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EMO: The “Brainy” Machine Tool Show

EMO Hannover 2011 is Europe’s big “trade show for the metalworking sector,” but the event is billed as “more than machine tools.” Show sponsors say that exhibits will both reflect and support current research at the frontiers of production automation.

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When the factory “thinks for itself,” machine tools will be a key part of its cognitive ability. This is one of the concepts that researchers in Germany are developing as part of their ongoing “are and be” efforts centered on advanced machine tool technology. When EMO takes place in Hanover, Germany September 19-24, 2011, attendees will be able to see how ideas and solutions from exhibitors are moving this, and other futuristic concepts, closer to reality.
 
This aspect of EMO’s significance was outlined in a recent article distributed by the show’s sponsors. The article highlighted some of the leading research programs at the frontiers of production automation in Germany. According to the article, these programs are the inspiration for technology on display at the show, just as the technology on display inspires the direction of this research.
 
One such program, CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems), includes incorporating artificial intelligence and fuzzy logic into production machines. The goal is to make production machines appropriately responsive to changing conditions without human intervention.
 
Another program, CogMaSh (Cognitive Machine Shop), seeks to equip workpieces with radio ID tags so they can seek their own path through a flexible, automated system by querying machine capability and availability.
 
Stimulating the robustness of it entire factory-wide production system is the focus of another program. Artificially induced malfunctions test how well inter-related control systems function when a problem occurs and how well the system recovers on its own. Real-time simulation on a massive scale is the challenge in this program.
 

Simulation is also involved in a program to develop models of expected returns and potential risks involved in factory investments. Factors such as supply chain logistics, dependability of supply, trends in wages and compensation are being taken into account.