Frankfurt am Main, 8 August 2016. – Under the motto of "Connecting systems for intelligent production", manufacturers of production technology from all over the world will be showcasing what needs to be done in order to generate maximised customer benefits from digitisation and networking of production operations. At the same time, of course, they will be striving to improve their own competitiveness with these corporate capabilities.
"Although there is no product called Industry 4.0, trade visitors will be encountering digitisation and networking at the fair in multifarious manifestations," says Carl Martin Welcker, General Commissioner of the EMO Hannover 2017. "The organisers of the EMO Hannover have expanded the event’s nomenclature in order to render this important issue transparent for the visitors," adds Carl Martin Welcker. Exhibitors will accordingly be showcasing solutions for predictive maintenance and software programs, plus consultancy services for Industry 4.0 and the internet of things.
Condition monitoring and predictive maintenance based on data analyses, for example, are important aspects of Industry 4.0. They offer users extensive potential for efficiency enhancements. The same applies for simulations, economic resource utilisation and other new options opened up by analysing the enormous quantities of data from production operations. New solutions for this are emerging on the market every day. "The EMO Hannover is the ideal platform for obtaining a comprehensive overview of the production, consultancy and service-oriented business models so far available, as made possible by Big Data and the networking of the entire value creation chain," says Carl Martin Welcker.
Examples of best practice like these illustrate the possibilities inherent in digitisation and networking of production operations, particularly for small and mid-tier companies (SMEs). These ought to give this target group a shake-up, because they frequently overestimate the risks of Industry 4.0, like IT security or also the cost factor. This, at least, is the result of a study conducted by researchers at the German Academic Society for Production Engineering (WGP). In July, they unveiled their "Position paper on Industry 4.0" to the public, and warned that only one in ten of Germany’s manufacturing companies was intensively addressing this issue in an operative context. The WGP’s stance is intended as a wake-up call for the SMEs, urging them to make a change. The EMO as the premier innovation platform for production technology is the ideal place for taking this wake-up call on board, and inspiring users by means of practical solutions.
Increased presence of additive processes in production operations
Not only Industry 4.0, but additive manufacturing as well, is meanwhile a much-discussed topical issue among international production specialists. Due to rising levels of interest in this technology throughout the metalworking sector, the EMO’s nomenclature has been expanded for 2017 to include four new sectors: machines and systems, materials, additional systems, and components and services for additive processes. Traditional vendors are also positioning themselves in this field with hybrid systems.
It’s no accident that additive manufacturing is gaining ground. A recent study commissioned by the VDW shows that 3D printing in production operations is admittedly a niche phenomenon at present, but the sector is growing exponentially, and will continue to do so in the years ahead. "So firms would do well to engage with the new production technology in the field of mechanical engineering too, and to keep advances under observation in each specific sector," advises Carl Martin Welcker. But the technology should on no account be seen as a danger for the machine tool industry. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity. "Manufacturers should most definitely engage with new components for their own products. But they should also keep the market under observation in regard to additive processes, and in cases of doubt factor in changes to their customers’ products, and modify their corporate capabilities appropriately," warned Carl Martin Welcker.
The EMO Hannover 2017 will for these reasons also provide insights into the latest developments in the field of additive manufacturing and communicate to visitors ideas that will enable potential niche markets to be opened up in the future. Since in terms of industrial applications the process is as yet in its infancy, machinery manufacturers, says Carl Martin Welcker, have excellent opportunities for "adapting to the technology and changes in demand patterns".
There are still plenty of aspects that need clarifying in regard to both additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Will 3D printing in the foreseeable future achieve a higher degree of automation for integration into industrial production operations? How can you design individually modified functions for your company on the basis of networking? Answers to questions like these will be found at the EMO Hannover – a place for soundly-based interchange of knowledge and empirical feedback. This is assured not only by the corporate capabilities of the exhibitors, but also by multifarious forums and accompanying events. A special show themed around the EMO’s motto of "Connecting systems for intelligent production", for instance, highlights aspects from a scientific viewpoint with examples of practical solutions. The fair is thus a reflection of the very latest advances in production technology.
New: the early-booker discount
In these days, the EMO’s organiser, the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) will be issuing the invitations to the EMO Hannover 2017, and dispatching the registration documents. "We’re looking forward to wide participation und abundant innovations. For the first time, we’re offering our exhibitors an early-booker discount," explains Carl Martin Welcker. "This will benefit anyone who registers by 15 October 2016."