The market for commercial vehicles has seen non-stop growth in recent years, especially in Europe. The industry association ACEA estimates that around 2.08 million new trucks, vans, and buses were approved in the EU in the past year. This represents growth of more than 12 percent on the previous year. Demand for heavy vehicles with more than 16 metric tons was especially high. For the manufacturers, however, this positive development goes hand in hand with a growing technological challenge.
Words by Markus Isgro
The customers are demanding mobility solutions that are more precisely tailored to their fields of operation. For example, alternative drive systems and more efficient conventional drives are both becoming increasingly important. The indirect consequence is that product cycles in production are becoming shorter and shorter; the number of part families being produced is also rising in many plants. The implications for the manufacturing technology used can be seen in the example of the VMC 450 MT: This vertical turning/milling center from EMAG Leipzig Maschinenfabrik offers an unprecedented level of flexibility. A multitude of large and complex chucked parts can be machined on it in rapid alternation -- made possible by keeping setup work to a minimum.