6/25/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

Index Eyes US, Chinese Automotive Market, Focuses on Digitalization

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All signs are pointing toward growth: Index Corp. is on an expansion course in all of its markets, Dr. Dirk Prust, managing director, technology at Index said during the company's recent open house in Reichenbach, Germany. With a share of 52 percent, Germany is still the biggest market for the company, but Index intends to change that and hopes to be a much more global company, according to Dr. Prust.

"We seek to expand massively, especially in Asia and the Americas, with a focus on application engineering and automation,” says Reiner Hammerl, managing director, sales.

One of the reasons why Asia—and especially China—is a focus market for Index is the fact that China has not only increased its lead in electric-vehicle production; it is also by far the biggest producer of vehicles overall, showing an upward trend, Mr. Hammerl says. "Therefore, there will still be a substantial business potential for suppliers and machine tool manufacturers in the field of conventional powertrains.

“Powertrains are getting more complex, which in turn requires an increase of 15 percent of machining over the next one to three years,” Mr. Hammerl says. “As a result, we do not need to be worried in the short term, but we have to look ahead and prepare for changing market conditions.”

Preparing for the future means to keep pace with current trends, including highly productive multi-spindle machines, automation and Industry 4.0. As a result, the Index open house, held from April 24-27, in Reichenbach, Germany, was all about digital integration.

Index has been engaging in digitalization for years. After the introduction of the Index Virtual Machine/VPro and Traub WinFlexIPS, which provide a virtual machine in the form of a digital 1-to-1 copy, Index has now developed “iXworld.”

Another example is connecting the machines through an edge computer. It collects the acquired data (from the controller as well as from fixed and mobile sensors), performs some pre-processing, if necessary, and sends it to the processing software in the cloud precisely as required. By selecting specific apps, the customer decides which data is transferred to the cloud, according to Mr. Bothe. iXworld is used through the four available portals iXplore, iXshop, iXservices, and iX4.0.

Some new products on the show floor were demonstrating the company’s approach to digitalization: Index was showcasing the sliding headstock automatic lathe Traub TNL20 in various equipment levels, including the optional integrated iXcenter robot cell.