Strength continues globally in machine tool production

By Control Engineering Staff September 22, 2005

International machine tool growth is likely to continue in double digits through 2005, with some slowing of growth in 2006, according Wolfgang Rubrecht, general manager, Siemens Energy and Automation Inc . Machine Tool Business, citing trends from the association of German machine tool builders association (VDW) . Many of the new machine tools incorporate advances in mechatronics, microelectronics, and software, Rubrecht says.

World production for machine tools is expected to grow 12%, over 2004’s 36.4 billion Euro. Based in U.S. dollars, the increase is expected to be 23%. Countries with fastest growth rates in production include China, Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, and the U.K. In machine tool consumption, China again is first, followed by Japan, and Germany, he says. In overall production, China has moved into the fourth spot.

Trends among machine tool builders include efforts to advance technologies, cost optimization, relevance for business, new markets especially in East Asia, and services, Rubrecht says. In 2005, 30% of all machine tools will be equipped with self-monitoring failure protection and remote services, modular construction more capable of plug and produce, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) available as active components, increasing software elements will lessen the technical difficulty of operating machine tools. Customer relationship management capabilities will gain in importance, also. “Siemens has anticipated these trends and developed our technologies accordingly.”

At the last IMTS, Rubrecht says Siemens demonstrated Web-based condition monitoring, optimized diagnostics, and the most advanced preventive maintenance and service. These result in shorter maintenance interruptions, and lasting and consistent reductions in total cost of ownership, with benefits to end-users and OEMs.

Software ratio within a machine will increase, VDW says, shortening development time from part conception, through simulation, virtual production, faster spindle rates, shorter machining times, and time to market. New product lines are fully software compatible; Siemens expects to continue existing product lines for a number of years.

Siemens will demonstrate a range of new products at EMO 2005 , in Hannover, Germany, in September.

For related news, see recent Control Engineering coverage on the new Siemens Sinumerik Solution Line. “ CNC platform for machine tool design ”

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering,