Nick Holt reports on the presentations and product launches at the Eisenmann Technical Forum
With energy efficiency a hot topic at present it was no surprise that it was at a key theme at Eisenmann’s technical forum, held at the company’s Holzgerlingen engineering and R&D facility. The forum offered presentations from industry experts, OEMs and the company’s own engineers.
A number of OEM engineers were among the attendees, some travelling from as far afield as the USA. When asked about their reasons for attending, all offered a similar response; the drive to reduce energy consumption in vehicle manufacturing plants (notably paintshop) meant that the search for efficiencies was becoming more intense, with the focus now on finding smaller efficiencies across the entire production process.
Highlighting the need for better management of energy and resources was Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauernhansl, from the Fraunhofer Institute, in his presentation entitled The Ultra Efficiency Factory. Dr. Bauernhansl discussed the potential for creating self-sustaining production processes through the use of renewable energy sources, high quality 100% recycling and optimising material usage. To achieve significant reduction in consumption of resources solutions suggestions included adopting a new modular production process for vehicle painting and assembly, moving away from the traditional production line method.
He also highlighted the need for a skilled workforce and suggested that companies could establish their own in-house training academies to address the current skills shortage and address future demand. In his conclusion Dr. Bauernhansl said a paradigm shift in the approach to manufacturing would be needed, along with a de-coupling of (economic) growth from resource consumption.
Eisenmann also took the opportunity to demonstrate some of its new energy efficient technologies in line with the theme of the forum.