European Commission reports on three key manufacturing projects EU at EMO.

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Commitment to R&D in advanced, intelligent manufacturing was cited by the European Commission in a press briefing at EMO as central to maintaining EU member country dominance in global machine tool and automation markets. Several cutting-edge initiatives were cited.

The Commission has funded its MANTYS network (Thematic Network on Manufacturing Technologies) to promote cross sector information exchange to boost innovation in manufacturing technology. MANTYS is a four-year initiative coordinated by CECIMO to provide a forum for participants to share knowledge relating to technology, socio-economic issues, sustainability, and quality-of-life aspects of manufacturing.

The cross-fertilization thrust of the program recognizes that about 85 percent of machine tool enterprises are small-medium-size enterprises (SME) in need of rapid communication of advances to avoid duplication of effort. The core MANTYS network consortium comprises 30 prominent European institutes, research laboratories, and industry associations. MANTYS links more than 80 individual Commission-funded and other research projects with their members acting as interfaces with the network.

A technology watch committee publishes reports on exploitable aspects of specific projects and on broader overall trends. A focused socio-economic task force composed of experts from universities, private companies, and machine tool builders' associations is gaining insight into such factors as employment, education, business cycles, and sustainable growth. For more information on MANTYS, contact: Rene Groothedde, secr-gen@cecimo.be

The Commission's Ecosystems dry machining project addresses the widespread concern for the environment and human health posed by coolants. Surveys suggest that within the most industrialized European countries alone, it is necessary to process and dispose of about 800 tons of used emulsion and oil-water mixtures, as well as an unquantifiable amount of grinding slurry and filter process materials a year. Focus of the project is on medium to large automotive production of 400,000 to 600,000 pieces per year using transfer lines or a series of machines connected by transport links. Material focus is on difficult-to-cut materials: magnesium, compact graphite cast iron (CGI), and over eutectic aluminum, which are in demand for engines and other automotive components.

At EMO 2003, all of these development were integrated into a demonstrator system comprising a robust three-axis milling...

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