Metal-cutting machines are a long way from being ripe for the scrap heap

EMO Hannover 2019 will show how smart technologies meet the production requirements of electro-mobility.

The mobility concept for individual transportation will in the relatively near future be a combination of progressively downsized internal combustion engines and electric drives, say some, while others predict that electro-mobility will secure jobs or even create new ones. This, at least, is certain: Traditional metal-cutting machines are a long way from being ripe for the scrap heap – equipped with smart technologies, they will also play a prominent role at the EMO Hannover 2019.

“Changing over to electro-mobility signifies a radical transformation of production technology,” the then President of the Fraunhofer Society, Prof. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, warned back in 2010.

Dry machining and MQL conquering more and more application fields. Wet or dry EMO Hannover 2019 will be showcasing a wide range of technologies. The shavings, which are produced when machining using minimum quantity lubrication (MQL), are virtually residue-free and can be recycled directly. Photo: bielomatik Leuze

For example, he predicted, the entire value-added chain will alter in the automotive manufacturing sector. The importance of electrification for value creation in the drive chain was scrutinised in last year’s VDMA study on ‘Transformation of Powertrains’. It was authored by the Aachen-based company FEV Consulting GmbH, which specialises in the automotive and aviation industries. It forecasts that the increasing dynamism in the electrification of vehicles and in drive technology will lead to radical changes in Germany’s entire mobility and vehicle industries and in significant parts of the mechanical engineering sector. Moreover, a vitally crucial role will be played by the research community and cross-sectoral networks.

Though the FEV’s experts anticipate that sales of internal combustion engines (including hybrid drives) for passenger cars in Europe, the USA and China, the three markets examined, will fall by 10 per cent by 2030 compared to 2016. Nonetheless, substantial business will remain for component manufacturers, plus machinery and line producers. Because improved drive technologies – e.g. efficiency-boosting measures in the internal combustion engine and the transmission – also entail more stringent requirements for the production technology involved.

Dry machining and MQL conquering more and more application fields. Wet or dry EMO Hannover 2019 will be showcasing a wide range of technologies. Users are recommended to take a holistic view when deciding whether to deploy dry or MQL machining or whether a classic process should be used. Photo: Dag Heidecker

At the same time, the study’s authors are anticipating a share of 22 per cent in these three markets for exclusively electro-powered vehicles. The effects of electrification on the individual production processes that dominate for conventional drives are substantial. With a battery-electric drive, for instance, their value added is reduced by an average of 64 per cent (excluding battery cell production). For (plug-in) hybrid drives, by contrast, value added will rise by 24 per cent – here, besides an internal combustion engine an electric drive is also installed.

What’s crucial here is the bottom line. There, the study shows that the combination of hybrid drives, a higher level of complexity at the internal combustion engine, and rising sales figures for vehicles (particularly in China) will exert a beneficial effect overall on the amount of value added.

In the estimation of the VDMA’s President Carl Martin Welcker, “the mobility transmutation process means enhanced opportunities for additional value creation in the mechanical engineering sector – for us, ‘transformation of powertrains’ can be a source of growth.” There is still time for the companies, he continues, to master the transformation successfully, in order to modify business models and technologies appropriately. At the same time, however, the study shows clearly that ‘hybridisation and electrification will gain wide acceptance on the market’.

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