BIEMH: Machine tool and Advanced manufacturing

Mari Carmen Gorostiza,
director of the Machine Tool Biennial (BIEMH)

Mari Carmen Gorostiza has been working for the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC) for more than 25 years. Her career has always been linked to industrial trade fairs focused on metal-mechanical manufacturing (subcontracting, welding, smelting, machine tools, etc.). It was in 2012 when she was appointed director of the Machine Tool Biennial (BIEMH). During this interview, she explains a number of new development visitors will come across at this trade fair.

1.- The Spanish Machine Tool Biennial reaches its 30th edition. What role has been played by the Basque Country as a pole of development for the machine tool sector and industrial manufacturing business?

The Bilbao Exhibition Centre is deeply rooted in the Basque Country and has been firmly committed to supporting local companies and boosting the economy since it was born 60 years ago. Therefore, it is no coincidence that our trade fairs are closely connected to the industrial sector and stand alongside other European events with the support of a strong entrepreneurial and associative structure and a clear focus on exports and innovation in terms of services and products.

Thanks to a long-standing track record (dating back to 1961), the International Machine Tool Biennial is a highly prestigious event. It was born as the first monographic trade fair of the Machine tool business in Spain. Although we all know that trade fairs are fundamental in terms of commercial and internationalisation strategies for companies and that they give visibility to and contextualise different sectors, the effect is reciprocal. The sector itself lends strength to each call and, as we say at BIEMH, "you make it big". Clearly, our slogan “You make it big” is an allusion to the strength of our exhibitors, most of whom are based in the Basque Country.

When abroad, our sales pitch says that visiting BIEMH is much more than going to a trade fair as all the leading manufacturers are located in our area of influence, i.e., within a radius of approximately 100 kilometres. In fact, it is thanks to these companies that the next edition of BIEMH will be a very special occasion, not only because of reaching edition number 30 but also because it will be a major celebration of how companies have successfully dealt with the crisis and adapted their processes to these new times.

Our exhibitors occupy a solid position in the market thanks to their outstanding technological developments to be showcased, yet again, at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre starting on May 28. In my capacity as director of this trade fair since 2012 (although my involvement with industrial fairs dates back even further) I must say that I feel very proud of a sector that has endured and managed to cope with a very difficult financial situation by developing an amazing vision with regard to how the future has to be addressed.

2.- As IK4-TEKNIKER has regularly participated in the event it can be rated as a historic BIEMH participant. What could you say about the technology centre's track record at the trade fair?

Research centres are crucially important as regards boosting innovation and competitiveness applied to machine tools and industrial manufacturing. As far as IK4-TEKNIKER is concerned, both the organisers, exhibitors and visitors participating in the event, believe that this organisation's presence is not only very valuable but also represents a major technological contribution. Industry 4.0 has reinforced the competitive position of the most competitive companies and, in this particular scenario, technology centres are strategic players where ICTs can be developed and promoted. IK4-TEKNIKER's role as a driving force boosting knowledge transfers has transformed the organisation into a cornerstone to facilitate further growth and progress in a modern economy.

3.- Could you talk about some of the main innovations that will be showcased during this edition?

The Biennial is a “trade fair on manufacturing for manufacturing”, where innovation, as the true driving force behind Industry 4.0, will be one the key actors. All sectors shall be represented by leading companies that are already getting their cutting-edge technologies and services ready to make them more accessible for thousands of professionals from more than 50 countries that will be visiting the fair starting on the 28th and are concerned about obtaining as many benefits se possible from the so-called "Fourth Industrial Revolution". This year, for instance, there will be solutions on display related to components and fittings (26%), stock removal machinery (22%), tools (15%), forming machinery (14%), robotics and automation (9%), metrology and quality control (9%) and other machines (5%).

Hall 4, moreover, will be renamed "Hall 4.0" as it is where new manufacturing practices and approaches to differential space will be on display. BeDIGITAL is one of the new events addressing digital transformations in the industry. Digitisation was already present at BIEMH in recent editions. Henceforth, it will be possible to address issues related to this transversal tool during a monographic forum featuring an exhibition, lectures and sales presentations.

This space will also house ADDIT3D. The third edition of the International Exhibition on Additive Manufacturing and 3D will present a more extensive range of additive manufacturing equipment and machines for final parts and a number of very interesting developments connected to industrial applications as well as a programme of lectures. Additionally, the IMIC-Industrial Maintenance Innovation Conference will address Industry 4.0 principles and how they can be applied to predictive and advanced maintenance.

4.- What role will digitisation and Industry 4.0 play at the exhibition?

Over the years, the Machine Tool Biennial itself has been gradually transformed by all of these concepts to become Spain's biggest platform focused on advanced manufacturing. The influence of Industry 4.0 was already felt in previous editions through our commitment to further embrace this new scenario of smart manufacturing.

Although it is not the first time that we have assisted companies in their efforts to change, we are playing an active role and have witnessed significant transformations in the industrial world. I don't think I'm wrong if I say that the upcoming BIEMH will probably one of its most ambitious editions ever. Industry 4.0 is revolutionising production practices and the way services are offered. It also offers companies very interesting prospects in terms of growth and competitive improvements. I therefore hope that during these five days of BIEMH, BeDIGITAL, ADDIT3D, IMIC and WORKINN, the Forum on Industrial Training and Employment, we shall be able to deliver key elements to successfully manage the new "connected factory".