A look at what is sure to interest carmakers at the upcoming Hannover Fair
Despite the recession, the Hannover Fair 2009 international trade exposition, taking place 20-24 April, looks set for a bumper year. This year’s show sees the regular portfolio of annually-held trade fairs —INTERKAMA+, Factory Automation, Industrial Building Automation, Digital Factory, Subcontracting, Energy, Power Plant Technology, Micro Technology and Research & Technology — supplemented by a selection of fairs held at two-yearly intervals: Motion, Drive & Automation, Surface Technology and ComVac, with the further addition of Wind, showcasing the latest wind-power technologies, which will be subsequently held every two years.
Covering 225,000 square metres and comprising 11 separate trade shows with over 6,400 exhibitors, the Hannover Fair 2009 is likely to attract a record number of attendees. In 2008, visitor numbers surged to 200,000, a 30% increase over Hannover Fair 2006, the most recent fair of similar scope.
So what can automotive industry insiders expect to find at the Hannover Fair 2009? Our regular preview looks at a selection of companies and what they will have on display.
Hannover Fair incorporates a strong element of manufacturing IT alongside the usual machine tools and equipment. Not only does Siemens have a foot in both camps, but the company is on its home turf; its presence at the show is unmistakable, its stand taking over a large portion of a single exhibition hall.
Speaking at the 2007 show, Klaus Wucherer, Siemens AG board member, recalled the ambitious aspirations that the company held in the 1980s for the expanding role of IT in manufacturing. By buying PLM and CAD vendor UGS, he noted Siemens was at last closing the gap on its 1980s-era vision of true computer-integrated manufacturing, creating the basis for the ‘intelligent factory’, linking product design, purchasing, manufacturing, sales and service.
With the purchase and integration of Israel’s Tecnomatix into what is now known as Siemens PLM Software, visitors to the Hannover Fair 2009 will be able to see if that vision of the intelligent factory has come to pass. The early signs are promising. In December, Mirko Baecker, Siemens PLM Software’s European Marketing Director for Digital Manufacturing, announced that “Teamcenter (the company’s flagship PLM product) has now become the world’s most widely used PLM application suite.”
According to Baecker, work is well-advanced on the so-called “Project Archimedes”, a cross-Siemens industry automation software initiative designed to develop new solutions designed to unify product and production lifecycles. “The organisation is becoming tighter,” says Baecker. “We’re still separate product centres with our own revenue and profit goals, but from the product development point of view, things are moving.” Visitor’s to Hannover Messe will be offered the opportunity to put that assertion to the test.
A world-renowned producer of automated automotive manufacturing solutions for virtually every area of vehicle production, ABB will have a variety of equipment on display for attendees of the Hannover exhibition.
Covering paint and press shop automation, powertrain assembly, and body-in-white, automotive machine buyers will be able to discover more about the state-of-the art technologies that have enabled Volkswagen do Brasil to increase press line production at its Anchieta plant, located near Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The upgrade and modernization of one of the plant’s two lines in 2008 was part of a $565 million investment to boost productivity at the flagship facility, which produces 1,600 units across eight model ranges per day. Production capacity now stands at 3,880 panels a day, achieved by equipping the press line with IRB 6650 robots, featuring a cycle time of 2.8 parts per minute, almost double that of the previous 1.5 parts per minute.
Innovative techniques such as ‘turnover’ between two robots are in place, as well as an additional ‘seventh axis’ for six axis robots, helping to speeding the movement of panels between the line’s six presses. With turnover, one robot simply passes a panel to another robot, rather than employing a single robot to achieve the same movement in a more complex and time consuming manner. ABB claim this has saved up to four seconds in each operation. As the company’s robots perform their eye-catching displays at Hannover, automotive machine buyers will be able to ask about the precise technologies and systems behind the Brazilian implementation.
Fresh from hosting its first international automobile conference in Sattledt, Austria - attended by over 150 international manufacturing and development experts from companies such as BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai and Audi - Fronius will use this year’s Hannover Fair to showcase its wide range of automotive-related technologies, including its hi-tech automotive plasma cutting and welding solutions.
Further, international automotive buyers will be keen to probe the company’s fast-growing new sales and support structures in overseas markets. As well as opening up in country’s such as Ukraine and Turkey during 2008, Fronius has further strengthened its position in the North American market, with new subsidiaries in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, as well as Mississauga, Canada, close to the heart of the Canadian auto industry.
On the product front, attention will be focusing on the company’s automation offerings, together with its DeltaSpot resistance welding technology, aimed firmly at the automotive industry at both OEM and supplier levels.
DeltaSpot’s resistance welding benefits from a circulating process tape, with each welding spot being both completely reproducible and made with an effectively unused electrode. While Fronius’s automation offerings are a popular choice, the company’s trump card is the ability to join equipment together into complex systems, using the company’s own programmable system controllers.
ArcelorMittal is a major manufacturer of automotive steels, offering products across the full range of metallurgical families, coatings and surface treatments. The company’s products are available throughout the world, popular for striking an optimum balance between cost and formability, with sales backed by services and solutions through the company’s international network of processing centres, welded blank production units and drawing partners.
At Hannover, automotive manufacturers will be keen to update themselves on the progress of Arcelor Mittal’s ‘S-in motion’ R&D project, using the company’s experience with advanced, high-strength steels to provide automotive steel solutions which address vehicle mass and cost performance ratios, while improving vehicle safety. Compared to figures released in 2008, an overall BIW weight reduction of 20% by 2010 has been targeted.
While the company was still finalising its plans for Hannover, Sandra Luneau, from ArcelorMittal’s Global Automotive Steels department was able to share what visitors could expect to see at the Hannover show. According to Luneau, ArcelorMittal plans to display a variety of products, including Usibor, a high-strength steel for hot stamping which returns very high mechanical strength properties while reducing weight and improving structural strength.
Also on display will be a Usibor/Ductibor combination, mixing hot stamping and tailored blanking technologies to optimise weight, rigidity and energy absorption.
In addition, the company will also be showcasing QuietSteel, a multi-layer steel that has been designed to reduce noise by damping vibrations, offering improved overall acoustic performance. Usefully, QuietSteel also eliminates the weight and cost of additional sound deadening and insulation materials.
Finally, Luneau stated that ArcelorMittal will be displaying its new laser tailored blanking capability, which allows the integration of hinge reinforcement in applications such as inner door panels. A range of bumper beam solutions will also be on display, with each designed to meet individual customer requirements by matching various steel grades to deliver specific levels of crash energy management, package performance and weight reductions.