing the operational efficiency and safety in the process line. They are used to ease programming and reduce safety costs. They are built using sensors, such as torque sensors and built-in safety sensors, to identify the presence of humans near them. With the improving safety standards in industries, vendors will increase their investments in improving sensing technologies, specifically for collaborative robots. Moreover, the rising shortage of labour can be addressed by fabricators by using cobots. Vendors in the industrial robotics market are also focusing on developing cobots specifically for the metal fabrication process.

Apart from the increasing adoption of cobots in the metal fabrication process, the advent of additive manufacturing is one other factor that is expected to boost the market growth, according to Technavio. The manufacturing industry has witnessed the emergence of revolutionary 3D printing technology, which is also known as additive manufacturing. The adoption of 3D printers has helped sheet metal fabricators, as dies used in machine tools for the punching process can be produced cost-efficiently using 3D printers. Thus, improvements in the 3D printing technology and the increased adoption will lead to a complete shift in the manufacturing process, besides driving the growth of the global sheet metal fabrication services market during the forecast period.

From a regional perspective, the Asia Pacific led the market in 2018, followed by North America, Europe, South America, and the Middle East and Africa, respectively. During the forecast period, the APAC region is expected to maintain its dominance over the global market and register the highest incremental growth due to increasing demand from automobiles manufactured in the region.



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CNC Market Outlook: 7.3% CAGR During 2019-2023

CNC Market Outlook: 7.3% CAGR During 2019-2023

The computer numerical controls (CNC) market is projected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent from 2019 to 2024, according to a new report by Mordor Intelligence. This growth is mainly attributed to the increase in demand for productions efficiency, as CNC machines streamline many operational processes by reducing production time and minimising human error.

Also, a highly competitive market has compelled players to focus on efficient manufacturing techniques. They are trying to gain competitive advantage by redesigning their facilities, which include CNC machines. Apart from this, the integration of 3D printing with CNC machines is a unique addition to some of the new production units, which is expected to offer better multi-material capability, with little resource wastage.

The growing demand for automated manufacturing in the industrial sector has also resulted in the increasing usage of CNC machines. Also, the establishment of manufacturing facilities in Asia-Pacific has spurred the usage of computer numerical controls in the sector.

On the other hand, the automotive sector is set to be a rapidly developing one in the coming years, mainly due to the increasing rate of automated automobile manufacturing. From die-casting similar components to crafting unibody frames, CNC tools and machines are solely responsible for a large number of parts present in modern vehicles.

In fact, carburettor housings, suspension components, axles, bearing caps as well as engine housings are all manufactured using CNC machines. Acrylic/PMMA machining for headlights, exterior lights as well as interior lights are another paradigm on how numerical control machining is being utilised when components are being made in the automotive sector.

Asia-Pacific Holds the Largest Share in CNC Market

Developing economies, such as China and India, have been witnessing rapid growth in terms of industrialisation, thereby driving the market. The automotive sector is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period, owing to the rising demand for automobiles in the region.

The easy availability of labour and the declining prices of components have resulted in manufacturers shifting their production units in this region, which is further promoting the market. nearness to the supply and demand region is amongst the critical factor that drives the adoption in this region.

Moreover, the establishment of manufacturing facilities in the Asia Pacific has spurred the usage of CNC machines in this sector.



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