Here is a brief look at some of the technology that was on display at Bi-Mu, the biennial machine tool show in Milan, Italy. The slideshow also includes industry news and information about the Italian machine tool market.
The 28th edition of Bi-Mu, Italy’s biennial machine tool show, took place October 2 through 6 at the Fieramilano exhibition center in Milan. The show attracted 58,875 visitors from 77 different countries and 1,160 exhibitors displaying 3,000 machines in the 90,000 square meters of floor space.
The Italian machine tool industry is known in the States for building big machines for large parts. Parpas’ Invar is no exception. Well-suited for large turbine applications, the boring machine is designed for volumetric accuracy, a challenging concept for such a large machine, the machine tool builder says. Chains are attached to the structure so the column doesn’t bend from the weight, thus maintaining accuracy. According to the company, close to 90 percent of its sales are exports, 50 percent of which are to the United States. The company says it has been successful selling machines in California for the aerospace industry as well as the Great Lakes region to die/mold shops.
Fidia’s ViMill 3D simulator with look-ahead virtual milling enables the machine operator to visually check any possible collision or unexpected movements between the tool, head and machine with the actual workpiece. The machine operator can work both online and offline. Offline simulation enables the operator to check for collisions before the workpiece is run. Working online, operators can stop the machine ahead of time if a collision is detected during the real milling process. Notice the two blue boxes in the photo above. The blue box on the right depicts the current progress and the blue box on the left depicts future progress. These visual tools help operators avoid collisions. Fidia has been present in the U.S. market since 1984. The company started its U.S. operations by offering CNCs, then moved to making machines for tool and die moldmakers and has since expanded into the aerospace market. Today, the company says half of its U.S. market is automotive while the other half is aerospace.
Among the products on display in Losma’s booth was a Vacuum Filter of medium dimensions. The depression filtering system with pre-separator is designed to manage up to 26 liters/min. of coolant while keeping a compact form factor. Suitable for a variety of machining processes, the Vacuum Filter is a completely closed, robust and reliable system, the company says. Depression system management secures a low consumption of filter fabric, which is cleaned from deposited particles into the Vacuum Filter and rewound for removal and transport.
Gerardi showcased angle heads for secondary operations. For example, the Evolution line enables operators to finish milling and drilling on the side after finish milling at the top. This enables users to save time, and it increases accuracy. The Evolution line features ground gears for improved couplings. This means they are less noisy, and they produce less vibration and heat. According to the company, a big point of strength is that they can be customized to user specifications. The Evolution line is modular, and the angle heads can be interchanged with all the machines in the shop.
Unfortunately, travel during the first day of the show was marred by the national strike of public transportation workers. Luckily, it only lasted a day, and it had little overall impact on the show. Here are the crowded streets of Milan. Since people couldn’t take the metro, they had to find other forms of transportation, which lead to major traffic jams.
Just for fun, I thought I’d show you something else I noticed while in Milan. Espresso is everywhere, even on my shuttle bus. The Italians were very kind to this American journalist. In every booth I visited during the show, I was offered a drink of water, or more than likely, espresso.
I started the second day of the show at SMW Autoblok’s booth. Designed to hold large parts, the 1600 IEPD-FC is a 2+2+2 chuck. The fully sealed power chuck ranges from 500 to 2,000 mm in diameter. It features centrifugal force compensation for machining deformable rings.
During the show, a new holding company was announced—FFG Europe. The premise of this group is to establish a European industrial center that is integrated with FFG (Fair Friend Group, run by the Taiwanese entrepreneur Jimmy Chu). The companies that are currently part of FFG Europe include Jobs Automazione (Jobs and Sachman brands), Rambaudi and Sigma Technology. The group’s headquarters is located in Milan, and the holding is run by Jobs management, the Chairman Luigi Maniglio and the CEO Marco Livelli.
Breton’s Matrix 1000 DY is designed for aerospace, automotive, die/mold and defense industry applications. The machining center features an 87 inch X axis, a 99 inch or 157 inch Y axis and a 39 inch Z axis. A 53-hp spindle provides 73.7 foot-pounds of torque. A 30-tool ATC is standard, and a variety of accessories are available. According to the company, most of its machines are designed for aerospace, defense and energy applications. It exports 95 percent of its production to the United States, China, India, France and Russia.
This slide is shows people flowing in to the exposition center on the second day of the show. With the Italian economy contracting, it’s important to note that while the country is not consuming a large number of machine tools, it certainly is exporting them. In fact, Italy ranked third as a major machine tool exporter in 2011, with exports totaling roughly $4,207,030. In 2012, that number is expected to grow to about $4,723,230. This information was presented to international journalists by UCIMU, the Italian machine tools, robots and automation manufacturer’s association. It is important to note that Italy is exporting the majority of its machine tools to China, with the United States being the country’s second major export outlet. According to UCIMU, Italian machine tools are growing in use in the United States in the following industries: automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and some infrastructure.