By Bill Lydon, Editor
Hannover Messe 2011 was larger than any other in the last 10 years, with more than 230,000 visitors. More than 6,500 businesses from 65 countries came to Hannover to display their solutions. The attendance numbers represent a growth of 10 to 15 percent over the comparable 2009 event. In 2010, the Icelandic volcano erupted right before Hannover Messe, and had a major impact on attendance. Show management noted that this year one in every three visitors was a member of top management, marking a 20 percent increase in this category.
The Hannover grounds have 496,000 square meters of covered indoor space (over 5.3 million square feet) and 58,000 square meters of open-air space with 27 halls and pavilions.
“This year’s event in Hannover has given industry a real boost, powering it up to drive the economic recovery,” commented Deutsche Messe Managing Board Chairman Dr. Wolfram von Fritsch at the end-of-show press conference in Hannover on Friday, April 8. “This HANNOVER MESSE has generated even more momentum for industry as the force behind the economic upswing.”
The opening ceremony is a pre-fair celebration complete with entertainment, political speeches, Hermes Award presentation, and reception. The 2011 partner country was France.
FESTO SmartBirds caught everyone’s attention at the beginning of the opening ceremony. The bionic SmartBirds, inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously. Consistent with the Hannover Fair themes, the SmartBirds are extremely lightweight for efficiency in resource and energy consumption. By analyzing SmartBird’s flow characteristics during the course of its development, Festo has acquired additional knowledge for the optimization of its product solutions and has learned to design more efficiently.
Festo SmartBird Youtube Video
Professor Wolfgang Wahlster, Director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, addressed the audience about how to be successful in a high wage region with global competition. “That means we must be in shape for the 4th industrial revolution that is being driven by the internet,” said Wahlster. “The internet of things is creating a bridge between the virtual and the real world.” He noted that in industry this approach is leading to a paradigm shift – it is the product being created itself that controls the production process and uses embedded sensors to monitor the relevant environmental parameters and if there are any disturbances in production, take remedial action. A key part of this concept is embedded information in the products as they move through production that enables fully flexible make-to-order manufacturing.
Professor Wahlster discussed how Germany has defined Industry 4.0 that focuses on the development steps towards the “Internet of Things” as Cyber-Physical Systems incorporating embedded Sensor-Actuator Systems with semantic M2M (Machine to Machine) Communication and active Product Memories. The goals are control of the full value chains of production in near real time and very high resolution with networking of technological and business processes. An example of efforts in this area is a W3C draft, “OMM Event Logging Draft” that is being proposed by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.
On February 10, 2011 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) opened its German-Austrian office in Berlin at the location of DFKI, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence.
Founded in 1988, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence has a range of projects including application-oriented basic research to market- and client-oriented design of product functions. Currently more than 400 employees from 46 countries are conducting research focusing on knowledge management, multi-agent technology, simulated reality, language technology, intelligent user interfaces, image understanding, pattern recognition, robotics, safe and secure cognitive systems, augmented vision and information systems. The financial budget in 2010 was more than 36 million Euros. The organization has over 50 professorships of former DFKI employees, and 57 spin-off companies. http://www.dfki.de/web.
Prime Minister of France
François Charles Amand Fillon, Prime Minister of France, addressed the audience by saying, “…competition from emerging economies is formable and requires a burst of competiveness.” “In the future, the conditions for progress will still be called innovation, education, the professional quality of employees and a social and democratic consensus.”
“France has made innovation one of the strategic pillars of its competitiveness. We have developed 71 clusters of excellence that promote networking and collaboration between big companies, SMEs (small and medium enterprises), and research laboratories. We have tripled the tax credit for research projects. Foreign investors in France have applauded this because it reduces their investment in R&D expenses by 30%. France is now the number one country in Europe for the establishment of research centers and finally we’ve launched an exceptional program for investments for the future that earmarks 35 billion Euros to the knowledge economy. Universities, research, industry and new technologies, digital technologies, biotechnologies, sustainable development – these will be the great beneficiaries of this – including contributions from companies in total of 65 billion Euros for investments in the future.”
On the Japanese tsunami and nuclear crisis he noted, “I would like to reiterate here in Hannover the extent to which France feels solidarity to the Japanese people, how we are at the side of this courageous people, this dignified people, this creative people which I am sure will be able to get back up and move forward again.” “We all have a job to draw the necessary lessons from the disaster in Fukushima.” He noted that all nuclear power plants in Europe will be subjected to stringent stress test by independent groups and they will take action on the results.
Over 220 French companies were at Hannover Messe 2011 to present products and technologies in the areas of mobility, clean energy, sustainable industrial processes and materials. The 450 square meter “Espace Prestige France” stand in Hall 13 featured displays of R&D projects for CO2-reducing solutions and energy-efficient technologies. The auto maker Citroën displayed its electric cars in a special exhibition area.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, commented that the Fukushima incident demonstrates that, “… things that seem to be practically impossible on the basis of scientific findings are possible after all.” “Fukushima has really lent new significance to the term residual risk. It was taken to be calculable and controllable but now it signifies real danger. Countries not affected by the disaster must not ignore this.” She noted that the Fukushima disaster forced us all to ask new questions. On March 15, 2011 the German government announced plans to shut down seven of the country’s aging nuclear power plants pending a safety review in light of recent events in Japan. The power stations that went in before 1980 were taken off the grid until stress tests can be performed.
Merkel emphasized, “Ladies and gentlemen, the era of renewable energy has always been important here at the Hannover Fair – energy efficiency, and renewable energy…this is everyday business at Hannover Fair.” “The number of exhibitors in this area has increased by a factor of 10.”
The Chancellor stressed the German government commitment to technology, “Ladies and gentlemen, we started an innovation dialog in Germany combining the partners of innovation, offering advice, and consultancy services, through the federal government.”
François Fillon, Prime Minister of France, and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, enjoying opening ceremony entertainment.
The Hermes award is a prize for technological achievement, and this year’s winner is Krautzberger GmbH based in Eltville, Germany. The company received the award for an innovative steam spraying system. With this technology, atomization is effected by steam instead of the more conventional compressed air. Krautzberger’s adoption of steam as the atomizing medium for paints, adhesives, glazes and varnishes is a world first. The use of steam results in a smoother, more even coating and offers reduced overspray, giving a higher-quality finish. These benefits are combined with significant savings in coating material (up to 25 per cent) and energy consumption (up to 50 per cent). At the same time, operating personnel benefit from the reduced noise levels. Furthermore, the drying process takes less time, resulting in a further reduction in energy costs. Altogether it amounts to a big step forward in environment-friendly production processes. As well as conserving resources, the new technology also poses less of a health risk to workers.
Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, Germany’s Federal Minister for Education and Research; Winner of the Hermes Award – Holger Weidmann, CEO Krautzberger GmbH; David McAllister, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony; and Dr. Wolfram von Fritsch, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Messe AG
Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister for Education and Research, in her address commented, “Krautzberger GmbH is a perfect example of a relatively small company driving technology, which despite the economic downturn has managed to stay on course with good ideas, discipline and a real commitment to business success.” “And today that company has been awarded this distinguished prize for a uniquely innovative technology with great commercial potential.”
Hannover Fair Scope
The scope and size of Hannover Fair is tremendous with 13 different trade fairs on the Hannover grounds. The 13 trade fairs included:
- Industrial Automation – Process, factory and building automation.
- Motion, Drive & Automation – Electrical and mechanical power transmission and control along with advances in hydraulics and pneumatics.
- Energy – Energy topics including conventional and renewable power generation, transmission and distribution systems.
- Power Plant Technology – Power plant design, systems, operation and maintenance.
- Wind – Manufacturers, component and service providers, plant operators and project funders. First introduced in 2009, Wind Fair is biennial with the next one to be held at Hannover Messe in 2013.
- MobiliTec – Showcased manufacturers of hybrid and electric powertrain technologies as well as battery makers and providers of alternative mobility technology. Out on the open-air site, visitors were able to take a test drive in electric vehicles of every description.
- Digital Factory – Highlighted the role of IT in driving industrial productivity.
- ComVac – ComVac is held every two years as an international meeting point for manufacturers of compressors and compressed air systems and producers of vacuum equipment and pumps.
- Industrial Supply – Displays focused on lightweight construction and subcontracting options for maximum material and cost efficiency.
- CoilTechnica – This year featured the second CoilTechnica as a fair for subcontractors offering special types of electrical technology for industrial applications. Over 100 leading manufacturers of coils, electric motors, generators and transformers were on hand to display their innovations.
- Surface Technology – The Surface Technology Forum devoted its four “Material Days” to surface technology innovations for glass and ceramics, polymers, metal and wood.
- MicroNanoTec – Displayed latest advances in micro- and nanotechnology, including laser systems for micro-materials processing. Another major topic was energy harvesting for energy autonomous systems.
- Research & Technology – Technology transfer is the focus for the Research & Technology hall.
Young People Initiative
Together with the German government, the organizers of Hannover Messe for the fifth year sponsored the TectoYou pavilion and activities. TectoYou is a long-term initiative aimed at getting young people interested in technology and encouraging them to pursue careers in engineering and other technical areas. TectoYou events are attended by school classes and student groups from across Germany that travel to Hannover in coaches sponsored by partner companies. During the five days of the Hannover Messe, the TectoYou program offers guided tours of selected stands and one-to-one contact with the representatives of exhibiting companies. The groups are assisted throughout the day by specially trained guides who coordinate with the accompanying teachers to ensure that participants benefit from high-quality, useful information and experiences.
Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, Germany’s Federal Minister for Education and Research, talking to students during TectoYou.
Students develop technical projects and demonstrate them at TectoYou.
TectoYou provides an initial idea of the various careers in the technology sector, with guided tours serving as a valuable touch point between young people and industrial companies.
New at Hannover Fair this year was the Metropolitan Solutions area which showcased intelligent solutions for large cities and metropolitan areas. Metropolitan Solutions presented four core areas of urban innovations: energy infrastructure, water/wastewater, building infrastructure and mobility. Roughly half of the world’s population now lives in an urban environment. By the middle of the 21st century, this proportion will have risen to more than two-thirds. Towns and cities already account for more than two-thirds of global energy consumption and more than 70% of carbon emissions. At the same time, the growing numbers of residents increase the demand for modern urban infrastructure. Urbanization and modernization will be the main driving forces for infrastructure worldwide. The Metropolitan Solutions exhibition illustrated how urban infrastructure can be built or adapted on a sustainable basis.
I will be highlighting various items from the Hannover Fair in other upcoming articles but these are first impressions relative to automation. Future articles will be elaborate on these trends:
- Integration –Integration of more control functions – one single controller including drives, pneumatics, hydraulics, vision, and robot control.
- Energy – Controls and automation solutions are incorporating ways to do manufacturing more efficiently and optimize operations to save energy.
- Performance – Controls are being designed for higher speed and synchronized manufacturing.
- Panel Free Installation – There were many products introduced for panel free installation.
- Industrial Protocols in Silicon – More industrial protocols are being committed to silicon.