This year's 29th Control international fair will exhibit services and products relevant to auto engineering

The Control international fair has always felt less overtly commercial, and more academic and scientific in tone compared with other major engineering trade shows. Yet nobody involved in the event could fail to recognise the impact that its efforts, innovations and solutions have on the success and competitiveness of those in attendance. Quality, rather than price, is now the point of comparison in many industries and the processes, products and techniques necessary to ensure consistent quality output, often in highly automated production settings, are what the Stuttgart event is all about.

Gitta Schlaak, project manager for Control 2015, talks of how the show reinvents itself each year “by adopting market and technology issues which are relevant to the industrial sectors, and carefully adapting them to the respective hardware or software innovations – without watering down the thematic essence”. In 2015, for example, Control will see an enormous influx of exhibitors from the Industrial Image Systems and Vision Systems sector, all keen to present their products and innovations to an international audience.

The international G3 Standard Initiative will also be well to the fore. With significant market growth, especially in China and Asia, standardisation is becoming ever more important. With over 900 exhibitors from 30 countries, this is a major event for those involved in automotive manufacturing and design. In 2014, almost a third of visitors were from this sector, with many more involved in machine tool and plant construction linked directly to automotive.

Sophisticated measuring systems
Fraunhofer Vision Alliance will offer a special show on ‘Contactless Measuring Technology’ in Hall 1, Booth 1602. It will display the latest ideas in contactless, optical measuring systems with ever-greater scale ranges being developed and new applications being incorporated. Top quality, maximised flexibility, and low costs are part of the performance specification of all industries. As a consequence, image processing, contactless measuring, and test technologies have a key role to play in modern manufacturing. By providing inline quality monitoring, key processes and critical steps can be kept within specification, and defects and costly wastage reduced.

Displays spanning metrology, materials testing, analysis equipment, optoelectronics, and quality assurance systems, along with sensor technology, will feature strongly at this year’s event. Control organisers Schall Messe work intensively with the representative and leadership organisations within the quality field to ensure that each event meets visitors’ needs and reflects the latest developments in a rapidly changing field.

Brake pipe quality, Micro-Epsilon

Colleagues from the automotive sector will take an interest in sensor specialist Micro-Epsilon, which offers extensive sensor ranges for use in automotive applications. These find use in test programmes, development and production. The company works with customers to provide robust and effective solutions to complex measurement and quality problems. It stresses that any form of displacement, position, temperature or colour change can be detected and measured by robust, cost-effective sensor systems with smart interface capabilities.

Provisional floorplans show Hexagon Metrology to have booked a major display area at Control 2015 and its involvement with vehicle manufacturing will of course have a particular resonance for visitors from the automotive sector.

Hexagon argues that competitive pressures have encouraged motor manufacturers to turn to industrial metrology solutions to decrease ramp-up times, increase productivity, reduce wastage and meet ever more stringent quality targets. Among the areas in which it has been involved are the inspection of multiple bodies-in-white in one set up, with laser tracker systems, prototype part inspections, die build and try-out validation with white-light scanner systems, checking fit and tolerance in vehicle interiors with articulated arms, as well as the development of sophisticated automated gantry and horizontal-arm coordinate-measurement machine installations.

Europascal will also be exhibiting at Control, offering calibration technologies and showcasing its 6270 modular pressure controller/calibrator. This allows a flexibility that is said to reduce costs, with modules of different accuracy combined to match the requirements of the processes being monitored; a high level of accuracy for the pressure ranges that require it, combined with lower, more economical levels of accuracy where it is not so critical.

Quality assurance
Philipp Hafner will show production measurement technologies which are relevant to the automotive sector. Hafner, a long-established, independent company with extensive experience of working with clients in the automotive sector, offers a range of hardware from manual measuring equipment right through to complex automated system monitoring measurement technology.

Among its products are special measuring machines for CV joints, brake discs, aluminium parts, and special standardised gauge parts and setting masters, as well as flex mandrels for boreholes. Optical and pneumatic measuring systems are also likely to feature in its display.

Feeding and assembly technology specialist Hörmle will be at Control to present automated measuring and sorting systems for small turned parts. The Horsort automated sorting and control system is designed for rotationally symmetrical parts with modules that can be adjusted to match customer requirements, or to use the machine in a new operational setting. With a product range encompassing centrifugal sorting machines, feeding technologies, optical measuring systems and robotic systems, Hörmle is confident it can offer equipment that will assist in a range of quality assurance settings.

In Hall 3, Hamburg-based Yxlon International will be offering visitors an insight into a range of high-tech inspection process technologies, which will be of interest to those from the automotive sector. Fully automated defect recognition programmes offer real benefits for quality and cost. With modern software, image data from an X-ray inspection process can deal with high-unit volumes with no operator intervention. Cast-alloy components including the structural examination of cast-alloy wheels, are among the areas where Yxlon already has extensive experience.

Exakt Cutting Systems will also be at Control, with sophisticated systems for materials and material composites that are difficult to separate except by utilising its Contact Point technology. Meanwhile, Müller Instruments, in Hall 5, will display some new products including pressure transducers capable of measuring high dynamic pressure changes with rise times of only a few nanoseconds. Like many of the smaller specialist scientific measurement companies displaying at Control, Müller is well used to adapting its products to meet new challenges and operating protocols in various industrial environments.

There is an increasing tendency for visitors to Control to be technical experts in their field and in 2014, nearly half the visitors were decision-makers, with over 20% having the final word in purchases for their enterprises.

Control international fair
Software solutions
Inevitably, many of the most interesting exhibitors attending the event will be showing off software solutions rather than hardware products or equipment. Plato, for example, serves a number of industries but has significant experience within the automotive sector. Its specialist risk management software and quality management solutions feature project-specific processing and evaluations of the scope of FMEAs, as well as the transparent tracking of actions and implementation.

Plato SC10 software allows products to be developed and produced with a central knowledge database that can be analysed by different modules in accordance with customers’ requirements.

Plato also contributes to the theme of image processing with software products capable of automatic cast-parts inspection. Its fully automatic PXV5000 image-processing system is capable of being set up as a standalone system or completely integrated into the production process.

Over in Hall 7, Fraunhofer IPA will present a forum under the title ‘Understanding and Experiencing Technology’ which will explore future technologies and software solutions to maintain and improve industrial quality. Other Control events, including presentations by the German Society for Quality (DGQ), will complement the themes featured throughout.

Control 2015 will take place in Stuttgart, Germany, from May 5-8.