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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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TRUMPF Discusses Vietnam Metalworking Market Amid COVID-19

TRUMPF Discusses Vietnam Metalworking Market Amid COVID-19

Patrick Kemnitz of TRUMPF Vietnam talks about the impact of the ongoing pandemic in Vietnam’s metalworking sector, lessons learned, and strategies to adopt amid the ongoing crisis. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Patrick Kemnitz

TRUMPF is one of the leading providers of machine tools and laser technology for industrial applications. The company has a strong presence in Southeast Asia through its numerous local subsidiaries. Since 2006, TRUMPF has also been represented in Vietnam, with offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The company has been expanding its local team and presence continuously, and has now grown to a team of more than 40 local employees.

TRUMPF Vietnam supports businesses with local sales, spare parts and service requirements, with the main purpose to be close to its customers. Its European-trained engineers are dedicated to install, inspect, maintain and repair machines locally as well as provide extensive trainings for customers operating the TRUMPF high-end technology in their manufacturing plants.

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Patrick Kemnitz, General Director, TRUMPF Vietnam Co. Ltd, talks about the impact of the ongoing pandemic in Vietnam’s metalworking sector, lessons learned, and strategies to adopt amid the ongoing crisis.


Patrick Kemnitz (PK): The metal fabrication industry was also impacted by the unforeseeable situation and consequences of the COVID-9 pandemic. 

However, the Vietnamese government has managed the spread of COVID-19 with immediate and very efficient measures. Due to this, the total number of cases since the beginning of 2020, compared to other countries, is on a low level. Now, it has been more than 44 days of no transmissions in the community. This has helped stabilize the economy in Vietnam!

With the latest figures, the Vietnamese GDP is expected to grow to around 2 percent in 2020, after reaching around 7 percent in previous years. The forecast for 2021 is around 6 percent and shows a fast recovery. That means the Vietnamese market is even in such hard times a growth market, during other economies are shrinking. 

Why this can happen? Companies have already amended their strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic made them question their existing supply chains and their sourcing strategy and this means not only companies in Vietnam. This is more a global topic and before COVID-19 the differences between U.S. and China regarding trade brought already dynamic into such consideration of factory movements or at least sourcing diversification.

As a result, especially in manufacturing sector in Vietnam and what we can see from TRUMPF side for the sheet metal market, more production is done and will be done in Vietnam. The demand for metal fabrication has increased in the past months.

In such situations also companies from U.S., China, Japan, India or Singapore are contacting TRUMPF in Vietnam to get contact to reliable manufacturers for sheet metal parts in Vietnam.


PK: Right now, it is a good time for manufacturers to realign their strategy. That means not only  preparing an outlook for the production requirements in next six to 12 months, but also being prepared for economic recovery.

The most important thing is to keep the skilled and trained workforce in their factories. The people with their knowledge are the most important factor for a fast ramp-up or for a sustainable change program. Flexible working models can help in current times.

The second thing is production capacity. If manufacturers in Vietnam want to make a next step with their factory and bring in new production jobs especially from foreign countries, then they are facing usually the so called “chicken and egg” problem. Do they need to have the machines first or can they wait to receive the order confirmation?

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TRUMPF Presents New Solutions For Latest Trends In 3D Printing Industry

TRUMPF Presents New Solutions For Latest Trends In 3D Printing Industry

TRUMPF is increasing automation and process speeds in its additive manufacturing technologies – and its “green laser” is fueling new applications by enabling 3D printing of pure copper and precious metals. At the formnext Connect virtual trade fair, the company is showcasing new solutions for three key industry trends: speed, automation and new materials.

“The additive technologies market remains very attractive for TRUMPF,” says Klaus Parey, managing director TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing. “Customers are particularly excited by our TruPrint 1000 machine with a green laser beam source, which is designed for industrial use. Short-wavelength green laser light is the best option for welding pure copper and precious metals.” TRUMPF has made major progress in its products and solutions for additive technologies over recent months, building up a broad portfolio of products that can handle a wide variety of materials.

Process speed: new nozzle doubles coating rate

TRUMPF has developed a new nozzle technology that increases the coating speed to well over 600 square centimeters a minute, even reaching speeds as high as 1,000 square centimeters a minute in certain applications. The secret lies in using more powder, higher laser power and a nozzle designed specifically for industrial use. Applying a coating faster obviously means using more powder. But using more powder only works if it can be melted fast enough. That’s where the second ingredient in the mix comes in: higher laser powers of up to 8 kilowatts. Yet these high laser powers can only be used in tandem with a robust, properly cooled nozzle. And it’s exactly this combination that TRUMPF has brought together in its new nozzle technology, which enables significantly higher coating speeds than ever before – especially for rotationally symmetrical parts.

Automation: new depowdering station gets parts cleaner

To boost the productivity of additive manufacturing even further, TRUMPF is working hard to find ways of improving upstream and downstream work steps in the overall process chain. At formnext, the company will be showcasing a new depowdering station for the powder bed-based additive manufacturing process of laser metal fusion (LMF). This system unpacks and depowders 3D-printed metal parts, combining two process steps in one machine. Previously these steps had to be carried out manually by a machine operator using suction nozzles and brushes. But the new depowdering station makes these steps considerably simpler by introducing a degree of automation. The system turns the printed part upside down and, if necessary, starts to vibrate, until almost all the excess powder has been removed. This new depowdering process does a considerably better job of removing excess powder from the finished part.

Diverse materials: green light for copper, gold and platinum

At the formnext fair held two years ago, TRUMPF demonstrated for the first time how a disk laser in the green wavelength range can be used to print pure copper and precious metals. Conventional 3D printers that use infrared light can’t handle materials such as copper and gold, because their highly reflective surfaces prevent melting from taking place. But because green light has a much shorter wavelength than infrared, it opens the door to 3D printing of pure copper and precious metals. Since its launch, TRUMPF’s TruPrint 1000 Green Edition has carved out a solid position in the market and enjoyed tremendous success.

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TRUMPF Opens New Smart Factory In Ditzingen

TRUMPF Opens New Smart Factory In Ditzingen

TRUMPF has opened a new smart factory at its headquarters in Ditzingen. The new facility is already producing sheet metal parts for the company’s machine tools. Designed as a fully connected manufacturing environment, the smart factory also serves as a demonstration center – a place where SMEs and other businesses can see for themselves how efficient sheet metal fabrication works.

“We have 30 machines connected to each other in our new smart factory. Connectivity helps reduce scrap rates and processing time as well as boosting efficiency. Nowhere else in the world offers our particular mix of problem-solving skills for sheet metal fabrication,” says Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chief Executive Officer Machine Tools at TRUMPF.

The smart factory is divided into three production halls that cover a total of 5,000 square meters. Along with Chicago in the U.S. and Taicang in China, Ditzingen has become the third TRUMPF location to have a fully connected manufacturing facility. The company now has a smart factory in each of the world’s major regions, highlighting its determination to get closer to its customers.

Assistance systems for day-to-day work

Connectivity in the new smart factory extends not only to cutting, bending and welding machines, but also to large-scale storage systems and automated guided vehicles. The whole connected manufacturing environment is managed from the control center. This is where all the key performance indicators from the production process are collected in real time – from initial order to finished product.

“The best way to improve the efficiency of a sheet-metal production line is to focus on the steps that occur upstream and downstream from the actual machining of the part. Connecting up production processes and machines gives sheet metal fabricators a decisive competitive edge – especially in our age of decreasing batch sizes, faster response times and increasingly complex parts,” says Prokop.

Workers in the new smart factory are supported by assistance systems. With the help of TRUMPF’s manufacturing execution system software TruTops Fab, they can monitor the entire manufacturing process from wherever they are using a tablet, smartphone or smart watch.

Solution provider for end-to-end production

TRUMPF’s smart factory meets the company’s in-house manufacturing requirements. But it also serves as a demonstration center for sheet metal fabricators from Germany and across Europe, showing them how to boost the efficiency of cutting, bending, punching and welding in a real production environment. From SMEs to large corporations, companies of all sizes can discover new solutions for connected manufacturing. For example, small businesses can significantly boost their efficiency by opting for entry-level solutions such as an AI-based part removal assistant. TRUMPF’s smart factory offers the perfect example of how to connect up manufacturing step-by-step in logistics and other areas. Larger companies with more machinery can learn how to set up semi-autonomous manufacturing by studying the smart factory’s seamless integration of punching, bending, lasers and storage systems.

Solution provider with partners

TRUMPF aims to continue building its reputation as a solution provider for end-to-end production – and that means building partnerships. The modern factory transport units that carry materials to and from the various machine tools are made by one of these partners, Jungheinrich, while the storage systems come from STOPA. The smart factory also includes a levelling and deburring machine from ARKU and an inspection machine from InspecVision.

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The World Of Tube Processing

The World of Tube Processing

Here’s the technology you need for optimal cutting of a broad range of tubular materials and shapes. Article by Trumpf. 

Because of their diverse shapes and materials, tubes and profiles can be used with great flexibility—from fitness equipment to furniture to agricultural machinery.

Conventional tube fabricators uses a variety of methods like sawing, lathe cutting, rotary cutting, supported shear cutting, and milling to cut tubes from long lengths into shorter pieces for variable parts and welded together for the final fabrication. No single method is optimal for cutting the broad range of tubular materials and shapes produced by this industry.

The most important areas of application:

  • Machine and device construction
  • Agricultural machines
  • Automotive industry
  • Scaffolding and platform construction
  • Sports and fitness equipment

Innovative Tube Design

The laser cutting of tubes offers you new tube design possibilities, which would not have been possible with conventional methods. Because of this, the following production steps are also reduced. Using the laser, you simplify welding fixtures and, therefore, lower the welding costs. Positioning aids with tabs and holes make component assembly easier and coding aids prevent assembly errors.

Advantages include product cost reduction, new product design, process simplification, lower organizational effort, shorter response times, simplification and optimization of parts, and reduction of downstream working steps.

Corner Connections

Simple tube designs for connections reduce your work because the parts can be optimally cut for the subsequent joining processes, even without the bevel cut.

Advantages include optimal material utilization/saving, e.g. using the common cut; simplified joining; and less work, because of optimal cutting for the subsequent joining process.

Corner Connections with Bevel Cut

Thanks to the high-quality bevel cut up to 45 deg, besides getting optimal material utilization and a reduction of work when cutting corner connections, you also get a greater part spectrum and aesthetic benefits in production and processing. Scribing of the material is often no longer necessary.

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Euroblech 2020: TRUMPF Presents Online Trade Fair And Customer Events In Ditzingen

Euroblech 2020: TRUMPF Presents Online Trade Fair And Customer Events In Ditzingen

German high-tech company TRUMPF will be presenting a whole series of new developments in sheet-metal fabrication this fall. From October 27 to 30, the company will be showcasing a range of new machines, software and services at Euroblech’s online Digital Innovation Summit 2020.

TRUMPF’s website already features a variety of new connectivity solutions for cutting, bending, punching and welding, including systems for production planning and control, sheet-metal part sorting and manufacturing logistics. But sheet-metal fabricators will soon be able to gain even more insights into connected manufacturing by paying a visit to Ditzingen.

“We’ll be using our own new manufacturing facility to demonstrate how fabricators can make parts of any shape or size while boosting their efficiency by up to 30 percent. Our plant will produce parts faster and more affordably because the whole process is connected – from order to finished part. We’re determined to pass on that expertise to our customers,” says Reinhold Gross, managing director of sales and services at the Machine Tools business division.

Customer events at the new sheet-metal manufacturing facility in Ditzingen will be restricted to a limited number of participants and comply with current coronavirus regulations in order to keep customers and employees safe at all times.

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TRUMPF AI Assistant Optimises Sorting Process

TRUMPF AI Assistant Optimises Sorting Process

TRUMPF has developed a solution that makes life easier for machine operators by helping them sort sheet metal parts from a laser cutting machine. The Sorting Guide uses an AI solution to identify which part the operator has removed from the machine and displays all the required information on screen. This includes information such as the next step in the process chain, for example. The Sorting Guide improves efficiency at the interface between the laser cutting machine and intralogistics, especially when dealing with sheets containing parts from multiple different orders.

It helps machine operators optimise their workflows, for example by highlighting all the parts from one order in the same color on screen. At the same time, it enables the operator to keep tabs on the machine’s status when working at the pallet changer – and, as an option, even to keep an eye on the interior of the machine. That makes it easier for the operator to react quickly to any problems that might arise. The Sorting Guide automatically registers each part in the system as it is removed.

This eliminates the need to re-check the number of parts and manually update the part count in the control system. The digitally recorded data in the control system thus represent the real production progress in real time. The operator can see at a glance which parts are ready for further processing and where he may need to initiate post-production. The result is higher productivity on a day-to-day basis and more efficient overall use of the laser cutting machine.

Image Processing That Learns From Data

The Sorting Guide works using artificial intelligence. It consists of a camera and an industrial PC equipped with intelligent image processing software. Its neural network detects which parts the machine operator has already removed from the sheet. Unlike conventional image processing techniques, this network can be trained and improved on the basis of the data that is collected continuously. In addition, the database serves to open up further optimisation potential for users in the future. The Sorting Guide is currently available on systems running TruTops Fab or TruTops Boost software.

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TRUMPF And Fraunhofer IPA Research Alliance Ramps Up AI For Industrial Use

TRUMPF And Fraunhofer IPA Research Alliance Ramps Up AI For Industrial Use

TRUMPF and the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA have formed a research alliance that is set to to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for connected manufacturing on an industrial scale. Running until 2025, ten employees from TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA are involved in the project, which will receive some two million euros of funding spread over the next five years.

“TRUMPF’s mission is to further extend its AI leadership in sheet-metal fabrication. To that end, we have already started investing in the kind of future technologies that will drive major efficiency gains within our company and boost our competitiveness,” says Thomas Schneider, managing director of development at TRUMPF Machine Tools.

Five years have passed since TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA joined forces to work on smart factory topics, and the two partners will be continuing to pursue these existing projects within the framework of their new research alliance.

“TRUMPF has been working with us on connected manufacturing for years because they share our view that Industry 4.0 developments represent a major opportunity. Everything depends on what happens over the next few years – so these are exciting times! We expect the coronavirus pandemic to act as a kind of catalyst: those who are well prepared will be perfectly placed to exploit the huge opportunities that lie ahead. Soon we’ll see whether we have laid the right foundations for the future in our joint projects,” says Professor Thomas Bauernhansl, director of Fraunhofer IPA.

Future projects aim to make AI explainable

One of the goals TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA hope to achieve over the next five years is to develop solutions for better data quality in manufacturing. This reflects the crucial importance of high-quality data when it comes to achieving efficiency gains with AI. To address this need, the two partners will be increasing their research activities in the field of explainable artificial intelligence, or XAI. Their goal is to make the operation of neural networks interpretable. New findings in this area are of great benefit to sheet-metal fabricators. The results of this kind of data analysis can boost the quality of manufacturing, save time and cut costs.

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Forming: Punching In The Third Dimension

Forming: Punching in the Third Dimension

Fitted with an intelligent punching head and the right tool, your punching machine will also demonstrate its talent for forming. Article by Vincent Tan, TRUMPF.

Your punching machine can do more than just punch. Fitted with an intelligent punching head and the right tool, your machine will also demonstrate its talent for forming. This allows you to fully process a great diversity of sophisticated components on one machine—and even burr-free if required. It is also efficient for small quantities as tool costs are low and setup times are short. 

The ability to produce burr-free sheet-metal parts directly on punching or punch laser machines saves you the time-consuming process of retrospectively removing the punching burr. This considerably reduces the throughput time, in particular for coated sheet metal and formed parts. Furthermore, the improved edge quality lowers the risk of injury when further processing the parts. 

Roller Deburring Tool

The roller deburring tool is mainly used for simple, large-surface contours. The punched edges are thus perfectly rounded off, which is a decisive advantage for visible edges in particular. A high-quality result is obtained with all of the sheet thickness ranges by adapting the roller contour to the modified burr and to the width of the separation gap.

Ball Deburring Tool

You can get an even better edge quality if you use the MultiShear slitting tool in addition. For shapes with contour radii of less than 20 mm, the deburring MultiTool is to be used. The ball deburring tool is suitable for smaller contours, holes and workpiece corners. Specially hardened balls press the punching burr into the base metal. In doing so, a chamfer is produced on the upper side of the part.  Thanks to the tapered punch head, deburring near formed areas is also possible.

Deburring MultiTool

TRUMPF’s deburring MultiTool, with its three embossing inserts in the die, excels on radii of less than 0.8 in in particular. The tool presses burrs flat in a single stroke or in nibbling mode, even in corners and small contours.

The MultiTool makes your machine more productive by integrating up to 10 different punches and dies into one tool. The strengths of the MultiTool are particularly notable in processing sheet metal parts with small punches of different sizes.


  • Shorter production times through complete processing on one machine
  • Lower risk of injury
  • Deburring of all geometries, whether simple, complex, small or large.
  • Also for coated sheets and for parts with formed areas

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TRUMPF And STMicroelectronics Partners For UWB Positioning Technology

TRUMPF And STMicroelectronics Partners For UWB Positioning Technology

The high-tech company TRUMPF and the semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics have concluded a strategic partnership in the field of UWB positioning technology. As part of this agreement, STMicroelectronics will acquire TRUMPF’s majority stake in the UWB pioneer BeSpoon. Within the framework of the strategic partnership, TRUMPF will focus on the ongoing development of its Track&Trace indoor positioning and tracking system.

“This partnership will enable us to expand TRUMPF’s pioneering role in localisation systems for industry. As well as laying the foundations for our next-generation products, it will also strengthen our role as a system provider,” says Peter Leibinger, Chief Technology Officer at TRUMPF.

As a developer and high-volume manufacturer of semiconductor devices, STMicroelectronics will be injecting the expertise required to develop the next generation of industrial UWB chips in partnership with TRUMPF. TRUMPF is also the co-founder of omlox, an open standard for locating technologies.

BeSpoon has been developing software and UWB chips for indoor localisation since 2010. The technology enables positioning with centimeter accuracy inside buildings, including harsh industrial environments. Use cases for UWB technology include industrial manufacturing and the automotive and consumer sectors. By acquiring BeSpoon, STMicroelectronics aims to build on the rapidly growing market potential of UWB in the industrial, automotive and personal electronics markets.

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