Ahead of the 19th METAV show in February, AMS looks at what attendees can expect to find in DüsseldorfA key international event for those involved in metalworking, METAV will again take place in Düsseldorf, Germany, and is sure to attract strong interest from the automotive sector. It sets out to showcase the entire spectrum of manufacturing technologies, with machine tools, automated production processes and computer systems takingcentre stage.

METAV has a reputation as an event rooted in current, immediately applicable technologies, yet not afraid to explore longer-term perspectives and challenge its visitors to engage with the future. Of particular resonance for the automotive sector, this year moulding technologies will have their own dedicated area, as will additive manufacturing, and new initiatives in quality management systems.

German-Spanish machine manufacturer MTE Machine Tool Engineering will be returning to METAV to promote its innovations in large-scale machinery. Other specialists in giant equipment include Kekeisen, which will promote its ability to configure machines on a one-off basis to suit the particular needs of its customers. Alongside these large-scale offerings, there will be a wide array of smaller, flexible machining centres and specialised mass-production equipment familiar to the automotive sector.

Innomax will come to METAV to highlight its water-jet cutting technologies, as well as its capacity to assist with low-volume production and build-to-order services for machine parts. GK Werkzeugmashinen, which specialises in a very wide range of machining products including sliding, surfacing and screw-cutting lathes and vertical machining centres, will also be in attendance.

Spring Technologies will bring its NCSIMUL product range to Düsseldorf this year; NCSIMUL Solutions provides appropriate tools and flexibility for the implementation of highly automated factories and smart production. Numerical-control programming, machining simulation, cutting-tool management, computer-numerical-control program management and real-time machine status monitoring are among the features available to its customers.

Bore surface inspection, Jenoptik

Bore surface inspection equipment from Jenoptik

Moulding METAV 2016 into shapeThe moulding area at METAV should provide fresh interest this year, given the new involvement of the German Association of Model and Mould Manufacturers as a full partner in the event. Industrial design is another area which is being developed, and METAV will benefit from the contribution of the Association of German Industrial Design in an Industrial Design Forum as part of the 2016 show. The organisers promise participation by leading agencies to encompass the complete industrial value creation chain.

Meanwhile, METAV’s new additive manufacturing area is likely to be popular, since the technology opens up such intriguing possibilities in production. New vendors have arrived on the scene, but even the most traditional companies are developing new products and ways of working, so METAV has sought to structure its offering to reflect these developments while building on existing strengths. Long-time supporter of METAV, Heller Machinenfabrik, will be returning to the 2016 event already in a positive mood, after receiving a very successful response to its products at the recent EMO show in Milan, Italy.

Heller is a good example of those companies providing not just a range of machines but a comprehensive service offering, with its Total Productive Services (TPS) concept and Manufacturing Productivity Cockpit. The company’s H Series four–axis machining centres are high-productivity horizontal machines which always merit attention, but increasingly Heller reports that customers are considering the potential of its F and C Series five-axis mill/turning/machining centres as part of the general trend towards complete machining. The Manufacturing Productivity Cockpit helps to maximise machining capacity and utilisation, and forms a key component in Heller’s efforts to enable customers to adapt their existing machinery to new technological challenges.

Harmonising process chainsAmong the design agencies featuring at METAV 2016 and participating in the Industrial Design forum will be Andreas Schulze Industrial Design, of Limburg, in the Netherlands, which provides a wide range of design and model-making services along with the capacity to follow through from initial concepts to final production.

The need for technically sophisticated plants to have harmonised process chains with standardised interfaces has long been recognised, but remains a key challenge. Siemens will come to METAV 2016 with a focus on harmonised computer-aided design and manufacturing process chains. The company claims to be one of the few businesses bringing a harmonised portfolio which includes product lifecycle management software, manufacturing execution systems and manufacturing operations management with harmonised automation and control systems.

According to Siemens, the market is being driven not only by digitisation in larger businesses, but even more by digitisation in smaller companies, where significant benefits in flexibility and productivity can be realised. Siemens’ Sinumerik systems will also be on show, highlighting the potential for enhanced productivity and quality in metal-cutting operations such as milling, mould construction and mill turning.

Harmonised process chains will also be central to the displays of Index-Werke, which emphasises the importance of the validity and accuracy of the data being transferred. Simulation procedures have a key role to play in these processes. Index Group is heavily involved in serving the automotive sector, offering multi-functional production centres wherein different process technologies can be integrated into a single machine.

Roders, too, will be at METAV to share its perspective on these issues, exhibiting options for implementing process chains. The company is best known for its high-precision, high-speed cutting (HSC) milling and grinding machines. Different manufacturing processes can be combined in the HSC machines and, if required, Roders can automate the products using in-house solutions.

Integrated engineering, Siemens According to Siemens, digitisation in smaller companies results in particularly significant flexibility and productivity benefits

Paying attention to quality assuranceMETAV 2016 will place particular emphasis on quality issues. The German Society for Quality Assurance, one of the biggest networks for quality assurance in the country, is not just a partner of the show but also an exhibitor in its own right, with a mission to demonstrate its range of training programmes. Further insights on training will be offered by companies like Faro Europe, which will return to METAV to explain its ability to assist with quality developments. This company has said it currently sees particular opportunities in the automotive sector, and at the show it will promote its portable coordinate measuring technologies.

Vicivision will demonstrate its optical shaft-measuring machines as well as launching a new model in this range. Like so many companies, Vicivision will be keen to present itself not just as a producer of products, equipment or machines but as a provider of services and consultancy.

E.Zoller, meanwhile, will use METAV 2016 to emphasise its role in the promotion of Industry 4.0 concepts, providing tool support in the network manufacturing process, from the design stage to the finished component. Zoller is evolving from a well-established manufacturer of measuring equipment towards a broader role as a globally operating technology vendor and complete system problem solver.

Modern technologies require ever more support for customers if new equipment and processes are to achieve their true potential, and Zoller is just one of many companies at METAV 2016 which are adapting to meet these fresh requirements.

METAV 2016 will take place in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Feb 23-27.