Looking forward to GIFA 2019

As focus begins to shift towardthe most important international exhibition for the foundry industry – GIFA/NEWCAST/METEC/THERMPROCESS 2019 (GMTN) – that takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany from the 25th to the 29th June 2019, I encourage the South African foundry industry to attend this exhibition and its accompanying conferences.

During my career I have been very fortunate to attend many international exhibitions and conferences pertaining to metalworking and foundry operations in several different countries. In fact I attended my first international exhibition in Germany way back in 1989 and my first visit to GMTN was in June 1994. Aside from the education that travel provides, attending and seeing first-hand what is new and on offer from the suppliers and service organisations that are exhibiting, you are able to garner information from experts on where your industry is heading, and this invaluable information will set the tone for your business going forward.

Based on my two recent trips – one at the end of October (EuroBLECH sheet metal exhibition in Hannover, Germany) and the other at the beginning of November (JIMTOF machine tool exhibition in Tokyo, Japan) – cannot emphasise my point even more. In the last few years Industry 4.0, IoT, additive manufacturing, 3D printing and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have been the focus of every second editorial article, whether it appears in an engineering magazine or on the Internet.

I know you are saying it is out there and we will get around to grasping what these new technologies are all about in time. Well they are now here in a big way. There has been a noticeable advancement in manufacturers incorporating these ‘new’ technologies into their product offerings. Many exhibitors at both these international exhibitions demonstrated how well the industry is prepared for digitalisation and how these new technologies can be used within a manufacturing environment.

But it was not just these front-of-mind topics that stood out for me. Automation has been on the agenda for many manufacturing companies for several years. But it was the autonomous operation of robotics incorporated into the different processes of manufacturing that really stood out for me. The big data that is being digested, processed and assimilated into the robots’ processing systems has taken giant leaps. After all a robot is just a piece of metal. But it is what you instruct it to do and what you equip it that make up the critical components.

Therefore I am emphasising again that to get an overview of the latest innovations and digital technologies for the foundry industry you have to attend GMTN 2019. Castings SA and Trade Fair Tours have again teamed up to offer you some attractive flight and hotel packages to attend GMTN 2019. There are five options to choose from ranging in price from 332 euro per person sharing for four nights – the more economical option – to 1 095 euro per person sharing for five nights at the more upmarket four-star Indigo Hotel. All of the hotels chosen are within close distance for free and efficient transport – yes free for visitors to travel to the exhibition as long as you have an entrance ticket – that at most should not take you more than 45 minutes in total to travel to Messe Düsseldorf. Please note that these prices are for hotel accommodation (breakfast included) only. Trade Fair Tours can arrange flights or you can book directly yourself. All other costs are for your own account.

Further details are in the International News section of the magazine or you can visit the Trade Fair Tours website. With hotel accommodation coming at a premium during the exhibition and as there could be 200 plus South African visitors attending, hotel accommodation will be booked on a first paid basis.

On that note I would like to wish all my readers and clients well over the forthcoming summer break and all the best for 2019.