Metav is not only a showcase for new metalworking-related products, technologies and services, it also reflects the strong sense of anticipation on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution.
“Industry 4.0 is gathering pace in the field of metalworking,” said VDW Executive Director Dr Wilfried Schäfer at the Forum. Metav provides an opportunity for comprehensive appraisal and evaluation of these developments — from networked manufacturing, cloud applications, data analysis and 5G through to machine learning and artificial intelligence. Metav 2020 will also feature an umati (universal machine tool interface) showcase, albeit in a smaller format to that seen at EMO Hannover. This showcase will demonstrate how quick, easy and uncomplicated it is to exchange data via the umati interface.
The 3rd mav Automation and Digitalisation theme park will provide an exhaustive overview of interesting Industry 4.0 solutions and projects that are already up and running. It will also give visitors the opportunity to talk to the experts. Another key topic is security: The VDW and VDMA will be holding their first-ever congress on cybersecurity on 11 March 2020. This congress will address the question of data availability and security. As Dr Schäfer underlined, “The success of new data service-based business models depends very much on strong security.” The potential nature of such business models is a topic of research at the Aachen WZL. At its Metav stand, the WZL and an industry partner will be exploring the topic of the platform economy, that is, the monetisation of machine data. Just what significance this holds for the future of industrial production was made clear at the Metav Press Forum.
The WZL of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen is a research institute consisting of four mechanical engineering chairs that provide teaching and conduct research in the field of production technology. It has been carrying out research for over 110 years. The WZL has been organising the Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium (AWK) together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) since 1948. It is held every three years and, attracting well over 1,000 international visitors, is one of the largest industrial colloquia worldwide. 2020 will see the 30th such event. With over 45,000 students, Aachen is the largest university for technical degree courses in Germany.
Co-operation becomes central
In their quest to find solutions for industrial problems, WZL and Fraunhofer IPT share a history of collaborating with partners from different industries on a diverse range of practical projects that meet the needs of industry. As Prof. Christian Brecher, Head of the Chair of Machine Tools and, from 2020, President of the WGP (Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Produktionstechnik — the German Academic Association for Production Technology), made clear in his welcoming speech at the Metav Press Forum, integrative and cross-domain co-operation is also at the heart of the new Internet of Production (IoP) Cluster of Excellence, which was launched at the beginning of 2019.
Experience modern production technology live
Selected WZL projects were presented by Prof. Thomas Bergs, Chair of Manufacturing Technology. “Upcoming challenges can no longer be met using conventional methods,” stressed Bergs. The Internet of Production facilitates future value creation, increases companies’ ability to deal with crises and thus helps them to cope with changing framework conditions. Bergs explained the ability to forecast in adaptive process chains, presented the benefits of digital twins for quality assurance and underlined the necessity of analysing the data gained during the production process. Only if we succeed in comprehensively evaluating this data and exploiting the results will it be possible to derive entrepreneurial value-added and new business models.
High priority for knowledge transfer
A high degree of importance is attached to the transfer of knowledge between the worlds of research and industry. Alongside scientific lectures, the sharing of information among experts (e.g., via the AWK) and its demonstrations in the machine halls, WZL also offers further training events and, most recently, digitalisation surgeries. A seminar entitled “Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing Technology” was included in the WZL programme for the first time in the winter of 2019. It was fully booked within a very short time, proving the interest in the topic.
As the seminar leader, Dr Daniel Trauth, explains, answers were provided to frequently asked questions, such as possible forms of digitalisation in participants' own companies, how new or existing machines can be networked or how artificial intelligence and machine learning can best be exploited. “The main challenge lies in packing all this into one seminar,” says Trauth. There is great demand for information, he adds.
The VDW and the VDMA are the sponsors of the ‘Nachwuchsstiftung Maschinenbau’ (Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering). Under the patronage of the Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering is currently conducting a state-wide qualification drive for Industry 4.0 entitled ‘NRWgoes.digital’.
Roughly 300 teachers and about 300 trainers are working their way through a 25-day Smart Factory programme that focuses on technical and methodological aspects. As important disseminators, these individuals will then pass on their knowledge to over 1,400 trainees over the subsequent 2.5 years.
The trainees can then acquire the additional Digital Manufacturing Processes qualification. Each day, the foundation will be organising several live sessions at Metav Düsseldorf 2020.