Machine tools go on show worldwide

In addition to general and specialised manufacturing shows in Europe, there are two major international machine tool related events this year, writes Mike Page.

After the 2007 Hannover EMO international machine tool exhibition the following year is always a busy one for the world’s events In spite of fears over ‘credit crunch’ and restricted loans for manufacturing investment in Europe and the USA, many producers of machine tools and production equipment continue to enjoy good order books

Stories coming in from the recent UK MACH 2008 machine tool exhibition are revealing what a productive show it was, with no signs of any decrease in enthusiasm for modernising existing factories – and expanding them.

In Europe, the growth of manufacturing in the former ‘East Bloc’ (or CMEA/COMECON) countries in central and Eastern Europe is of importance.

Ongoing expansion of machine tool related manufacturing is continuing in the Far East and Asia.

Maybe this year is the time to invest more in the latest cost-cutting, ‘shortest time to market’ cnc machine tools, robotic systems and automation generally, should a ‘credit squeeze’ really tighten its grip on the availability of attractive loans.

The East European countries want automation too – particularly the Tier 1-4 automotive suppliers, growing aerospace component suppliers, the expanding railroad industry and the medical devices manufacturers.

The USA is suffering more from ‘credit crunch’ and the ills of its banks suffering from ‘sub-prime blues’, but European and Japanese machine tool manufacturers at the recent MACH 2008 show in the UK said that the USA market for machine tools is beginning to improve.

* World exhibitions – the two main events in 2008 are the IMTS 2008 machine tool fair in Chicago, USA, and the Japanese JIMTOF machine tool exhibition in Tokyo.

* Specialised exhibitions – in addition to the general machine tool and manufacturing shows, there are two specialised exhibitions in 2008 concentrating on sheet metal working (EuroBLECH) and mould and die making (Euromold).

The four main machine tool and manufacturing orientated exhibitions to occur in Western Europe during 2008 will be as follows.

* Czech Republic’s MSV-International Engineering Fair, Brno, September 15-19.


* Italy’s Bi-Mu, Milan, October 3-7.


* Germany’s EuroBLECH, Hannover, October 21-25.


* Germany’s Euromold, Frankfurt-am-Main, December 3-6.


Worldwide, the two main shows are as follows.

* The USA’s IMTS 2008 event in McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, September 8-13.


* Japan’s JIMTOF 2008 event in the Big Sight International Exhibition Centre, Tokyo, October 30-November 4.


** MSV-International Engineering Fair – organised by the Brno Trade Fairs and Exhibitions Company, there will be some 2250 firms from 33 countries.

The MSV exhibition represents a wide range of heavy engineering – including rolling, casting, forging, cranage – as well as machine tools, metal forming and fabrication equipment, electrical engineering, automation and general manufacturing.

There will also be machines and equipment for the ceramic and glass industries, materials and components for the chemical industry, machines and equipment for plastics and rubber processing, chemicals for industrial production and machines for industrial cleaning and washing.

The MSV runs concurrently with a Transport and Logistics exhibition showing locomotives and rolling stock, trucks, vans and so on.

Brno has an international airport and can also be accessed easily by international railroad or bus.

** Bi-Mu/SFORTEC – Promoted by UCIMU, the Italian Machine Tools, Robots and Automation Manufacturers’ Association, and organized by EFIM, Bi-Mu will exhibit a wide range of machine tools, robots and automation systems and a specialised display of the most recent technological systems for welding, assembling and mould and die making.

The Italian machine tool industry is very active, and the show attracts visitors from the Mediterranean and East European areas as well as Italy and Switzerland.

Italy has a large and very active machine tool industry, many of which will have exhibition stands at Bi-Mu.

There will also be an extensive conference programme.

According to the data concerning the last Bi-Mu, 87% of the visitors are involved in the purchasing decisions in their own enterprises: 20.3% can choose autonomously, whereas 49% of them operate within a team in charge of investment evaluation and 18.3% is made up of operators giving specialized advice for equipment purchase.

Milano has a new exhibition centre located outside the city and accessed by Metro and bus.

The site is much easier to access by car that the former inner city site.

** EuroBLECH – Europe’s premier international sheet metal working show covers covers all aspects of sheet metal manufacturing: from slitting, blanking, CNC laser cutting, through general press work and power presses, press shop automation, to stockholding, welding and assembly.

It will be the 20th edition of the International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition.

The continuous boom of this industry sector, said the organisers, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, UK, benefits the booking numbers for stand space at EuroBLECH 2008.

1,030 exhibitors from 30 countries have already reserved their stands, and some 85,000m2 of net exhibition space has been reserved.

The show will be held at the Hannover Messe fairgrounds accessed by a frequent tram (U-Bahn) service and the city railway network (S-Bahn).

The tram system links directly to Hannover’s main railway station (Hannover Hbf) and its international airport.

** Euromold – is the World Fair for Moldmaking and Tooling, Design and Application Development is organised by the DEMAT Direct Exhibition Managing company in Frankfurt/Main.

The show coves all aspects of moulding from design to prototyping to series production.

The organisers said that EuroMold ‘bridges the gap’ between industrial designers, fabricators, suppliers and users.

I’m sure there will be much interest in the advance of continuous path 5-axis milling and developments in ‘seamless’ CAD/CAM systems and moulding simulation technology.

It will be well worth reviewing progress in rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing – in metals as well as plastics.

At the 2006 EuroMold show, 61.720 visitors from 83 countries came to Frankfurt to get information.

Compared with the previous year, DEMAT said it had succeeded in increasing the visitors rate by about 2.1%.

Again, transport links around Frankfurt/Main are excellent.

The international airport has a fast train link with the city centre.

** IMTS 2008 – is the USA’s largest machine tool, tooling and manufacturing event.

Usually any machine tool company around the world that wants to export to the USA will have a stand at this event.

The organiser, Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), said there will be some 15,000 machine tools on show at this year’s event.

There is also a much expanded conference programme, which includes five days of sessions covering manufacturing business and technology.

They are organised by the following.

AMT – Association for manufacturing Technology.

ASPE – American Society for Precision Engineering.

CAR – Center for Automotive Research.

NTMA – National Tooling and Machining Association.

SME – Society of Manufacturing Engineering.

During the show there will also be free presentations on technology given in the Innovation centre including the following.

Quality Day.

Aerospace/Aeronautics Day.

Power generation/Green Day.

Medical Day.

Job Shop Day.

Most of the larger hotels in Chicago organise fast bus transits to the show, and there is also a good local bus service and a commuter railroad station.

** JIMTOF 2008 – the Japanese Machine Tool Exhibition is organised jointly by the Japan Machine Tool Builders Association and Tokyo Big Sight.

The show has been running since 1962 – initially in Osaka, then Tokyo and now, since 2000, always in Tokyo.

The covered area at Big Sight is 86,660m2 with some 5000 exhibition booths occupying 45,000m2.

Following requests from exhibitors, this year’s show is of shorter duration, but will still reveal the very latest in CNC development and machine tool technology and systems.

Getting around in Tokyo is quite easy, the city having a very intensive subway (metro), urban rail and bus system.

Most signs are bi-lingual (Japanese/English) as are many ticket machines.

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