AMB 2018 REVIEW TWO CENTRAL THEMES
Digital Way was a new
show within a show for
this edition of AMB,
centred on Industry 4.0
The road ahead
As with any show currently, it is the two themes of additive manufacturing (AM) and Industry 4.0 that are
the most eye-catching, in terms of news and technology advance. Andrew Allcock reports
AMB is an increasingly signifi cant
German manufacturing technology
show that takes place in Stuttgart,
Germany, every other year. A successful
AMB in 2016 saw 1,469 exhibitors from
home and abroad welcome 86,166 visitors.
Most visitors were from Germany; 16% were
from elsewhere, hailing from 89 countries.
This year saw the addition of the new
Paul Horn Hall (Hall 10), which increased the
gross exhibition area of Messe Stuttgart to
120,000 m2. This year, exhibitor numbers
totalled 1,553 and the fi gure for visitors was
91,016, the organiser reports, as we go to
press. The German machine tool industry is
on a high, with the order index standing at a
record level. Employment levels in the
industry are at a new record, almost 73,700
reported in May – a fi gure that has not been
higher since the early 1990s, following
reunifi cation of East and West Germany. The
industry is running at 93.2% capacity, too.
As with any show currently, it is the two
themes of additive manufacturing (AM) and
Industry 4.0 that are the most eye-catching,
in terms of news and technology advance.
Of course, many visitors are just interested
in the next best machine tool etc, because,
for the vast majority, those two themes are
interesting but not yet so real. And that is
backed up by a couple of reports.
Germany’s Reconstruction Loan
Corporation (KfW) undertook a survey of the
country’s industry to ascertain what progress
was being made on Industry 4.0. It says:
“The proportion of medium-sized companies
which successfully completed digitalisation
projects in the last three years, 26%, is
much lower than previously assumed.”
R&D-intensive manufacturing industry, which
includes machine tool construction, is
slightly better off at 31%, it adds, but this
still primarily relates to investments in IT
infrastructures and interfaces, as well as
contacts with customers and suppliers.
To date, only 19% of the projects involve
digitalisation of products and services.
Germany is the home of Industry 4.0,
it should be remembered.
PWC has some relevant fi gures for the UK
in its ‘Industry 4.0 Global Digital Operations
2018 Survey’. It found that: only 1% of UK
manufacturing companies are ‘digital
champions’, compared with 10% globally; UK
manufacturers expect a 10.8% revenue
boost in fi ve years from Industry 4.0; UK
manufacturers expect savings of 9.3% in fi ve
years from Industry 4.0; and only 1% have
implemented artifi cial intelligence, but 24%
see the potential.
NAILING THE DEFINITION
To be fair, Industry 4.0 can be a nebulous
term; we gave an overview of what it can
include at the shopfl oor level in our August
issue (p42 – https://is.gd/esumiv). Some
AMB exhibitors had such examples.
Clamping systems manufacturer AMF
Andreas Maier (UK, firstname.lastname@example.org) has
newly developed radio sensors that supply
data on clamping systems and handling
device condition, transmitting via Bluetooth.
“The different conditions can be queried and
visualised, by means of our own software,”
explains Jürgen Förster, a member of the
board of management of AMF Andreas
Schunk (https://is.gd/nuyevi) points to
www.machinery.co.uk @MachineryTweets October 2018 21