Editor’s comment for December 2021

PES Editorial DIrector, Dave Tudor
PES Editorial DIrector, Dave Tudor

It’s good to see open houses taking place again.

There’s been quite a few recently: Citizen, Hurco, Mazak, Fanuc and Star are events that spring to mind and all were pretty well attended which is a clear signal that the industry is coming back to life.

I also attended the Smart Factory Expo – part of The Manufacturer’s Digital Manufacturing Week – in Liverpool. A bit different from the norm for me. Not a machine tool in sight but a really buzzing event that focused on the digital manufacturing revolution, bringing together all the technology, processes and thinking behind digitisation and factories of the future.

Very enlightening. Innovation Alley was a highlight for me – a corridor full of start-ups, fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs showcasing some really interesting technology. Now in its sixth year, I can see this show going from strength to strength.

The biggest event that took place in November however also happened to be the most important meeting in the history of the world. I am of course referring to COP26 which brought 196 countries together to discuss the very real and impending climate crisis.

Make no mistake, this meeting was pivotal in determining the future of human beings on this planet. COP26 has been described as both a success and a failure. Phrases like kicking the can down the road have been bandied around and many are saying it’s too little too late.

But commitments were made towards trying to keep temperature rises below 1.5°C. The phasing out of coal was discussed with some progress and ending deforestation by 2030 was agreed, as was cutting methane emissions. This is a monumental undertaking but leaders have agreed to meet again next year – including those from some of the biggest emitting countries on the planet – and that has to be good. It’s a degree of commitment and accountability at least.

And we all have a responsibility to the environment. I was chatting to Mazak’s managing director, UK sales division, Alan Mucklow recently during the company’s EMO Encore open house to get his take on things.       

Mazak is a manufacturer that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Alan emphasised that it’s all about the entire lifecycle of a machine – how it’s manufactured and the components used, the way the machine is used in operation and the way it’s ultimately disposed of at the end of its life.

A piece of equipment’s environmental impact will be just as important as its price and specification in the purchasing process. Capital equipment manufacturers will need to prove their green credentials; if they can’t, it could literally be the difference between winning and losing an order.

Mazak is already ahead of the curve. From the period 2010 to 2030, its goal is to improve the environmental efficiency of its machines fourfold. A good example is its Variaxis i-800 NEO 5-axis VMC which by design reduces running CO2 emissions by 22.7% compared to the previous model.

Much like home energy smart meters, Mazak’s Smooth Energy Dashboard is able to monitor a machine’s operational status and energy consumption levels in real-time so you really can calculate energy cost per part.

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