Exhibition held from 25 to 28 October 2022 in Hanover, Germany.
The 26th edition of the International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, EuroBLECH 2022, took place from 25 to 28 October 2022 in Hanover, Germany. Following the easing of Covid restrictions the world’s largest trade event for sheet metal processing went ahead as planned.
EuroBLECH remains the largest metal forming and fabricating exhibition in the world
On a net exhibition space of 86 136 square metres (89 875 in 2018), a total of 1 300 exhibitors from 39 countries presented a top-class range of innovative products for the complete sheet metal working chain. 35 944 (56 301 in 2018, 60 636 in 2016, 59 600 in 2014) trade visitors from all over the world went to visit the world’s biggest sheet metal working show to find out about the latest technology trends for sheet metal processing and view the numerous live machine demonstrations on display.
For the first time, EuroBLECH featured a ninth exhibition hall focusing on joining technology, one of the significant growth markets in the e-mobility and general industrial sectors.
After a compulsory break, EuroBLECH 2022 marked the long-awaited comeback of face-to-face marketing and personal business meetings. The show will also resume its usual biennial event cycle.
The 2018 theme of digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 continued to be prominent at the 2022 exhibition
“There is a genuine sense of relief and excitement within the industry. It’s been four years since our last live show so EuroBLECH 2022 is widely perceived as a much-needed technological update for the entire sheet metal processing sector,” says Evelyn Warwick, Event Director of EuroBLECH, on behalf of the organiser Mack-Brooks Exhibitions.
EuroBLECH has always been the industry’s technological forum for you to view the world’s sheet and plate machine manufacturers and software developers’ new products and innovations aimed at reducing the time between component development and final delivery. As usual fibre laser machines, with more power and capabilities to cut thicker material, led the way.
In 2018, the last time the exhibition was held, the emphasis was on digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0. These intelligent production themes dominated the exhibition halls at EuroBLECH 2018 as they did at other major manufacturing related exhibitions around the world before the pandemic struck the world.
Manufacturers return to the metal forming, fabricating technology exhibition to stay competitive
EuroBLECH remains the largest metal forming and fabricating exhibition in the world. As the key marketplace for the industry, EuroBLECH 2022 offered its visitors the opportunity to find solutions for the current challenges in the industry and connects them with businesses from all over the world to help them integrate the latest machinery and software into their manufacturing process.
EuroBLECH has always been the industry’s technological forum for you to view the world’s sheet and plate machine manufacturers and software developers’ new products and innovations aimed at reducing the time between component development and final delivery
The 2018 theme of digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 continued to be prominent at 2022 exhibition. As did laser cutting and punching machines attached to automated material storage systems and load/unload systems. This subject has dominated European fabricators’ minds as they wrestled with high labour rates and the tight floor layouts of facilities in expensive metropolitan areas. This ‘forced’ them to invest in technology that performed functions that would free up employees for more complicated tasks, while also making them more productive and cost efficient.
However, as Andrew Poole expressed it, the talk of automation and software, was even more of the subject matter now. “We have been visiting EuroBLECH for a number of exhibitions now and have seen the various developments over the exhibition periods. Technology and machine capabilities have advanced beyond belief but have reached a point where I believe there could be a slowdown in new equipment developments for the next couple of years.”
The focus was not just on digitalisation, AI, Industry 4.0 and the software that all makes it happen. Functions that include part nesting, tool simulation and a tool path monitor to speed up setup times and enable continuous production were also emphasised as were robot/cobot (collaborative robots) handling and machine tending
“Who would have thought 10 years ago companies would be promoting machines with 30kW or 60kW power sources. It was a novelty to see a company with a higher power source than anybody else at the exhibition. But now everybody has a 30kW machine or more and many are of the same quality.”
“So what makes them stand out from the rest?”
“It is all about what surrounds the processing machine. The logistics, the automation and the software that runs the whole operation and what you get out of the system. Businesses require effective management and oversight of various operational inputs from sales to pricing, orders outstanding, and tracking work-in-progress on the shop floor, to ensure the production and delivery of product – on time and within budget – for the end-customer.”
“Manufacturing can be a complex process. Timeous quoting, changing market conditions, scheduling, bills of material, quality control and tracking are just some of the elements that make the need for the right software that controls the entire flow an absolute necessity.”
Who would have thought 10 years ago companies would be promoting machines with 30kW or 60kW power sources
“In short in the future a software package must not just include CAD/CAM and automation functionality, but also front office capabilities, production scheduling and shop floor oversight and business intelligence tools.”
Focus on the flow
But the focus was not just on digitalisation, AI, Industry 4.0 and the software that all makes it happen.
Functions that include part nesting, tool simulation and a tool path monitor to speed up setup times and enable continuous production were also emphasised as were robot/cobot (collaborative robots) handling and machine tending.
It is one thing having all these fast-processing speeds and automation of material handling, but if you do not have the flow in your operation set up optimally then you have wasted your money on investing in all the fancy equipment.
The 2018 theme of digitalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 continued to be prominent at 2022 exhibition
Being able to identify where bottlenecks are on the shop floor, keeping tabs on maintenance on machines to avoid painful downtime, determining how much capacity is available before taking on large jobs or adding a shift, reviewing quoting activity to see job profitability, and tracking jobs as they work their way through the shop are just a few things that digital connectivity and visibility can offer an organisation. These are the ‘easy’ functions to enable. But they all fall apart if the flow is not correct.
“Making sheet-metal fabrication simpler, more productive and more sustainable!” was Trumpf’s solution punchline. I agree.
Another theme was laser cutting and punching machines attached to automated material storage systems and load/unload systems
Observations and opinions of EuroBLECH 2022
Judging the comments from most of the people I spoke to that attended the exhibition, it certainly opened up their eyes, especially for those first-time visitors. Percentage wise we might still be small in the world in terms of output but we still form an integral part of the chain and we are growing.
Our engineering companies are also up to it and I know of quite a few machines (lasers, press brakes and a panel bender) that were ordered at the exhibition. There were also discussions taking place for some other major equipment purchases. All will be revealed in time.
Below are some observations and opinions, as well as some photographs, of some of the visitors from South Africa that visited EuroBLECH 2022.
NB The next EuroBLECH (2024) will take place from 22 to 25 October 2024 in Hanover, Germany.
Mike Lee – Retecon
“As always the EuroBLECH exhibition was very interesting and EuroBLECH 2022 was no different. Although not as busy as usual in terms of numbers of visitors, the exhibitors went to great lengths to demonstrate the various technologies. A comment that I heard several times from exhibitors was that there was great excitement at being able to be at a trade fair again.”
“One of the main international companies that we represent – Trumpf – had three different stands where machines were demonstrating everything from cutting, bending and welding to software. The automation and new software features were particularly interesting. The added efficiency and cost saving of these technologies is becoming hard to ignore for South African businesses. The new Trumpf 24kW flatbed laser cutter made its debut, much to the excitement of all in attendance. The general feeling amongst our delegation was that the main Trumpf stand in Hall 11 attracted most of the attention.”
“Several of our principals from Europe had really impressive stands, FICEP, Precitec, EFD and STOPA amongst others. Retecon was also able to secure exclusive agency agreements with Alpha Laser and MSS. Alpha Laser specialises in the supply of laser welding technologies for tool repairs, while MSS provides nitrogen generation solutions.”
“One of the big take-aways from this exhibition was the advantages of investing in contemporary technologies and keeping up with developments. The new technologies employed on modern machine tools may come at a price, but the efficiencies and higher production rates translate to better quality, greater output and ultimately superior profitability.”
The Retecon staff and customers on the Ficep stand. From left to right are Graham Rome (Retecon), Gabor Veress (Retecon), Brad Starke (Stamman Automatics), Daniel Zima (CET Laser), Peter Esbach (IMP), Sean Starke (Stamman Automatics), Peter Esbach (Industrial Metal Profiling), Chris Kroeger (Retecon), Christo Jonker (Retecon), Anton Lachenicht (Retecon) and Mike Lee (Retecon)
Trumpf doubles the laser power of the TruLaser 5000 series to 24kW. At the show Trumpf launched the TruLaser 5000 series with a massive 24 kilowatts of laser power. The company says you achieve a productivity boost of as much as 80 per cent and components from a sheet thickness of up to 50 millimetres can be easily cut
Thys de Villiers –TRM Supplies
“EuroBLECH made a spectacular comeback since it was last held in 2018.”
“Due to the strict lockdown regulations in China, our supplier Shanghai Hugong Electric asked TRM Supplies, together with Gimtas (the German Hugong agent), to assist with the setting up of the stand and demonstrating their equipment on the stand. It was an opportunity we could not turn down and led to us networking with many existing and potential customers.”
“One was a Hugong HG Laser-3015 with a 6kW Trumpf Trufiber laser source as well as a 1.5kW handheld laser welding machine, all in full operational mode.”
“We had some very pleasant conversations and interest shown from visitors across the globe.”
“It was fantastic to see the halls packed with state-of-the-art equipment, experts and professionals discussing and showcasing the latest market trends and developments. It was clear that exhibitors and visitors were making up for lost time after the challenging past two years.”
“EuroBLECH offered us and its visitors the opportunity to find solutions for the current challenges in the industry. It connected us with businesses from all over the world to help integrate the latest machinery and software into our clients’ manufacturing processes.”
“We had a great time meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Another successful Blech and we will definitely see you again in 2024.”
Jean Christiansen from Sicodan Denmark, Piere du Preez from TRM Service, Maximilian Schönwälder from Gimtas Stuttgart Germany, Bernhard Schönwälder from Gimtas Stuttgart Germany, Thys de Villiers from TRM Supplies, Ares Wu from Hugong China, Guenter Schmitz from TRM Supplies
Thys de Villiers
Rick Ferreira – Amada (UK) JHB Branch
“Since the 2018 Euroblech exhibition was held we as South Africans have been through the pandemic, seen political and social upheavals, witnessed the prices of steel and shipping go through the roof, been hindered by supply constraints and seen the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We need to remind ourselves how tough it has been but we are resilient and have survived.”
“Then we got the opportunity to visit the EuroBLECH 2022 exhibition, the world’s leading platform for sheet and plate processing and fabrication technology.”
“As is the norm for an exhibition of this magnitude all manufacturers go “all-out” to release their latest range of products showcasing innovation and enterprise, with this year being no exception.”
“For the 26th edition of EuroBLECH, the main focus points, in my opinion, were:
• Fibre lasers ranging from 3kW to 40kW power sources with all sorts of beam manipulation techniques maximising throughput and quality standards with some manufacturers conscious of electrical consumption used while others were not
• Bending – electrical, hybrid press brakes and panel benders simplifying skilled operator requirements enabling high-quality output
• Automation for blanking and bending systems utilising smaller footprints combined with ease-of-use and offline programming, thus maximising overall throughput
• Expansion and simplification of Industry 4.0, big data and digitalisation carrying on with the similar theme Amada launched way back in 2010, offering advantages in terms of streamlining complex processes leading to an improvement of productivity and efficiency linked to apps for interaction of machines and maintenance control
• A huge push from smaller manufacturers (over 20 different brands) of handheld fibre laser welding units, some concerned with operator safety issues and some not.”
“In terms of the exhibition itself I noticed a couple of the halls had empty stands that would normally be occupied. Probably around 15% less. This was the same case with visitors as there was a definite decrease in numbers. But taking the conflict and economic climate of the area into account I’m not too surprised.”
“This year we did not arrange co travel with local clients. However, we had a number of South Africans who visited our stand wanting to share and compare product information of what they had seen along with what their planned requirements for the future are.”
“I’m sure that when the 2024 edition of EuroBLECH takes place things should normalise further and once again the numbers of exhibitors and visitors will increase to levels seen in 2016.”
Amada released a fully automatic retrofittable bending cell. Amada developed the RBR solution as the answer to the market need to produce a wide range of part sizes in smaller batch quantities. Expanded load/unload capabilities and automatic gripper changing enhance the retrofittable solution
The ENSIS 3015 RI on show had a 9kW power source and it can process round, square, rectangle, C-channel, and angle iron, making it one of the most versatile rotary index laser cutting systems
There is always time to have a business meeting on the Amada stand
Malcolm Moriarty – Metal Chip Machinery
“For me EuroBLECH is the best exhibition in the world when it comes to showcasing equipment for the fabrication and sheet processing equipment. The exhibition showcases leading brands of machinery, software, handling equipment, consumables, tooling and accessories.”
“The exhibition centre in Hanover is a world-class facility making it possible for exhibitors to showcase their equipment to the maximum of the machine’s potential. All suppliers go flat out and build the most amazing stands, making it attractive and comfortable for visitors.”
“It was so exciting to once again be privileged enough to attend this exhibition after the Covid pandemic. What was also encouraging was to see how many South African customers and suppliers were visiting this showcase exhibition.”
“South Africa is an amazing country with amazing people who always find a way no matter what challenges are before them. It was also good to meet with old friends and suppliers once again after such a long lockdown period.”
“Advancements in machinery and technology that stood out for me is the rapid advancement in fibre laser technology. 30kW systems are now a reality. The challenge however, in my opinion, is cutting heads that can handle this kind of laser power. Time will tell how the lenses in the cutting heads can absorb this high laser power.”
“Our supplier CoastOne had a most impressive stand, showcasing our fully electric press brakes. The TapOne and the MultiTapper machines were a big attraction with several of our customers showing interest in these machines. The PressOne fully electric press insert machines were a big attraction generating several enquiries.”
“In addition, our other suppliers Loewer, HSG, MVD and Eurostamp had most impressive stands generating lots of interest and enquiries.”
“I would encourage anyone who has not yet visited EuroBLECH to do so as it is an eye-opener and will give you inspiration and ideas on how to improve your manufacturing processes.”
Gabor Veress of Retecon with Peter Esbach of Industrial Metal Profiling
Sean and Brad Starke of Stamman Automatics with Christo Jonker of Retecon
Bjorn and Mischel Frljak and Ivan Obadic, all of National Stainless Steel Centre
Johnny and Antonio de Nobrega, both of the V3 Group
Daniel Zima of CET Laser with Chris Kroeger of Retecon