Showcase for Industries with a Future
Business is booming as customer expectations rise and personnel resources dwindle. Manufacturers need to address these challenges now. AMB, the international exhibition for metal-working, shows innovative solutions ranging from traditional mechanical engineering to digital connectivity for Industry 4.0 specially aimed at the booming automotive, engineering, electrical and metal industries from 18 to 22 September.
As a key manufacturing technology, machining is the common denominator of many successful industries. Nevertheless, the requirements of suppliers and service providers diverge greatly in some cases. While high-volume production dominates in the automotive industry, flexibility down to batch size one is the order of the day for commission manufacturers. Universal suppliers who serve all industries with a single product have long since become a thing of the past.
A fact confirmed by drive and control specialist, Bosch Rexroth. As Hansjörg Sannwald, Head Market and Product Management CNC Systems remarks: "A high degree of flexibility is especially important in the automotive sector so that smaller batches can also be produced cost-effectively." Machine connectivity is the first step towards Industry 4.0. Accordingly, open interfaces to common real-time Ethernet protocols and OPC UA are becoming increasingly important. "In this connection, we support the standardisation of a new OPC-UA-based interface "Connectivity for Industry 4.0", initiated by the German Machine Tool Builders' Association (VDW)." The standard is going to be integrated into the MTX CNC system.
Trend Towards Automated Machining Centres
The automotive industry dominates in terms of volume, of course. "Two-thirds of the turnover generated by our group comes from customers in the automotive and components supplying sector," says Dr. Markus Flik, Chairman of the Executive Board, Chiron Group. Nevertheless, the supplier of CNC-controlled vertical milling and machining centres also serves the engineering industry, manufacturers of medical and precision technology and the aerospace industry. The general trend is towards fully automated machining centres," continues Flik. They are closely followed by the Variocell Uno and Variocell systems.
Another buzzword is connectivity. In the autumn, a software module is due to come out in the SmartLine range, which will horizontally connect the production process and enable all machining centres, automation modules and robots to be centrally monitored, analysed and controlled. "At AMB we will be presenting trade visitors other system components that will also let manufacturing companies specifically plan maintenance and repairs and thus avoid productivity losses," adds Dr. Claus Eppler, Head of Research and Development at Chiron.
The situation is similar at Heller Group. There, the automotive industry accounts for around 60 per cent of business - from passenger cars and trucks to agricultural and construction machinery. According to CEO and COO Manfred Maier, demand is high for integrated manufacturing solutions for machining cylinder blocks and heads, crankshafts and camshafts, gear units and chassis components. However, other sectors as well, like general mechanical engineering, the hydraulic and pneumatic industry, aerospace, energy engineering, the oil and gas industry and commission manufacturing are all supplied with horizontal and five-axis machining centres for milling and mill turn processes.
Japanese manufacturer, Yamazaki Mazak presents a wide-ranging machine programme, satisfying current trends like parts diversity, smaller batch sizes, ever more complex workpieces and in many cases, materials that are difficult to machine, with increasingly mature machine concepts. The Mazak multifunction machines in the Integrex and Variaxis ranges, for instance complete machining of even highly complex workpieces in just one or two passes. The Vortex range, with five-axis simultaneous control and high-performance swivel spindle processing, is specially designed for the future-focused energy sector.
Swiss machine manufacturer Starrag, which has several subsidiaries in Germany, appreciates the automotive industry's special need for solutions that "do the job, without any frills", as Managing Director Dr. Marcus Otto puts it. Starrag responds with products that can be configured specially to suit their customers' needs.
The situation is different in components supplying, mechanical engineering and the metalworking and processing industry. There, highly flexible Heckert machining centres have the advantage of performing several manufacturing processes on a single machine. Trends also change, as Otto realises; mouldmakers are switching from machines with vertical spindles to configurations with horizontal processing which offer improved chip removal.
The XXL specialist in large-scale machinery is Schiess. Here, too, aspects such as automation, preventive maintenance and minimising non-productive times dominate the scene, reports Sales Manager Alain Reynvoet. These machines are mainly in demand from the energy, transportation and aerospace industry. Schiess regards preventive maintenance as a first step towards Industry 4.0 "and will also be presenting further concepts along these lines at AMB".
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh
Source: Messe Stuttgart