AMS takes a look at what visitors can expect to learn about sheet metal processing at this year’s Blechexpo show

The 11th Blechexpo exhibition will take place in Stuttgart on November 5-8. While closely focused on the core processes of sheet metal processing, the event’s almost 1,000 exhibitors span numerous industrial sectors and there should be plenty to interest those from the automotive world.

 The biennial show will once again run in tandem with the SchweissTec event and while still in its relative infancy, Blechexpo has a strong record for presenting excellent business opportunities.

Metalworking in action

Exhibits will encompass the full range of metalworking technologies, with Giasini SpA returning from Italy to showcase its stamping equipment, keen to meet visitors from the automotive field.

Dreher Automation will also be in attendance to offer its system solutions in sheet metal forming with a range of blanking lines, punching lines and transfer presses. At the other end of the technical spectrum ROFIN-SINAR Laser will be seeking to surprise delegates with what it terms “the power of light.” The company points to an infinite variety of applications for laser technologies in materials processing. Rofin offers all the latest core technologies – from CO2 to solid state, fibre, diode or Qswitched lasers – and can assist with the key processes in automotive sheet metal work.

Otto Vision Technology is another hi-tech company keen to serve the automotive sector with top of the range vision and measuring systems, particularly where there is a need for quality, flexibility and efficiency, as well as process integrated automation. Typical applications are, in addition to geometry and surface testing, planar 3D digitisation and 3D shape inspection of parts and tooling. SMS Stamp Tool & Mould Technologies BV comes to Blechexpo with a wide range of relevant products and extensive expertise, offering a full range of services from single cutting tools to turnkey tooling projects, including in-house final adjustments and extensive test procedures.

SchweissTec 2013

Blechexpo’s sister event, the fourth Schweisstec exhibition will concentrate on joining technologies and is the ideal compliment to the longer established Blechexpo. All relevant thermal and mechanical joining techniques will be represented and the event will be marked by a distinct emphasis on the commercial relevance of integrated, interdisciplinary processes. Visitors will be encouraged to look at techniques from across different industrial sectors in their search for enhanced quality and a competitive edge.

Complex profiles and specialised equipment

Wohler brings to Stuttgart its familiar Edge Racer deburring technologies as well as other surface finishing process techniques which have extensive applications in the automotive field. Similarly, Heckler will return to show its cold extrusion parts which are used extensively in automotive in applications ranging from injection systems to seat technology and restraint systems.

Welser Profile Austria will once again be on hand to promote the sophisticated section manufacturing technology that puts it at the forefront of automotive ‘lightweighting’ initiatives. By utilising versatile continuous manufacturing processes the company hopes to convince colleagues from the automotive sector that they can produce economical weight-saving solutions to high tolerances which can also display impressive impact test results.

Meanwhile, Sika SLR offers extensive experience in forming and stamping technologies for varied applications. Roll forming operations are among its specialties and they will be represented at Stuttgart under hybrid technologies.

With its cold roll forming processes using successive deformation of the metal strip through a special series of rollers, Sika is confident it can produce complex profiles to close tolerances at economical cost.

A unique feature of the intensely focused Blechexpo will be the number of service orientated companies, such as SGF Sashsen, whose role is perhaps less the development of new products or innovation, than the reliable cost-effective provision of well established metal working services and processes. Such companies find Blechexpo a fertile trading ground to establish new business connections.

Total system suppliers

In Hall 8 will be the Schuler Group, which has a major presence in the automotive sector, spanning a number of technologies and functions. Recent announcements by Schuler of new, improved press equipment have been accompanied by an increasing emphasis upon its role as a total system supplier. For automotive visitors this will have particular relevance.

Komatsu Industries Europe will be bringing its expertise in the manufacture and operation of the specialised presses found in automotive production environments, keen to demonstrate the extensive support it is able to offer to users to ensure trouble-free and cost-effective production Lantek Systemtechnik will be one of the numerous exhibitors offering innovative software solutions for the sheet metal processing industries and its 2013 version of the CAD/CAM software is likely to be featured. Lantek claims it provides unparalleled power in the calculation of nests for sheet metal cutting.

Special displays and events

Alongside the traditional exhibition stands, various companies will be sponsoring lectures and seminars. For example dataM Sheet Metal Solutions is offering a specialist presentation on Process Control and Quality Assurance.

Elsewhere, trade associations and specialist academic, professional and educational bodies will also be well represented. For example, the Korean Association for Die & Mold Industry Development will use the Stuttgart event to identify collaborative business opportunities for its members, as well as to heighten awareness of the region’s potential as both a customer and supplier of sheet metal working products.

The DVS (German Association for Welding Technology) will also hold a one-day event focusing on new developments in welding and joining technologies

Welcome newcomers

Approximately 10% of the exhibitors at Stuttgart this year will be new to the show and among them will be UK-based Presspart Manufacturing Ltd. Its deep-drawn manufacturing process offers a number of capabilities including extremely long draws, ironed walls, multiple piercing and complex forms and can produce parts in many different metals including aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel, brass, nickel, inconel and galfan.

Trade fairs seem to have subtly adapted their role in the 21st century, reflecting the digitally connected world we live in and Blechexpo and SchweissTec’s promoters, the Schall Group insist exhibitors and delegates will find all the appropriate facilities to make their participation worthwhile. It seems likely the 2013 event will build upon the show’s record of success.