Issue #3/2019AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. WILFRIED SCHÄFER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GERMAN MACHINE TOOL BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION VDW (VEREIN DEUTSCHER WERKZEUGMASCHINENFABRIKEN) METALWORKING AND EMO HANNOVER 2019 – THE TWO PILLARS OF THE WORLD MACHINETOOL INDUSTRY
According to the prognosis of Oxford Economics, a British Institute of Economic Researches, the world economy in the beginning of the year will rise by 2.5%. The growth of investments in the manufacture will be 2,4%. According to the spring prognosis the growth of consumption of machine tools will become 2,3%. This is the background for the exhibition in Russia “Metalloobrabotka – 2019” and “EMO Hannover 2019” in Germany. Will these two pillars of the world machine tool industry become the drivers of the growth and warm up the world economy?
– You are the head of a large association of German machine tool building companies, so what major principles are at the core of this association? – The principles of our association consist of the following: it is a voluntary organization, all the participants expressed their will to enter it on a voluntary basis. We are evaluated after the results of our activity, and we apply all the efforts to achieve the success of our companies. We represent the service sphere in the field of industry and manufacture as many companies don’t have the departments which would take up the advertising and informational support. We are needed to conduct the researches of the market, accumulate the statistics and keep abreast with the strategies of the development at the world markets.
– How many companies are in the association right now? – Approximately 240 companies, but it should be considered that this number includes providers and developers of software. As to the machine tool builders, they make up 85-90% of the companies that work in this sphere on the German market. – How long have you been working at the Russian market? – We‘ve been working here for more than 30 years, the cooperation began at the time of the USSR. We’ve supported this exhibition (“Metalloobrabotka – 2019”) since the very first event which was held 35 years ago. And before that, 40 years ago, we held our own exhibition in the USSR. For the last 15 years we have been conducting two annual symposiums outside Germany, and if we speak about Russia, these events took place in Samara, Yekaterinburg, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and moreover in some of these cities the symposiums were held even twice. The representatives of our Association come to Russia for a couple of days and deliver lectures, meet with potential clients. – What are the practical results of these exhibitions and symposiums? – I want to emphasize the frequent participation of our companies in such events. We continuously monitor the market and collect the statistical data. Within the last 12 years Russia has been on the third place in the list of the most important markets for our products. During the last three years the situation has slightly changed in connection with the general decline in the investment activity after 2014. Now Russia is on the 11th place according to the volume of purchase of machine tool equipment from Germany. We get a great number of orders from Russia, the volume in 2017 consisted of 257 million euro (in 2014 – 488 million euro). Last year Russia made a purchase of metalworking machine tools for 1.3 billion euro. According to the statistics of VDW three fourths of them were imported. The most important supplier is Germany, ahead China, Italy, Taiwan and Japan. In 2018 refering to the statistics of foreign trade, Germany shipped machinery in the amount of 278 million euros. First of all that were lathes and also parts and components. In 2018 the deliveries from Germany grew by 18%. After the survey of VDW this year a certain slowdown in the turnover because of the decrease in the number of orders coming from Russia for the shipment of German equipment. – Does the EMO exhibition provide the opportunity for the Russian companies to enter the German market? – Yes, of course. It is the exclusive opportunity, the EMO exhibition is the most important exhibition for Germany and for the rest of the world as well. It is the exclusive opportunity because EMO is the most important exhibition for the world of metalworking. – Tell us about EMO Hannover2019 in greater detail, please. – EMO Hannover 2019, an international exhibition in the field of metalworking, will take place in September 16–21 in Hannover. It is organized by VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), which is based in Frankfurt (Frankfurt am Main), Germany, on behalf of the European Association of Machine Tool Builders’ Cecimo and in partnership with the company Deutsche Messe AG, Hannover, Germany. VDW is the representative of the German machine tool building industry and one of few industrial associations that organizes international fairs in its own field. Therforewe have a long-term experience. The quality sign “A fair by VDW” has become the symbol of successful events. Together with the EMO exhibition in Hannover, the METAV – International Exhibition for Metalworking Technologies in Dusseldorf (March 10–13, 2020) is also among them. VDW together with the trade association of machine tools and manufacturing systems belonging to VDMA includes 300 members, united on a voluntary basis. Being the organizer of the EMO Hannover 2019, the VDW offers a wide range of services to visitors and exhibitors: online registration of visitors and participants of the exhibition, providing of information through instead of the representatives of Deutsche Messe AG in the local language, visa support, attractive travel packages for the plane and railway for the visitors of the EMO exhibition, online information in nine languages, personalized service for foreign delegations, highlight tours and much more. 2200 participants were registered for the last edition of EMO Hannover in 2017. They represented their products on the territory of 180000 m2 net exhibition space, which is five times as much than “Metaloobrabotka- 2019”. Approximately 130000 visitors, about 50% from outside Germany, imply that Russian participants have the opportunity to meet with potential partners and clients from around the world. – How do you manage to work under the conditions of economic and political sanctions, which are implemented to Russia? – Of course, now it is necessary to work under slightly different and more complicated conditions, but it should be kept in mind that the sanctions don’t refer to all types of products, but to several types of machine tools, certain manufacturers and companies. But we try to generate new ties and contacts and we have succeeded in it. – What kinds of products are in the most demand in Russia? – These are lathes, gear cutters, surface finishing machines. In general this is in accordance with the general picture of the world consumption of our products. – Are your members oriented on the creation of manufacturing process on the territory of Russia? I would say rather no. We talk about small and medium-sized enterprises, which can’t afford to localize the manufacturing in all prospering countries of the world. The average company has up to 250 employees. Also the export volume to China is more than 2 billion euros a year. This volume exceeds the Russian one by 50 times. The major enterprises already have their production facilities on the territory of China, because the market is so much bigger. DMG MORI is the only manufacturer that has built a plant in Russia. – Do the work of your association and exhibitions contribute to the training of the Russian specialists? In 2009 our association established a foundation that is occupied with training of the growing generation, the young specialists. They developed two spheres of activities: the first is to inform and involve young people about technical professions. For example, at EMO Hannover there will be a 1000 m2 showroom where pupils are going to assemble of a Formular 1 racing car. Production technologies are developing very fast. Therefore the foundation developed the second important activity, training it’s educators who work in vocational colleges and at manufacturing facilities themselves. They learn about the latest technologies of the manufacturing process, and they are proviced with materials to use in their daily education work. Within three years we had been developing the project of a teaching platform for tablets that started working last year. We created software which can be used on the tablets to share tasks, documents and drawings, for example, students at the lessons can look at this task with the help of a camera and a QR-code, they can download the manual and use other functions for the performance of the task. – Do you support the competition of the skilled workers? We are member of the German association WorldSkills and support it, but we are still not very active right now. In 2014 we had negotiations with the Russian government about creating a model of technical and vocational college and using it as a pilot project, but unfortunately didn’t get the further support from the Russian side. Now we are working with the fund supporting the next generation. We have trained teachers from Italy, and we are realizing a project of a technical school in Nigeria. That is how we work abroad. – What would you like to tell our readers of the journal “STANKOINSTRUMENT” and the other interested professionals in Russia? We have still two other fields of activities – the internet of things and Industry 4.0 at EMO Hannover in hall 9. Therefore we have created a new exhibition area that is dedicated to intelligent tools and components, software and communications within the paradigm of Industry 4.0. – Do you have partners in some scientific centers in Russia? Actually we don’t have partners among Russian scientists, but we cooperate with research institutions at German universities. In 2017 we started a project for creation of a universal interface based on OPC UA (OPC Unified Architecture). In March 2019 we introduced specification draft to the started joint working group (JWG) with the OPC Foundation. The JWG at the moment consists of 70+ companies with 150+ persons from different countries of the world participating in this group. This discussion may also be joined by Russian companies as well as scientists. We are ready to invite anybody who will work with us in this group. This group also works in the mode of online conferences and seminars, communication is realized via Internet, so the participants don’t necessarily have to gather in some definite place, the work is conducted very intensively in the telecommunication mode. For the first version we are working on ten most relevant use cases, but many more needs are in the backlog for future version. The work will be intensified after the closing of ЕМО Hannover 2019, so we invite to cooperate all who are concerned. We don’t want to create only a paper document, we want to show how it works in reality. Therefore, at the EMO Hannover we will connect more than 50 machine tools and transfer the data in one IT-system. Experts can learn how easy it is and what is possible with the analysis of those data. Within the special booth “Industry 4.0” innovative enterprises and renowned research institutes offer intelligent solutions for the successful operation of a business. That might be intelligent components for monitoring of technological operations or the operator support, solutions, that will ensure continuous data interchange under the condition of the maximum security and so on. A special section is dedicated to the work of the researchers who must demonstrate the current stage of the development of the scientific ideas. Moreover at the specialized forum there will be an opportunity to discuss with the broad professional audience the realized solutions and the vision of the future. The development of the specialized section is carried out by the VDW and the media group Konradin. At the exhibition EMO Hannover 2019 the standard of the interface for the metalworking machine-tools on the OPC UA platform with a subset of use cases will be shown. It ensures the neutral open connection of machines to the IT-systems of a higher level. This is the condition for success of the program “Industry 4.0”. Only in this case the data from machines of different manufacturers with different control systems can be transmitted into the systems ERP and MES or to a cloud. There they will undergo the analysis and in this way form the background for new services and functions. The introduction of umati is the key to obtaining of the additional surplus value of worth and the creation of business models which the economy is expecting to receive within the framework of the industry 4.0 program. For the very small enterprises there should be an opportunity to simply connect their machines in the net to participate and use the advantages of the new developments of the internet of things and concentrate on the application of the corresponding know-how. That is why the association VDW together with eight renowned German manufacturers of machine-tools and all the main providers of the control systems launched the initiative to create umati more than 2 year ago. This abbreviation stands for the “universal machine-tools interface”. Today we address ten use cases with this interface, for example, a quick overview if the production is running, monitoring of the condition of the machine-tool and the program, processing of the order for manufacturing, creation of the statistics of errors or the representation of the working condition in the diagram. Now the international community of manufacturers of metalworking machine-tools can participate in the adjustment and spread of this standard. Our aim is that at the umati specification will be offered the future products integrated directly into the corresponding controllers according to the specification. – Will there be an opportunity for the remote control and inspection of the machine-tools, which operate under the control of this interface? Yes, of course. But it depends on a particular manufacturer whether they might volunteer to share the data beyond their own enterprise. – Are the any differences in consumption at the Russian market from the European one by the content of orders? No. There are no differences. All the modern technologies are in demand at the Russian market the same way they are in demand at the European market. – How soon will Industry 4.0 be in demand in Russia? That is difficult to predict. In Europe it is also not as widespread, 20 years ago machine-tools machine tools in the whole text had already been connected into nets, but it is not the essence of the industry 4.0. We talk about a different thing that we need to collect data about the function of the engines, information from sensors, indicators of the manufacturing process; analyzes and predicting are the oncoming. – Do you plan to use the artificial intelligence? First of all we need to do the homework for today. Then we will bring in new opportunities. If the producer has already 10, 20 units of new machine tools, the task is to collect the data from all those machines, and forecast what might happen in the future – whether the storage will be full, the quality will become lower and so on. Many manufacturers actually don’t want their data to be leaked onto the cloud services; they don’t want to share their statistics. So the problem is not in the connection of the machine-tools but in the arrangement of all the conditions for the mass accumulation of data and prediction of the future. The crucial importance when organizing the work of the intelligent plant is creating of an universal net that will connect people, equipment and business processes along the whole chain of the value creation, receiving and analyzing the data without the dependence on the control systems. – What are your development plans for Russia? We annually take part in the exhibition “Metaloopbrabotka”, organize our participation here through the ministries. We will continue this fruitful cooperation for both our countries. Besides, we analyse the opportunity to hold our symposium in Russia. Thank you for this interesting conversation, we will inform our readers in advance about all the future events which your association may organize in Russia! Wilfried Schäfer was interviewed by A.N. Alyoshin and O.A. Lavrentyeva