“Sustainability in industrial production operations is a future-friendly issue with which the European machine tool industry can score heavily on the international scene”, says Ralf Reines, Engineering Consultant at the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) in Frankfurt am Main and responsible for the Blue Competence initiative. Some purchasers of machine tools, he continues, are hesitant if they are faced with spending more money to obtain energy-efficient machines. Large-scale users, by contrast, from the automotive industry, for example, or aircraft manufacturers, also take a long hard look at the energy consumption when deciding on investment in new machinery. Given a price increase of 62 per cent for industrial electricity in the past 15 years, there is plenty of dormant savings potential here. “Equipment manufacturers and their component suppliers will follow suit”, is Reines’ firm conviction.
This is precisely what the Blue Competence Special Show at the EMO Hannover 2013 is targeting. 19 European firms and research institutions engaged in production technology will be showing users from the industrial sector how they can upsize this potential. The companies involved are DMG Mori Seiki Deutschland GmbH, Leonberg, Fanuc Robotics Deutschland GmbH, Neuhausen a.d.F., Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, inspire AG, Zürich, Kapp Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, Coburg, Komet Group, Besigheim, Kuka Roboter GmbH, Gersthofen, Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH, Kempten, Peiseler GmbH & Co. KG, Remscheid, Profiroll Technologies GmbH, Bad Düben, Schunk GmbH & Co. KG, Lauffen, Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH, Schramberg-Waldmössingen, Fraunhofer IWU, Vienna University of Applied Science, Forschungsbereich ecodesign, Vienna, Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG, Ditzingen, Union Werkzeugmaschinen, Chemnitz, Vollmer Werke Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Biberach/Riss, Walter AG, Tübingen and CNC-Arena GmbH, Düsseldorf.
The exhibitors of the Blue Competence Special Show will be spotlighting a broad spectrum of solutions designed to create energy-autonomous emission-neutral, human-engineered production technology. Dr.-Ing. Welf-Guntram Drossel of the Fraunhofer IWU in Chemnitz, for example, comments: “One important milestone is the results of the Green Carbody Technologies Innovation Alliance coordinated in conjunction with Volkswagen AG. In 30 sub-projects for lasting reduction of energy and resource consumption in carbody manufacture, 60 partners have joined forces to map out potential energy savings of up to 20 per cent over the entire process chain.” The researchers from Chemnitz will be showcasing one result of their work at the EMO Hannover: the modularised concept for a try-out device in carbody manufacture.
Focusing on the machines’ environmental characteristics
Sustainability in production operations subsumes two sides of the same coin: firstly, it targets resource-efficiency in the actual manufacture of the machine tools themselves. Secondly, manufacturers are working hard to ensure that their own products are becoming more resource-efficient. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Garber from Deckel Maho in Pfronten comments: “From our point of view, sustainable protection of the natural environment involves not only technological innovations and eco-aware manufacturing of machinery, but also the environmental characteristics of the machines themselves. Our activities for improving the energy-efficiency of our machine tools embrace a holistic approach covering the fields of electronics, control system technology and mechanical construction. We are continually upsizing the proportion of our products that have been developed specifically for energy-economical use.”
An important role in this context is also played by the components involved. The strength of Europe’s manufacturers is crucially attributable to long years of excellent collaborative liaison between manufacturers of machine tools and their vendors. More efficient components, like drives and hydraulic units, efficacious tools, intelligent control systems have in some cases been developed from joint input, and are now enabling production operations to be streamlined while tapping into energy-saving potentials. Moreover, modern-day production solutions, particularly in high-wage countries, are inconceivable without automation solutions. Peter Klüger from the product management team at Kuka Roboter GmbH in Gersthofen explains: “Energy-efficient design of the robots’ mechanical construction, plus carefully chosen materials, will influence the energy-efficiency and eco-balance of the system in motion as a whole. Rigorous selection of the materials used for their eco-compatibility, top-quality gear units with very low friction losses and the use of energy-efficient motors assure consumption-optimised operation. In addition, a new, energy-optimised drive design, featuring an automatic, consumption-minimised harmonisation of converter and motors, guarantees that the robot system is operated at the consumption optimum in all movement sequences.”
Trade visitors to the EMO Hannover 2013 will see this and much, much more on the Blue Competence Special Stand in Hall 16. The show will be complemented by specialist presentations from the exhibitors.
For your diary
What: Blue Competence Special Show – Engineering a better world
When: 16 to 21 September 2013, all-day
17 to 20 September 2013, Lecture Forum 10.00 to 12.00 noon, 1.00 to 3.00 p.m.
Where: Hall 16, Stand F09
Further information: Ralf Reines, VDW, Tel. +49 69 756081-19, email@example.com