Hannover Messe Preview - The fourth industrial revolution beckons…

Published:  06 March, 2015

The world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology –Hannover Messe - returns to Hannover, Germany between 13-17th April 2015. PWE reports.

“Is my organisation ready for the fourth industrial revolution? That’s the big question that CEOs and plant managers are currently asking themselves”, comments Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe, organiser of the Hannover Messe.

The fourth industrial revolution –referred to as Industry 4.0 – will bring major change to energy systems and industrial production models. In factories, there will be a shift away from mass production as customers increasingly demand customised products – albeit at the same low prices they currently enjoy for mass-produced goods. Energy grids will also need to become smarter so that they can optimally balance and use available power, gas and heat capacity from a wide range of sources. The answer to these challenges is ‘Integrated Industry’ – the intelligent digital networking and integration of industrial systems and processes.

Integrated Industry is about enabling machines and work pieces to communicate with one another. This, in turn, will allow entire production lines to autonomously and dynamically re-configure themselves, thereby making small-batch and one-off production in large-scale plants commercially viable.

Dr. Köckler explains: “Industry is in the early stages of a revolution known as Industry 4.0. It’s a phenomenon that has skyrocketed to the top of the agenda in industrial thinking over the past two years. Meanwhile, there is an enormous information vacuum, and most companies still don’t know what they need to do in order to be ready for Industry 4.0. What they need to do, of course, is form close networks with all stakeholders involved in their production processes. Hannover Messe 2015, with its lead theme of ‘Integrated Industry - Join the Network!’, will show them how.”

The key challenges of the fourth industrial revolution – such as achieving universal standards for machine-to-machine communication, maintaining data security and finding new business models – can be mastered only through collective endeavour in networks. This requires effective dialogue and cooperation between the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT sectors. The enormous potential that all sectors of industry can unleash through this sort of integration will be on show at Hannover.

Visitors to the fair will witness digitally networked production plants, smart grid technologies, new production processes, such as 3D printing, and next-generation industrial robots live in action. They will see collaborative robots with sensor systems so advanced that they can work right alongside their human counterparts without any safety barriers. They will also see IT-based automation solutions that will bring fundamental change to all in-factory processes. Also on display will be smart technologies that manage and coordinate power, gas and heat networks so that capacity can be balanced and optimally deployed across the entire energy system. In addition, visitors will be able to watch as additive manufacturing systems (3D printers) make individualised products in front of them. These technologies and themes will be explored in even greater depth in the 1000-plus supporting forums and guided tours on offer at the fair.

Hannover Messe will also examine the social and political dimensions of Industry 4.0. That’s because the primary impact of the changed work processes and new, data-centric business models sparked by Industry 4.0 will be on people. Köckler highlighted: “In order for Industry 4.0 to be a success, it needs broad-based acceptance by trade unions, lawmakers and society generally. We therefore encourage industry stakeholders to use Hannover Messe as an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and hence foster openness and transparency on all matters relating to integrated industry.”

Dr. Köckler believes Hannover Messe will play a pivotal role in the fourth industrial revolution, commenting that “the revolution starts in Hannover”, He added all sectors of industry exhibit at the event: “That’s everything, from industrial automation and energy to industrial supply, power transmission and control and R&D. No other event of its kind anywhere in the world provides such comprehensive coverage. Only at Hannover Messe can visitors gain such in-depth insights into tomorrow’s integrated factories and energy systems. The fair’s scope ranges from individual Industie-4.0-ready components right through to complete automation solutions.”

Hannover Messe will place a strong emphasis on Industrial Automation and IT, Power Transmission and control, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Industrial Subcontracting, Production Engineering and Services and Research & Development.

The event consists of ten fairs:

Industrial Automation • Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) • Energy • Wind • MobiliTec • Digital Factory • ComVac • Industrial Supply • Surface Technology • Research & Technology.

For further information please visit: www.hannovermesse.de

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