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EMO2019: What strategies Japanese FA builders took for the European market where labor shortage is severe?(2/2)

December 16, 2019

EMO Hannover 2019, the world ’s premier trade fair for the metalworking industry, was held at Hanover Fairground of Lower Saxony in Germany for 6 days from September 16 to 21, 2019. The exhibitors proposed the products for automation and labor saving in the European market, where labor shortages have been getting more serious. The visitors paid atention to cutting-edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and metal additive manufacturing (AM).

The reporters of SEISANZAI Japan interviewed the Japanese FA builders at the venue. In this article, we have analyzed what strategies Japanese builders have taken for the European market where labor shortage is severe.

Proposing simple robotization

Okuma proactively proposed ARMROID, which attaches its original robot inside the machine tool’s machining room and STANDROID that attaches a robot next to the machine tool. Robot system package products are easy for customers to imagine how they use. Okuma aims to educate human resources so that it can respond to digital transformation (DX) that makes full use of robots and digital tools to improve work efficiency through the sale of these robot packages.

Dr. Atsushi Ieki, president of Okuma said, “in the era of digital transformation, our company must sell manufacturing service instead of machine itself. The conventional sales method for machine sales will not applicable to DX. We will bring up the human resource.”

FANUC exhibited more than 10 types of robots including collaborative robots, and promoted a wide range of products. Vice president Hiroyuki Uchida said, “Europe is highly motivated to automate. We are grateful if our wide range of demonstrations can help our customers.”

Realization of open standard “umati”

One of the highlights of this exhibition is the universal machine tools interface that connects machine tools to the Internet of Things (IoT). German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) announced the concept at EMO2017 and started discussion. Two years have passed and more than 70 companies and organizations have participated. More than 100 machine tools in the venue were connected at this exhibition. The first open standard will be released in 2019. Many Japanese machine tool builders also connected to the network via umati at EMO. One of them, Murata Machinery connected using the FBR-100AN wireless communication device developed by its subsidiary Silex Technology. The FBR-100AN is compatible with umati for EMO. It is possible to connect to the network wirelessly using umati by simply connecting FANUC NC and FBR-100AN. As for standardization efforts, there is MTConnect in which the US has been focusing on making it a global open standard for the past several years. It is said that umati can be the counter horse. The struggle for digital standardization by the US and Europe has begun. In the interviews at the venue, we heard many voices evaluating umati in terms of the large number of participating companies and security. What is going to happen?

 AM with a view to mass production

In metal additive manufacturing (AM) machines, proposals for mass production were stand out. Matsuura Machinery manufactures and sells the LUMEX series, multi-purpose machine of a metal 3D printer and cutting. The company exhibited large number of high-end machines such as Avance-25 and mold work samples at this exhibition. Matsuura Machinery promoted the ability to create complex cooling channels with molds and reduced man-hours for precision molds.

To develop European market in collaboration with Japanese manufacturers

ENSHU and TAKAMATSU MACHINERY showcased the machine tools of both companies connected by a loader. TAKAMATSU MACHINERY’s NC turret lathe XT-6 with loader and ENSHU vertical MC WE30Ve with loader were connected. XT-6 performs primary machining and load the workpiece to the inside the ENSHU machine. When the sensor detects the arrival of the workpiece, the loader on the ENSHU side receives it and performs secondary machining with the MC. The person in charge at TAKAMATSU MACHINERY said, “This collaboration is unique to overseas exhibitions. Tools manufacturer Iwata Tool, Saito Seisakusho and TANOI MFG exhibited together with an Italian trading company. Masanao Iwata, president of Iwata Tool said, “the common points of us are related to drilling and good at micro-machining. On the other hand, it is better to cooperate rather than rival because application is different by the companies.” This is the 7th joint exhibition for Iwata Tool and TANOI MFG. Saito Seisakusho has been participating in the collaboration since EMO2017.

Asia has a big presence

Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA) held a press conference for PR of JIMTOF on September 17. The conference hall in the EMO venue was full with reporters from all over the world, indicating that JIMTOF has a big presence as an international exhibition. Yukio Iimura, chairman of JMTBA said, “we would like to welcome you by preparing high-end machines, the latest technology and the best solutions at JIMTOF2020 which starts on December 7, 2020.” It is generally said that Japanese builders manufacture general-purpose machines and Europe builders manufacture special-purpose machines. In this exhibition, many European builders showcased distinctive machines such as MC with four spindles. One of Japanese exhibitors said, “the process integration concept was different between Japan and Europe. Japanese builders seem to aim to improve productivity to deal with the latest issues such as labor shortages and work style reforms. I feel that Europe has always been conscious of ‘time is money’.”

The reporters of SEISANZAI Japan thought that the number of Chinese sales representatives of European manufacturers has been increasing dramatically. The biggest customer for Europe must be China.





▶EMO2019: What strategies Japanese FA builders took for the European market where labor shortage is severe?(1/2)

Source: SEISANZAI MARKETING Magazine November 2019 issue

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