CWIEME Berlin - the world's leading exhibition for the transformer and electric motor manufacturing industries - opened its doors to international visitors for three days of networking, presentations and workshops.
On Tuesday 20th June, CWIEME Berlin kicked off with a market overview from Andrew Orbinson, senior analyst at IHS Industrial Automation. IHS expects market uncertainty to continue in Europe for political reasons but foresees growth in North America as tax cuts come into play in 2018.
One area Orbinson touched on in particular is the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. Increasing automation has led to a growing market for sensors, especially those monitoring temperature and vibration that could warn of motor failure, for example. The next step is to connect devices and connect the data. This will require advanced analytics, use of the cloud, open applications and new standards.
"It's going to take some time for widespread take-up. Cyber security is a key challenge but more of a speed bump than a complete roadblock," Orbinson said.
In a recent survey carried out by IHS, cyber security came bottom of respondents' priorities in automation. Orbinson expects cyber security to be higher up the list in a few years' time.
"IoT and Industry 4.0 is more of an evolution than a revolution," he said.
Advances in electrical steel production technology
While widespread smart factories may be a few years away, Stefano Cicale, project leader at Rina Consulting, reported in a CWIEME seminar that new production processes are significantly improving the performance of electrical steels. Instead of reheating the slab at high temperature, ammonia is injected in the final stages of decarburization annealing to induce nitrides precipitation. This enables higher control over the secondary recrystallization and, therefore, the production of thinner grades of electrical steels with the lower losses demanded by high frequency applications.
"Until a few years ago, the minimum thickness available for electrical steel was 0.35mm. Today, 0.20mm or even lower is possible," Cicale said.
Cicale also commented on the increased use of laser scribing techniques to artificially reduce electrical steel grain size and improve magnetic characteristics.
New technologies are not only changing the way products in the CWIEME community are manufactured but also designed. Amorim Cork Composites announced that it is launching a new transformer noise reduction design simulation tool for internal and external vibration pads. This tool fits with the trend noted by CWIEME sponsor Altair for the increased use of simulation and digital techniques in the industry. Amorim's new tool will launch on the company's website on 12th July.