Latest Advancements in Machine Tools on Display at IMTEX 2018

By Anju Ajaykumar

Technology Trends

The Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association hosted a six-day (January 25-30, 2018) exhibition (IMTEX) on metal-forming technologies at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre in Bangalore, India. Around 500 exhibitors (both domestic and global players) were on hand to demonstrate their latest advancements in machine tools. Technologies on display included robotics and automation, welding and joining, wire forming and drawing, die casting, hydro forming, and metal forming, to list a few. The multi-faceted event also constituted an international seminar on forming technology; an awareness program (Connect) on the machine tool industry; an interactive session (Reverse International Buyer-Seller Meet) for machine tool manufacturers and buyers; a pavilion (i2 Academic Pavilion) for academic institutes to exhibit their industry-relevant research; and a concurrent event (TOOLTECH 2018) focusing on dies and molds, forming tools, machine tool accessories, metrology, and CAD/CAM. The 2018 edition of IMTEX received an unprecedented response from various industrial sectors, with over 36,000 visitors, and secured business orders worth $83.17 million.

Advancements in machine tools
IMTEX 2018


Coordinate Measuring Machine Technologies at IMTEX 2018

The event witnessed participation by top players from the coordinate measuring machine (CMM) industry, with suppliers such as Carl Zeiss, Hexagon, and Faro showcasing their next-generation technologies designed to enhance productivity in manufacturing operations. Hexagon displayed its latest intelligent solution – GLOBAL S Coordinate Measuring Machine. The equipment offers features such as advanced vibration reduction, improved unknown path scanning, probe movement optimization, automatic power saving, air-saving function, optional messaging lights, and a pulse monitoring system. It meets the higher efficiency measurement and the dimensional inspection requirements needed in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and precision manufacturing. It also meets the customer productivity criteria of usability in shop floor environments and goes beyond the inspection lab functionality of many other CMM applications.

Carl Zeiss showcased its various CMM technologies, including ZEISS O-INSPECT. This camera sensor-based scanning and optical measuring technology can be used for a wide range of applications such as measuring dental implants, tiny vehicle parts, and sensitive smartphone components. According to the supplier, it combines high flexibility and throughput for inspection requirement in medical, plastic, electronics, and precision engineering industries. With customer requirements and inspection criteria becoming more intricate, sophisticated measuring equipment like these are vital for a production facility to enhance operational efficiency and competitiveness.

Portable Coordinate Measuring Machine for Enhanced Metrology

Although high accuracy and longevity have helped traditional CMM solutions establish their place in metrology industry, their lack of portable and flexible characteristics, coupled with high prices, paved the way for the entry of portable CMMs, such as articulated arms and laser trackers. Over the years, we have witnessed many advances in portable CMM technology, with notable improvement seen in in terms of flexibility, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. For example, Faro’s latest version of portable CMM technology (FARO Laser Tracker Vantage) displayed at the event offers advanced features including remote management of operations using handheld devices such as mobile phone or tablet.

Growth in Manufacturing Sector to Drive Coordinate Measuring Machine Market

With encouraging government policies supporting growth in the manufacturing sector, manufacturers are integrating inspection and dimensional gauging equipment such as CMMs to increase productivity and efficiency and to remain competitive in the global market. CMMs are widely used in aerospace and automotive industrial applications, and these industries are expected to witness significant growth in 2018, owing to new investments and interest shown by foreign players to tap the favorable working opportunity provided by the Indian government. Significant steps such as the introduction of new GST rules and the Make in India initiative have improved the ease of doing business and will likely be a game changer for sustainable economic growth. The Make in India program has encouraged global players to set up manufacturing plants in India. In 2017, Kia Motors announced an investment of $1.1 billion to set up a car plant in Andhra Pradesh. Maruti Suzuki, one of country’s leading automotive companies, announced to add another plant in Gujarat, which will come online in 2019. Furthermore, global conglomerates such as GE, Siemens, and Huawei also continued investing in Indian operations to strengthen their manufacturing footprint in the county. This will provide a prospective business opportunity for CMM suppliers to meet the increasing demand for advanced measurement and inspection equipment.

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