• Special Edition
    EMO 2015

    Special Edition
    EMO 2015


    This 8th issue of DirectIndustry e-magazine, an EMO Special, focuses on innovations in the machine tools industry.

    Our journalists roamed the aisles of the Milan fair in search of coming developments in the industry—from hybrid machining to connected tooling machines. Our reports also call into question the relevance of cryogenic technologies as an alternative to traditional hard metal machining.

    fullpage Kuka
    Is cryogenic machining getting colder?

    / / /

    Watch our exclusive video report. A process for cutting metal tools and workpieces with liquid nitrogen or CO2 (between -200° and -80°C)  was presented two years ago at EMO as an alternative to conventional coolants and a new path to productivity. In cryogenic machining, liquid nitrogen is sent through the spindle to...

    Read More
    SamuExpo banner
    Hybrid machine tools represent the next step for the development of industry.

    / / / / /

    During the 2015 edition of EMO in Milan, DirectIndustry e-magazine discussed the future of machining with Filip Geerts, Secretary General of CECIMO, the European Association for Machine Tool Industries and organizer of the fair.

    Filip Geerts

    Filip Geerts

    Secretary General of CECIMO


    DirectIndustry e-magazine: Connected objects, virtual reality and the Internet of Things are invading the factory floor. How will this affect 21st-century machining?

    Filip Geerts: Connected machinery is finding its way in industry. Connected machines provide a good basis for service and maintenance, especially when intervention happens remotely. Virtual reality is also widely applied by the automotive industry to support their maintenance workers.

    Digital interfaces on machine tools allowing access to all the relevant data are standard. Intelligent interface is a prerequisite for diagnostic and service purposes. Moreover, engineers intend to make them as user-friendly as possible to allow for a swift integration of a new workforce.

    Clients are also more and more looking for integrated machines that combine different processes.

    Cycle times can be massively reduced by combining different machining processes in one machine.

    DirectIndustry e-magazine: What are the advantages of such integrated machines?

    Filip Geerts: The production cycles have to be short enough to respond to the market needs without compromising accuracy and precision, as manufacturers have to adapt to swiftly changing conditions of demand an input costs. Cycle times can be massively reduced by combining different machining processes in one machine. This is especially useful for SME.

    For example, a horizontal spindle and a vertical pallet arrangement allow high-speed machining of large structural aluminum components for the aerospace industry. While the pallet transport system feeds pallets to the machine, the storage station and the loading/unloading station, the parallel kinematic machining head provides the user with optimum 5-axis simultaneous machining process. Five-axis laser milling is another example. It allows dealing with more complex forms with less workpiece handling needed and without changing tools or parts. Both machines save machinery costs because the client does not have to buy different machines.

    Additive manufacturing could be the next step for machining.

    DirectIndustry e-magazine: What about hybrid machines that incorporate conventional machining and additive manufacturing technologies? Could they better respond to market needs?

    Filip Geerts: Hybrid machine tools represent the next step for the development of industry. 3D printing is rapidly growing and 3D printers are becoming important CNC tools. They have some key advantages. Cost saving is first, with the reduction of material scrap, of labor input and the possibility of multiple design changes. Functionality also improves with the ability to produce tooling fixtures, unfeasible through conventional manufacturing techniques. And there is an increased ability to customize.

    However, there are some limitations because 3D printing with metals generally requires the metal to be sintered or melted at some point in the process, resulting in mechanical properties which may be very different from those of a piece machined from a rolled or heat-tempered alloy. The challenge of the 3D printing process is to match the precise tolerances of high-precision machining. Therefore, the factory floor is likely to have 3D printers working, at least for the moment, side-by-side with more traditional CNC machines, rather than replacing them entirely.

    DirectIndustry e-magazine: So traditional machining still has a rosy future?

    Filip Geerts: Traditional machining processes like turning, boring, milling, shaping, broaching, slotting and grinding will still be used. They will not disappear overnight. Of course, one may argue that using conventional methods to machine hard metals and alloys requires more time and energy and therefore increases costs. But the final decision has to be made by taking into account the production process characteristics, the number of pieces to manufacture, the type of material to be processed and the shape of the final workpiece.

    New, advanced materials mean new challenges and opportunities, which will undoubtedly lead to the development of more innovative machines.

    DirectIndustry e-magazine: And what about new materials? For example, what might be the impact of composites ?

    Filip Geerts: New, advanced materials mean new challenges and opportunities, which will undoubtedly lead to the development of more innovative machines. The automotive, aerospace and medical sectors are the main customers of our industry. The first two need lightweight and very resistant technical structures with sometimes complicated shapes to reduce the weight, material and energy consumption of their final product. The medical sector will be using new biocompatible materials with coatings on a nanoparticle level. Production of these advanced pieces affect every aspect of production process: mass customization, development of reconfigurable machines, further improvement of sensors and automation.

    CFT Rizzardi banner
    INDUSTRY 4.0
    Machine tools combining CNC milling and 3D printing were among the major innovations at EMO this year.

    / / /

    Watch our exclusive video report. Additive manufacturing is a growing market, one that is standing technology on its head. This year’s edition of EMO in Milan even devoted a whole area to it. International companies such as DMG MORI and Siemens were there to showcase their latest hybrid technologies. Tooling machines...

    Read More
    Zeiss Fullpage


    Camille Rustici

    Camille Rustici is a Video Journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for DirectIndustry e-magazine. She has years of experience in business issues for various media including France 24, Associated Press, Radio France…

    Read More

    Richard Williams

    Richard Williams is a UK-based journalist with years of experience in innovations and new technologies for publications including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph…

    Read More

    David Porteous

    David Porteous is a UK-based journalist with 25 years of experience in industry and engineering issues. He has a passionate interest in innovation and new technologies.

    Read More

    Style Switcher

    Highlight Color:




    You can also set your own colors or background from the Admin Panel.