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Exhibitor forum as Motek & Bondexpo highlight

The Exhibitor Forum, which is held on all days of the fair and is free of charge for trade visitors, has been very popular for years. Top-class speakers from exhibiting companies report in alternating lectures on the theory and practice of modern, performance-oriented production and assembly automation.

The spectrum of lectures covers all relevant disciplines, from the suitability of special components for specific requirements to reports on experiences with the use of processes and flexible assembly systems.


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Communal Booth – Individual Presence, Joint Services

Motek/Bondexpo stands for outstanding engineering services in the field of efficient, automated manufacturing processes. Companies are offered the opportunity to present their solutions at a joint booth and thus be present alongside the big players in the industry. On this uniquely established business platform, valuable can be made at the joint exhibition booth in a manageable space and thus generate best business. The Motek/Bondexpo offers participants a cost-efficient starter package at the industry meeting place in the middle of Europe’s leading technology region.

The participating companies benefit from a comprehensive, all-round carefree package which includes attractive services for booth setup and marketing, as well as shared use of kitchen, storage and lounge areas.

Use these three Top-Benefits:

  • Increased public awareness and enhanced brand image thanks to the enormous scope of Motek/Bondexpo at the international level.
  • The best and most sustainable business contacts can be made here in four days.
  • Decision-makers integrate innovative solutions from Motek directly into their investment projects.

Click here to go directly to the packages and registration inclusive Showroom at Motek/Bondexpo-Virtual

Registration for Communal Booth

The Schall team will be pleased to provide further information and individual consultation:

+49 (0)7025 9206-660
bondexpo@schall-messen.de


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40th Motek Anniversary During the 2022 Fall Trade Fair Season

The exhibition halls of the industry highlight featuring Motek/Bondexpo are filling up. Together with the 15th Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology, the 40th Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly is preparing for the fall event season in 2022. Exhibitors and expert visitors will meet in person for a face-to-face exchange of ideas in Stuttgart from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022. The event’s motto – “Automation Intelligence for Production and Assembly” – is well rounded, as is its anniversary: Motek is celebrating its 40th birthday!

“The industry is eagerly anticipating its top event,” confirms Motek/Bondexpo project manager Rainer Bachert. “Already during the summer, we’ve exceeded registration levels reached for the event in 2021,” continues Bachert. “Many exhibitors firmed up their participation at this year’s trade fair right after the event in October 2021, and the halls have been filling up in recent weeks,” explains the project manager. “Traditionally, Motek/Bondexpo is a practice and user-oriented work event for expert visitors who are seeking concrete solutions for their production environments,” says Bettina Schall, managing director of trade fair promoters P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG. “The challenges currently faced by the industry sector are enormous, and the exhibitors at this year’s Motek/Bondexpo will be tackling them from numerous angles and demonstrating new approaches.”

Sustainability via Further Development in Digitalisation and Automation

Essentially important issues such as reduced consumption of energy and resources, environmental and climate protection, reliable suppliers, dependable intermediate production and short distances are driving modernisation and further technical innovations. Industry players in assembly and production automation are working full steam ahead to equip their plants more economically, more effectively, more efficiently and more reliably in order to cut costs and remain competitive. “That’s why it’s important to attend the trade fair in person, to engage in professional discussions on an equal footing, to explore practical solutions and to network,” explains Rainer Bachert. “Matching target groups meet up with each other at Motek/Bondexpo.”

In the fall of 2022, the industry meeting place in Stuttgart will bring together suppliers and users of industrial production and assembly automation, as well as bonding technology. Special significance will be attributed to the vastly important issue of sustainability this year, because modern, highly automated factories with intelligent components and control systems, as well as networked, self-learning processes, must increasingly adhere to the principle of sustainability – they have to be operated in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. As a result, digitalisation and automation of industrial manufacturing processes are becoming even more important in order to further increase the efficiency, environmental friendliness and economy of production operations. In this respect, Motek/Bondexpo is an important platform for making it possible to implement new developments and approaches to solutions in a user-friendly way, and for meeting current and future challenges.

A Highly Interested Expert Audience Right from the Very First Day

However, we won’t just be looking to the future from 4 to 7 October 2022 – we’ll also be looking back, because Motek is celebrating its 40th birthday. The first trade fair for assembly technology was launched in 1982 in Sindelfingen, initially on a relatively small scale. As of 1990, the event with highly dynamic growth was held in Sinsheim and since 2007, Stuttgart has been its highly adequate venue. “Motek can look back on an extremely impressive 40-year history on its way to becoming one of the most important industrial trade fairs in southern Germany,” notes Michael Blaß, managing director of the energy-chain systems division at igus GmbH in Cologne. “And it has never forgotten its original spirit, even to this day: bringing people together in dialogue and as a forum for innovation – directly oriented to the needs of the visitors who have approached us here at the event with very tangible challenges in recent decades. This has resulted in numerous long-standing customer relationships and exciting projects. We’re grateful to P. E. Schall for this, and we’re looking forward to a successful Motek together in 2022.”

Essential, Live Trade Fair with Dates Etched in Stone

Motek/Bondexpo focuses on the practical, future-oriented organisation of industrial manufacturing processes. This is why the trade fair is and will remain an ideal business platform for the capital goods industry. The exhibition will be supplemented by additional world-class presentations – for example the Arena of Integration (AoI) which will make digitalised, networked production processes tangible and intelligible once again in 2022, the Startup Area where young companies will present their innovations, and the expert forum for “Safety + Automation” which will be organised in cooperation with Pilz GmbH & Co. KG. Numerous exhibitors, expert visitors and other interested parties have already saved the trade fair dates – the industry will meet in Stuttgart from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022!


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Great Anticipation for Motek’s Anniversary During the Fall Trade Fair Season in 2022

The Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. In combination with the 15th Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology, the time-tested trade fair duo will take place in Stuttgart from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022. There’s every reason to celebrate: trade fair promoters P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG will celebrate their 60th company anniversary this year as well.

Motek/Bondexpo is getting ready for the fall trade fair season in 2022. Traditionally, Motek is a mirror image of current industrial trends because it showcases annual technological advances in the field of production automation in an exemplary fashion. “Since 1982, when Paul Eberhard Schall organised the first Motek in Sindelfingen, industrial assembly and handling technology has undergone rapid advancement thanks to countless technological innovations,” says Bettina Schall, managing director of Schall trade fair promoters. “Throughout the decades, Motek has portrayed this progress in each of its individual stages and carried it over into actual manufacturing practice. This specialised technical event with its consistently objective and application-oriented trade fair format is universally recognised, and it’s an essential business and knowledge platform for exhibitors and expert visitors alike. During the course of 40 years, it has been and will continue to be an industry highlight each and every autumn!”

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Technological Change is a Constant ...

… because modern manufacturing continues to evolve day by day. It’s becoming more efficient, more economical and more flexible. It’s already characterised by automated processes and software-based machine functionality, and will continue to evolve in this direction to an ever greater extent in the future. Once again, the 40th Motek will point the way to the future together with the 15th Bondexpo as an integrated event. It will provide new answers to questions about holistic, integrated system solutions. “All relevant products and current manufacturing issues are presented at Motek, right on up to fully networked, digitalised and software-supported complete systems,” explains Rainer Bachert, who has been accompanying Motek for many years as project manager. “In the beginning, attention was of course focused on individual products and components for assembly and handling in conventional factories. Today, integrated, automated solutions with image processing are in demand. Artificial intelligence is long since an integral part of modern manufacturing operations because it supports the optimisation of processes,” says Bachert.

Impressive History of Automation

Alone the development of robotics for assembly and handling processes has an impressive history – within the context of Motek as well. The robots are out of their cages – they’ve become highly mobile and have conquered numerous new applications, because automation, increasing flexibility and individualisation have changed industrial processes in all industry sectors. Customised, product-specific adaptations have become a matter of course. The old rigidity has given way to agility. New markets, collaboration and cooperation amongst production personnel and robots are now routine daily practice. Robotics is growing at double-digit rates. “In the end of course it still depends on the component – its quality and performance. It’s still the machine’s most essential element, and will remain so in the future as well,” notes Rainer Bachert. “But in this regard, digitalisation, autonomous operation and intelligence have led to impressive development in terms of real-time control, data analysis, preventive maintenance and ultimately the conservation of resources,” says the experienced project manager.

Networking of Exhibitors and Processes

Together with the 15th Bondexpo, the 40th Motek is getting ready for the fall trade fair season in 2022. All of the industry’s players are looking forward to the reunion and the personal exchange of technical ideas at the exhibits. Exhibitors will meet up with precisely the target groups they’re looking for – above all representatives of small and mid-sized businesses who want to make the transition to digitalised production. Once again this year, the Arena of Integration (AoI) will make digitalised, networked production processes transparent and comprehensible, and link various processes from different exhibitors.

The scheduled dates from 4 to 7 October 2022 in Stuttgart represent a fixed appointment in the industry sector’s calendar, because the right people get together traditionally at Motek/Bondexpo. Based on past experience, project manager Rainer Bachert knows that “Ideally matched contact persons come together here.” The trade fair duo is a must for system integrators and customers who want to introduce and further develop automated handling processes. In an exchange of technical ideas and experience, exhibitors and visitors jointly shape the further evolution of industrial manufacturing processes. This is why Motek/Bondexpo is and will remain an ideal business platform for the capital goods industry.


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Motek/Bondexpo Industry Highlight On the Way for 2022!

In roughly five months, the time will come again: as a proven, traditional trade fair highlight for automation in assembly and production, Motek/Bondexpo will open its doors in Stuttgart and celebrate Motek’s 40th anniversary from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022.

Frickenhausen, 28 April 2022 – Together with the 15th Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology, the 40th Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly is preparing for the fall event season in 2022. All industry players are looking forward to this reunion. The proven trade fair duo will once again present a broad range of solutions in the field of “automation intelligence for production and assembly”.

“Motek is one of the most important events of the year for IEF-Werner,” affirms Ulrich Moser, head of marketing and sales controlling at IEF-Werner GmbH in Furtwangen, Germany. “Participation provides IEF-Werner with an extensive spectrum of functions. In particular we can listen to our customers face to face and find out first-hand what’s on their minds. Our customers inform us how we’re doing in terms of customer orientation, service, productivity and technological strength, and we use this to enhance our knowledge and innovation edge, which also benefits the users.”

Spectacular Technological Development over Four Decades

IEF-Werner has been an exhibitor right from the very beginning and was already on hand when Motek was first launched in Sindelfingen in 1982. Since then, automation in production and assembly has enjoyed impressive progress and its issues have been reflected consistently at Motek over four decades. 1982 – no internet, no smartphones, no e-mail – it was the year when the first home computers with floppy discs appeared in our living rooms, and a lot has happened in the meantime. In the early years, Motek was mostly about individual products and components for industrial assembly and handling in conventional factories, but today the focus is on holistic, integrated system solutions. Today’s factory is long since on the road to the future – with automated processes and software-based machine functionality. Digitalisation and networking are major topics in all sectors. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been part of the production process for quite some time now because it supports process optimisation. And thus at Motek 2022, AI will be an issue across the board and in numerous systems – how processes in manufacturing can be designed economically and efficiently using integrated AI algorithms will be demonstrated in a pragmatic, highly practical manner.

Being There Is What Matters

Together with Bondexpo, Motek continues to write exemplary, future-oriented industrial history. As in the past, the community of experts for automation in production and assembly, as well as bonding technology, will experience the entire portfolio of topics covering both hardware and software. Robotics is also a well-established theme at Motek/Bondexpo. The use of robots is increasing with a double-digit growth rate. New applications, collaboration and cooperation with operators and amongst the robots themselves, increasing automation rates and autonomous control thanks to AI are some of the factors which are driving robotics. DENSO Robotics will also be represented at Motek/Bondexpo 2022 with collaborative robots: “As a leading manufacturer of industrial robots for handling and assembly technology, DENSO Robotics Europe has exhibited at Motek in Stuttgart for many years,” says Carsten Busch, product manager for cobots at DENSO. “We’re looking forward to presenting our new products once again this year, meeting with lots of customers again, establishing new contacts and discussing specific plans in face-to-face meetings.”

Practical Integration of New Technologies

The trade fair promoters at Schall have successfully maintained Motek’s concept for four decades – a technically focussed, application-oriented event format for industrial practice. It presents all products and issues with relevance for industrial manufacturing, right up to fully networked, digitalised and software-supported overall systems – the factory of the future. The specific configuration of industrial manufacturing processes is at the centre of attention for exhibitors and expert visitors at Motek/Bondexpo. Time-tested interaction between Motek and Bondexpo portrays the processes and their further development by means of digitalisation and automation. This is why Motek/Bondexpo is and will remain an ideal business platform for the capital goods industry.”

Once again in the fall of 2022, participants at the Arena of Integration (AoI) will render digitalised, networked production processes tangible and comprehensible, and ground them in actual practice. The goal of the AoI is to network various processes run by different exhibitors with each other into a single, overall industrial system. Confirmation has already been received for six exhibits.


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Motek/Bondexpo 2022: Top Event for Future

In roughly five months, the time will come again: as a proven, traditional trade fair highlight for automation in assembly and production, Motek/Bondexpo will open its doors in Stuttgart and celebrate Motek’s 40th anniversary from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022.

Frickenhausen, 28 April 2022 – Together with the 15th Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology, the 40th Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly is preparing for the fall event season in 2022. All industry players are looking forward to this reunion. The proven trade fair duo will once again present a broad range of solutions in the field of “automation intelligence for production and assembly”.

“Motek is one of the most important events of the year for IEF-Werner,” affirms Ulrich Moser, head of marketing and sales controlling at IEF-Werner GmbH in Furtwangen, Germany. “Participation provides IEF-Werner with an extensive spectrum of functions. In particular we can listen to our customers face to face and find out first-hand what’s on their minds. Our customers inform us how we’re doing in terms of customer orientation, service, productivity and technological strength, and we use this to enhance our knowledge and innovation edge, which also benefits the users.”

Spectacular Technological Development over Four Decades

IEF-Werner has been an exhibitor right from the very beginning and was already on hand when Motek was first launched in Sindelfingen in 1982. Since then, automation in production and assembly has enjoyed impressive progress and its issues have been reflected consistently at Motek over four decades. 1982 – no internet, no smartphones, no e-mail – it was the year when the first home computers with floppy discs appeared in our living rooms, and a lot has happened in the meantime. In the early years, Motek was mostly about individual products and components for industrial assembly and handling in conventional factories, but today the focus is on holistic, integrated system solutions. Today’s factory is long since on the road to the future – with automated processes and software-based machine functionality. Digitalisation and networking are major topics in all sectors. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been part of the production process for quite some time now because it supports process optimisation. And thus at Motek 2022, AI will be an issue across the board and in numerous systems – how processes in manufacturing can be designed economically and efficiently using integrated AI algorithms will be demonstrated in a pragmatic, highly practical manner.

Being There Is What Matters

Together with Bondexpo, Motek continues to write exemplary, future-oriented industrial history. As in the past, the community of experts for automation in production and assembly, as well as bonding technology, will experience the entire portfolio of topics covering both hardware and software. Robotics is also a well-established theme at Motek/Bondexpo. The use of robots is increasing with a double-digit growth rate. New applications, collaboration and cooperation with operators and amongst the robots themselves, increasing automation rates and autonomous control thanks to AI are some of the factors which are driving robotics. DENSO Robotics will also be represented at Motek/Bondexpo 2022 with collaborative robots: “As a leading manufacturer of industrial robots for handling and assembly technology, DENSO Robotics Europe has exhibited at Motek in Stuttgart for many years,” says Carsten Busch, product manager for cobots at DENSO. “We’re looking forward to presenting our new products once again this year, meeting with lots of customers again, establishing new contacts and discussing specific plans in face-to-face meetings.”

Practical Integration of New Technologies

The trade fair promoters at Schall have successfully maintained Motek’s concept for four decades – a technically focussed, application-oriented event format for industrial practice. It presents all products and issues with relevance for industrial manufacturing, right up to fully networked, digitalised and software-supported overall systems – the factory of the future. The specific configuration of industrial manufacturing processes is at the centre of attention for exhibitors and expert visitors at Motek/Bondexpo. Time-tested interaction between Motek and Bondexpo portrays the processes and their further development by means of digitalisation and automation. This is why Motek/Bondexpo is and will remain an ideal business platform for the capital goods industry.”

Once again in the fall of 2022, participants at the Arena of Integration (AoI) will render digitalised, networked production processes tangible and comprehensible, and ground them in actual practice. The goal of the AoI is to network various processes run by different exhibitors with each other into a single, overall industrial system. Confirmation has already been received for six exhibits.


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Live and Forward-Looking: Motek/Bondexpo in Autumn 2022

The 40th Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly – together with the 15th Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology – will be held this autumn 100% on site, and with anniversary spirit to boot. The automation sector will meet in Stuttgart to celebrate new products and technologies from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022. Exhibitors and expert visitors are looking forward to this time-tested highlight for the automation industry.

The 40th Motek/Bondexpo in Stuttgart at the beginning of October will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the upcoming fall trade fair season. Traditionally over the last four decades, exhibitors have presented the current portfolio of issues in the field of production automation at the event in an up-to-date manner including components, modules, subsystems and end-to-end installations, as well as software and robotics. Expert visitors discover solutions for pending manufacturing projects and industrial investments, as well as concrete answers to their questions within the context of ongoing automation, digitalisation and networking of all operational processes. Once again this year, the well-established interaction between the Motek international trade fair for automation in production and assembly and the Bondexpo international trade fair for bonding technology will ideally reflect developments in industrial manufacturing. In particular with increasingly widespread use of composite materials for lightweight design, industrial bonding technology is gaining more and more significance.

Artificial Intelligence is Gathering Momentum

Artificial intelligence (AI) processes have long since established themselves in manufacturing operations as well, and will also be addressed at the next Motek/Bondexpo. How AI can be used to optimise processes and make them more efficient will be demonstrated in a pragmatic and practical manner at various stages. “As is also the case with any other tool, a decision has to be made as to whether or not and when it makes sense to use AI,” explains Professor Marco Huber, director of the Centre for Cyber Cognitive Intelligence CCI and the AI Progress Centre at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation (IPA). According to Huber, there are many good reasons why humans and AI systems can and should work hand in hand. Expert visitors will find out how small and mid-sized companies can get a practical start in the field of AI at Motek/Bondexpo. Typical applications in the AI domain include above all quality inspection by means of camera systems within the framework of zero-defect production, as well as predictive maintenance for efficient equipment upkeep and the prevention of production downtime.

It always has been, is and will remain exciting!

This year’s leading trade fair for the world of automation is celebrating a major anniversary. Paul Eberhard Schall staged the first Motek in 1982 with 52 exhibitors. In the meantime, Motek/Bondexpo has become an indispensable business platform for the capital goods industry, where suppliers and users discuss current challenges in industrial production and automation in a face-to-face professional exchange. Without any showiness, but rather always factual and application-oriented, the history of technology and industry has been portrayed at Motek/Bondexpo in a format that can hardly be found anywhere else. The technical event format developed by promoters P. E. Schall offers an exciting storybook for industrial manufacturing – from mechanical assembly and handling components right on up to fully networked, digitalised and software-supported overall systems. Current and forthcoming pages of this storybook are looking to a future for which the industry will need to gear up. This autumn, Motek/Bondexpo will once again provide players in the field of production automation with an adequate information and business platform. Time and place have been scheduled: the production and assembly automation community, as well as the bonding technology faction, are looking forward to Motek/Bondexpo in Stuttgart from the 4th through the 7th of October, 2022!


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Optimize processes and make them more efficient with AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) methods are making their way onto factory floors. AI is a tool, and as with any other tool, a decision has to be made as to whether and when its use makes sense or not – says Prof. Marco Huber of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. In an exclusive interview with Schall-Messen, he explains to us that there are many good reasons why humans and AI systems can and should work hand in hand. And shows a practical way for SMEs to get started with AI.

Professor Huber, it is said that artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into industrial manufacturing - there is also talk of machine learning or deep learning. For clarification, please give us your definitions and delineations.

Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of the term AI. For me, Artificial Intelligence is about solving problems that require humans to act intelligently. In addition to machine learning, currently the most active subfield, planning and search algorithms, logic or robotics are also part of AI. The AI subfield of machine learning uses patterns in data to make data-based decisions. The term “learning” refers to recognizing these patterns and transferring them into a statistical model that can then be applied to new data. There are many different types of models. Currently very popular are the artificial neural networks, which have been modeled approximately on the human nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. If these networks consist of a large number of layers, i.e. if they are deep, they are referred to as “deep learning”.

AI has been a research topic for several decades, but it has only really taken off in recent years due to the strong computing power, big data and intelligent algorithms available. AI offers a great many opportunities, but the path from research results to practice is often still difficult for companies due to a lack of knowledge or resources. Another challenge is the “black box” nature of many ML-based methods. This means that even experts cannot always understand exactly why a result was reached. This can lead to legal problems, but also to a lack of trust and acceptance on the part of users. Therefore, we are intensively researching methods for the explainability of AI processes (xAI, explainable AI).

In which areas of production are processes with AI already in use? Where does AI make sense on the factory floor - and where not at all?

One of the classic applications in the field of artificial intelligence is quality inspection using camera systems. In this context, camera-based systems supplement humans as quality inspectors or take over this task completely if an automated solution offers sufficient added value. For example, when it comes to detecting damage in the vehicle paint or inspecting weld seams. The image data is increasingly analyzed using algorithms that can be attributed to the field of artificial intelligence.

Another field of application is predictive maintenance. The idea is to know in advance when the service life of a particular production machine will end, thus maximizing the machine’s use before it breaks down. At the time of the failure, the repair crew and the required spare parts can then already be ready. Special algorithms from the AI environment can also be used for this purpose. In a scientific study at Fraunhofer IPA, we were able to prove that the AI approach works better in the field of maintenance than previously used heuristics and mathematical optimization approaches. This means that more was produced because there were fewer unplanned shutdowns. And production costs were lower because there were no so-called fatal failures, only planned ones.

In essence, AI should be viewed as a tool. And as with any other tool, you have to decide whether and when it makes sense to use it or not. Machine learning is suitable when the cause-effect relationships are not known or cannot be described, but sufficient data are available instead. So, for example, if a mathematical model is available, as is the case with many control problems, then AI is usually unnecessary or merely an addition to the existing process.

And another aspect in the context of making sense of machine learning in productions is, of course, that machine learning relies on data. And this data is unfortunately not available everywhere. For example, this can be the case with the quality inspection with cameras in production just mentioned. It would be helpful if sample data of defects were available in order to be able to reliably detect exactly these. But in a good production, there should actually be few defects. Therefore, in order to train an algorithm that can detect such defects, however, we are working on artificially generating the data. Or an algorithm is chosen that does not detect a defect, but is good at judging whether the machine is still in a normal state. This is because there is an abundance of data from the normal state in a well-run production.

What are the disadvantages and risks? One caveat might be, "The system eventually takes over all operations, leaving the human on the outside - control is gone!" Are these objections justified?

Of course, we are aware of these reservations, and I also think it is very important to take them seriously and to ‘take along’ the users of an AI application. Because in the short to medium term, it will definitely be the case that AI-based technologies will support humans, perhaps performing a specific subtask alone and autonomously, but humans will still have a central function in the production environment.

To this day, after all, in the field of AI, Steven Pinker’s famous quote holds true: “The hard problems are easy and the easy problems are hard.” This means that problems that are easy for humans, such as creativity, manipulation, or perception, are very hard for AI. Other problems, such as lifting heavy objects or calculating with large numbers, are difficult for humans but easy for artificial systems. So there are many good reasons why humans and AI systems can and should work hand in hand. AI can take on tasks that are very monotonous or too computationally intensive for humans, for example, allowing human workers to focus on higher-value tasks that benefit from human strengths. To achieve this, a human-centered approach must be taken in the development of AI systems, i.e., AI systems should be based on people’s needs, values, and well-being in order to gain trust and acceptance and also to always allow people to be in control. In this way, an AI system becomes operable for everyone: it perceives, understands, mimics, and actively supports humans.

What benefits can a manufacturing company derive from the use of AI?

Of course, it’s not that easy to give a blanket answer, because it depends on the prerequisites and goals of the individual company in order to be able to assess exactly which advantages the use of AI offers. In principle, AI, or more precisely the use of machine learning, enables a higher degree of autonomy (in the sense of “automation of automation”) and often better accuracy or problem-solving skills in the execution of a specific task. In concrete terms, this can mean that a company saves money when it carries out maintenance planning based on AI because, as mentioned above, there are fewer downtimes and failures. If AI is used to optimize production planning and control, knowledge that was previously tied to individuals can now flow into the AI system, making the knowledge more widely and quickly usable.

AI can therefore help to optimize processes and make them more efficient. If you think about robotics, AI reduces programming efforts because each individual process step no longer has to be programmed manually; instead, the robot system can adjust itself to deviations in the process or new workpieces and adapt its parameters accordingly. This is particularly crucial for increasingly personalized production, where the programming effort required to date could quickly make robot use uneconomical. Last but not least, AI can simplify challenging tasks such as reaching into a box for robots, for example, by enabling powerful image recognition to perceive reflective or mirroring objects well, or even by enabling the robot system to recognize whether components are snagged and how this can be resolved.

How can SMEs get started using AI in a practical way?

We have already carried out a triple-digit number of AI projects with SMEs. From these extensive experiences we know that the interest is mostly present in principle and sometimes also great. But often there is alternately a lack of time and/or money and especially a lack of expertise. Last but not least, there is often a simple lack of data or its sensible processing in order to implement applications with machine learning at all, because at least this AI subarea is based on more or less large amounts of data, which should be available or must be generated in real or in simulations.

In my experience, there are four points worth considering to make AI solutions pay off quickly in enterprises:

  • Start small, think big: Look for “low-hanging fruits” first. This yields quick results, initial findings and thus argumentation aids within the company. With this experience, you can tackle bigger challenges.
  • Start early: Identify meaningful uses for AI early on. Use short development cycles to move forward quickly and be able to counteract difficulties in an agile manner. That’s how you get prototypes quickly.
  • Pay attention to the benefit: Ultimately, an AI project stands and falls with its added value. Let the business department drive the issue and not necessarily the IT department.
  • Take everyone with you: Don’t forget the employees. If you can convince them of the benefits of an AI project, this will prevent unnecessary blockades.

Especially if there are teething problems or lack of clarity about the advantages and benefits of AI for a company, I recommend seeking expert advice. For example, the AI Progress Center of the Fraunhofer Institutes IPA and IAO offers various funding formats. These address beginner questions, provide brief feasibility studies, or allow for the construction of a demonstrator.

How do you or your institute demonstrate the use of AI in industrial production processes at trade shows, such as the next Motek in Stuttgart in October 2022?

At our institute, we have a number of demonstrators and exhibits that we will certainly present this year at trade shows, but also at in-house events. Let’s hope that towards summer more presence will be possible again…

With the exhibit “AI Picking” we show how machine learning and simulations significantly improve the application in terms of autonomy and performance. The scientists demonstrate this using the example of a robot that grabs objects from an undefined position from a box. For this purpose, an AI-based object pose estimation provides robust and accurate object poses in a few milliseconds. New objects can be taught in quickly and easily on the basis of a CAD model. The software can also detect and solve the entanglements already mentioned above and also robustly handle packaging material. The robot had already been extensively trained in the simulation, and we then transferred this knowledge to the real application. The software also generates and evaluates gripping poses based on this knowledge.

One software for assembly automation is NeuroCAD. It uses machine learning methods to analyze component properties and use them to determine the extent to which a component is suitable for assembly automation. Users can upload their STEP files free of charge on a website and find out within seconds how easy or difficult it is to separate a component. The tool also evaluates the gripping surfaces and the alignability of the component. In addition, the neural network states a probability that it is correct with its result.

From my research group comes another demonstrator that addresses many industries and applications. With it, we demonstrate how AI processes that have so far operated in a non-transparent manner can become comprehensible and explainable. As I mentioned above, transparency or the so-called “white box character” of AI applications is becoming increasingly important – both because of legal requirements and to build trust on the part of users. And because this topic is becoming increasingly relevant, we have the right offering here for all user needs: from the identification of use cases to the creation of explainable AI models and their use in customer applications to the generation of explanations for already trained AI models and procedures for creating transparency.

Vita – Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Marco Huber: After studying computer science and successfully completing his doctorate at the University of Karlsruhe (TH), Prof. Huber headed the research group “Variable Image Acquisition and Processing” at Fraunhofer IOSB in Karlsruhe from 2009 to 2011. Subsequently, he worked as a senior researcher at AGT International in Darmstadt until 2015. From April 2015 and until September 2018, Prof. Huber was responsible for product development and data science services of the Katana division at USU Software AG in Karlsruhe. At the same time, he taught as a private lecturer in computer science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) after successfully completing his habilitation. Since October 2018, he has held the professorship for cognitive production systems at the University of Stuttgart. At the same time, he heads the Image and Signal Processing and Cyber Cognitive Intelligence (CCI) departments at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart. His research focuses on machine learning, explainable artificial intelligence (xAI), sensor data analysis, image processing and robotics in the production engineering environment.

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Motek/Bondexpo beginning of October 2022: The next festival!

The 40th Motek – International Trade Fair for Production and Assembly Automation – will be held together with the 15th Bondexpo – International Trade Fair for Adhesive Bonding Technology – from 04. to 07 October 2022 will be held in Stuttgart. The live event will become the annual highlight of the automation industry.

In the fall of 2021, Motek/Bondexpo was one of the first major trade events after the trade fair-free period and proved how important and indispensable presence trade fairs are for the capital goods industry. Now exhibitors and trade visitors can look forward to the next trade show highlight for the automation industry – an anniversary event to boot. “In 1982, Paul Eberhard Schall set up the first Motek with 52 exhibitors,” recalls Bettina Schall, Managing Director of P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG. “In all the years that have followed, Motek has become the industry meeting place par excellence and, in conjunction with Bondexpo, has advanced to become the leading trade fair for the world of automation for 15 years. Already today, we extend our cordial invitation to be there again in 2022 and to give all topics of production and assembly automation as well as joining and bonding technology a due platform.”

The right people meet here

The Motek/Bondexpo trade fair duo will showcase the current portfolio of topics in modern production automation – components, assemblies, subsystems and complete plants, including software and robotics – up to date. Customers and trade visitors looking for solutions for specific projects will find what they are looking for here. In a personal exchange of expertise and at eye level, suppliers and users discuss practical answers to current challenges. No virtual communication format can do this – for the capital goods industry and in the B-to-B sector, there is no substitute for face-to-face discussion. At Motek/Bondexpo, exhibitors find exactly the right target group, users find exactly the right suppliers.

40 years of the history of technology in industrial production

“Over four decades, the Motek trade show has provided an unparalleled depiction of the history of technology and industry,” notes longtime project manager Rainer Bachert. “At no other place than at this trade show was it possible to experience the practical development of assembly and industrial manufacturing from mechanical components to completely networked, digitized and software-supported overall systems,” Rainer Bachert points out. With themes of Bondexpo, modern production is represented in a complementary way. “We look forward to continuing to prepare the adequate platform for this essentially important and highly exciting topic of production automation in 2022.” The four days of the fair from 04. until 07 October 2022 should therefore already be firmly noted by both exhibitors and visitors.


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Motek/Bondexpo 2021: Pure awakening!

It was a brilliant re-launch of Motek/Bondexpo, which was held as a presence trade fair from 05. to 08 October 2021 was held with great success in Stuttgart. The automation industry had been eagerly awaiting the 39th Motek – International Trade Fair for Production and Assembly Automation – and 14th Bondexpo – International Trade Fair for Adhesive Bonding Technology. The live event far exceeded the expectations of the exhibitors.

It was a goosebump moment when the fair gong sounded at nine o’clock on Tuesday morning. There was prolonged applause at many booths. Indeed: The fair is taking place, live and present, it is open. “Yes, we’re back!” exclaimed Bettina Schall, managing director of P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG to exhibitors, trade visitors and media representatives. On site, 453 exhibitors from 25 countries, 17 percent of them from abroad, were represented on 45,000 square meters of gross floor space. “My thanks go to all those who are present here today and are actively supporting the re-launch of the presence fair,” said project manager Rainer Bachert. The proven trade fair duo Motek/Bondexpo was not just a re-launch – it was a departure! “Motek 2021 completely exceeded our expectations,” sums up Ulrich Moser, Head of Marketing & Sales Controlling at IEF Werner GmbH. “We were surprised how many customers came with concrete projects and were looking for solutions. It was a brilliant re-launch of the Motek/Bondexpo, which was held as a presence trade fair from 05. to 08 October 2021 was held with great success in Stuttgart. The automation industry had been eagerly awaiting the 39th Motek – International Trade Fair for Production and Assembly Automation – and 14th Bondexpo – International Trade Fair for Adhesive Bonding Technology. The live event far exceeded the expectations of the exhibitors.

It was a goosebump moment when the fair gong sounded at nine o’clock on Tuesday morning. There was prolonged applause at many booths. Indeed: The fair is taking place, live and present, it is open. “Yes, we’re back!” exclaimed Bettina Schall, managing director of P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG to exhibitors, trade visitors and media representatives. On site, 453 exhibitors from 25 countries, 17 percent of them from abroad, were represented on 45,000 square meters of gross floor space. “My thanks go to all those who are present here today and are actively supporting the re-launch of the presence fair,” said project manager Rainer Bachert. The proven trade fair duo Motek/Bondexpo was not just a re-launch – it was a departure! “Motek 2021 completely exceeded our expectations,” sums up Ulrich Moser, Head of Marketing & Sales Controlling at IEF Werner GmbH. “We were surprised how many customers came with concrete projects and were looking for solutions. Finally, it’s possible to exchange ideas in person again.”

Arena of Integration as networking in action - "It's good for you!"

Motek/Bondexpo 2021 was one of the first major trade events after the trade fair-free period and was anticipated with correspondingly great anticipation. Now it became a complete success. From the very first hour, the trade show was characterized by intensive professional exchange at the exhibits. “Being here in person, networking, it’s good,” said Thomas Zettlmeier, technical sales at Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik. He demonstrated processes and the operation of a machine for hairpin production as part of the Arena of Integration (AoI) together with CMC Engineers. Visitors were able to experience a real-time 3D animation of a Hairpin machine configured to customer requirements. “We are lucky to be part of AoI here and already had many interested contacts on the morning of the first day of the fair and were able to respond to technical questions.

Also part of the AoI was thyssenkrupp Automation Engineering with an exhibit showing the functionality of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) – live at the production control of an assembly line as well as a digital twin of a battery assembly line controlled live by the MES. “It was superbly prepared,” said Stefan Fuchs, head of product management at thyssenkrupp Systeme Engineering GmbH, praising the organization of the AoI. “This initiative by the trade fair organizer was an excellent prelude to the presence trade fair for us, where we find exactly the target group we are looking for – that is medium-sized businesses, which can implement the ideal entry into digitized production with our pragmatic data management system ADM.”

Using examples from the sales process for customer-specific assembly technology, small batch and spare parts production with 3D printing, variant-flexible series assembly and intralogistics, the exhibits in the Arena of Integration made digitized, networked production processes visible and understandable. RAFI was also represented at the AoI with a system for production control of manual workstations using the example of a service call system that generates key operating figures. “AoI succeeded in linking different processes from different exhibitors,” said Axel Zauke, key account manager at RAFI.

"Here we meet the right people"

“The special thing about Motek is that we meet the right people here,” stated Dr.-Ing. Christian Löchte from Formhand GmbH. “This includes system integrators and customers who want to get into automated handling processes. They are all here, and that is why we feel comfortable here.” Formhand was represented in the start-up area and was highly satisfied with the lively and “fresh” exchange with visitors, who learned about the innovative gripper cushion and also wanted to touch it.

Also part of the start-up area was Pebot GmbH from Kalkar, which was represented at a trade fair for the first time and already had almost a dozen serious customer contacts on the first day. Also highly satisfied were the representatives of Smela GmbH from Magdeburg, who presented a compact, electric linear actuator that can be used in many industries in various applications. “We had an amazing amount of response and intensive discussions with trade visitors at our booth on all days of the trade fair,” said Florian Pflugfelder from the young company’s research and development department. With the start-up area, the trade fair organizer deliberately offered young companies a platform to initiate concrete industrial applications with their young ideas and product developments.

The implementation of the comprehensive hygiene concept of Messe Stuttgart, completely coordinated by the authorities and executed on the basis of the current, generally valid Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg, provided all participants with a suitable and safe framework for the live trade fair event. “This Motek/Bondexpo 2021 was a very special trade fair,” Bettina Schall sums up. “It has proven that presence trade fairs are indispensable! Because no format of virtual communication can replace face-to-face meetings in the capital goods industry and in the B-to-B sector. To all those involved, I thank you very much for making the Re-Start a success! Be invited all of you already today to the next Motek/Bondexpo from 04 to 07 October 2022 in Stuttgart!”