Ringing in a Prosperous New Year
I’m still reveling in the party that was Fabtech, held last November in Chicago, and expect the party to continue well into 2012 and beyond. If you were at Fabtech, you know what I mean. After an obvious low point not seen in our industry for some time that was 2008-2009, manufacturing—in particular metalforming and fabrication—is back. As one metalformer/die shop president recently told me, “If you’re not busy now, working hard to keep up with orders, something is wrong.”
Fabtech 2011 attracted a record number of attendees, more than 35,000. And from all accounts, they were not tire kickers. Equipment orders were being taken right and left off of the show floor. For example, Trumpf representatives told a gathered crowd of industry editors that it had sold 12 machines during the show’s first day alone. And every stamping-press manufacturer we spoke with also sold machines right from the show floor.
From the METALFORM side of the show, servo presses clearly enjoyed the center of attention. Five press builders shared METALFORM’s main stage displaying servo presses, each with their own unique take on the technology. For starters, Seyi used METALFORM to launch its new line of direct-drive servo presses boasting high-torque low-RPM motors and press frames “designed to hold tight tolerances under longer dwells.” Likewise, Stamtec displayed for showgoers its iLS1-160-DS intelligent link-motion servo press. The two companies joined Aida, Komatsu and Schuler as those leading our industry toward a new, bright future via the servo-press technology revolution.
We certainly recognize the impact that servo presses are having and will continue to have on our industry, and in 2012 (and beyond) you can expect plenty of coverage in this area from MetalForming. Servo presses are here to stay, and will largely impact how metalformers plan for their future. Too, other equipment suppliers—those making, for example, press controls, feeds and automation equipment—are taking note and are developing new technology to enable metalformers to optimize and fully utilize the unique capabilities of servo presses.
In this issue, we steer our Fabtech post-show coverage on equipment and technology complementary to stamping—laser and waterjet cutting. As metalformers and fabricators alike look to tackle shorter-run production of sheetmetal parts, laser-cutting technology comes into focus (so to speak). And, as these same shops look to diversify beyond metalworking and fabricate materials other than metals—fiberglass, plastic, etc.—waterjet cutting becomes a process worth diving into. As we were told by more than one waterjet-cutting machine maker, the process does not so much as compete with laser cutting as it does complement it.
This is indeed a very exciting time for metalformers, as our industry undergoes a period of rapid and significant technology evolution. The best to keep up? Read MetalForming, and visit our website often.All of us here at MetalForming magazine and the Precision Metalforming Association extend to you and yours our sincere wishes for a joyous, healthy and prosperous New Year.
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