Germany: What will future machines look like?
Concept of hexapods
What has actually become of the concept of hexapods, i.e. a completely new design of machine tools, for which a great future was once predicted?
Due to various reasons, the concept of parallel kinematics or hybrid solutions could only be successfully established in a few areas. In addition to the area of handling and installation, there are also machine tools in which the advantages, e.g. the high feasible dynamics of special concepts, are used very successfully. One example is the highly dynamic Ecospeed machine from Dörries Scharmann for highly productive aluminium machining in the aerospace industry. In future, there will certainly also be special concepts for specific applications in the machine tool industry.
Machines are becoming increasingly more complex, young people are thinking in apps - how will machines be operated in future?
The development of new, innovative man-machine concepts has a long history in the Machine Tool Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University. For example, the approach of an action-based operating concept - motivated by modern smartphones - has been successfully validated with multi-modal interfaces, thereby significantly reducing the complexity of current human-machine interfaces. Celos from DMG Mori is pursuing an entirely similar approach in this respect. In the Maxi MMI Project, whose participants include leading machine tool manufacturers and suppliers, we are also currently observing the integration of new operating devices such as smart watches, tablets or multimedia glasses in the machine tool environment. Although these approaches offer great potential, they should not be pursued just for their own sake, but should always create a practical application.