Industry perspective The machine tool wave
The machine tool sector will be growing further, with new trends and technological advancements emerging. Be excited to read on about this expanding market and its role in two of the pioneer countries of the sector China and Germany.
The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed 120 billion dollars by 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than six per cent, Technavio reports. The mammoth sector can be broadly divided into three segments – metal cutting, metal forming and special machine tools.
Metal cutting tools comprise boring and drilling machines, gear cutting machines, grinding, honing, lathe machines, milling machines, machining centres, etc., whereas, metal forming tools include punching and shearing machines, bending and forming machines, metal working presses and more. Lastly, special machine tools involve waterjet cutting machines, huge power laser cutting machines, electrical discharge machines, and so on.
Trends of the machine tool sector
The machine tool industry caters to numerous end-user segments such as automobiles, aerospace, defence, electronics, electrical and so on. Recently, a report by Technavio also stated the top three emerging trends affecting the machine tool industry.
- Combining additive manufacturing with machine tools
In today’s age, additive manufacturing is increasingly being used to create not only prototypes but also full scale products. The contemporary technology is also used for design and concept validation, it’s cost-effective and also reduces material wastage by 30-70 per cent. With so much to offer, machine tool manufacturers are also incorporating this unique technology into their work. For instance, DMG Mori, one of the leading companies in machine tools has introduced a hybrid machine that includes additive manufacturing in a high-tech 5 axis milling machine. In addition to this, another mega organisation Yamazaki Mazak has also integrated metal 3D printing technology into its computer numerical control (CNC) machines.
- Technological advancements
Manufacturers have also updated their hardware and software in line with the latest technologies in the market. This has resulted in better and efficient productivity in a short period of time. Now, a machine can perform multiple tasks at a single go. Numerous software can also be used on a single platform. Today, advanced computer-aided manufacturing technology (CAM) is being used for multi-axis, multi-spindle, and multi-turret machines. Even in automation of manufacturing and engineering processes, software is being increasingly utilised.
- Surge in automation
The industry is looking to adopt automation in most of its processes as defects are reduced in the final output and quality products are manufactured in a short period of time. Small and mid-scale industries are also opting for CNC machines rather than conventional machines. The automobile industry is one such example where manufacturers are implementing automation processes on their shop floor. This has helped them to churn out vehicles at a faster pace.