The manufacturing industry is on the move. Technological developments in robotics, additive manufacturing, and sensor technology, among others, are moving at lightning speed. It is, therefore, a challenge for engineers to design technologies as efficiently as possible. Exhibitors at the Manufacturing Technology Conference will demonstrate indispensable techniques in the high-tech design and manufacturing industry.
The manufacturing industry is an essential driver of the Dutch economy. Companies such as ASML and Thermo Fisher Scientific are icons that belong to the Dutch manufacturing ecosystem, as are countless suppliers. This industry contributes eighteen percent annually to the economy and has experienced significant growth in recent years.
At the same time, the (technological) possibilities within the manufacturing industry itself are growing exponentially. These include techniques such as turning, milling, additive manufacturing, injection molding, and welding.
Knowledge of such techniques is indispensable for engineers and ultimately contributes to the faster and better development of products that society desires. During the event on June 20 in Veldhoven, organized by Knowledge Sharing Centre, ASML, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Mikrocentrum, manufacturing companies will present their specific technologies.
A thousandth of a millimeter
Werth is one of the exhibitors present on the exhibition floor. The company develops measurement technologies that are used in several industrial sectors, such as the automotive, mechanical engineering, and electronics industries.
Among other things, Werth will introduce visitors to multisensor technology and CT techniques. “Especially the CT scan, as we all know it from the hospital, is currently finding its way into the manufacturing industry,” explains Marcel Weijs, Country Manager of Werth. “We use these measuring machines to create a highly accurate digital 3D image to check the quality of the smallest and most complex parts, such as gears. With this, the quality of both the outside and inside can be measured and inspected down to a thousandth of a millimeter. And that is unique!”
Knowledge of CT technology is of great importance for manufacturing companies in the future, Weijs emphasizes. The rise of additive manufacturing, in which tiny parts are often printed, and therefore need to be inspected, is one reason why CT scans are booming in the manufacturing industry. In short: “They were once a ‘nice to have,’ but have now become a ‘must have’ for manufacturing companies. A message we hope to convey at the conference so that companies can fine-tune their production processes based on new insight.”
The most accurate machines
In addition, the tool-making company GMI will be present. “We see the need for products that need to be produced on a small scale, with increasing precision,” says Jan Langerwerf, GMI’s business manager. We, therefore, focus on precision work, as we show at the conference, and choose to make the most complex products. From ultra-clean parts assembled in our clean room to tools for the automotive industry, our products are often at the heart of the machine. In doing so, we combine different techniques: Turning, milling, and grinding. We use the most precise devices and modern measuring techniques.”
Knowledge transfer is central to GMI’s daily operations. The company is in close contact with (lead) engineers from other companies, whether from the region or not, to produce the manufactured parts together. “From material selection to machining methods: Developing very complex products together is always nice. We like to be there at an early stage to avoid engineers having to go back to the drawing board later because there are problems with manufacturability. We also hope to contribute to our presence at the conference.”
Future-proof through automation
A third exhibitor is Etteplan, an expert in optimizing and automating production processes. The company does this through advanced automation and robotics solutions for machines, plants, and production lines to optimize the efficiency and quality of a production process. “Our approach includes a combination of assembly optimization expertise, manual and automated assembly equipment combined with knowledge in the field of connection technology,” explains John Willems, Sales Manager at Etteplan.
This is important because there is limited space in the region, forcing the manufacturing industry to be able to produce more products on fewer square meters. In addition, there are personnel shortages in the sector. “All the more important to think early on about automating processes.” Etteplan helps companies to automate their assembly process(es) fully. “But also consider using simple, so-called ‘tabletop tools,’ where the operator does the operation himself but is supported by automated processes.”
“Sharing knowledge and experience, such as at the event on June 20, is indispensable. Fortunately, more and more regional companies know how to find each other,” Willems concludes.