The Italian metal forming machine tool industry is a significant sector, which represents almost half of the global production of machine tools in Italy. Keeping this in mind, the Lamiera Fair 2017 was recently hosted in Milan, Italy, on May 17–20, 2017. This international biennial trade show was dedicated to machines and equipment for the machining of sheet metal, pipes, sections, wire and metal structural work, dies, welding, heat treatments, surface treatment and finishing. The exhibition was promoted by UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, the Italian Machine Tools, Robots and Automation Systems Manufacturers' Association and was organised by CEU-CENTRO ESPOSIZIONI UCIMU.
Debut in Milan
Making its debut in Milan this year, the trade show typically takes place every two years and has been illustrating the evolution of metal forming machine tools, attesting to their changes and anticipating trends in terms of innovation, technologies and applications. Now, in its 2017 edition, Lamiera became a reference event for Industry 4.0.
The key players of the exhibition this year were over 480 enterprises and it covered a total exhibition area of over 40,000 sq m. Among the companies, 26% came from abroad and 21 were the represented countries.
Some of the technologies that were showcased at the exhibition included machines, plants and equipment for sheet metal forming, tube, section, wires and metal carpentry machining, fasteners, machining centres and systems, laser cutting, presses, moulds and dies, robots and automation, welding, metrology and quality control, surface-finishing and industrial coating, subcontracting and services for the industry.
Sharing their company’s highlights at the fair, Viviane Bauer, Manager – Business Development, data M Sheet Metal Solutions, stated, “Since quality management and closer tolerances are important topics in the industry, a demonstration of our COPRA® ProfileScan Desktop was in high demand. The device’s high precision laser can be utilised for quality control for tubes and pipes and its high accuracy offers great flexibility and mobility due to the compact build and patented 360° measuring method.”
Also giving insight into their company’s product range at the exhibition this year was Simone De Bartolomeo, Key Account Manager, Product Manager, Hiwin Motion Control & Systems, who shared, “This year, Hiwin showcased its capacity in terms of its product range and also in terms of customisation. We are wellknown in mechanical components like guideway and ballscrew, but we also wanted to showcase our products from the electronics and mechatronics field, along with a good combination of direct drive motors.”
Specific areas at the exhibition
Besides the traditional index of products, Lamiera also presented three new themed areas: Fastener Industry, EcoCoatech Industrial Coating and Blech Italy Service.
Fastener Industry: This exhibition area was dedicated to screws, bolts, fastening and clamping systems and included more than 30 exhibiting companies
EcoCoatech Industrial Coating: This area showcased the most innovative inter-operational processes for sheet metal painting and coating
Blech Italy Service: The exhibition offered two parallel and alternative visit itineraries: the ‘Make’ concerning the manufacturers of machine tools and innovative technologies, for those who produce and the ‘Buy’ regarding the suppliers of subcontracting and services, for those who purchase semi-finished products and outsourced work
Displaying famous design projects
Apart from the themed areas, the exhibition also showcased ‘LAMIERALIVING’, which is a special exhibition area displaying 40 famous design objects. These are icons of the ‘Made in Italy’ manufacturing initiative in the world, which won the prestigious ‘ADI Compasso d'oro’ Award and were totally or partially made using metal forming machines and technologies.
Work Planet of the Young
This was another special feature of the fair this year. The Work Planet of the Young was an area created to encourage the matching between the demand and supply of work. It became a welcome point for over 200 students of 10 high school technical institutes, which were accompanied by teachers and by a tutor of the organisation.
As in a real academy, throughout the event, the organisers of the exhibition implemented a structured information and training itinerary concerning technical topics related to the sector. Industry 4.0, robotics, nanotechnologies, coating, screws, nuts and bolts, alternative technologies for surface treatment and machinery safety were some of the topics discussed in the scheduled meetings.
Themes covered at the exhibition
The inaugural conference focused on Industry 4.0. There was also a session held on industries regarding surface treatments and a hearing on the topic of Fastener Distribution was also conducted, which included a discussion on market changes and technological innovations. Additionally, the SIRI press conference covered the topic of ‘Robotics is again in the spotlight’.
Another subject focused on at the fair was Photonics 4 and Industry 4.0 and an additional session was held on the alternative and innovative technologies in surface treatment. The subject of ‘Machinery Safety: Tools to support and simplify the application of regulations’ was also discussed and Industry 4.0 case histories were especially highlighted, after the boost that was received due to the National Plan on Industry 4.0 initiative of the Italian government.
Focus on Industry 4.0
Elaborating on the Industry 4.0 policy, Massimo Carboniero, President, UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, stated, “The National Plan on Industry 4.0 in Italy implemented by the Italian government has already given good results. For this reason, the Italian sheet-metal forming enterprises have decided to exhibit their product ranges in Italy for the second consecutive year. Considering that enterprises are showing great interest in undertaking a digital re-organisation in their own facilities and with the aim of ensuring the necessary period of time for the companies to properly evaluate and make their investments 4.0, we think that it will be essential to have a one-year extension with regard to the Hyper-Depreciation applicability.”
A more accurate analysis of the exhibiting companies shows that the core of the exhibition is represented by sheet-metal forming and cutting machines, laser cutting and welding. In particular, the number of exhibitors manufacturing presses, robots and components has doubled. However, the fair was also a point of reference for Industry 4.0 and the perfect stage for those industries directly linked to metal forming technologies.
Speaking on roll-forming machines and other industrial solutions, which were exhibited at the fair, Bauer shared, “Due to the technical expertise of our team, data M can provide high-end engineering services by guiding our customers through all project stages – from a feasibility study to conception and implementation of a roll forming machine. Our plan is to expand our product portfolio with further components related to rollforming so that we can offer the best services possible to our customers.”
Also elaborating on the expectations from the exhibition was Bartolomeo, who stated their company’s objective and added, “This year, Hiwin wants to cater to the demands of the customer in new solutions and technology. We want to create new possibilities and custom products for special application, where competitors cannot arrive.”
Meeting global standards
Evaluating the success of the fair, Alfredo Mariotti, General Manager, UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, said, “The number of exhibitors has grown this year and so has the exhibition area, but most of all, the level of the exhibition contents has also increased. Hence, the fair attracted a large number of visitors due to its numerous side initiatives.”
Marking the success of the fair, Carboneiro concluded, “Our next target is to further increase the international character of the event with the help of a specific promotion programme addressed to foreign operators. The fact that Lamiera will again be held every two years will help to ensure a higher presence of innovations and novelties on show — a good part of them, related to the technologies of Industry 4.0, should be in the process of being fully consolidated in 2019.”