Category Archives: Machines

CECIMO commits to contribute to a new european industrial strategy

Mr Luigi Galdabini, President of CECIMO and Managing Director of Galdabini SPA, was one of the renowned panellist at the first European Industry Day that took place on 28 February 2017. He supported SMEs’ view and reported the challenges that the industry faces accessing new technologies. This intervention was in line with the “Joint Declaration for an ambitious EU industrial strategy” signed by 125 European manufacturing associations, which calls the European Institutions to define and implement an ambitious European industrial strategy.

CECIMO voices the needs of manufacturing SMEs in the First European Industry Day
CECIMO welcomes the first European Industry Day that was organized by the European Commission and saw the participation of high-level policy makers, including Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Carlos Moedas. The event brought together hundreds of stakeholders from across Europe to discuss issues of high importance for the European industrialists.

The European machine tool industry was represented by Mr Luigi Galdabini, President of CECIMO and Managing Director of Galdabini SPA in the European Industry Day. As debater in the high-level panel on SME access to technologies, Mr Galdabini highlighted that cross-border collaboration between machine tool builders and technology centres is essential, but severe bottlenecks, hampering the competitiveness of industry, exist. “If European machine tool builders want to keep up with market trends, they need to be increasingly agile, develop new solutions that match the changing needs of machine tool users, and focus on incremental innovation, offering continuously improved goods and services to customers. Consequently, technology centres spread across Europe can join forces with manufacturing SMEs and help them in responding to these evolving demands. At strategic level, MT builders need more policy instruments that foster the link between research and business, and they also call for incentives, which underpin cross-border collaboration in Europe and support the internationalisation of manufacturing SMEs” added Mr Galdabini.

Joint Declaration for an ambitious EU industrial strategy
CECIMO and other 124 European manufacturing associations launched a week ago a Joint-Declaration that calls the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Competitiveness Council to define and implement an ambitious and coordinated European industrial strategy. “CECIMO finds very positive that the European Commission organises the first European Industry Day. Nevertheless, to safeguard the world leadership of European manufacturers and jobs in Europe, the Commission needs to follow up what stakeholders have been voicing and to come up with a comprehensive action plan focusing on the strengths of our businesses” stated Mr Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General.

The Joint-Declaration for an ambitious EU industrial strategy highlights that, while competitors from across the world puts industry at the very top of their political agendas, develop and implement well-thought strategies, the EU falls behind its industrial policy targets. “There has been no better time to reaffirm Europe’s commitment to manufacturing, innovation and jobs. European associations representing 125 manufacturing sectors are ready to offer their cooperation to the European Institutions” points out Mr Geerts.

CECIMO is the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries. We bring together 15 national associations of machine tool builders, which represent approximately 1500 industrial enterprises in Europe (EU + EFTA + Turkey), over 80% of which are SMEs. CECIMO covers 98% of the total machine tool production in Europe and about 39% worldwide. It accounts for more than 150,000 employees and a turnover of nearly €24 billion in 2015. More than three quarters of CECIMO production is shipped abroad, whereas half of it is exported outside Europe.

Scarborough UTC Invests in 600 UK’s industrial Machine Tools for ‘Engineers of Tomorrow’

Scarborough UTC’s brand new training facility was proudly opened in September 2016 with the aim of educating the engineers of tomorrow. To ensure the facility gives students the best possible introduction to industry, they sourced machine tools, almost in their entirety, from 600 UK.

Scarborough UTC acquired Colchester Student centre lathes, a Harrison Alpha CNC combination lathe, Clausing turret milling machines, pedestal drills and bandsaws to fill the workshop, accompanied by a range of Pratt Burnerd International chucking solutions.

Commenting upon the reason for choosing 600 UK, the Principal at Scarborough University Technical College (UTC), Mr Tim Englefield said: “We wanted machines that represented the standard of machine tools that local companies are using. We wanted our learners to be able to walk out of the UTC with an education that will enable them to walk straight into a local company and feel completely at home with the technology being used.”

“When we look at the characteristics of a machine, it’s a combination of factors that are important. As a government funded organisation, whatever we choose has to have a high ‘value for money’ factor”.
The Colchester Students have an unrivalled reputation for being the ultimate benchmark training lathes, incorporating an ideal compact footprint for an education workshop, allowing for Scarborough UTC to fit the maximum number of machines into their available space.
The geared headstock Colchester Student lathes provides learners with the very best equipment to gain industrial level training, providing a comprehensive grounding in the basics of turning.  They are built to standards in excess of DIN8606 and BS4656 Part 1, which combined with outstanding safety features that exceed all international safety standards, make it the ideal education workshop lathe. Additionally, all Colchester centre lathes come fully equipped with a full range of accessories, suiting any industrial or training application.

The UTC also has the Harrison Alpha 1350XS lathe with CNC capability, so students can pre-program machines in the computer suites at the college. The Harrison Alpha CNC combination lathe has a huge range of built-in educational training options, making it the favourite choice for colleges and training centres around the world.  The wide range of Alpha control options available enable learners to seamlessly progress from manual, through to full CNC turning, aided by working with conversational programming, 3D graphic displays and standard ISO programming capabilities.

High value-added Clausing mills, drills and bandsaws completes the 600 UK equipment supplied to this highly impressive learning environment, making the workshop a complete ‘all-encompassing’ learning package for the students.

The Clausing 2VS turret mills complement the Colchester and Harrison lathes perfectly and are rapidly becoming a key engineered product in the industrial milling sector and are ideal for transitioning students making the step from learning into industry.  However, as with every Clausing product, the 2VS mill is one of many in a wide range of turret and bed mills offered by Clausing.

Scarborough UTC chose the Clausing KC1016VS bandsaw and EKL25 pillar drills as compact, versatile, industry ready machine tools that learners could pick up and use very quickly when working on engineering projects. Clausing also supply a wide range of Clausing drills, bandsaws and grinders to suit any workshop environment whether in industry or education.

All Clausing machine tools go through the same rigorous quality controls as every other 600 Group product and the mills, drills and bandsaws are no exception.

The UTC model has been in operation for little over 5 years in the UK and the Scarborough facility is one of 48 such establishments in the UK. Scarborough UTC accepts students from the age of 14 and the students undertake the standard curriculum of maths, science and English as well as three engineering qualifications. These include engineering manufacturing, engineering design and electronics and control systems.

Mike Berry, 600 UK managing director said “We pride ourselves in supporting all our customers whether in education or industry and respond to their individual needs. All our machines are manufactured to be equally at home in any workshop environment and we firmly believe that using high quality industrial standard machinery is paramount for education establishments to get the best out of tomorrow’s engineers.”

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Supreme connectivity, laser technology and 3D metal printing: Okuma launches new generation of machine tools

Okuma presented a new line of machine tools at the 28th Japan International Machine Tool Fair (November 17- November 22, 2016). The manufacturer’s trade innovations included state-of-the-art 5-axis vertical machining centres and a new type of intelligent multitasking machine. Among the highlights was the introduction of the world’s first multitasking machines capable of milling, turning, and grinding as well as laser-hardening and 3D metal printing.

Smart factory, just-in-time-production, varying order sizes – production and machining requirements are higher than ever. To meet those demands, Okuma’s latest machine tools take multitasking machining to the next level. The new models will be available in Europe in mid-2017
Intelligent horizontal multitasking machine
To facilitate process-intensive production in a smart factory, Okuma has added the MULTUS U5000 to its line-up of multitasking machines. Designed for machining medium and large-sized components for the aerospace, energy and infrastructure industries, the MULTUS U5000 handles even difficult-to-cut materials, such as Titanium and Inconel. With the strongest turning spindle of its class, the MULTUS U5000 achieves unrivalled machining efficiency.
In an effort to allow operators to perform gear machining in-house, Okuma has made skiving and hobbing operations available on their multitasking machines with the accompanying software package enabling faster and easier programming.
With Industry 4.0 no longer a thing of the future, the MULTUS U5000 comes equipped with the latest generation of CNC control – OSP suite – as well as Okuma’s Intelligent Technology. These applications offer supreme connectivity and allow for a seamless integration of the machine tool into an “Internet of Things”-based production environment.
“Smart Machine” for 5-axis vertical machining
Designed to stand at the heart of a smart factory, Okuma’s latest 5-Axis vertical machining centre MU-S600V is able to instantly respond to changed lead-times and accommodates production formats ranging from high-mix, low volume to mass production.
The compact MU-S600V has a very small footprint with a machine-width of 1,400 mm and is able to cut workpieces of up to 600 mm in diameter. The machine’s compact dimensions and structural design allow for outstanding ease-of-use and easier crane jobs. Its robotic table enables completely unmanned, automated operations, eliminating manual handling of parts between set-ups in different machines. Production line layouts are easily adjusted in accordance with changes in production volume.
Laser technology for process-intensive machining
Designed to be the world’s first “done-on-one”-machines, the Okuma MU-6300V LASER EX and the MULTUS U3000 LASER EX are capable of milling, turning, grinding, 3D metal printing and heat treatment for a wide range of workpiece sizes and shapes. On-machine hardening provides the solution to a major bottleneck in production: Compared to hardening by conventional heat treatment, the process is quick and causes less distortion, resulting in dramatically increased throughput. The machine tools fully support agile manufacturing and process-intensive applications.
With a high-quality TRUMPF laser beam source at its core, Okuma’s LASER EX series enables stable laser processing over long runs. The machines allow for Laser Metal Deposition – LMD – for both large-capacity and high definition additive manufacturing. 0.4 to 8.5 mm laser spot diameters enable unparalleled throughput regardless of the application. 3D moulding, coating and sectional repair of heat-resistant alloys and highly rigid materials are available on the machine as well.
Okuma’s OSP control meanwhile monitors and controls the entire process, ensuring reliable and stable additive manufacturing for products on par with forged components. The machine tools therefore meet the quality requirements of even the most demanding applications and industries such as aerospace machining.
Additional Okuma models with laser applications will be available shortly.
Okuma Europe GmbH is the Germany-based sales and service affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. The company is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and CNC control all manufactured by Okuma. Okuma’s innovative and reliable technology, paired with comprehensive, localised service protection, allows users to run continuously with confidence – maximising profitability. Along with its industry-leading distribution network, Okuma facilitates quality, productivity and efficiency, empowering the customer and enabling competitive advantage in today’s demanding manufacturing environment.

Optimize thermal management during plastic injection with GF Machining Solutions’ AM S 290 Tooling Additive Manufacturing (AM) solution

One year ago, GF Machining Solutions signed a strategic partnership with global Additive Manufacturing (AM) leader EOS, headquartered in Krailling, Germany. The partnership demonstrates the companies’ commitment to advancing AM as a leading technology and working together to ensure its seamless integration into the conven-tional manufacturing chain.

GFMS AM S 290 Tooling2

The AM S 290 Tooling, based on the established and proven EOS technology, is a system dedicated to the mold and die industry and from now on world-wide available. A System 3R MacroMagnum chuck is fully integrated into the building system. In combination with the Reference Point Calibration software, it permits the absolute location of parts relative to the X/Y plane of the building platform, which in particular supports manufacturing of hybrid workpieces. It further integrates building platform handling with other machining processes to separate workpieces or accurately refurbish building platforms for re-use.

The integrated chuck is intended to be used in combination with standard pallets (e.g., used for hybrid parts) or building platforms equipped with a standard reference element. This signi-ficantly improves the ability for upstream and downstream integration of the AM process in the whole production process.

The hybrid mold insert is the most economical solution for parts characterized by geometrically simple and complex sections. Depending on material and size, such hybrid parts can be created by directly generating the additively manufactured part on top of the conventionally manufactured base or by separately finishing and assembling both parts.

With this system, GF Machining Solutions focuses on mold inserts with conformal cooling/ heating channels. These inserts can be used for any kind of plastic products in all segments. Thanks to AM enabled conformal cooling, customers can reduce their cycle time, increase their productivity and improve the overall quality of, for example, a critical plastic part with thin walls.

Advantages of AM are now well understood and its industrialization is a major step toward the future. GF Machining Solutions is actively collaborating with EOS to speed up development of this solution which will be a major step in fulfilling Industry 4.0 requirements.

Both in mold and die and other applications in various segments, GF Machining Solutions is at the forefront of efficiently blending traditional and new manufacturing technologies, not by optimizing parts and process flow but also by improving data flow and systems connectivity.

Affolter launches groundbreaking Worm Screw Power Skiving technology

Affolter Technologies SA, the technology and world market leader in micro gear hobbing centers for the watchmaking and micromechanical industries, launches a groundbreaking innovation: Worm Screw Power Skiving (WSPS).

AF110 plus2

“This cutting-edge technology was developed by our engineering experts in an intensive R&D process. Worm Screw Power Skiving allows us to finish a high-precision worm in only 6 seconds. If done by worm hobbing, every piece will take 25 seconds”, explains Managing Director Vincent Affolter. In other words: WSPS makes producers 4 times more efficient. Mr. Affolter: “This will increase the productivity and efficiency of manufacturers in the automotive and aircraft industries considerably.”

Big demand
Many producers in these industries need to manufacture large quantities of high-precision worms. The WSPS technology focuses on small worms with a module of 0.3 to 1.5. “Such worms are used in car seats or trunks, for instance. We see a big demand in the automotive industry, but also in other sectors”, explains Mr. Affolter.

Extremely fast process
The idea behind the new technology: Unlike in worm hobbing, where the hob turns much faster than the workpiece, the Affolter experts inverted the process. “The workpiece turns extremely fast, with 2 new spindles up to 12’000rpm, while the cutter turns much slower. Only highest quality machines like the Affolter AF100 plus and AF110 plus can reach this speed and at the same time provide the necessary stiffness”, states the Managing Director.

AF110 plus: convincing results
Over the course of the recent months, the Affolter engineers redesigned the well-established Gear Line model AF110 to optimize the WSPS process. The result is the brand new Gear Hobbing Machine AF110 plus. The workpiece spindles were successfully remodeled to reach the high speeds needed. The Affolter Marketing and R&D team also focused on completely redesigning the machine. “We integrated a cutting fluid filtration system and a chip disposal solution. This allows us to cope with all the requirements imposed by the workpiece up to module 1.5 and the production of large volumes of chips”, says Mr. Affolter. Additionally, the Affolter engineers and the marketing team improved the ergonomics through a redefinition of the machine base and surrounding as well as the human-machine interface. The very flexible AF110 plus also convinces with a function that allows to operate at reduced speeds with the hood open (Full Safety setup machine mode). Extensive test runs proved very successful, as Vincent Affolter recounts: “We achieved outstanding results processing both steel and brass. The new AF110 plus and the WSPS technology will open completely new opportunities for our customers.”

In the spotlight
A prototype of the AF110 plus will be showcased at the trade shows AMB in Stuttgart from 13-17 September and Micronora in Besançon/France from 27-30 September. Furthermore, Affolter will present the WSPS technology at IMTS in Chicago from 12-17 September and 
JIMTOF in Tokyo from 17-22 November.

AMB 2016: The machine tool goes digital. Expert interview with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher / Machine of the future the key topic at AMB in Stuttgart

Machine tools are becoming increasingly more precise, quicker and better. This will also be demonstrated during the forthcoming AMB, International Exhibition for Metal Working in Stuttgart from 13 to 17 September 2016, which is expected to attract 90,000 visitors. However, the basic principle of the metal cutting machine is changing very little. Several rotatory and linear axes are combined differently in a closed housing. The control units are also not readily accessible. In times of “Industry 4.0”, actually only another term for “networking”, the machine tool must be opened up. What will it look like in future?


Answers to this question are provided by Professor Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher, one of the Heads of the renowned Machine Tool Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University and holder of the Chair for Machine Tools.

Professor Brecher, how must the machine tool of the future change for Industry 4.0?
In our opinion, two aspects are crucial: digitalisation or virtualisation of machine tools and their networking. In the first case engineering will be substantially optimised both through meaningful models of mechanical – i.e. static, dynamic and thermal behaviour – and control technology behaviour (e.g. the drive train or control models). The objective here is to simulate the subsequent machine as far as the process and detect challenges at an early stage. Networking will have more of an effect on the following operating phase. Future machine tools must contain semantic interfaces in order to provide, for example, process data in high resolution for more in-depth analyses, if possible in real time, or be functionally integrated in networked systems.

What effect will increasing automation of processes, especially through robots, have on the design of a machine tool?
Automated production cells already exist in tool construction and mouldmaking for example. However, we have identified major challenges relating to cost-effective operation of these cells (robots, machine tools, bearings) in multi-variant small series – i.e. the typical product range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMUs). Processes often cannot come on stream in parallel with production time, or the expertise required in this case is not available. To date, there have only been a few approaches to define a functionally extensive interface between a machine tool and a robot that can be integrated into the CAD/CAM-NC chain or the RC chain. This becomes very exciting when we consider flexible automation, e.g. by means of collaborative robotics. We also see great potential here for SMUs and small series.
We are currently establishing a working party which will examine this question both on the research side and during direct industrial cooperation.

What has actually become of the concept of hexapods, i.e. a completely new design of machine tools, for which a great future was once predicted?
Due to various reasons, the concept of parallel kinematics or hybrid solutions could only be successfully established in a few areas. In addition to the area of handling and installation, there are also machine tools in which the advantages, e.g. the high feasible dynamics of special concepts, are used very successfully. One example is the highly dynamic Ecospeed machine from Dörries Scharmann for highly productive aluminium machining in the aerospace industry. In future, there will certainly also be special concepts for specific applications in the machine tool industry.

Machines are becoming increasingly more complex, young people are thinking in apps – how will machines be operated in future?
The development of new, innovative man-machine concepts has a long history in the Machine Tool Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University. For example, the approach of an action-based operating concept – motivated by modern smartphones – has been successfully validated with multi-modal interfaces, thereby significantly reducing the complexity of current human-machine interfaces. Celos from DMG Mori is pursuing an entirely similar approach in this respect. In the MaxiMMI Project, whose participants include leading machine tool manufacturers and suppliers, we are also currently observing the integration of new operating devices such as smart watches, tablets or multimedia glasses in the machine tool environment. Although these approaches offer great potential, they should not be pursued just for their own sake, but should always create a realistic practical application.

Energy efficiency has also been a recurring topic in the machine tool industry for some years. What is the situation at present?
The topic area of energy efficiency is still the subject of current research funding tenders. Whereas we were initially able to design the main units, e.g. spindles, more efficiently after taking account of physical models, more emphasis is now placed on auxiliary units and intelligent thermal management as a whole. Current activities in the Machine Tool Laboratory involve reducing non-productive warm-up times in order to also switch off machines quickly in a flexible way during short breaks in production. From an overall viewpoint, the topic of energy efficiency must be broadly considered in the context of productivity in order to reduce the amount of energy consumption per component.

CECIMO forecasts growth to continue in 2015

CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries presents the state of the European machine tool industry at EMO Milano 2015:

• The European machine tool production will grow to 23.6 billion euros in 2015;
• Machine tool sales in Europe will reach 14.2 billion euro in 2015 thanks to the improving business confidence.


Together with the European economy, the European machine tool (MT) production also intensified in 2014: it grew by1.3% to reach 23.0 billion euro. Since the European MT industry exports worldwide, it is affected by two opposing trends. First, a slowdown in emerging markets makes these reduce their investment in industrial machinery. Secondly, growth is relatively stable in developed markets like Europe and North America, which implies more investment in industrial machinery. Both trends considered, the European machine tool production is estimated to increase to 23.6 billion euro in 2015 (+3%).
Despite the slowdown of global economic growth, the European MTs’ exports still perform well. Machine tools with a total value of 18.2 billion euro were shipped abroad in 2014. CECIMO expects the exports to grow by 3% to 18.7 billion euro in 2015, which would be the second best result of all times. “Rising wages in the emerging economies put pressure on production costs. The European machine tool industry focuses on productivity and high efficiency that gives us our competitive edge. Our highly innovative, state-of-the-art machines are in demand all over the world because they offer intelligent and cost efficient manufacturing solutions. These are promoted on a large scale during EMO Milano 2015,” explained Dr Frank Brinken, the Chairman of CECIMO Economic Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of several machine tool companies.

CECIMO imports rose to 8.8 billion euro in 2014. The weak euro will slow imports’ growth down but we estimate that the European industry’s needs will push the MT imports to 9.2 billion euro this year (+3%). After two years of stagnation, the European businesses’ investments picked up in 2014. The European MT consumption expanded by 10% in 2014 to 13.7 billion euro. The consumption is expected to go on increasing and record 14.2 billion euro in 2015. The improving demand in European markets is confirmed by the strong order intake. In the second quarter of 2015, the CECIMO domestic orders’ index increased by 6% and 14% in comparison with the previous quarter and the same quarter last year respectively. We expect the European MT consumption to grow for the next four years.

The industry in need for political action at EU level
Europe generates 39% of the global machine tool output and European exports (including intra-EU trade) account for 50% of the world machine tool exports. As much as 50% of all patents filed globally for machine tool technologies are European. Europe’s strength lies, in fact, specifically in its capacity to supply advanced machine tool technologies.
The European MT sector goes towards the adoption of disruptive manufacturing technologies like intelligent production and additive manufacturing. It wants to participate in public-private partnerships and focuses on cross-disciplinary cooperation. The sector is accelerating the integration of new technologies like big data and industrial internet into its equipment and services, laying the foundations of the future’s intelligent and connected factories. They are also heavily involved in helping our manufacturing workforce to adapt to new technologies and the new business environment.
It is clear that innovation is and will be the motor of growth for the MT industry, and the lack of investment in manufacturing is its most important obstacle. Filip Geerts, director-general of CECIMO says: “The EU decision makers must use the European Fund for Strategic Investments to finance support programmes helping to accelerate “technology transfer” whilst tackling the underinvestment problem.”