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8.EMO: World Exhibition for Metalworking.

8. EMO World exhibition for metalworking

Unless you were there to see it for yourself, it would be difficult to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the world's largest machine tool exhibition held this past September in Hanover, West Germany. Statistics alone cannot convey the impact of 2149 exhibitors assembled in 22 buildings, comprising over 2-million sq ft of exhibit space at 8.EMO. Over 238,000 visitors from 102 countries attended this extravaganza during its nine-day duration.

The show was billed as the World Exhibition for Metalworking. But in addition to generating statistics of the show's massive proportions and superlatives praising its comprehensiveness, of what significance was this show to capital equipment users, particularly those in US metalworking plants?

For those of us in the trade press who spent time at this show, it is impossible to give you a comprehensive, exhibit-by-exhibit account of what was on display. Not only was there just too much to see in only nine days, but no one reader in the field of metalworking would have an interest in everything. Those who attended the show with a serious intent to buy (and the number in this category was surprisingly high) were selective in the companies they visited and were prepared to discuss specific metalworking operations. (More on this later.) Visitors were helped greatly in this respect by the fact that exhibits at EMO shows are arranged by machine types, with entire buildings devoted to a single kind of machine tool. Serious buyers need not traverse the entire show to see specific exhibitors.

Show management told us that there has been an increasing proportion of top executives attending EMO: around one third of all visitors were top management level, and an additional 20 percent were middle management. The decision-making authority for capital investment was correspondingly high, with decision makers accounting for 62 percent of visitors and advisers an additional 23 percent. Concrete capital investment projects were the motive for 38 percent of EMO visitors.

One European machine-tool manufacturer offered some insight into how a European manufacturing firm makes use of the opportunity offered by a trade show such as EMO to conclude capital-equipment-buying negotiations. According to L E Voith, VP, Industrial CNC Machines, EMCO-Maier & Co, Hallein, Austria, a company making a capital-equipment-buying decision would first narrow the field of interest to two or three vendors of a particular type of machine tool before visiting the show. The company would then send a team of technical personnel from middle management ranks to the show to review - first hand - the technical advantages and shortcomings of each machine under consideration. Such evaluations are based almost entirely on technical solutions offered by each machine, and innovations that will improve the cost effectiveness of specific machining operations. Purchase price is not a prime consideration.

After the team reports its initial findings to corporate management, a second visit to the exhibition might be arranged by a high-ranking company officer, who would negotiate the final contract to buy a machine. Voith emphasized that technical competence carries far more weight than price in the negotiations of most European machine-tool-buying decisions.

There is strong evidence that the manufacturing economy in Europe is working at a record pace. Most of the machine-tool manufacturers we talked to at this show spoke of a strong backlog of orders and shops running at nearly full capacity. This situation was reflected by activity at the show. The overwhelming majority of exhibitors felt that EMO was a major success in business terms. They noted particularly the number and quality of technical discussions and contacts with potential new customers. Sixty-four percent of exhibitors have high expectations for follow-up business, according to polls by show management. More than half the exhibitors reported sales at the exhibition - an unusually high figure for EMO, which is not a trade fair for orders.

Technology trends

There was evidence at EMO that more and more newly industrialized countries are becoming suppliers of machine tools and production equipment. The implication for leading machine-tool builders is the need to concentrate increasingly on special-purpose or advanced technology machines. Customers for these expect customized manufacturing units and sophisticated solutions to problems, extending to software and services.

The trend emerging from EMO showed builders responding to user demands for increased flexibility in the production of small- and medium-size lots. This was found at the show in the form of machines combining several metalworking operations in a single setup. Not only is it becoming very common for lathes and turning machines to perform milling and other operations with powered tooling, but multiside machining of prismatic workpieces is common.

Also, production units are remaining distinct, being linked by optimized workpiece-handling systems. Overall, there is a clear trend toward all-around processing. This was apparent on both individual machines and flexible manufacturing systems. Shorter product-life cycles, the growing number of variants, and the need to reduce delivery times are the forces driving this trend. Machine-tool manufacturers are responding through flexible design of processing systems combined with greater use of data-processing links between individual machines and peripherals.

Development of more-efficient and cost-effective systems concepts are not limited to machine tools directly involved in component production. Ancillary disciplines such as NC programming, quality assurance, workshop management, and design engineering are also involved. This trend was particularly evident at EMO, where we found that machine-tool manufacturers had been cooperating with software houses or establishing their own software departments to offer customers overall systems approaches.

Healthy European economy

The extraordinary size of this year's EMO and the high level of interest it generated is a reflection of the healthy condition of the European manufacturing economy. In particular, European machine-tool builders report operating at near capacity.

The interests of these companies is represented collectively by the European Committee for Co-Operation of the Machine Tool Industries (CECIMO). This is the central organization for the national machine tool associations of 12 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, The Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

In formal remarks given at the show, R P Bull, president of CECIMO, put into perspective not only the statistical size and scope of the organization, but its aims and prospects for future worldwide business of its members. His remarks included implications of the lifting of trade restrictions between European Economic Community members after 1992.

Mr Bull pointed out that the EMO exhibition is a decisive demonstration of the strength and capacity of the European machine-tool industry in the face of global competition. As evidence, the 1988 worldwide production of machine tools reached $38-billion, out of which the CECIMO countries accounted for $15-billion, or 39.4 percent. They expect this figure to grow by 7 percent in 1989.

However, Bull voiced his concern about two areas involving machine-tool trade: One concerns the trading policies of Japan, and the other the policies of the EEC involving trade after 1992. Of trade relations with Japan, he said, "Throughout the industrialized countries, imports of machine tools vary between 30 and 50 percent of national consumption. In Japan, machine-tool imports are only 7 percent of national consumption. We know that CECIMO countries export more than 50 percent of their production worldwide. So we can say CECIMO is successful in exporting into all kinds of countries except Japan.

"We know that there are no official barriers to entering the Japanese market, but an imbalance in trade of the magnitude of 8.3 to 1 between exports and imports in Japan is a fact that concerns us. We therefore would like to take this opportunity of officially asking the Japanese government to take whatever steps are necessary to promote the sale of imported machine tools into their market, and to do it now!"

Bull went on to observe that, should the Japanese not take steps to correct this situation, it is possible individual countries of the EC might react just as the US has done with Voluntary Restraint Agreements. He said, "We at CECIMO are not in favor of such measures and therefore we ask the Japanese authorities to open up the market to avoid recriminating retaliation. On the other side, we also urge European manufacturers to adapt their selling methods and their machines to the needs of the Japanese market."

Regarding concern over the industrial and trade policy of the EC after 1992, Bull said, "The EC Commission's policy is free trade among all democratic industrialized countries. However, these countries all have rules that regulate industrial and trading policy. Furthermore, if we want to compete with Japan, and Taiwan, and the newly industrialized countries, as well as with the US where the industrial and trading rules are very well defined, we should have a similar policy.

"Let us make one thing very clear - CECIMO is not asking for protectionism or Fortress Europe. We ask only that, on the world market where we operate, we fight with weapons similar to those of our competitors. CECIMO countries have proved that they can react to very tough situations. Look at the business climate now and that prevailing in the early 1980s. We want to keep our leadership and will make all efforts to reach that target.

"We urgently ask the EC Commission to set up, as soon as possible, an industrial trading policy so that we have rules that apply for everybody, in order that the competitive conditions are equal for EC manufacturers and non-EC manufacturers alike."

We feel there was a great deal of significance in what was shown at the EMO show that will have a profound impact on metalworking operations in the US as well as worldwide. Future policies of the European Economic Community as well as organizations like CECIMO should be noted carefully by American manufacturers in the coming years. European technology can serve manufacturers well; but European competition could very well be a tough challenge in the future. It remains to be seen what political and economic policies will develop in Europe and impact the United States. Of interest for now, however, is the wealth of technology shown at 8.EMO. For an overview, refer to the sampling of manufacturing technology described along with the illustrations accompanying this article.

PHOTO : Allen-Bradley Co introduced this IMC 123 Motion Control Module, the first three-axis coordinated motion-control module for placement in a 1771 I/O series programmable-controller chasis. The motion controller can be used in pick-and-place applications, as well as for light assembly, waterjet cutting, sealing, material handling, grinding, and other general motion-control applications.

The IMC 123 is compatible with incremental resolvers, linear scales, and encoders. Absolute-feedback devices supported include a master-vernier dual resolver, and Temposonic unit. The module also provides broken-wire detection between feedback device and module.

PHOTO : Sheffield Measurement introduced the Horizon series horizontal-arm Cordax CMM. It's offered in six machine sizes, with or without a rotary table, and in a dual-arm version. Rotary-table capacities go up to 4540 kg (10,000 lb).

Among its benefits are: A quoted volumetric accuracy to 17 microns for all four axes combined; rotary-table accuracy of 1.5 arc sec; linear velocity of 25"/sec; repeatability of 0.003 mm (0.00012") range; automatic probe offset and temperature compensation; and microprocessor-enhanced accuracy (MEA) to prevent 29 different deviations from affecting measurement results.

PHOTO : A five-axis CNC grinding system designed to bring new levels of productivity, simplicity and accuracy to the precision resharpening of cutting tools for machining bevel and hypoid gears was announced by The Gleason Works, in conjunction with S.E. Huffman Corp.

The Gleason-Huffman gear-tool-grinding system reduces both changeover and actual grinding time, and lessens reliance on operator judgment and skill. For a particular gear cutter, specification operators initially are prompted to enter major cutter-design parameters and then store that specification by tool number. In subsequent operations, the stored tool can be immediately recalled, and the operator need specify only the amount of material to be removed.

Automatic machine cycles probe and grind all blades in the cutter head in a single setup, and match blade heights on alternate and triplex cutters with no operator intervention. For increased rigidity, the Gleason-Huffman gear tool grinder features a grinding wheel supported by a column rather than a swivel arm.

PHOTO : As a world premiere at EMO, Charmilles Technologies presented a range of new Robofil series 1000 machines. They are available in three sizes - Robofil 2000 (shown), 4000, and 6000. The series 1000 combines, with maximum synergy, two basically irreconcilable properties - high erosion speed with high performance.

The series 1000 has a 100 percent adaptable control system. Irrespective of the workpiece being machined, everything takes place automatically without the operator having to intervene in the manufacturing process. The simultaneous machining on four axes ensures infinite diversity of forms. Integral automation permits non-stop around-the-clock operation. The machine can be questioned and operated remotely from a central or stand-alone computer.

The EJECT 1000 system permits removal of waste material leading to the next cycle, from roughing to finishing. Features of series 1000 machines include automatic wire re-threading, integrated filtering, and use of large wire spools.

PHOTO : Pathtrace launched its new Pathway industrial networking and DNC system. It is suitable for a variety of industrial applications ranging from a single machine link right up to systems with 100 controllers.

In its most basic form, Pathway consists of a small industrial terminal sitting next to the machine control. Cabling, which can be twisted pair, coaxial, fiberoptic, or a mixture of these, connects the terminal to the CAM system. This provides for Direct Numerical Control with capacity to store an edit long NC programs.

For more comprehensive installations, a slightly larger, more-intelligent terminal is used, but installation and operation remain just as simple. Here, Pathway forms what is really Distributed Numerical Control, with text and graphics displayed on the shop floor.

In its most sophisticated form, Pathway provides a true industrial communications system whereby manufacturing information (including both planning and machining data) can be passed to various departments and linked into a central management system.

PHOTO : According to GE Fanuc, the stage of development now reached in advanced manufacturing systems has created new demands for sophisticated technology in the field of automation. For instance, the advent of the machining cell, formed from a number of computerized machine tools linked together, has led to the introduction by GE Fanuc Automation of this new 32-bit OEM cell controller, designated the GE Fanuc System F-Model D Mate.

The controller, which is aimed at small machining cells consisting of several machine tools, can be built-in as an integral part of an existing CNC system. Construction is simplified through use of a controller with various types of standard software packages. Incorporated is the Flex [OS.sup.TM] real-time operating system that uses application programs with standard packages such as monitor and tool-management functions written in C language. These can be created easily by the machine-tool builder.

PHOTO : Phoenix, a CNC hypoid and bevel gear production system, shown by The Gleason Works, is engineered to provide precision, productivity, and flexibility in gear-cutting and gear-grinding operations. Featuring six CNC axes of motion, Phoenix eliminates the traditional drive-train, cradle, eccentric, ratio of roll, swivel, and tilt mechanisms of conventional machines.

Because Phoenix eliminates the need for mechanical machine adjustments, changeover time has been reduced from hours to minutes. Changeover typically requires only downloading of a part program and installation of the appropriate workholding equipment and cutting tool or grinding wheel.

PHOTO : Hertel AG says that the introduction of flexible production systems and cells requires measurement of tools outside the machine, especially when small batch sizes have to be machined with different tools at short intervals. The Hertel optical tool-measuring machine automatically measures stationary as well as rotating tools. Depending on machine design, tools are inserted into the measuring adapter manually, or by a handling device.

After the tool is inserted and the ident code read, the tool-data record is evaluated by the computer. The measuring-control system knows all data to be measured, such as number of cutting edges, tool pitch, cutting angles, cutting geometry, and all reference values.

The machine operates with transmitted light. It starts the measuring cycle and compares the measured values with reference data to calculate correction values. Used tools can be checked easily to determine suitability for further application.

PHOTO : Laser Work AG showed its six-axis carbon dioxide laser machining center (LW 2030) featuring modular design. Laser cutting of hollow bodies, such as the 3-D oil sump shown here is accomplished easily with the quick-change system. It can handle plate sizes up to 2000 mm x 6000 mm.

Welding and cutting on the same system is accomplished by changing the head on the common Z-axis. Several customized workpiece handling alternatives are available.
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Title Annotation:includes related articles
Author:Dobbins, Donald B.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:Challenges to the turret.
Next Article:Progress in basic gaging.

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