EMO 2017 exhibition is around the corner

The world’s largest metalworking event EMO 2017 with the theme “Connecting systems for intelligent production” will be staged at the Hannover fairgrounds in Germany later this month (18 to 23 September 2017). The previous EMO held in Hannover in 2013 had the theme “Intelligence in Production” which was all about how to improve machinery concepts, control technology, and software, tools and processes.

Two years later EMO 2015 was held in Milan, Italy and the theme that time was “Let’s build the future”. The exhibitors certainly embraced the theme putting style at the forefront. After all we were in Italy and the Italians certainly love their ‘style’. There’s something to be said for Italian craftsmanship, though. Modern companies from this creative part of the world produce products at a level of quality and elegance often unmatched. Italy is known for the craftsmanship of its stunning cars.

One notable exhibition stand was that of Comau, a business unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The company presented their new SmartDriveComau prototype machining center, a gleaming white and pristine machine highlighted by slick graphics, windows, and mesmerising LED displays. The aesthetics of the machine certainly fitted into “the factory of the future”. There was nothing green in colour about these machines. The result was a stunning piece of hardware that is trying to strike an even balance between style and function.

Subsequently, a number of machine tool manufacturers have changed the livery of their machines that they offer and I have to admit that looking at a new machine today is very easy on the eye. It is said that machines today provide users with a significant added value with regards to optics due to the huge viewing panels that are now incorporated in the ‘covers’.

The anticipation for this iteration of EMO is that: “This year’s show will feature solutions that are not only integrated into a company’s IT world, but are connected and networked. Machine tools that are communicating, analysing using the available data and extracting the relevant information from that data to generate added value for the manufacturer and its customers. This can be data from the machine tool that provides a foundation for new service offers in condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, and in the best case, even directions on future machine developments. The same applies to data that is generated by intelligent tools. Moreover, data from automation and part handling can ultimately supply information for logistics in production, and data from measurement engineering and quality management for intelligent process control.”

Getting these points across – which effectively are future sales solutions – to the prospective visitors is going to be a challenge for those ‘sales’ people on the stands. It is all very well talking about this ‘big data’ but what if I am purchasing a machine from X company, Y company and Z company and then I still decide to buy another one from C company. How do the machine manufacturers envisage that these four different machines will ‘talk’ to each other? It is going to be interesting to find out.

I look forward to meeting up with those of you from South Africa that will be visiting. There are 2 050 companies from 45 countries exhibiting in 16 halls. The exhibition space alone equates to about 180 000m² (60 000m² more than EMO Milano). So get your walking shoes on and have a plan before you arrive. This exhibition is at least 15 times bigger – exhibitor space – and 18 times bigger – exhibitors – than our local exhibition. It is also a must visit at least once in your life.