Workpieces capable of navigating factories on their own. Factory employees working hand-in-hand with robotic colleagues. Plant and machinery which can immediately spot and automatically remedy errors as they occur. Products perfectly tailored to specific customer requirements. “This is the shape of things to come,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe. “And, when the gates are open on HANNOVER MESSE 2015, we will all be several major strides closer to turning such visions into realities.”
Visitors to the world’s largest industrial technology show will be able to see how far industry has progressed towards the fully integrated factory. According to Köckler, “Hannover is the springboard for Industry 4.0 technologies that are set to revolutionize the manufacturing industries worldwide. Some 6,500 exhibitors will use HANNOVER MESSE to showcase state-of-the-art production and energy technologies, innovative industrial subcontracting solutions, and the latest advances in Industry 4.0 R&D. There’s a huge need for information among industrial decision-makers.”
Bringing together all the various industries involved in these networks, HANNOVER MESSE’s lead theme for this year’s show is ‘Integrated Industry – Join the Network. Among much else, visitors at HANNOVER MESSE will witness fully functional digitally networked production plants as they manufacture products before their eyes.
“For the first time, there will be a host of ready-to-install Industry 4.0 solutions to choose from, which shows that ‘integrated industry’ is a living, breathing reality,” Köckler added. Another key highlight at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 will be robots that can work alongside humans without the need for any protective barriers or cages. Köckler: “A major part of the Industry 4.0 technology lineup is a new generation of robotic ‘co-workers’ with highly developed visual and tactile senses. These machines can work right next to humans as part of a team and relieve them of physically taxing tasks.” 3D printing technology is also an integral part of the Industry 4.0 trend. At HANNOVER MESSE, visitors will see first-hand how additive manufacturing can be used to make and finish one-off products. Energy systems, too, are getting smarter. They have to, because only intelligent systems can coordinate electricity, gas and heating supply networks in a way that optimizes available capacity. Known as smart grid technologies, these types of systems also play a key role at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE.
But Industry 4.0 is not just about technology. The primary impact of changed work processes and new, data-centric business models will be on humans.
“In order for Industry 4.0 to be a success, it needs broad-based acceptance by trade unions, lawmakers and society in general,” sys Köckler. At the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE, the German government and key German industry associations will jointly outline their strategy for achieving integrated production.
India, one of the world’s most important up-and-coming economic powers, is the official Partner Country of this year’s HANNOVER MESSE. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is widely regarded in India as a champion of economic development and progress. His “Make in India” initiative aims to increase India’s attractiveness as a manufacturing location and to boost the competitiveness of Indian products. Companies that already have or plan to have manufacturing operations in India can learn more about the Modi government’s economic policy plans in Hannover. Together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially open HANNOVER MESSE 2015 on the evening of 12 April, before taking part in the traditional opening-day tour of the show on 13 April. Over 400 Indian companies are participating at this year’s fair. Their exhibits will have a strong focus on industrial subcontracting and energy technology.
This year, HANNOVER MESSE is more international than ever before, as 56% of the 6,500 participating exhibitors come from outside Germany. China alone is fielding over 900 exhibitors, making it second only to Germany as the strongest exhibiting nation and putting it ahead of Italy, India and Turkey.