The 26th edition of the International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, EuroBLECH 2020, will take place from 27 – 30 October 2020 at the Hanover Exhibition Grounds in Germany. The show organisers, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, have now announced the expansion of exhibition space for EuroBLECH 2020 with the addition of a ninth hall for the first time in its history. This reflects a further increase in exhibition space compared to the previous event in 2018, which covered a total of 89,800 square metres.
“With the directly neighbouring hall 26, we are now able to offer additional stand space for the exhibition to meet the demand of exhibitors to display their latest machines in the various technology sectors. The additional hall will host exhibitors of joining technology, as well as surface and tool technology, which have previously been located in hall 13. The ninth hall is giving us the possibility to assign stand space to additional exhibiting companies within the entire sheet metal working technology chain represented at EuroBLECH,” said Evelyn Warwick, Exhibition Director of EuroBLECH, on behalf of the organiser Mack Brooks Exhibitions.
“The growth to a ninth exhibition hall reflects the increasing demand for stand space at the leading industry event and offers even more capacity for businesses to present their innovations to an international audience”, he continued.
Smart sheet metal working key focus for this year’s show
For EuroBLECH 2020, the main topics represent the latest industry trends, including smart sheet metal working as well as automation and digitalisation of the manufacturing chain, with the objective to increase output and efficiency. For exhibiting companies in this industry sector, it is a vital time to present their machines, systems and solutions for networked manufacturing to an international audience.
Nicola Minelli, Branch Manager of Marposs Singapore, speaks to Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) about the challenges and opportunities in the Philippine market, and provides his outlook on the country’s metalworking industry.
Since its establishment in 1952 in Bologna, Italy, Marposs S.p.A. has been producing standard and custom made systems for industrial applications to measure and control dimensions, geometries and surface quality of mechanical components, as well as leak test or visual inspection and for control and monitoring of the machining process on every type of machine tool.
The Group now has around 80 offices in 25 countries, with a total of 3,700 direct employees. It caters to machine tool makers as well as provides solutions for the automotive, aerospace, energy, biomedical, and technology industries.
In Southeast Asia in particular, Marposs is present in Singapore (for covering the markets of Philippines, Johor, Batam, Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Bangkok in Thailand, which is also the main office in the region.
During the recent PDMEX 2019 exhibition in Manila, Philippines, Nicola Minelli, Branch Manager of Marposs Singapore, speaks to Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) about the challenges and opportunities in the Philippine market, and provides his outlook on the country’s metalworking industry.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE PHILIPPINE MARKET?
Nicola Minelli (NM): It is definitely an important market — it may be even more important in the future for two main reasons: one, the Philippines is moving towards high-end production—it is no longer a place where you can mass produce cheap products. So, manufacturers need to invest in high-end systems to create better products and more efficiently. And second, in my opinion, even though we are happy with our overall market here, there are still a lot of companies here that we do not know yet and that represent new business opportunities for us.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHALLENGES?
NM: Yes, competition is always around. Marposs is the only company who can offer a full range of gauging and inspection solutions for mechanical manufacturing. We have actually quite a lot of specific competitors, for particular product ranges, but overall, we are proposing to our customers a wide range of portfolio that, if you don’t get to sell one thing, maybe there is opportunity for something else.
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT INDUSTRIES HERE STAND OUT IN TERMS OF GROWTH?
NM: Our core business is the automotive industry. We have long lasting business relations with all main automotive players in the area, based on similar strong connections with their headquarters abroad. The automotive sector worldwide is going through a huge process of transition to the electro-mobility and this will come surely in this area, too. Marposs is able to provide new solutions also for this new challenge, with the target to remain a first-class supplier of the whole automotive supply chain.
I also see aerospace growing. For the time being, for us, those two industries—automotive and aerospace—are what’s growing here.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES OF YOUR CUSTOMERS, AND HOW DO YOU HELP THEM ADDRESS THOSE?
NM: Technically, they are not so much of a challenge for us. The biggest effort is often to convince Customers to choose higher value solutions compared with some basic ones. Because somehow, you have to justify the investment. If you offer any solution at a higher cost, you have to justify it. We have different situations where you have to understand what the customer might need. Just an example, they may be using bore gauges for checking parts. You can offer some system that is faster and more accurate—but more expensive. So, you have to justify why they need to adopt the faster, more accurate system. And I would say, almost 90% of the time, the customers’ main concern is the price/value ratio.
WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN THE SOUTHEAST ASIA MARKET?
NM: The trend now is that everybody is pushing for Industry 4.0. Everybody wants data collection or statistical analysis, or the possibility of the transfer of data directly from the gauge to a server and so on. I think this one is the main trends now.
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY TOWARDS THIS TREND?
NM: For a long time, we have been offering these possibilities, these features. In the past, very few companies—especially American companies—actually made use of statistical analysis. Now, this request is more widespread, and more customers are looking at it. But, to have in place automatic systems for data collection needs further studies; you need to understand which data you need to collect. Because you can collect everything—you can have information on everything. But, eventually, what do you really need?
Maybe for the time being, this trend is not so much present yet in the Philippines, but it definitely is a strong trend in Singapore.
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR METALWORKING INDUSTRY IN THE PHILIPPINES?
NM: It will be better. I have been coming to the Philippines for a very long time, and compared to the past, the industry has become much more interesting. I am expecting this trend to continue in the future as well. I have also been participating since long time to this exhibition; in the beginning, it was just a small show, with just few distributors. Now, you can see a lot of manufacturers coming here. I am very optimistic about the future of the industry here in the Philippines.
At the recent MTA Vietnam 2019 trade show in Ho Chi Minh City, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke with Patrick Kemnitz, General Director of TRUMPF Vietnam and Head of Business Development for Southeast Asia, and Edward Yuen, General Manager for Singapore and Vietnam, about the trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region, challenges and opportunities for growth. They also provided their insights on where the Southeast Asian market is headed in the next years.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN VIETNAM?
Patrick Kemnitz (PK): Vietnam is a strong and steadily growing market, with a GDP of around five to seven percent. Vietnamese companies have been getting more and more jobs from foreign markets, especially with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
This is the current situation. But in the long run, we see huge potential in the Vietnamese market. Its huge population of labour entering the workforce is also a very high potential for growth.
In almost all industries where sheet metal products are needed, such as furniture, elevators, construction, automotive, bicycle, there is an opportunity for doing these metal products locally instead of importing them. So, the increasing localisation of all the industries is a very high potential for businesses.
Edward Yuen (EY): The market now is driven by infrastructure development. You see a lot of construction happening all over Vietnam. Tall buildings, highways, bridges are built—for all these infrastructures, sheet metal works are required. Also due to the tariff issue between China and the United States, you will see a lot of these industries basically restructuring their businesses instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, and some of the international companies investing strongly in Vietnam.
ARE YOU SEEING ANY CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET?
PK: For our customers, one of their challenges is having skilled workforce for their factories.
Therefore, education needs to be tackled: Vietnam needs to have the right education on future technologies. In line with this, we are working with educational organizations like universities and technical colleges to support them with technical input from the industry as investing in people is important for future growth of the whole country.
There are other issues, but I think the opportunities are bigger than these challenges. There is also the opportunity brought by Industry 4.0 and smart factory. This is our theme in this exhibition, ‘Your Smart Factory’, which is about how we can help our customers make the first steps in the direction of a connected production process and to provide all the advantages of having a smart factory. This is really a process that will require a step by step approach. And now is the time for our customers and the industry in Vietnam, because many new factories are being set up here. They are not just expanding their existing factories, but also building new ones. If you have these greenfield projects, you have the opportunity to plan really well from scratch.
HOW IS TRUMPF ADDRESSING THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF MANUFACTURING LEVELS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?
PK: We established our product portfolio in such a way that we have a solution for customers from all levels. For instance, our entry level machines are strategically positioned to help customers grow their manufacturing process. We also have machines which allows our customers to upgrade into a combination machine to extend their production. And on the very high-end sector we offer fully automated machines and storage systems.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?
PK: Three to five years in Vietnam, or maybe Southeast Asia in general, is a long horizon. At the moment we mainly still have a positive outlook for the economy. Of course, there are signs that the global economy is slowing down, especially in the machinery industry, but so far these still might be part of the cyclical developments over time. Here in Vietnam, there is positive development. Mostly, all the industries that are relevant for sheet metal production are growing, so we are quite positive for our customers, that they can develop their business in a very positive way as there is still a lot of space to grow. In this environment, we consider TRUMPF as an enabler of this growth.
EY: For Southeast Asia, I think there are good prospects for the next three to five years. The continuing trade war between the United States and China which is not going to end soon are driving a lot of companies to move to Southeast Asia. Whatever products that you are now manufacturing in China and if you have to export it to the USA, you want to avoid getting entangle into this tariff game. Now we see lots of job-shops in Vietnam are loading up with jobs that are shifted over from plants in China. Going forward I believe more manufacturing companies in China will slow their expansion there and instead build up their expansion in SEA instead. In a way you don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket. The other impetus, the cost of manufacturing in those big northern Asian countries are not getting any cheaper and it only makes sense to capitalise on the cheaper labour force; huge available cheaper land and better infrastructure of SEA to grow a business.
Ultimately, the metalworking industry needs differentiation and tools to help stakeholders to level up their products and services for customers. Here’s how. Article by Helen Masters, INFOR.
Singapore’s government, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has in recent years identified four technology sectors that Singapore needs to build on; one of which is Internet of Things (IoT). For a small country with a population of just 5.64 million, Singapore has truly transformed itself into a hotbed for technology and innovation, becoming a magnet for foreign companies with regional headquarters and being an example for the rest of Southeast Asia.
With IoT technology, metal fabrication companies based in Singapore are in a position to once again lead the rest of the region with value-add to customers and streamline processes. But will adding condition-tracking sensors to equipment be enough? Is IoT technology the cure-all for tight margins, escalating customer demands, volatile pricing, and aggressive competition? Well, that depends.
The Background in a Snapshot
IoT has been generating buzz that spikes then ebbs, like the tides. Grandiose projections for potential economic impact create optimistic swells. Media pundits herald IoT technology as the key driver behind waves of digitalization. But, then, mixed feedback pops up. Some early adopters realize their tidal waves of data need to be aggregated and analyzed further in order to have practical applications. Data overload is a common issue to resolve.
As more and more projects move through proof-of-concept stages, it becomes clear that deploying an IoT plan is not as simple as flipping a switch. Often, several solutions are required in order to achieve the specific results desired. There is, though, one factor common to all successful initiatives: a foundational strategy and plan for data consumption must be in place to avoid data overload. Analytics with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) separates programs with marginal results from ones with game-changing, differentiating outcomes.
How Do Metal Fabricators Avoid Common Mistakes?
When designing programs to leverage IoT technologies, metal fabricators should focus on applications which will bring measurable impact on the bottom line. Because of the industry’s ultra-thin margins, any tactic which helps to control costs and boost productivity will be of value. Those incremental gains, though, may not be enough to be true attention-getters for customers.
Fabricators wanting to differentiate their business from the onslaught of competitors will need to aim for bigger, better, more unique gains in order to impress the highly demanding B2B customer.
Five Tips for Achieving Differentiation Through IoT
Offer Servitisation. If you are a fabricator of industrial components or equipment, offering a product as a service is one of the most dramatic ways to use IoT technology. Thanks to data generated from sensors, you can monitor customer inventory levels at their location, consumption rates of your products, project needed demand, and provide a continuous as-needed supply. This service will help your customers optimize their inventory levels while building a relationship of trust.
Productise Data. Data generated from sensors provides valuable insight about the way in which components are functioning in the field, how assets are performing, ways to improve field conditions, and lifecycle phases of fabricated parts and components. This data can be packaged and offered to customers. It can be a value-add service or a new revenue stream.
Engage Customers. IoT technology can be used to capture and share insights with customers. IoT connectivity and sensor-generated data up-levels the ability to collaborate on component design, test results, and co-monitor fabricated parts through test stages. Even though you may be miles or continents away from you customer, the ability to collect, aggregate, analyze and share condition-based data from anywhere, brings you closer to your customers– when and where they are making decisions.
Manage Volatility. IoT technology can help you monitor the location of delivery trucks, service fleets, shipments of raw materials, and inventory levels in your warehouse—or your customers. Fast changing stock conditions can be monitored in real-time, so timely decisions can be made about shifting inventory between warehouses or re-routing trucks as needed. This agility can be a marketable differentiator.
Extend Asset Lifecycle. Sensors embedded in shop floor assets can be used to collect data about the physical condition of assets, like temperature and vibration, monitoring for early warning signs of maintenance requirements. Staying proactive and maintaining high-value assets properly can enable companies to extend their lifecycle, eliminate unplanned downtime, and improve productivity. This can ultimately improve the accuracy of capacity planning, on-time delivery to customers, and cashflow.
Each of these differentiating tips requires advanced IoT software, including cloud computing, a data lake for aggregating and storing large volumes of data, and analytics for drawing consumable insights from the data. Solutions need to tightly integrate and adhere to modern security protocols. Working with a solution provider or deployment consultant will help you leverage the benefits of experience.
As IoT technology is still relatively new, your internal IT teams will appreciate the help of professionals who are familiar with the complexities of IoT deployment. These experts can help you avoid common pitfalls and overcome any possible roadblocks that arise.
Ultimately, metal fabricators need differentiation and tools to help them level-up their products and service for customers. IoT technology can provide important abilities and help you leverage technology for insight.
But, to truly be effective and reap differentiating-level benefits, metal fabricators need to go beyond the basics. Involve experts to help plan the strategy. Set goals using advanced applications, such as the five listed here, to stand out from the competition. Most importantly, get started now.
EMO Hannover 2019 closed its doors following a six-day run. From 16 to 21 September, round about 117,000 production specialists from 150 countries convened at the world’s leading tradeshow for the metalworking industry. “This EMO Hannover 2019 built on the success of our boom year in 2017,” reported EMO General Commissioner Carl Martin Welcker.
He continued: “In the context of subdued economic expectations over the past several months, the moderate decline in attendance has to be viewed as a success. We are particularly delighted at the further increase in the percentage of foreign attendees.”
The mood in the halls was positive, with many exhibitors pleasantly surprised at the high volume of visitor traffic at their stands. “EMO Hannover has once again proved solid as a rock, providing clarity for the further development of production technology, even in uncertain times,” Welcker added.
Its trademarks included a strong international character, a high caliber of visitors and exhibitors, and an amazing wealth of innovations and new products, he stressed. As the world’s leading metalworking fair, it was the “place to be”.
Mixed Mood – Investment-Readiness Bodes Well For Post-Show Business
Exhibitors with a broad customer base were satisfied with the run of the fair. In the words of Dr. Wolfgang Heuring, CEO of the Erlangen-based Motion Control Business Unit at Siemens: “The level of visitor interest at our stand this year was incredible. We are delighted at the way things have gone.” Other firms with a stronger focus on the passenger car industry seemed to be less upbeat about the situation.
“Firms are clearly more reluctant to commit themselves, given the general uncertainty over where the market is heading,” remarked Dr. Christian Lang, CEO of Liebherr-Verzahntechnik in Kempten. “But our discussions with customers at our stand have still been substantive and very promising for the future,” he added.
While some exhibitors spoke of a historic paradigm shift in the automotive industry, which still needed to be mastered, other exhibitors reported successfully negotiating business deals with automakers during the fair.
Strong Asian Presence At EMO Hannover
As the flagship fair for its sector of industry, EMO Hannover has a strong international profile. More than half of all attendees came from abroad, split almost evenly between other European countries and overseas. A 20 percent growth in attendance from overseas in comparison with the 2017 event was particularly impressive. This included a high percentage of Asian guests, who accounted for almost one third of visitors from abroad, with China, Japan, Taiwan and India heading the rankings.
“The highly international makeup of EMO visitors, particularly from Asia, resulted in a busy and extremely global atmosphere at our stand,” said Dr. Stefan Brand, CEO of Vollmer Werke in Biberach. This trend was clearly related to a higher number of Asian exhibitors at this year’s event, who encouraged their customers to visit them in Hannover. Other countries with strong representation at the event included Italy, Poland, Sweden, Russia and Turkey.
Digitalisation And Automation Gathering Momentum
“This year’s EMO once again generated fresh momentum for innovations,” reported Lothar Horn, Managing Director of Paul Horn GmbH in Tübingen. As an innovations platform for production technology, EMO is expected to chart the trends for the years ahead, and once again the mission was successful. The EMO motto “Smart technologies driving tomorrow’s production” accurately reflected the key issues facing the industry today.
“Our many discussions with customers at EMO 2019 in Hannover revealed that a focus on the holistic process chain, including digital services, creates the relevant added value for customers,” said Christian Thönes, Chairman of the Executive Board at Bielefeld-based DMG Mori AG. This feeling was shared across all exhibitor segments.
“The positive visitor response to our cloud-based simulation tools and monitoring system as an Industry 4.0 application was striking,” commented Marie-Sophie Maier-Wember, CEO of Haas Schleifmaschinen GmbH in Trossingen. And the buzzwords of IoT platforms, apps, digital twins, artificial intelligence (AI), edge and cloud computing were omnipresent at the fair.
This all served to highlight just how much has changed since the most recent event two years ago. Particularly in Hall 9, the domains of research and practice came together. This blend of research and industry attracted large visitor numbers from around the world.
“We have made many new contacts, and the ideas garnered from talking to all these people will hopefully feed into future research projects,” commented Prof. Berend Denkena, President of the Academic Association for Production Technology (WGP) and head of the Institute for Production Technology and Machine Tools (IFW). “One clear conclusion from all this is that digitalisation and automation will chart our path into the future, you can see that right here at EMO Hannover,” he added.
This year’s EMO also featured the first AI applications in the Start-up area and at the stands of the relevant trailblasing companies. Along with the strong interest in AI and machine learning, visitors’ appetite for future visions was reflected in the accompanying events and forums, where the topics included not only AI, but also additive processes, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), 5G and not least OPC UA or umati, the new standard interface between machine tools and overarching IT systems.
The standout attraction consisted of the big umati showcase, which included 110 machines from 70 international firms and partners, demonstrating for the first time that the universal interface between machines and IT systems can function across all product types. According to umati project manager Dr. Alexander Broos, “the response to umati among our partners and customers has been huge. This display at EMO has successfully launched us on the market. Our next commission on returning home is to deliver the OPC UA Companion Specification at the earliest possible date.”
EMO Hannover 2019 Opens Window To Future
“Against all expectations, we can wrap up EMO Hannover 2019 on a positive note. The fair is attractive for the entire international production technology community and has confirmed there is still demand for capital investment in the marketplace. In spite of all the political turmoil, this trade fair has revealed that industry is actively addressing the challenges of the future and is determined to make its contribution as a problem solver,” concluded EMO general commissioner Carl Martin Welcker.
Digitalisation and networking are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking – and the same trend is also taking place in storage & sawing technologies. Manual and mutually-isolated processes are increasingly giving way to a continuously-controlled, intelligent material flow, in which all the components involved communicate autonomously with each other. KASTO Maschinenbau has various solutions that make metalworking more efficient, more flexible and more cost-efficient in today’s Industry 4.0 era.
In the steel trade, the automotive and supplier industry and in mechanical and plant engineering, metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years now. Customers increasingly want greater manufacturing flexibility, from batch sizes of one item to large-volume production, while variety of materials and sizes is steadily increasing. At the same time, quality standards are rising and there is continuous pressure to cut costs. To hold their own against international competitors, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks.
Production Can Organise Itself
One solution here is the digitalisation and networking of production and logistics processes – also known as Industry 4.0. In modern metalworking, machines, plants, goods and load carriers are connected via the Internet of Things and can communicate with each other. Intelligent sensor systems provide up-to-date status information in real time. All process-relevant data is recorded and analysed, enabling users to optimise their entire value chain in a decentralised, autonomous and demand-oriented manner. The route from raw material to the finished product becomes shorter, more flexible, resource-saving and cost-efficient – and it starts with storage.
Today’s metalworking companies are increasingly relying on fully automated storage systems for long goods, instead of the previously widespread floor and cantilever arm storage methods. These automated software-controlled systems have completely convinced users with their significantly higher storage density, fast access times and maximum stock transparency. Moreover, sawing technology – often the first processing station after goods have been removed from storage – is being increasingly carried out with no manpower. Sawing machines can be seamlessly connected to the raw material warehouse and supplied with the required materials using manipulators and conveyor technology. The sawing process itself also runs autonomously if the machine is equipped accordingly, resulting in highly-efficient systems that are seamlessly integrated into a continuous material flow – the intelligent factory.
Automation – From The Raw Material To The Finished Part
KASTO creates combined storage-sawing-robot systems, in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically, from the raw material to the commissioning of the cut parts. Problem-free communication is particularly important, since all the components involved must “speak the same language”. This is achieved by means of integrated control systems and suitable interfaces. With KASTOlogic, for example, the company offers a modular warehouse management system (WMS), which is specially tailored to the requirements of long goods and sheet metal storage. The WMS maps all the processes between goods receipt and dispatch clearly and transparently, ensuring efficient control of the entire material flow – and that includes the warehouse, the associated conveyor technology and the processing machines with their material handling.
The Right Interface For Every System
Thanks to customised interfaces ranging from SAP, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics products to customer-specific software solutions, the WMS KASTOlogic can be easily connected to a higher-level host system within the company, as can individual machine control systems. The resulting uniform communication structure significantly increases transparency and efficiency. Users can easily control all the orders, and the data collected and recorded in the warehouses and sawing machines can be comprehensively analysed and utilised. This enables the continuous tracking of specific goods and workpieces and the uniform utilisation of the machine park with short non-productive times, improved quality control & the enhanced planning of maintenance measures. Even remnant lengths and warehouse stocks can be sustainably optimised with relevant information, significantly reducing production costs.
Robot-Assisted Sawing For Greater Efficiency
The KASTOsort robot link automates production processes upstream and downstream of the sawing process and integrates these into a uniformly-controlled material flow. Industrial robots can not only remove the saw cuts independently, they can also perform many other tasks such as deburring, chamfering, centring, threading, marking, printing, sorting, stacking and picking. This robotic solution can be further integrated with a container management or driverless transport system.
The use of mobile devices is also gaining ground in industrial production and the KASTOapp displays the status of all the networked machines equipped with the SmartControl, AdvancedControl, ProControl or ExpertControl systems. Users can see the name, machine number and type of each saw at a glance. If a saw is running in automated mode, the app can also access the information stored in its machine control programme. This gives users exact information on all the relevant parameters, like the article, cut length, target and actual quantity, feed rate and cutting speed. If a malfunction occurs, the app displays a graphic visualisation of the relevant error message, enabling users to react quickly and reduce downtimes to a minimum.
VisualAssistance – Remote Maintenance With Augmented Reality
KASTO has a VisualAssistance system, which uses the concept of augmented reality to simplify the remote maintenance of machines and systems. An interactive app for tablets, smartphones and smart glasses lies at the heart of the system – and customers can use it to connect to specialists via video and audio streams. Users and technicians see the same view in real time, greatly facilitating mutual understanding and helping to quickly identify individual plant components and any faults that may occur.
The hype of the manufacturing world in recent years is centred on sustainability—of practices, of technology or of waste disposal—for a better future. But what exactly does ‘sustainable manufacturing’ mean, and how can a manufacturer achieve or engage in it? By Michelle Cheong