Editor's comment for October 2019

As always, there was tons of walking at EMO Hannover this year. 28 miles covered over the four days which is actually about 14 miles less than EMO Hannover 2017.

But that pretty much summed up the show for me – quality over quantity. Had some really good meetings with customers but many were quite lengthy discussions meaning I saw less people. But that’s absolutely fine.

Despite a somewhat subdued economic mood gripping Europe at the moment, around 117,000 visitors from 150 countries made the pilgrimage to EMO Hannover over its six day duration.

“EMO Hannover 2019 built on the success of our boom year in 2017,” reported EMO general commissioner Carl Martin Welcker. “In the context of subdued economic expectations over the past several months, the moderate decline in attendance has to be viewed as a success and we are particularly delighted at the further increase in the percentage of foreign attendees.”

The mood in the halls was upbeat. Pounding the aisles as I do, I get a pretty good overview of the activity on company stands and for the most part, the show was very busy – but there were obvious reservations. The automotive industry is in a period of uncertainty at the moment so a degree of caution was only to be expected, but post-show reports indicate that deals were done and orders were placed. The aerospace sector seems buoyant at the moment.

On the flight back to Heathrow, someone asked me what the highlights of the show were. For me, EMO Hannover marked the true arrival of automation. We’ve all known about the importance of automation – in terms of increasing productivity – for what seems like eons, but this year’s EMO saw it arrive with a vengeance. It was everywhere. This also reinforces the recent activity I’ve seen in the UK as more and more companies embrace automation and robotics.

The DMG Mori stand occupying all of Hall 2 is always a good barometer of trends and developments in the industry. Someone said to me that there were less machines on the stand than in previous years but that’s not surprising because most of the company’s activity has been in developing digitisation and software. Industry 4.0 and connectivity featured very strongly at EMO 2019.

In particular, umati (universal machine tool interface) is emerging as a common language for machine tools to exchange and share information. Global networking as envisaged by Industry 4.0 will only succeed if the data exchange takes place via standardised interfaces over the entire process chain.

Developed back in 2018 and based on the freely configurable OPC UA framework, umati originally started as a joint collaboration between VDW (German machine tool builders’ association) and 17 partners.

At EMO the umati exhibit featured 70 companies, 110 machines, 28 software solutions across ten countries. It’s primary objective is to simplify machine tool connection to customer specific IT infrastructures. Put simply, it’s all about getting data in and out of devices, machines and software – simply, securely and seamlessly.

Always good to get back to normality after an arduous show, but for those salivating with anticipation, the next EMO will be staged in Milan from 4-9 October 2021.



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