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Advanced Engineering 2020

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

04/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

The UK's largest annual advanced manufacturing trade show, Advanced Engineering is your opportunity to (more)

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Automation Brings Everything Together in the Electrical Industry

New products, which are to be increasingly smaller, more powerful and- despite that - more inexpensive are the great production engineering challenges in the electrical and electronics industry. Many solutions will demonstrate that automation is the key to fulfilling these requirements, and these solutions will be shown at the international trade fair AUTOMATICA 22, which will take place on the grounds of the New Munich Trade Fair Centre from 22 to 25 May 2012.

Electrical and electronic installations are increasingly penetrating more areas of life with tablet computers and smart phones, with continually new, intelligent household helpers, with changed forms of energy generation such as photovoltaics and with electromobility. The success of products normally depends on the price and quality. The optimum of both criteria can only be achieved with cleverly designed automation.

Armin Wittmann, Exhibition Director of AUTOMATICA also emphasized: "Automation plays an extremely important role in the electrical industry with its demanding installation tasks. The last AUTOMATICA in 2010 also proved this, at which almost one-fourth of the visitors were from the electrical industry." The need for electrical engineering is going to grow further, as can be seen from current trends. The stimuli from innovations thanks to touchscreens, flatscreens and 3D displays is creating increasingly higher turnover for the industry. The desire for less energy consumption and miniaturization of devices is also generating higher demand. Armin Wittmann is convinced: The answer to these challenges can only be increased automation of production. Practical solutions for this can be found at AUTOMATICA 2012."

 Assembly and handling technology, robotics and machine vision - focal points of AUTOMATICA - are faced with different tasks in the electrical industry on one hand, and on the other hand they are growing together more and more. In assembly and handling technology, for example, fast but at the same time accurate positioning is one of the main tasks. This task can be fulfilled using handling systems, in which a machine vision system with integrated CoDeSys-PLC steers the electrical axes quickly to the targeted spot, for example. This is a solution that provides advantages when you have to home in on many test spots quickly and accurately in checking components. The camera detects which test spots are unoccupied and can be populated.

Solutions for increased flexibility and time-saving are the focus when it is a matter of gripping several parts simultaneously and placing them from one tray or blister into another with a different reference grid. Pick-and-place systems can help here, in which the distance between grippers is variable.

The trend is generally to assembly and handling systems that fulfil highly complex tasks, but still cause the least amount of work for users. Manufacturers are correspondingly in demand that can provide turnkey systems. They provide complete solutions composed of hardware and software and handle installation, so that the user can concentrate completely on his actual core competence.

 Robotics is reacting to the requirement for increased flexibility, for example, in new developments of control software. One trend is going in the direction of simple programming. Another trend is to simulation options, which are integrated increasingly into the programming environment. As a result, users can already test workflows virtually before operation start-up.

The pace of work can be increased thanks to increasingly lighter robots with optimised weight distribution without adversely affecting the accuracy of positioning or the path behaviour. If visual component inspection is required but not possible due to stationary systems, then robotics and machine vision work together, for example, in that a robot with an industrial camera moves to the position of the component.

A completely new field, in which the robot suppliers as well as companies in assembly and handling technology first have to familiarize themselves, is battery production for electric vehicles and storing renewable energies, because lithium-ion cells were not previously combined into such large units as for electric drives. Direct voltages between 200 and 400 volts are created, which require new safety mechanisms, including in production. Despite this, it is especially important here to manufacture larges series at low costs, because the battery is the most expensive single component in an electric car, and acceptance of overall electromobility depends on its price. Especially with respect to batteries and power electronics for cars and energy supply, perfect quality assessment and perfect backtracking must be ensured in addition to cost reductions.

Because this area represents a new market segment for automation specialists, AUTOMATICA is promoting progress in battery production with its special exhibition "Battery Production and Automation Technology". It is being is being held in collaboration with the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), special Productronic Division, Rhineland-Westphalia Technical University (RWTH) Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and leading companies from battery mechanical engineering and will take place in Hall A2. The special exhibition will show the complete production environment of batteries: from coating electrode materials all the way to complete modules.

Current trends will be presented and their feasibility in actual practice will be discussed in the AUTOMATICA Forum in Hall B1. A panel discussion about "Battery Production in Germany - How Does Automation Help" will take place on specifically on this topic starting from 3:15 p.m. on 23 May. Among others, the speakers will be Dr. Andreas Gutsch, Project Coordinator Competence E, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology KIT), and Dr. Eric Maiser, head of the battery production industry group in the VDMA E-Motive forum.

Machine vision as an all-round technology has relatively few difficulties with the special requirements of electrical and electronics production. After all, comprehensive modules of devices and techniques are available to put together customised solutions. These are already being used very often. For example, numerous tasks have already been solved using machine vision systems from visual inspection of simple electrical components such as cable and plugs all the way to finely structured solar cells and complex products such as printed circuit board assemblies.

The advantages of 3D machine vision are moving increasingly into the forefront of the electrical industry. This is not the least due to the fact that the technological requirements have developed further quickly and an increasing number of solutions are available, which combine speed, precision and simple operation. Most products are based on procedures such as laser triangulation, structured light projection or stereo vision. Their advantage is their robustness and precision. In the meantime, solutions are available for inspection of both stationary and moving components.

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