METAV 2016 – the 19th International Exhibition for Metalworking Technologies – kicked off today under the motto of “Power your business”. Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director or the fair’s organiser VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) is a happy man: “The METAV scores once again with its huge array of large machines. Other highlights include the two topics of additive manufacturing and quality.” And he adds: “Our ambitious approach, featuring our new concept for the METAV, has paid off: on an area of around 27,000 square metres, 640 exhibitors from 23 different nations are showcasing the latest innovations that the metalworking industry has to offer,” explains Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), speaking at the opening press conference in Düsseldorf.
Since the autumn of 2014, the VDW, as the organiser of the METAV, has been working on translating the concept into tangible reality, and establishing it on the market. The fair has been designed to be substantively well-founded and visually rejuvenated for enhanced public appeal. The core area, featuring the technologies for the metalworking sector’s entire value creation chain, has been supplemented by the two product categories of Additive Manufacturing and Quality Assurance, plus the two user categories of Medical and Moulding. In addition, with the Industry 4.0 Theme Park, the METAV 2016 is for the first time providing a holistic presentation of the subject at a trade fair.
New concept well received
For trade visitors, the METAV has become even more attractive because it is able to provide comprehensive information on both all the manufacturing processes available and on adjoining steps in the value creation chain. “Thanks to this new concept, in particular, we expect the METAV to be positioned as one of the sector’s premier exhibitions. The consistently approving feedback from the market confirms this,” says Wilfried Schäfer.
Machine tool industry in good shape
The German machine tool industry performed well in 2015. Last year, the sector produced machines and services worth 15.1 billion euros, corresponding to an increase of 4 per cent. “This is yet another record result, following the most recent high in 2013,” emphasises Wilfried Schäfer. For 2016, Germany’s machine tool manufacturers are cautiously optimistic, and are anticipating moderate growth of 1 per cent.
On an international comparison, too, the German machine tool industry’s production output and consumption totalled a notable provisional figure of 67.3 billion euros, and is thus running at a similar level to the preceding year’s performance.
Among the world’s top 3 producers of machine tools, Germany ranks third after China and Japan. In figures: the German manufacturers produced machines worth 11.2 billion euros in 2015. That is a 4-per-cent increase. “With an impressive market share of 17 per cent, our companies ranked with the world’s best in 2015 as well,” says Wilfried Schäfer. China, meanwhile, remains the undisputed Number 1, and contributes almost a quarter of worldwide machine tool production output.
In terms of machine tool consumption, too, Germany defended its third place from the preceding year with growth of 5 per cent and a volume of 5.7 billion euros. Its consumption level is exceeded only by China and the USA, though their growth rates are now noticeably faltering. Nonetheless, with a volume of 21.3 billion euros and a market share of 31 per cent, China is and remains the world’s most important sales region for machine tools.
Four new areas build a bridge to traditional metalworking
Trade fairs like the METAV make an important contribution towards creating optimal conditions for supply and demand. “But above all, trade fairs constitute the technological shop window for the production operations of tomorrow,” emphasises Wilfried Schäfer. This applies in particular to the field of additive manufacturing: this technology, also popularly known as 3D printing, is gaining steadily in perceived importance as another building block in the industrial value creation chain.
This is why the METAV has included Additive Manufacturing as a permanent feature with an area of its own. It spotlights the entire bandwidth of additive processes, materials and service capabilities themed around 3D printing. The area’s exhibits are complemented by the field’s biggest international congress, entitled “Inside 3D Printing”. Under the aegis of this congress, the second Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) will be presented. It is an accolade for innovators from the specialised world of additive manufacturing, and is worth 100,000 US dollars.
The Quality Area is showcasing the entire spectrum of metrological and testing technology, plus the evaluation systems required. Customers can obtain comprehensive information on what metrological solution is best suited for their products, their machines and their processes. Under the aegis of the affiliated forum, there will be in-depth discussions on how industrial metrology can be effectively integrated into production processes and also utilised in the new conditions applying for networked production operations.
The Moulding Area, meanwhile, is spotlighting new and upgraded solutions for implementing complex geometries in plastic, metal or glass. It is exhibiting tools and moulds for the different production processes involved, plus concepts for jigs and gauges.
Medical technology is already an established part of the METAV’s profile. In the Medical Area, front-ranking companies are showcasing solutions for production operations in the field of medical technology. The affiliated forum addresses topics like combined milling/turning processes, high-speed machining, handling difficult-to-machine materials, manufacturing customised implants, CAD/CAM processes for medical products or the manufacture of surgical instruments and implants in the era of Industry 4.0.
Specific solutions for Industry 4.0
The METAV 2016 also has plenty to offer on the subjects of Industry 4.0 and holistic production solutions: in the “Industry 4.0 Theme Park”, more than 20 firms and institutions, including machinery and component manufacturers, plus automation and software vendors, are showcasing their fit-for-purpose implementation potentials and numerous examples of best practice. “With these additional features of the fair, we are aiming to create an added value for our visitors, geared particularly to fostering technology transfer and taking customers and vendors alike a crucial bit further along their path into the future of networked production,” explains Wilfried Schäfer.
To supplement the exhibition programme of the firms themselves, the METAV is addressing topical issues relating to production technology in a diversified and attractive supporting programme. These include subjects like functional workplace safety, clamping technology, or also the most recent developments in grinding technology.