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Robots Descend On Munich For Four-day Show & Tell
Robots and automation technology display solutions and innovations across industries
By Casey Nobile


With automation solutions and innovations the theme for this round of AUTOMATICA 2012, imaginative engineering and design in pursuit of automation will be the order of the day for over 700 manufacturers at the 5th Annual Trade Fair for Automation and Mechantronics at the New Munich Trade Fair Center May 22 – 25.

Taking place every two years, AUTOMATICA is one of the most important forums for the global know-how of the robotics industry to gather as decision-makers find information about the latest industry developments, solutions to new challenges, make contacts, and effectively invest in technologies of the future. It is the first and only international trade fair that covers the entire value-added chain in robotics and automation.

With more than 700 participants and over 30,000 anticipated visitors, this year’s AUTOMATICA exhibits not only innovation but also economic growth in the robotics and automation industries, which suffered a major blow due to the economic crash in 2009. The Statistical Department of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) announced a strong increase in robot sales of 18 percent in 2011 and predicted a continued average annual increase of six percent until 2014.

This upward trend is also reflected in the registration figures for AUTOMATICA 2012. Norbert Bargmann, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Messe München, is very pleased “that many exhibitors, who had to refrain from taking part in 2010 for economic reasons, are going to take part again. In addition, approximately 10 percent of the registered companies are participating in AUTOMATICA for the first time.”

Attendees and followers of AUTOMATICA can anticipate a focus on developments in “green” automation and the automotive industry in particular this year, which echo commitments made throughout the 2010 forums.

May 22. Sustainability:

There was an especially great deal of interest in the topic of sustainability within the scope of the motto “Green Automation” at the last fair. As a result, AUTOMATICA 2012 is again taking up this topic, but putting it in the larger context of the German Mechanical and Plant Engineering Federation (VDMA) sustainability initiative “BlueCompetence.” Members will exhibit the technologies and processes of mechanical and plant engineering which, for example, consume a minimum amount of energy while delivering maximum productivity, preserve our resources, reduce emissions to a minimum or improve people’s living conditions in a sustainable way.

May 23. Challenges for the automotive industry:

As a traditional core industry for robotics and automation, the automotive industry was the main driver of industry recovery following the 2009 economic downturn. Automobile manufacturers and their suppliers are currently facing a paradigm change – because lightweight design and the use of reinforced carbon composite materials call for automated processes, as does the trend toward electromobility.

AUTOMATICA’s special exhibition demonstrating automated battery production in support of this booming industry is the result of a collaboration between 20 companies who are paving the way for more affordable electronic and hybrid vehicles as a result of efficient battery production

Look out for:

  • Reis Roboticselectro-magnetic pulse forming technology (EMPT) procedure for battery module assembly
  • INSYS assembly systems
  • Multi-axis robots from ABB,DENSO, and FANUC
  • May 24. Growth industries:

    The food, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotech markets exhibit particular growth potential, but in many cases struggle to implement automation technology. Talks will focus on software implementation as well as picker, feeder, and vision technology applicable in all four markets.

    Look out for:

  • Adept’s FlexiBowl innovative feeding device
  • Hygienic design from MAJAtronic
  • May 25. Future trends:

    Robots are getting ready to leave their cells and help people as service suppliers – in factories as well as in daily life. Creating reliable mobile helpers will require continued innovations in modern safety and sensory technology as well as lightweight-design approaches.

    Look out for:

  • Smaller, more user-friendly controllers from Panasonic, DENSO, and Reis Robotics

  • New vision technology from Vitronic and KMeL

  • Light-weight robotic units designed for human-robot cooperation from ABB and Festo

    In addition to battery manufacturing, a special exhibit this year is dedicated to automated lightweight construction with composite materials. Other offers include the robotics award ceremonies, the CEO Round Table about robotics trends, machine vision seminars as well as the promotion of young talent via career orientation in the areas of robotics, automation, and mechatronics.


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    About the author

    Casey Nobile is the lead editor for Robotics Business Review’s RBR50 news, editorial and business segment. She is also contributing writer and editor for the publication’s News & Technology columns with special emphasis on breaking news coverage for science, technology and financial transactions. Casey is also editor and contributor for other in-house publications: Robotics Trends; RoboBusiness and RoboBusiness exhibit services.

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