Seeing the Big Picture

July 5, 2012
“Manufacturing technology,” and the evolving nature of metalcasting, is on display

When FM&T asked readers to describe the scope of their operations, 69% of the foundries we surveyed revealed they have onsite machining capability — and 72% of all foundries responded that they intend to have the means to perform precision finishing by 2015. It’s not just machining: today’s metalcasters are designing components and systems, and fabricating, welding, and assembling finished products. They’re metalcasters, but they’re much more than foundries or diecasters. They’re engaged in “manufacturing technology.”

As it happens, manufacturing technology is the label that machining operations have adopted for themselves over the past decade — aiming to describe the array of capabilities that are required for an operation to produce high-value component parts. It’s been assumed into the title of the most important exhibition this year, the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, September 10-15.

IMTS is largest and longest-running U.S. trade show for manufacturing, and takes place every other year at Chicago’s McCormick Place. It’s also among the world’s largest trade shows, and will draw more than 80,000 visitors from an estimated 120 countries. Undoubtedly many of those visitors will represent foundries and diecasters, manufacturers interested to learn the technologies and systems available to help their enterprises grow — and to learn what trends may drive that growth.

We know from our research that FM&T readers are metalcasters lined up to supply the most dynamic downstream markets: aerospace (16%), automotive (35%), defense (26%), heavy equipment/commercial trucks (55%), medical/surgical equipment (8%), and power generation industries (41%). They have the same interest to learn the ideas shaping their supply chain and the trends emerging about their markets in the future.

IMTS is a future-oriented event. The IMTS 2012 Conference (Sept. 10-14) will provide a narrative to the capabilities and processes shaping manufacturing, with five topical tracks and 72 industry-specific sessions. Topics and presentations will focus on materials, manufacturing technology, alternative manufacturing processes, quality/metrology and plant operations.
• The IANA Global Automation & Manufacturing Summit (Sept. 12-13) is a two-day senior-level conference program studying global automation and manufacturing, including: enterprise asset management, process optimization, energy management and sustainability manufacturing. Case studies will illustrate ways that plants have automated for profitability, improved performance of existing assets, and reduced maintenance costs will be presented.
• The International Society of Automation (ISA), a recognized world leader in vendor-neutral education, training, and standards programs for automation professionals, will bring numerous one day training and educational workshops for all attendees (Sept. 13-14).
• The Motion, Drives & Automation Conference (Sept. 10- 11) presented by Penton Media’s Design Engineering Group and the National Fluid Power Association will have two detailed conference tracks — 1) Motion Control in Automation, and 2) Hydraulics and Pneumatics in Automation — for engineers and individuals tasked with improving performance, productivity, efficiency, and environmental footprint of manufacturing equipment and industrial automation.
• Penton’s EHS Today magazine will host the America’s Safest Companies Conference (Sept. 11-12), providing a comprehensive learning and networking experience with speakers, panel discussions, 18 sessions across three industry tracks, the EHS Today America’s Safest Companies awards presentation, and networking opportunities.
• The TRAM3 Aerospace Conference — Trends in Advanced Machining, Manufacturing and Materials (Sept. 12-13) will delve into the evolving aerospace industry, its challenges, and opportunities. As the industry focuses on maximizing performance at minimal cost, it introduces the need for new materials, machining processes, and manufacturing methods. TRAM3 will deliver discussions on all three of these topics that will help aerospace manufacturers be more effective today and more prepared.
• Midwest Clean Tech 2012 will be a one-day event (Sept. 12) for the clean-technology audience — suppliers of products that reduce environmental impact via energy efficiency, reduction of waste or pollution, or other means. The center of all attention will be the exhibition of over 1,300 new products and technologies, organized into 10 pavilions:
• The Abrasive Machining/Sawing/Finishing Pavilion, with technology for high-tolerance and precision surface finishing.
• The Controls & CAD-CAM Pavilion, showing custom automation and advanced software for maximum machine tool efficiency and optimal plant performance and cost efficiency.
• The EDM Pavilion, for CNC wire EDM equipment and die sinking machines, especially for tool & die manufacturers and those who produce custom or specialty components.
• The Gear Generation Pavilion is devoted to gear cutting, forming and finishing, as well as broaching, shaping, and slotting machinery. This area will spotlight traditional applications (automotive, construction, mining, and shipbuilding, as well as alternative energy and wind power.)
• The IANA — Industrial Automation North America Pavilion showcases all areas of industrial automation, including industryspecific conferences and educational workshops.
• The Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion will present everything from parts to service and monitor machines, to the components necessary for safe and environmentally responsible operations.
• The Metal Cutting Pavilion will show innovations in machining centers, turning centers and the entire range of metal cutting technology.
• The Metal Forming & Fabricating/Laser Pavilion will gather metal forming, fabricating, waterjet and laser-based machining systems, along with displays of welding, metal treating and marking equipment.
• The Quality Assurance Pavilion will feature metrology equipment and systems that keep processes on track, and equipment that checks machines’ accuracy.
• The Tooling & Workholding Systems Pavilion will offer products and devices for tooling challenges, with answers for minimum setup and machining time, new capabilities for older equipment, and state-of-the-art workholding systems.