The organisers of the largest machine tool show in the world (EMO indeed) presented a few highlights to the Swiss trade press on last Thursday. This year’s event will take place from September 16 to 21 on a 180’000 sqm area housing more than 2’000 exhibitors and more than 140’000 visitors are expected.
“Technical progress is not an end in itself. It is driven by global social and economic challenges,” explains Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director from EMO organizer VDW (the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). He adds: “All industrial companies need to keep up with current trends to survive. They need to plan their development in advance and draw the right conclusions with regard to their innovation strategy and their products,” says Wilfried Schäfer.
Energy – a key element for the future
One of the greatest challenges is to meet continuously rising energy demand affordably and with an eye to environmental concerns. Only cutting-edge, high-precision manufacturing methods can maximize performance and bring efficient technology to the factory floor. “It will be discussed extensively at the ‘Smarter manufacturing’ conference,” says Schäfer. A special event will also be held at which EMO exhibitors present their solutions for energy efficiency.
Megatrends also modify industrial production
New challenges with regard to machines, tools and components are appearing in the manufacturing sector. Aspects such as efficiency, sustainability, communication and networking, new materials, flexibility, quality, new product designs and more play an important role here.
Flexibility and productivity needed
The quality of finished products must bridge the gap between rapidly rising individual consumer needs and the available resources. Not only are more goods and products in demand, but demand is also trending away from identical mass-produced items and towards individualized product characteristics. For the manufacturing process, this means that only a single unit is produced with a specific geometry, and machines must be continuously reprogrammed and readjusted.
Industry 4.0 on its way…
“For all these factors, the intelligence of future production systems plays a key role,” says Wilfried Schäfer from VDW of the market’s development. Intelligence goes two ways. On one hand, high-tech components can network and optimize themselves. On the other hand, the complexity of systems is growing because information is no longer available centrally. People who operate and maintain the machines, or plan production, must still be able to use and control these systems. Key words here include intuitive machine programming and decentralized diagnostics.
We will come back on EMO soon… we already discovered a few novelties that will bring some answers to these main topics: energy efficiency (a Swiss machine-tool dedicated to microtechnology that will change the way you see manufacturing!) and connectivity (the use of a tablet in the machine tool industry is a reality)… and much more.
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