"After the four-year break, the relaunch has been a huge success for EMO Hannover," sums up EMO Commissioner General Carl Martin Welcker after six highly eventful days in Hannover. Its strengths included the internationality of the exhibitors and visitors, and the fair once again provided a perfect platform for top-class technical innovations.
"We saw everything here for the future of production: new solutions for automation, for networking within the factory and for sustainable production. When digitalization finds its way into the factory, there is no end to the potential for new solutions and increased efficiency. This was impressively demonstrated by the exhibitors. And there was a positive mood at the event, despite the tense economic situation," continued Welcker.
Around 1,850 exhibitors attended, with roughly 70% coming from 45 different countries, including China, Italy, Taiwan, Switzerland and Japan. Of the approximately 92,000 trade visitors, 54% came from 130 countries. Here, the five largest visitor countries were Turkey, China, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. Around one third of the trade visitors came from Asia.
Günter Szerenczés, member of the executive board of Israeli tool manufacturer Iscar, said: "EMO is once again a triumph, attracting a highly international audience from a wide range of industries. Visitors have been specifically asking about innovations."
The visitor survey reveals that 30% of visitors gave “obtaining information about innovations and trends” as their top priority. A further goal was finding concrete solutions for their specific problems.
Dr. Jochen Kress, managing partner, Mapal Präzisionswerkzeuge Dr. Kress KG, Germany, said: "The main focus of the discussions we’ve been having is on customer-specific aspects. And the EMO is just the right platform for strengthening the cooperation between customers and suppliers, I think."
Dr. Matthias Klein, CSO of the Emag Group added: "We have seen an overwhelming level of interest in the innovative solutions and machines of the Emag Group. In particular our solutions presented for machining electric vehicle powertrain components met with great interest. Overall, we are more than satisfied with the response from the market."
Focus on automation, digitalization and sustainability
The shortage of skilled workers was a further reason why automation was a clear focus of the trade fair. Over one-third of visitors cited this as a key issue for the industry. Almost a quarter mentioned digitalization and networking. They were able to find just what they were looking for on the many stands.
Several hundred robots were counted at EMO. A new aspect is that it is no longer necessary to have programming skills in order to use cobots (collaborative robots) for different applications such as loading and unloading, quality control, painting, washing, as well as connecting to measuring devices. The cobots are equipped with sensors that mimic the human sense of touch. This allows them to compensate for workpiece tolerances or work around obstacles in the workspace.
In collaboration with employees, this facilitates enclosure-free operation, for example. This trend also means that robot manufacturers are currently doing good business. "Cobots are continuing to enjoy rising popularity in manufacturing, especially in smaller companies that are now struggling to find staff," says Nils Tersteegen, marketing manager at Japanese vendor Fanuc.
Another focus is on connectivity. The main emphasis here is on the open exchange of data – based on OPC UA, for example. This is the basis for the Companion Specification OPC UA for Machine Tools under the umati umbrella. Retrieving large amounts of data from digital controls without affecting the process is a key factor here. The availability of transparent process data is crucial for process monitoring and related quality management.
The Future of Sustainability in Production was high on the agenda for 68% of visitors. Foreigners accounted for three quarters of this group, meaning that they were more strongly represented than their German counterparts.
A key aspect was efficiency. Some examples: The Product Carbon Footprint indicates the level of carbon emissions during production and provides customers with detailed information on what indirect emissions the tools they use contribute to their overall carbon footprint.
Another example is the structure of spindles which are designed for energy efficiency and not primarily for maximum performance. Finally, cooling lubricants can be used for longer through monitoring and filtering.
Dr. Hubert Ermer, managing director for products and markets at Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbH, Germany, summarised. "Digitalization and automation are continuing to develop at a rapid pace. The overall aim is to ensure reliable manufacturing processes.
"This increases productivity while also reducing the carbon footprint. EMO has given us a platform to discuss the specific challenges of transformative manufacturing processes with our customers and to provide them with full support."
High number of first-time visitors
More than half of the visitors to the EMO were attending for the first time, the exhibition company claimed. This dovetailed nicely with the exhibitors' goal of attracting new customer business.
Dr. Karsten Röttger, CEO at Ecoroll AG of Germany, said: "Many visitors became aware of us for the first time. They hadn’t even considered the possibilities of mechanical surface finishing. Our tools allow them to meet the increasing product quality requirements, but above all the higher demand for sustainable products."
Around one fifth of the exhibitors were also at the event for the first time. Representing this group, Jörg Rommelfanger, head of ABB's robotics division, Germany, said: "This year's EMO provided the ideal platform for showcasing our latest technologies and solutions for the industry for the first time. These included a machine loading cell specially designed for the fast and automated removal of randomly arranged workpieces. There was tremendous interest, and the numerous conversations and demonstrations we conducted were fruitful and inspiring."
EMO is the trade fair for decision makers
It is important for exhibitors to be seen at EMO Hannover, to showcase their offerings and to demonstrate competence. EMO is therefore a trade fair for executives and decision-makers from the mechanical engineering, automotive and supplier industries, metal processing, precision mechanics, optics, the aerospace industry and many more. Almost 60% of the visitors are executives or come from top management.
Just under half have decision-making authority for purchasing and procurement. Indeed, half of the trade visitors actually stated that they came to EMO with concrete investment plans.
On average, these visitors planned to invest just under 3 million euros. More than a quarter said they had placed orders at the fair. Stephan Nell, CEO of the United Grinding Group from Switzerland, noted: "The number of leads is currently at the same level as in 2019. Some machine contracts were also signed directly at the trade show booth." Another quarter of visitors intends to place orders after the trade show, according to the survey.
"EMO Hannover has once again confirmed and consolidated its position as the world's leading trade fair for production technology," Welcker concludes. He is looking forward to the next event, which will doubtless attract even more exhibitors in two years' time once the economy has improved.
In 1975, 50 years ago, the first EMO Hannover took place. In 2025, it will be held from 22-27.