EMO is an important tradeshow for linear motion product suppliers as the machine tool industry is the biggest industry for these products. According to the IHS Markit's Linear Motion Products Report - 2017, the machine tool industry accounts for 18.4% of the global revenues for linear motion products.
The general sentiment of the suppliers is more optimistic compared to last year as the market is expected to touch $7.3 billion mark in 2017, a 6.9% increase in revenues as compared to 2016—a new high for the linear motion product market. The combination of reasons, such as an upswing of the Chinese market, exchange rate fluctuations, increase in average selling price and the shift towards electromechanical actuation, have contributed to the market growth. This trend is expected to remain unchanged in the short-term.
Linear motion product suppliers not only announced new products for machine tools applications but also exhibited their IIoT-enabled offerings. An example is the Integrated Ball Screw system from HIWIN, which is still under development; it has the ability to measure temperature, preload, vibration, and lubrication of the ball screw, and the data can be uploaded to the cloud.
Another attention-grabbing demonstration was from Schaeffler of their Smart EcoSystem, which offers a standardized hardware and software infrastructure from smart components to digital services and business model. According to Shaeffler, they are in talks with machine builders to sell their multi-channel condition monitoring system and have successfully tested it with their partner, DMG Mori. In addition, Schaeffler also introduced its new X-life series, which is said to increase the life of the linear guides by 40%.
On the other hand, Schneeberger exhibited its integrated distance measuring systems that use a magneto-resistive measuring system for distance measurements. This system is similar to Bosch Rexroth’s Integrated Measuring System; the only difference is that the latter uses inductive sensors instead of resistive sensing.
NSK announced a new ball screw to meet the requirements of European machine tool market, and is claiming to have the world's highest maximum feed speed for a deflector type ball screw.
In summary, 2017 has been a good year for the linear motion market, and IIoT has affected this market as suppliers are looking to meet the growing demands from their customers for IIoT-enabled products.