EMO Hannover 2019 finishes on a positive note but are there nasty’s lurking in the background?

EMO Hannover 2019, the world’s leading metalworking trade show, which was themed ‘Smart technologies driving tomorrow’s production’ finished recently on a high note, but the the current state of the economy in Europe and the shifting trends in the automotive industry are making the machine tool OEMs jittery.

EMO Hannover 2019, the world’s leading metalworking trade show, was themed ‘Smart technologies driving tomorrow’s production’

In essence, you could say that the theme for EMO Hannover 2019 was an extension of the 2017 theme, which was ‘Connecting Systems for Intelligent Production’. However, if you analyse the words of the two themes and take into account what you saw in 2017 and compare it to what you saw at this year’s exhibition, you clearly realise that the exhibitors have stuck to what they promised in 2017: To implement their developments into their latest products that they exhibited.

Two years ago exhibitors showed how they had embraced Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) and were planning to implement these concepts into their products or future plans. Many demonstrated connectivity solutions, data analysis applications and other innovative services, each trying to outdo the other with their novel idea giving a reflection of how they have interpreted the theme and the concept. However, throughout the exhibition the emphasis was on systems capable of interconnecting multiple partners, cloud-based machine monitoring solutions, simulation software, augmented reality for machine maintenance, block chain technology for secure data transfer, new business models and much more.

An uncertain global market: CECIMO says there are geopolitical challenges for the European machine tool industry but is this the reality?
EMO 2019 eventually attracted around 117 000 visitors from 150 countries and over 2 100 exhibitors from 47 countries that exhibited in an area exceeding 178 000m². Visitor numbers were down 13 000 from the previous edition of the exhibition in Hannover, Germany but it is understandable if you investigate the current state of the economy in Europe and the shifting trends.

Automation and robotics: Are you ready for CNC automation? Your total solution for automatic loading and unloading of CNC machines is here

Collaborative robots were commonplace throughout the exhibition

At one of the first press conferences that the international press was invited to Dr. Roland Feichtl, President of CECIMO (CECIMO is the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies), stated in his opening words that: “The machine tool market appears to be slowing down, due in part to the increasing difficulties in the international political scene.”

“Total orders for the second quarter of 2019 have gone down 19% as compared to the first three months of 2019 and around 24% if compared to the figures of the second quarter of 2018. Moreover, industrial production in Europe seems to be facing a downward trend, while European manufacturers trust in the market is also decreasing. Economic factors are indeed behind this apparent change of cycle, but geopolitical issues also hold sway over this. One of these is well known, as it has been at the centre of the European political debate since June 2016: Brexit.”

Automotive related
Preferring to stick to geopolitical issues as the main cause rather than giving the root cause, Feichtl should have been forthright and said that the problems that machine builders are struggling with are primarily automotive related.

As technology continues to shape and reshape our everyday lives, new trends cause shifting customer expectations. New demands are placed on all manufacturers and governments and it is the automotive sector that is right up there as amongst the hardest hit.

Electrical vehicle shift
In the darkest days of the 2009 recession, Germany’s industrial output was collapsing at an annual rate of more than 20 per cent. An unfathomable implosion but one that thankfully ended almost as quickly as it started. Some 10 years on, a crisis is brewing once again in the country’s industrial heartlands. The pain could prove more enduring this time.

If you were a machine building company exhibiting at EMO Hannover 2019 and did not have some form of automation or robotics on your stand it was very noticeable

Not only machine tool suppliers but also suppliers of tooling and gauging systems demonstrated the possibilities of automating tasks that would have been too low in value or too infrequently performed to justify a robot in the past

So far the problems aren’t nearly as acute as in 2009. Industrial production fell by a comparatively modest 4.2 per cent in July. The worry, though, is that demand is being sapped by a mix of both cyclical and longer-lasting structural factors such as the demise of diesel and the shift to electrical vehicles.

Germany’s industrial sector contributes more than one-fifth of GDP and is usually a huge asset. Right now this export engine is pulling the economy down. Signs of distress are everywhere. German manufacturing activity is at a decade low, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing manager’s index. The Ifo Institute estimates that more than five per cent of manufacturing companies have cut working hours and about 12 per cent expect to do so during the next three months. German machinery orders declined nine per cent in the first six months of the year, according to the VDMA association, which represents the country’s engineers. In chemicals and pharmaceuticals, domestic production fell 6.5 per cent in the first half of the year, while domestic car output has fallen 12 per cent this year. Auto exports have dropped 14 per cent.

ThyssenKrupp AG, a former industrial jewel that makes everything from steel to submarines to car parts, is in crisis. It’s burning cash, weighed down by debt and has parted company with two chief executives in the space of 14 months. The chemicals giant BASF is cutting 6 000 jobs and has warned on profits.

Eisenmann, Weber Automotive and Avir Guss insolvencies
Meanwhile, the German carmakers BMW AG and Daimler AG have issued profit warnings as tighter emission rules oblige them to keep spending heavily. Their suppliers are the ones really hurting though. At least three – Eisenmann, Weber Automotive and a subsidiary of Avir Guss – have filed for insolvency and investors are betting the pain will spread more widely.

DMG Mori’s chief executive Masahiko Mori thinks there is no reason to use the word recession. He is optimistic about the coming decade. “Around 200 000 CNC machines are in daily production worldwide. 20% of these are more than 20 years old and need changing. Change them into a new 5-axis machine with automation. The old machines are also not good for the environment and the carbon footprint. Every 10 years we see a technology change in this industry. Automation and additive manufacturing are the trend for the coming decade.”

Colin Morrison of Pilot Tools, William Jubran and Harry Ehrenberg, both of Vargus, with James Morrison and Theuns Human, both from Pilot Tools

The list of manufacturing heartache goes on. Debt-laden wiring and cable company Leoni AG is among Germany’s most stressed stocks. The shares have lost two-thirds of their value over the past year and this is hardly unique.

The company that best illustrates this slow-burn crisis is Continental AG. The tyre and car parts titan has announced a massive restructuring, which it said would affect 20 000 jobs over the next decade, or some eight per cent of the workforce. Explaining its decision, the manufacturer warned of an emerging crisis in the automotive industry. Demand is weak and technological requirements are shifting fast. In future it will need more software engineers but fewer people building components for petrol and diesel engines.

Conti’s great rival Robert Bosch GMBH has a big diesel technology business and is preparing for upheaval too. Its chief executive officer Volkmar Denner told Sueddeutsche Zeitung last month that he expects autos production to stagnate. “That’s different from the past when it almost always went up. The tailwind is gone,” he said.

Chris Bryant says in an opinion piece: “However, unlike in 2009 when a domestic car scrappage scheme boosted demand, Germany can’t easily buy itself out of trouble this time. Tens of thousands of well-paid industrial jobs face obsolescence because of the demise of the combustion engine. Electric vehicle drivetrains have far fewer parts and the process is less labour intensive. Germany’s economic power was built on the back of its excellent petrol and diesel cars. Their inevitable demise puts the country’s position as the ‘engine of Europe’ under threat.”

Mike Cronin of Elquip

Trevor Cooke of Victor Machine Tools, Sheamus Huang of Victor Taichung, Alan Meredith of Victor Machine Tools, Bert Huang, Ruby Huang, Catherine Huang, all of Victor Taichung, Dudley Meredith of Victor Machine Tools and Charlie Chen of Victor Taichung

The machine builders are strong in the automotive industry. That actually applies to a large part of the industry. If you read the annual report of the VDW every year, you will see that German machine construction is dependent on the automotive industry for a very large part, together with machine construction.

They say that the poor market for machine builders has not just fallen from the sky in recent months. The sector has had a number of record years, notably in Germany, but a graph that Marcus Burton, chairman of the CECIMO economic committee, displayed, shows sentiment among buyers has actually been falling since mid-2017 in Europe. The peak in orders for new machines was in the middle of last year.

Light in the dark tunnel
DMG Mori’s chief executive Masahiko Mori thinks there is no reason to use the word recession. He is optimistic about the coming decade. “Around 200 000 CNC machines are in daily production worldwide. 20% of these are more than 20 years old and need changing. Change them into a new 5-axis machine with automation. The old machines are also not good for the environment and the carbon footprint. Every 10 years we see a technology change in this industry. Automation and additive manufacturing are the trend for the coming decade.”

Fellow DMG MORI board director Christian Thönes says: “Machines remain our core business, but the improvement potential of the machine is no longer sufficient. The potential of the entire process chain becomes decisive. That is why the ecosystem is so important for production.”

Emmel Kambouris of Elkana CNC

Thomas Wenzlow of Hyundai Wia with Vaughn Hanwith Horden of Spectrum Machine Tools

Philip Oris of SLM Solutions – AM versus machining – says “Additive Manufacturing is different from making certified parts in a production process. I don’t think AM will replace anything, it’s an additional technology. Additive Manufacturing will not take over the production series of 50 000 to 100 000 units. Identifying the correct parts is difficult. But imagine that for a prototype of a forging part you have to wait four months, which is the reality. Then you have to look at AM.”

Takashi Yamazaki of Mazak says: “We see the laser as a very important tool. We will see more laser treatments in the coming years. We will develop more and more hybrid machines. We also continue to invest in new technology, such as artificial intelligence, which we are now bringing to the CNC machine.”

Jimmy Chu (of the Fair Friend Group) says: “Every machine builder who is in the automotive industry is looking for markets that can replace this. But in Germany, 48% of the industry is automotive related. So that is not possible here. In addition, everyone is looking for replacements, so competition in those other sectors is increasing. Removing uncertainty is the most important thing that must happen now. In addition, it is not to be expected that car manufacturers will again invest heavily in machines in the short term. This is not only related to the transition to other drive concepts but it also has to do with the fact that business models in this chain have changed. The production of combustion engines is shifting to the supply chain, which has other investment strategies.”

European AM market flat – Trumpf
“The European AM market is flat, with the exception of the aviation industry. In China, on the other hand, the AM market is very strong, not only is there a lot of demand from the aerospace industry but also from the other markets. After the hype we now see a reflection,” said Thomas Fehn, director of Trumpf Additive Manufacturing at the company’s EMO 2019 press conference.

“That gives manufacturers such as Trumpf ‘challenges’. We need applications, more volume.”

Nevertheless, companies like Trumpf show that additive manufacturing with metal can be used meaningfully. At EMO 2019 Trumpf demonstrated among other things the advantages of 3D metal printing when it comes to heat-resistant materials, such as Inconel. If you have the impeller for a gas compressor for drones and 3D print with Inconel, instead of 80% material loss with CNC milling you only have 20% material loss.

AM is supplementary, not instead of – CECIMO
CECIMO organised the AM Conference on the second day. Patrick Mehmert of Hexagon clearly stated that additive manufacturing is not a matter of buying a machine. AM is a process, with preparation steps and post processing. Software for generative design and topology optimisation plays an important role to reap the benefits of additive manufacturing.

Philip Oris of SLM Solutions also sees AM as part of a process. “Additive manufacturing is not going to replace machining, but is supplementing it.”

Thomas, Rudie and Tommie Adlam of Adlam Engineering with Richard Poalses of 600SA Machine Tools

Myles Crosthwaite of W.D. Hearn Machine Tools with Amelia Buitendag

Stewart Lane, chairman of the AM Committee of CECIMO and director of Renishaw, believes that more needs to be done to highlight the possibilities of what AM can bring to the existing industries. He argues: “At European level European policymakers should develop a supportive and flexible set of rules that will support the sector in Europe if we want to maintain the leading role of the AM sector in Europe.”

Digitalisation, industrial electronics, Industry 4.0, software and AM
Hall 9 was the hall to visit if you wanted to find out the latest trends happening for these topics.

‘Digitalisation in Machine Tool Manufacturing – Thinking Ahead!’ was the motto for one of the exhibitors. “Our dialogue with our customers at the fair revealed that digitalisation and the use of data and its transformation into useful knowledge are the key drivers for innovation, increased productivity and faster time-to-market. Technologies like digital gemini, edge and cloud computing and artificial intelligence were the focus of attention,” said a company spokesperson.

Automation and robotics
Are you ready for CNC automation? Your total solution for automatic loading and unloading of CNC machines is here. Do you want to increase your output and respond flexibly to sudden fluctuations in batch sizes and delivery times?

If you were a machine building company exhibiting at EMO Hannover 2019 and did not have some form of automation or robotics on your stand it was very noticeable. Integrated automation with the use of robotics was a significant focus of many of the machine tool builders. Even the metrology equipment manufacturers are making full use of automation with the integration of robotics. The role of the ‘minder’ is becoming obsolete.

A trend that I noticed in this area was the companies present with automation concepts for lathes, milling machines, turning/milling combinations, grinding machines and more. Companies such as BM Automation were on the Okuma stand, RoboJob on the Mazak stand and Cellro had its own stand.

Trevor Woest of MechTech with Thomas Zackey of Craft Industrial

Peet Buitendag of EJE with Hugh McCahon of Auto Industrial

Industrie-Partner unveiled Robo Operator, an automation solution which aims to help out when staff shortages loom. Robo Operator is designed to be a mobile and flexible automation solution that can be used to run virtually any CNC machine tool independently. Thanks to the minimal preparation, setup and programming involved, Robo Operator can be started up in next to no time, even by staff with no programming experience. The robot is then instantly able to take on the third shift or weekend work completely autonomously, thus also significantly improving machine tool productivity.

Importantly, the development of automation technology has moved not just into more sophisticated applications, but now also into lower-cost ones as well. Collaborative robots were commonplace throughout the exhibition, as not only machine tool suppliers but also suppliers of tooling and gauging systems demonstrated the possibilities of automating tasks that would have been too low in value or too infrequently performed to justify a robot in the past.

Global machine tool community paving the way for Industry 4.0 with umati
“70 companies from 10 countries have connected 110 machines and 28 value-added services at EMO Hannover 2019 via the umati standard interface. umati is opening up a new chapter in production. The interface enables machine tool manufacturers to fulfil another Industry 4.0 promise: The simple, fast and secure exchange of data. Creating a connection and providing a uniform language for machines, systems and software are essential prerequisites for reaping the benefits of digitalisation in production. The fact that individual companies no longer have to concern themselves with the correct functioning of the network interconnection represents a tremendous step forward,” said Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chairman of the VDW.

In conclusion…
“This EMO Hannover 2019 built on the success of our boom year in 2017. In the context of subdued economic expectations over the past several months, the moderate decline in attendance has to be viewed as a success. We are particularly delighted at the further increase in the percentage of foreign attendees. The mood in the halls was positive, with many exhibitors pleasantly surprised at the high volume of visitor traffic at their stands.”

“EMO Hannover has once again proved solid as a rock, providing clarity for the further development of production technology, even in uncertain times. Its trademarks included a strong international character, a high calibre of visitors and exhibitors, and an amazing wealth of innovations and new products.” As the world’s leading metalworking fair, it was the ‘place to be’, reported EMO General Commissioner Carl Martin Welcker.

For your diary: Please note the cycle for the EMO 2021 which is scheduled for Milan, Italy. The finalised dates for the EMO 2021 Milano are 04 to 09 October 2021.

Mike Heapy of Lead Machine Tools UK with Graeme Cooper of WD Hearn Machine Tools

Graeme Cooper – WD Hearn Machine Tools

“EMO was once again extremely worth while, especially considering we only decided at the last minute to go.”

“I found it particularly interesting to gauge where the rest of the world is relative to us and our current local doom and gloom sentiment, and to be honest it isn’t pretty out there on many fronts. We are not alone in feeling an economic pinch. All of Asia is down by double digit figures, Germany has slowed for the first time in a while largely due to the uncertainty in automotive due to the influence of electric cars, the China trade war, Brexit and Turkey amongst many other global issues.”

“It was great to see the latest technology and I found it very interesting checking the control types from Fanuc, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Fagor and the likes thereof. We are rapidly moving away from standard control types, and more and more machine builders are creating their own custom HMI on the industrial PC based front end of the traditional control makers. Most builders are adding their own touch to control systems.”

“I was also once again amazed with Renishaw and their growing product portfolio with some of the most sophisticated metrology equipment on the market, and the presence of the Renishaw Equator was felt throughout the show with many machines spread over many machine builders stands.”

“It was fantastic having a meeting with the Vice President of Bodor for the first time at EMO, strengthening our recent steps forward with our new venture into laser cutting.”

“Mitsubishi EDM was great as always and I was very impressed to see the new models and the latest D-Cubes control.”

Peter and Chris Killian of Hi-Tech Machine Tools

Andrew Kung – Director of APEC, James Huang – Director of Tongtai’s Global Sales & Service division as well as CEO of PCI-SCEMM, Joseph Chen – Vice President of Honor Seiki, all Tongtai Group companies with Alroy Savides – Commercial Manager of PBS Machine Tools

Alroy Savides – PBS Machine Tools

“Additive manufacturing (including subtractive) has started maturing and we see more and more companies offering additive machines capable of printing in more metal categories.”

“There are two trends that will affect us the most in this area.”

“Printing is not for mass production. It is however closely linked to mass production. Whether that is prototyping, making inserts for moulds and producing fixtures in a short turnaround time. All of these products improve productivity.”

“Some more advanced machine builders have integrated additive into their subtractive machines and this creates an entirely new market and possibilities for part manufacture and repair.”

“Automation: A lot of exhibitors were showcasing automation in one way or another. This is nothing new to our industry, as the market leaders have had automation for years. Traditionally these systems were only for companies with very high volumes of the same or similar products. The big change that has occurred is that the volumes are still high, however so are the number of changeovers required. And this negatively affects available production time. The automation trend at EMO Hannover 2019 was that of part change as well as fixture change. This can significantly benefit South African users as our market on the whole has always had many changeovers, which cost the manufacturer a lot of time.”

“Software: Intelligent monitoring and closed loop systems. OEE is probably the single most important factor for manufacturing companies. And having software that can monitor your machine’s performance is critical in managing this. This software is now available across many different platforms and controllers. It is now possible to obtain more data from more machines throughout your factory in order to make critical production and maintenance decisions.”

“A new link into this is intelligent monitoring and closed loop systems. A user is now able to monitor individual items such as a spindle, tool, motor and bearing. Data is available on an App giving the machine owner/user instant and remote feedback on part life cycle, vibration and usage.”

“In the case of tool vibration traditionally information is output to the user and the user must perform some type of action to change the current state/problem. With the closed loop system the machine can detect vibration and action a change by itself in order to give a better surface finish or improve tool life.”

Nico Myburgh of Lucchini SA

Danie van Wyk of JA Engineering Works and Mike Clayton of Mesh Gear

Martin Visser and Malcolm Hendricks, both from the SAAO

Martin and Mariska Potgieter of Marnic Engineering

Jenny Thobias and Dave Cameron, both of FEW

Jamie Hellman, Jarno Gray and Richard Ellison, all of Pressure Die Casting

Richard Ellison – Pressure Die Casting

“This was a very positive week for myself. The way CNC’s have moved forward is amazing. Your 5-axis machines are doing work that would take a couple of setups on your 3-axis machines.”

“The tooling and clamping methods that are available to us now just make it so much easier to do the work. Your tooling suppliers are making tools and holders that can machine almost anything that someone has designed.”

“The equipment that is now available to setup your tools with shrink fit collets is user friendly.
Clamping and magnetic tables have also improved over the years, making the setups faster, which in the long-term helps with your up-time on your machine. The cutting tools with all the new coatings last longer and can machine faster with the correct setup and the machines are able to move at the speeds and feeds needed.”

“The 3D printing manufacturing is growing and this can be seen by the numbers of stands that were promoting their products. 3D printing before was for samples or to see if the part would work. Now they are using it for small production runs while the tooling is being manufactured.”

Jarno Gray – Pressure Die Casting

“As a company Pressure Die Casting is continuously looking for ways to manufacture our range of products more efficiently and cost effectively, and with the motto of EMO 2019 being “Smart technologies driving tomorrow’s production” this was a show we were really looking forward to attending. For the three of us, the show presented an opportunity to view the latest technology from our current machine, tooling and software suppliers and benchmark them against others in the industry.”

“From the moment we arrived at EMO as first time visitors to the trade show we could not believe the sheer size of the exhibition halls. The first hall we visited was the very impressive DMG MORI stand, where we met up with Hans-Peter Neth from Retecon and he spoke to us about some of the technology on offer at DMG MORI. Although the number of machines on show was slightly down from previous years, DMG MORI had placed a huge focus on integrating automated pallet change systems and robots into the machining cell to increase productivity, with a heavy focus on Industry 4.0 via the umati interface.”

“Digital technology was evident at all the machine manufacturing stands. Connection to your CNC via smartphone apps and QR Code scanning is the norm and has changed the way people monitor machine output and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).”

“The chance to network with like-minded people in the industry is another reason to attend the EMO trade show. We had the opportunity to investigate solutions with other South African visitors regarding some of the challenges we currently face at Pressure Die Casting. The South African get together on the Wednesday night at the show was one of the highlights. This was an opportunity to reconnect with familiar faces and meet up with the other South African visitors at the show.”

“For any company or individual involved in metalworking, this is certainly a trade show we would recommend visiting. It offers you the chance to see all the big players in the metalworking industry at a very well organised event.”

Markus Nortemann and Erik Hagedorn-Hansen, both of Haldan Consulting

Chris Kroeger of Retecon with Matthew Mayhew of Matthew & Son

Anita Neves Coetzee of Extreme Machines with Peter Chan, Pao Fieng and Joyce Hsu, all of Der Shin

Carlos Figueiredo, who is now living in Ireland

Franz Studer of Retecon

Noriaki Matsuura of DMG MORI, Frans Myburgh of Autocast, Olivier Pouletand of DMG MORI with Hans-Peter Neth of Retecon

Frans Myburgh – Autocast

“As a casting, machining and assembly company, Autocast South Africa is always exploring the latest engineering technology in these fields to enhance our competitiveness in manufacturing. The EMO machine tool show in Hannover is known as the world’s most international metalworking trade fair. Most of Autocast’s machine and cutting tool suppliers exhibit their new innovative technology products at EMO. It is therefore a great exhibition to find out about these products as we as a networking hub.”

“Three of Autocast’s representatives attended the exhibition and had various discussions and meetings where the suppliers again impressed our team with the progress made from the previous EMO 2017. Assistance by applying latest technology with quotations on new products was given.

“EMO is all about improving productivity and lowering the manufacturing cost. For example, we found cutting tools with better grades that can run faster and last longer, were demonstrated. For manufacturing companies utilizing CNC machines and equipment, EMO is definitely the show to attend. The 2019 edition was again most impressive.”

Alain Morele of DMG MORI with Etienne du Toit and Johnny Appolis, both of Autocast

Raj Reddy, Allan Conolly, Neven Reddy, Seletu Mariani and Shaun Roopnarain, all of Somta Tools

Allan Conolly – Somta Tools

“Despite the lower number of people visiting EMO 2019, largely due to the tough economic conditions in Europe, this show was Somta Tools’ most successful in nearly 40 years of exhibiting at the world’s largest and most sophisticated industrial exhibition. The simple reason for this was that the Somta booth formed part of the OSG ‘village’ for the first time, and hence attracted a lot more interest. The ‘village’ was created by the bringing together OSG’s numerous group subsidiary companies, which provide solutions ranging from cutting tools to broaching, clamping and workholding. As OSG promotes the Somta brand and product range worldwide, EMO Hannover 2019 provided the platform for the multiple OSG sales offices to introduce Somta to their existing customers.”

“It was also a great opportunity to introduce the full range of OSG’s capabilities and offerings to some of the South African contingent who visited the Somta booth, and were able to take away some new solutions to improve their manufacturing.”

“The Somta booth was a hive of activity at the end of each day as various people came to enjoy some of the South African cuisine on offer, discuss technologies and findings, and build friendships. We consider ourselves privileged to have been part of this experience and look forward to continue working together to make manufacturing better in South Africa.”

Gerald Green of Guhring South Africa with Harald Birk, Yahya Ceter and Sebastian Schempp all of Guhring KG

Gerald Green – Guhring South Africa

“It was refreshing to see that the engineering world is innovating and developing new technologies, despite the negative sentiment experienced in South Africa. It was good to take the blinkers off and experience the positive vibe at EMO Hannover 2019. The world is ready to do business and it is up to us in South Africa to reciprocate. Overall a positive experience and lots of new ideas were developed.”

Matt Mayhew, Matthew Mayhew and Hentie Mare, all of Matthew & Son

Robert Botha and Rudi Leimlehner, both of Mechanical Technologies with Eike Woermann of Eico Manufacturing

Rudi Leimlehner – Mechanical Technologies

“The show is well organised and is a must for all manufacturing company’s involved in machining applications to visit.”

“The highlight for me was the DMG MORI stand in Hall 2. I was particularly impressed with the turning center incorporating Y-axis and live tooling including a measurement probe and cylindrical grinding.”

“The Fanuc stand was also a highlight. It was impressive to see the EDM wire sparking machine cutting at a height of 500mm and with an accuracy of 5 micron, while also incorporating a measurement probe.”

“Suppliers in general were very welcoming and the technology was very, very inspiring to myself. I could not wait to come back home and start looking for new opportunities.”

Mike Lee of Puma Machine Tools with Christian Hillary of Global Machine Tools

Mike Lee – Puma Machine Tools

“The year of the EMO always brings excitement and intrigue to the machine tool industry. EMO Hanover 2019 was no different. Leading up to the exhibition, many of our customers ask: ‘What will be the latest trend that will be exhibited, as well as what will the showcase machine be?’.”

“Industry 4.0 is now at the forefront and for the first time at the exhibition additive manufacturing was very prominently exhibited. Automation was a key feature on all of the suppliers’ stands and this definitely seems to be the future in the industry worldwide. Flexible manufacturing production is the key.”

“We hosted a number of South African customers, who enjoyed the German culture staying with us and all of them were impressed with our suppliers, the technology and also what the show had to offer. We also received a few orders. Unfortunately, due to the downturn in the South African economy, there weren’t as many South African customers, which we had hoped for.”

“All the suppliers that I spoke to confirmed that there is a definite slowdown in the world market. However, all these suppliers still have full order books going into 2020.”

“The next EMO exhibition will be held in Italy in 2021 and I would encourage all South African customers to try and make an effort to visit this exhibition to keep up with the latest technologies.”

Sakkie Coetzee of Extreme Machines with Brad Wang of CHMER

Arwin Chang of Goodway Machine Corp. with Ian Daines of Skok Machine Tools

Ian Daines – Skok Machine Tools

“This being my first visit to EMO in Hannover, Germany gave me the opportunity to visit our principle suppliers and connect with them personally. In between exhibitions its normally via email or telephonically.”

“Having the majority of machine tool builders and cutting tool manufacturers at the same venue gave me the ideal opportunity to see what’s new and trending, source new products and connect with other manufacturers from across Europe and Asia. What was encouraging to see was that despite the economic downturn that we are currently seeing worldwide, exhibitors went all out showcasing new products.”

“All in all a great show, definitely an eye opener and for those that haven’t been to EMO it’s a bucket list must!”

Leo Haase and Mark Johnson, both of Tapmatic with Keith Opperman of Duncan Macdonald & Co in the centre

Keith Opperman – Duncan Macdonald & Co

“My impression of this year’s EMO was very positive, although there’s a downturn at the moment in the machining industry, but not in all sectors. You can also see that most of them are well-equipped to deal with the situation, and have identified niche markets where they can continue to be successful. The striking feature of this year’s event is the increased presence of exhibitors from the Asian market.”

“The highlight of the show to me was the Young People’s Special Display in Hall 25, where they focused on why a degree in mechanical engineering can result in an exciting career. They were able to demonstrate the process chain from an initial idea to a finished product.”

Ian Liddell of Combination Products with Sean Dias of Dias & Sons

Ray Cooper of WD Hearn Machine Tools

Integrated automation with the use of robotics was a significant focus of many of the machine tool builders

As technology continues to shape and reshape our everyday lives, new trends cause shifting customer expectations. New demands are placed on all manufacturers and governments and it is the automotive sector that is right up there as amongst the hardest hit

There were still some large machines on display

Digitalisation, industrial electronics, Industry 4.0, software and AM: Hall 9 was the hall to visit if you wanted to find out the latest trends happening for these topics