No material has been as important as metal in humanity’s control over its environment. Since ancient history, metal processing and metal forming have shaped and advanced technological and cultural innovation as well as competitive advantage. Until today metal forming has remained an important pillar for technology and innovation.
What are the drivers for metal forming and technological development today and tomorrow? Which global challenges are calling for innovative solutions? How can sustainable innovation be best achieved?
Contemporary and future technologies are characterized by demands for ultra-high precision, multi-functionality, the integration of smart components, miniaturization, enhanced safety, customization and improved sustainability and resource efficiency. This all has a profound impact on requirements for metal forming, machine tools and production processes. Other key innovation drivers are advancements in Industrie 4.0/IOT, Artificial Intelligence, simulation tools and the new paradigm of the »Biological Transformation« that can leverage metal forming onto a new level, e.g. for optimized resource efficiency, temperature control, waste and error reduction and superior designs for efficiency gains.
Especially in domains close to industry, like metal forming, applied research plays a very important role for innovation-transfer, because of the translating role between new scientific discoveries and actual implementation in real industrial processes. This process is also reflected in the domain of Informed Machine Learning, where a collaboration between theoretical knowledge, big data applications and industrial domain expertise is necessary to tackle optimization strategies for industrial processes, like metal forming.
Demand for metal forming is also likely to grow in high-innovation areas like energy and environmental technologies, medical equipment, aerospace and new mobility and automotive concepts with a focus on electric drives, lightweight materials and integrated intelligent functions. However, the application areas and technological products that involve metal forming are also related to priorities in trade, industry and innovation policy. The shift to renewable energy technologies and the emphasis on resource and energy efficiency, carbon-emission reduction and climate goals can be named as examples for major future-oriented drivers.