Drives & Controls Magazine September 2023

September 2023 10 The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has appointed Tony Bowkett as acting president. Bowkett is the founder, CEO and president of the precision engineering firm Nikken Kosakusho Europe, where he has worked for more than 33 years. He has previously served as the MTA’s financial director and vice-president. Fox Robotics, the Farnham-based robotics and farm services supplier, has appointed Gary Livingstone as parttime CEO, succeeding Ben Butlin. He will spearhead a new phase at Fox and help to develop its autonomous agri-tech and fruitpicking robot systems, and to launch a rough terrain robot in 2024. Livingstone will keep his roles as managing director of LG Motion, Minitec UK and Precision Acoustics. Livingstone co-founded Fox Robotics in 2017 with Henry Acevedo. The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) has appointed Cliffe Warne as its new executive director. Warne started his career as a trainee at Mars Confectionery, and worked for more than 20 years at the pumps, mixers and heat exchangers supplier AxFlow, including roles as UK sales manager and commercial director. Fanuc Europe has appointed Marco Ghirardello as its president and CEO, succeeding Shinichi Tanzawa, who led the company since 2016 and is returning to Fanuc’s headquarters in Japan. Ghirardello has been with Fanuc since 1994, most recently as senior vice-president, where he led the factory automation business. Fanuc Europe achieved record sales of over €1bn in the year ending March 2023, and has more than 2,000 employees n NEWS A SWISS COMPANY HAS emerged from a period of stealth development to offer a new service for creating large components using technologies such as robots, 3D printing and machine vision. Lupfig-based Saeki, which was founded in 2021, has attracted $2.3m of seed funding to build automated plants that will produce large-scale components for industries such as automotive, construction, aerospace, marine and energy. Currently, to develop items such as lightweight carbon fibre components, or to build concrete floor slabs, buyers may have to wait months to receive a first sample, and can only then build a prototype – let alone correcting any flaws. Saeki’s robots-as-a-service model aims to remove this bottleneck, allowing buyers to innovate rapidly, and expand their services and offerings in ways that has previously been impossible for large-scale items. For example, the company has developed a new method for producing concrete formwork, allowing builders to turn complex designs into reality, without costly, time-consuming manual production of formwork, while also reducing the use of concrete and cutting CO2 emissions. “There is a need for large, one-off (custom) components, that are mostly used a couple of times at most, then scrapped,”explains Saeki cofounder, Andrea Perissinotto. “Manufacturing these parts, from the moulds to make concrete elements to the tooling required to build composite rockets, is labour-intensive, has long lead times, and is very expensive. Moreover, these factors delay hardware iteration to get to the final product. “For vast swathes of industry it’s not practical to own and manage robots that can create what you need quickly,” he adds. “We are at the forefront of addressing this and democratising access to the best tools and creating productive, sustainable and effective outcomes for industry. “Long lead times for large components will be a thing of the past and we can provide faster and cost-effective iterations,” Perissinotto continues. “Our comprehensive approach sets us apart – it’s not just about being faster or cheaper; it’s about providing a complete solution that caters to the entire spectrum of challenges.” Saeki predicts that its platform that will allow customers to break the limits of traditional manufacturing. Size, complexity and efficiency will no longer be obstacles, “but catalysts for progress”, it declares. The company aims to become the leading technology provider for components from 0.2m to 10m or more, using robotic microfactories: selfcontained facilities that can perform every manufacturing step. Saeki is currently building its first production hub, which will be the blueprint for a network of facilities around the world. The hub will combine several manufacturing technologies including 3D printing, milling and inspection, using low-waste production process and recyclable materials. Robot microfactories will create large parts Saeki’s co-founders Oliver Harley, Matthias Leschok and Andrea Perissinotto, with one of their robots. EVENTS PPMA Show 26–28 September, 2023 NEC, Birmingham The PPMA Show returns to the NEC Birmingham, targeting the production line market. The organisers at the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association say there will be something for everyone involved in processing and packaging machinery, robotics and industrial vision systems. They add that more than 2,650 brands will be represented at the event. MachineBuilding.Live 4 October, 2023 National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry A new event aimed at machine-builders, systems integrators and OEMs. The organisers are expecting more than 100 suppliers to be exhibiting more than 1,000 new products. A series of free seminars is planned. Engineering Design Show 11–12 October, 2023 Coventry Building Society Arena Described by its organisers as “the UK’s biggest event dedicated entirely to engineering, electronics and embedded design”, the show gives design engineers access to the latest products, services and innovations in the sector. Advanced Engineering UK 1-2 November, 2023 NEC, Birmingham The organisers of “the UK’s largest exhibition for engineering and manufacturing professionals”say that more than 90% of the exhibition space has already been sold, and the show has been expanded to make space for new exhibitors. The zones present at previous shows are being removed to emphasise cross-industry working and to avoid segregation. The Manufacturer Live 14-15 November, 2023 The Exhibition Centre, Liverpool, UK The annual gathering of the manufacturing industry will include the MX Awards, The Manufacturer Director’s Forum, and the Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit – a two-day conference during which experts and influential discussion leaders will share ideas, innovations and real-world experiences. SPS 2023 14-16 November, 2023 Nuremberg, Germany The organisers of the Smart Production Solutions show are adding two new halls to this year’s show, taking the total to 16. They are expecting around 1,300 exhibitors at the Nuremberg venue, compared to the 999 for the 2022 event, which attracted 43,813 visitors.