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State of Global Manufacturing, Advanced Technologies Top Innovation Days

Jim Lorincz
By Jim Lorincz Contributing Editor, SME Media
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Dr. Mori at Innovation Days.

Innovation Days, held at DMG Mori’s Hoffman Estates, Illinois, headquarters annually, showcases the latest manufacturing technologies available from this global supplier of manufacturing technologies. For three days in May, visitors were introduced to the DMG Mori’s advanced technologies for integrated digitization of production and service support as well as ­automation solutions for competitive manufacturing in the aerospace, automotive, die mold and medical industries, among others. Equipment demonstrations included process integration for five-axis machines and mill-turn machines, as well as automation with peripheral equipment and DMG Mori’s CELOS HMI control and software.

What was obvious at this year’s edition is how well positioned DMG Mori is to take advantage of the potential of the latest additive manufacturing technologies, a topic that was addressed by Dr. Eng. Masahiko Mori, president, DMG Mori Co. Ltd. in a wide-ranging panel discussion for which leading manufacturing industry journalists were invited to submit questions, which ranged from structural changes in the global automotive market and the impact of electric vehicles to the potential for additive manufacturing and hybrid laser manufacturing processes.

Dr. Mori painted a picture of a global industry that is being shaped by fundamental, though somewhat gradual changes in the mix of vehicle types that will be manufactured. He expects continued growth of electric vehicle manufacturing for which DMG Mori is well positioned in Europe, Japan and North America. In automotive, the demand for large engines will go down and conversely there is a definite trend toward increased demand for hybrid engines and small engines for motorcycles. Geography and ride sharing will play an important role in the volume and distribution of e-vehicles, which will be most prominent in large urban areas. A limiting factor in the growth of electric vehicles is the need for a large infrastructure investment in charging capacity and the even larger investment that would be required for power generation.

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At DMG Mori’s Innovation Days, visitors were able to see the Lasertec 65 3D five-axis laser deposition welding and machining center for final finishing of additively manufactured components in action.

Dr. Mori believes that additive manufacturing (AM) represents a huge opportunity for DMG Mori’s customers and, accordingly, the company has developed a full portfolio of its Lasertec machines that can be integrated into existing production systems for processes from prototype and small series production to serial production and repair of high value workpieces like turbine blades and die/molds. He described the collaboration that DMG Mori has entered into with the Indian software developer, Intech.

The first result of that collaboration is the new OPTOMET software for the Lasertec SLM powder bed machines. The OPTOMET algorithms calculate the optimum process parameters of layer thickness automatically for faster more productive builds without testing material from all manufacturers. He expects AM to grow at a steady pace of 5% in the next five years and 10 percent by 2030.

5G technology will be tested in 2020 in three DMG Mori locations, Iga in Japan, Davis, Calif., and Pfronten, Germany. 5G will play an important role in training the company’s own employees, said Dr. Mori, who believes that ways must be found to facilitate training of a labor force that doesn’t have a long span of attention. Also aiding in meeting the demand for a skilled labor force, by 2030 80 percent of the machines that are produced will have a robot interface.

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