Aug 28, 2017

EMO is one of the big ones, the world’s largest trade fair for metal-working. The last time it was held in Hannover was in 2013, due to its unique location plan. The last EMO was held in Milan, Italy, in 2015. This year, it is back in Germany and offers a huge variety of seminars, conferences and events to attend.

The programme is clearly oriented at trends in manufacturing. Besides a conference on additive manufacturing, the topics of digitalisation and Industry 4.0 are the main focus points of the trade fair. While many exhibitors have examples of these trends at their booths, associations also pick up these topics for their forums and symposiums. Additionally, visitors can take part in guided tours to learn more on modern manufacturing technologies.

1. Translating the Industry 4.0 concept into reality

Industry 4.0 is progressively emerging as the crucial factor in the race for leading-edge technology and market shares in the future. And time is running out for German machinery and plant manufacturers. On one side of the world is the USA, with its exceptional software competence and, not least, its digital entrepreneurship in terms of new business models. On the other side of the globe is China, which with its ‘Made in China 2025’ and ‘Internet Plus’ programmes is channeling substantial resources into digital transformation. So despite the good starting position that German companies have created for themselves, they would be well advised not to rest on their laurels.

The German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association’s (VDMA) Metrological and Testing Technology and High-Precision Tools section will accordingly be spotlighting ideas and products from the Industry 4.0 environment. At the VDMA’s stand (Hall 4 / D44), member companies and partners from the research community will be contributing 30 brief presentations, focusing primarily on high-precision tools, metrological and testing technology, research, and tool data interchange from September 19–21, 2017. “At the VDMA forum, we shall be aiming to show what solutions our sectors are offering in order to translate the concept of Industry 4.0 into shop-floor reality,” explains Markus Heseding, Executive Director of the two associations. “We already have a good track record with a forum of this kind, and are looking forward to a high attendance.”

Specifically, the ‘Innovative Solutions for Industry 4.0’ event will be informing its participants on issues like intelligent clamping systems and how production processes can be simulated by networking tools and software, and how to monitor tool life-cycles and reduce costs.

2. Research Symposium on the Production of Tomorrow

Another event will also deal with the concept of Industry 4.0: For the first time, EMO Hannover will see a research symposium. The VDW (German Machine Tool Builder’s Association) teams up with the WGP (German Academic Society for Production Engineering) to inform and discuss the topics of Industry 4.0 and digitalisation under the heading ‘Production of Tomorrow’. On September 21, 2017 at EMO Hannover, the ‘Production for Tomorrow’ symposium will be taking a look at the future of production. “With this symposium, we are aiming quite deliberately to draw attention to precisely those innovations that will guarantee the high-end quality of machine tools for the years ahead as well, irrespective of network thinking,” emphasises Prof. Eberhard Abele, President of the WGP – a grouping of leading German mechanical engineering professors. Professor Abele will hold the keynote speech themed “Production Technology in 2025 – Challenges and Opportunities”.

3. Entrepreneurship has its own place at EMO

The rapid technological change is accompanied by the founding of new companies. Young entrepreneurs are, for example, developing software for networking machines and processes, building 3D printers for metal parts, or making existing systems and components ready for Industry 4.0. They start companies from research projects at universities or open up a company on their own.

EMO Hannover 2017 wants to give companies with a revenue of up to 10 million euro a platform entitled ‘Start-ups for Intelligent Production’. The objective is to support young companies in marketing their innovations. With fresh ideas and new products or services, they are also sought-after as business partners for many established providers. The shared booth is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Nowadays, metal-working does not only mean machine tool processes. Additive manufacturing is still a growing sector. While these alternative processes offer a variety of new possibilities starting from individualisation to small-batch production, traditional production technology is not yet outdated. Most of EMO’s exhibitions still involve the classic machine tool. Nevertheless, additive manufacturing plays a growing role at this trade fair as well.

4. Additive Manufacturing is icing on the cake

In the meantime, many manufacturers struggle to adapt to the new technology. As Carl Fruth, Managing Board Chairman of FIT explains: “There are a large number of delicate seedlings. Many of our customers would like to use additive technologies to manufacture replacements for existing components. But this is possible only in very few cases. Usually, a new component has to be developed and very often the adjoining components of the system as well. Firstly, many companies are deterred by the outlay involved, and secondly, of course, you need specialised development competence for this new production technology.”

At EMO Hannover, visitors have the chance to get information on additive technologies at two events. The first will be held on September 20: The Additive Manufacturing Working Group of VDMA organises a conference themed ‘Opportunities and perspectives for additive manufacturing’. The second one will be the ‘International Conference on Additive Manufacturing’, hosted by Cecimo, the European Association of Machine Tool Industries. The conference will be held on September 21 at the Hannover Convention Centre.

5. A clear overview of selected topics on guided tours

A trade fair as huge as EMO Hannover can easily overwhelm visitors. The 2,100 exhibitors cannot be visited even in six days. To make it easier for visitors to find those highlights of special interest to them, there are guided tours. According to the organiser, EMO Guided Tours guarantee that visitors see the highlights of their special area of interest.

The tours will last around two hours. Part of the tour is presentations by exhibitors. These demonstrations at the exhibitors’ booths are planned to take roughly 15 minutes. During these presentations, exhibitors will present their innovations and solutions.

The tours will be oriented at main topics of the metal-working sector. One tour will focus on connecting systems for intelligent production. According to the organiser, machine tools and systems for the metal-working sector are of great importance for Industry 4.0 roadmaps. For visitors interested in the opportunities of the digital production, this tour also offers a stop at the special exhibit on Industry 4.0.

For visitors who are mainly interested in high-efficiency manufacturing, the guided tour on high performance and high efficiency might be the right starting point for their trade fair visit. As key topics for serial production, these topics are the main focus of a tour about process design, dynamic automation and intelligent quality control.

The future of manufacturing will be the subject of a third guided tour at EMO. It deals particularly with modern trends in manufacturing, from additive manufacturing and hybrid manufacturing systems to new cutting technologies, CAD/CAM solutions for generative processes and scanners for reverse engineering.

Apart from these guided tours, Deutsche Messe also offers personalised tours.

6. Are machine tools safe?

The safety of machine tools is a major issue. Complex machinery, high speeds and high power levels can be a dangerous mixture for the operator. Nevertheless, machine tools are very safe products. At the Safety Day for Machine Tools at EMO Hannover 2017, top experts will present their insights on the requirements and challenges entailed by the current state of the art, mapping out how practical solutions ensure high levels of safety and elucidating what remains to be done in the future.

It is a remarkable story: “For many decades, our companies have proven that they can handle the risks that come with the operation of machine tools,” explains Heinrich Mödden, a machinery safety expert at the EMO organiser, VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). Certainly, there is a lot of work still needed, but, as Mödden continues, “it pays off, as the number of accidents is continuously declining.” This shows that a high level of safety has already been achieved with traditional design practices.

Safety Day for Machine Tools: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, 
Hannover Exhibition Grounds, Convention Centre

7. Opening ceremony with big names of politics

Germany President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be ceremonially opening EMO Hannover 2017. The opening ceremony on September 18 is scheduled to last about an hour.

Besides Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephan Weil and CECIMO President Luigi Galdabini will also be speaking at the ceremony. After this, the President will be taking an extensive tour of the fair. “We shall be demonstrating to the President the performative and innovative capabilities of our sector, and the range of solutions we offer in the environment of digitisation,” stated Carl Martin Welcker, General Commissioner of EMO Hannover.

Seminars and Conferences at a glance

·         WPG symposium ‘Production for Tomorrow’: a research symposium where representatives of the German Academic Society for Production Engineering (WGP) will be reporting on their latest technical developments (Thursday 21 September).

·         Additive Manufacturing: two half-day conferences discussing the changes and business processes of the future (Wednesday, 20 and Thursday 21 September).

·         Safety engineering “EMO Safety Day for Machine Tools”: the focus of the presentations is placed on the prevention of accidents and personal safety (Tuesday, 19 September).

·         EMO-India Day: VDW will be hosting an ‘India Day’. Speakers from the Indian machine building, automotive, and aerospace sectors will be casting light on their views on India’s growth dynamic (Wednesday, 20 September). 

·         Innovative Solutions for Industry 4.0 forum: Short presentations by members and partners of the German Engineering Association VDMA provide information on tangible technological solutions. The forum is divided into the following topics:

·         Precision Tools

·         Measuring Technology

·         R&D

·         Data Exchange


For all of you who want to plan ahead:

The upcoming EMO Hannover 2019 will be held from September 16–21, 2017.


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