Visitors to EMO Hannover 97, from September 10-17, would have been impressed with just how international this essentially European machine tool show has become. Though almost half the exhibitors were German (1013 out of a total of 2244), the machining and tooling concepts represented a broad cross section of developments in Europe, Japan, and the United States, the three largest machine tool producing areas in the world.
Total attendance of 180,000 was claimed compared with slightly more than 161,000 in 1993. Buying intentions at a show that for some reason is not billed as a buyer's show were quite good. Walter Grinder Inc, Fredericksburg, VA, felt good enough about the results to issue a press release attributing the sale of 31 machines directly to the exhibition, including a number of machines for the US. Exhibitors noted that about half their inquiries were received from countries other than the host country and represented a distinct improvement over the last EMO at Hannover four years ago. An interesting note: The US and India were the overseas countries that sent the most visitors to the show.
Machining centers, milling and turning machines, and hybrid mill/turn machines were being shown by more exhibitors, as were precision and chucking tooling. According to the VDW, the German machine tool association and the sponsoring organization, 53% of the companies exhibited machine tools - with two-thirds focusing on metalcutting machines and one-third on metalforming machines. Precision and chucking tools accounted for 20% of the total exhibitors, and the final 27% focused on components and accessories, measuring and testing technology, software and controls systems, and industrial electronics.
Signs of the times
Evidence of the new wave of consolidations and across border/seas cooperation among machine tool builders was readily apparent at EMO 97. One exhibitor's sign billboarded where the companies of Thyssen Produktionssysteme (TPS) could be found exhibiting their wares. From that Giddings & Lewis booth it wasn't too long a walk to the Huller Hille booth, and only a building or so away from the rotary transfer machine builder Witzig & Frank Turmatic - all Thyssen companies now. Well known head-to-head competitors in the automotive automation industry, G&L and TPS could gain through further globalization of their other product lines, including G&L's Fadal Engineering and Sheffield Measurement CMM product lines and TPS' Huller Hille...