Additive manufacturing space expands at IMTS

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April 8, 2016

Local Motors 3D prints a car body at IMTS 2014.

Additive manufacturing is taking a starring role at IMTS 2016 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show. Visitors will have to pass through the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion to reach other machine tool displays at the show, which runs Sept. 12-17, 2016.

“Additive manufacturing is a reality for the industrial marketplace. It’s not fully mature, but the technology has progressed far enough that if you’re ignoring 3D printing at IMTS 2016, you’re making a big mistake,” says David Burns, founder and principal of Global Business Advisory Services LLC. “Fortunately, within the IMTS Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, you’ll find companies that offer a full suite of 3D products, and they’re good at explaining the benefits.”

Additive manufacturing allows manufacturers to produce lightweight parts and materials, enabling fuel economy improvements in the motor vehicles and aersospace industries. It also enables the integration of conformal cooling channels in the tooling for injection molded parts. The new design reduces cycle time and rejection rates associated with warping, and offers a claimed productivity rate increase of 20% to 70% in several applications.

“Additive manufacturing is incredibly dynamic, and in order to see new materials, new design ideas, and new production techniques, you need to attend IMTS 2016,” says Peter R. Eelman, vice president – exhibitions & communications at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. Eelman emphasizes that the term additive manufacturing encompasses a collection of diverse technologies that includes material providers, 3D printers, and associated equipment such as sintering furnaces, design and production software, scanners that capture points to create a parametric design, and 3D printing service centers.

Pavilion exhibitors include ExOne, EOS of North America, 3D Systems, Statasys, HP, Optomec, Proto Labs, EnvisionTEC, Cideas, DM3D Technology, Sciaky, 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D Printing, Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, and Linear AMS. www.imts.com

Mazak expanding machine production

Leaders at Yamazaki Mazak announce the construction of a new production facility in Inabe City, Mie Prefecture, Japan. The Yamazaki Mazak Inabe Plant will use Mazak’s iSMART Factory concept with production automation and Industrial Internet of Things technology.

Mazak’s iSMART Factory uses advanced manufacturing cells and systems with digital integration to achieve free-flow data sharing process control and operation monitoring. In the iSMART Factory, the MTConnect open communications protocol works with process support software and provides connectivity and the capability to monitor, and then harvest, data from production floor machines, cells, devices, and processes.

The Inabe Plant follows Mazak’s Kentucky plant, where the iSMART Factory concepts are already well entrenched, and the existing Yamazaki Mazak Oguchi Plant in Japan that will be a full iSMART Factory by the end of 2016. As an iSMART Factory with 56,000m2 (603,000ft2) of planned floor space for manufacturing larger size machine tools, the Inabe plant will boost productivity by more than 50%.

Operation from the current Yamazaki Mazak Seiko in the Mie Prefecture will transfer to the new plant in stages. Completion and full operation of the $176 million Inabe Plant is scheduled for 2019. www.mazakusa.com

Horn steps down as VW US chief, dealers criticize automaker’s leadership

Following six months of shepherding Volkswagen’s U.S. division through its ongoing diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn abruptly stepped down, much to the dismay of the automaker’s dealers. Hinrich J. Woebcken, head of the North American Region and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, will assume the role.

Horn became president and CEO in 2014 and has more than 25 years with Volkswagen as head of after sales at Volkswagen AG, head of Volkswagen sales North West Europe, and head of sales and marketing luxury class vehicles.

The brand’s dealers were supportive of Horn throughout the diesel scandal, objecting to suggestions that the company fire the U.S. chief. In response to Horn’s departure, the VW National Dealers Advisory Council released a response, saying, “The loss of Michael Horn as the CEO of Volkswagen of America is a serious blow… He was able to regain the trust and respect of the U.S. Dealer Network which had been eroded for decades by failed promises of success from Volkswagen AG.”

Representatives from the dealers group thanked Horn for “his leadership and strength through the continued mismanagement of the diesel scandal that has plagued our sales and reputation more than any other global market… When news broke that it was in fact a defeat device that eluded the EPA, it was Michael Horn who stood up in public only days after and admitted wrongdoing when no one else knew what to say.”

The dealers group says changing leadership furthers uncertainty for the brand in the U.S. and that “there is no sense of a resolution to the diesel scandal that Volkswagen of America was negotiating. Without an end in sight, we cannot see how this can be anything but counterproductive to the relationship between Volkswagen AG, the dealer network, and the American authorities.” www.vw.com