The Cobots Are Coming, IoT Security, Smart Factory and ... Mexico! (HMI Daily Digest 2018 – Day 1)

The Growing Significance of the Hannover Messe (HMI)

Established in 1947, the HMI has become the world’s largest industrial technology fair. With 6,500 exhibitors and 225,000 visitors from all over the world in 2017, and even more expected for 2018, the technology show is profiting from digitization trends, the need for ever greater automation and industry 4.0 applications.

The interaction between man and machine is the determining theme of the HMI 2018, exemplified by this year’s official topic “Connect & Collaborate”.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have officially opened the Hannover Messe (HMI), where the global manufacturing giants and the IT industry meet to show new innovations and the future of production. In the upcoming days, our HMI Daily News Digest will keep you informed about the latest announcements, innovations, trends and their impact on the industry.


Open trade

On Sunday, April 22, Angela Merkel and Enrique Peña Nieto joined the colorful and vivid ceremony, to open this year’s HMI. In their respective speeches, both praised open trade: “We believe multilateral cooperation can add value for everyone and that’s why we’re advocating global trade that is as free as possible and which is based on common rules,” Merkel said. She also praised an agreement reached between the EU and Mexico on Saturday to upgrade a 2000 free-trade deal as “really good news for Europe, for Germany and for Mexico”. The agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

As the HMI’s official partner country, Mexico will have the opportunity to present its new technologies, investment opportunities, innovative growth strategies and research projects to the shakers and movers of the global manufacturing industry.


Trends and Topics at the HMI 2018

Here’s a short overview of the seven main trends that define the HMI 2018:

1. Robotics

They are balancing cars in the air and filling up beer kegs: robots are traditionally an eye-catcher in the exhibition halls. The sales figures are booming. According to the IFR, the number of robots sold last year has risen by 18 percent to 346,000. Especially small, sensitive collaborative robots are high in demand on the market.

2. 3D Printing

3D printing is being included in more and more industries. Initially, the technology was only used to produce individual prototypes but this has changed dramatically. Lower costs and a better understanding of the strengths of 3D printing have contributed to a massive influx of these machines, being included in the manufacturing processes of today.

3. IoT Platforms

Big data is the blood which fuels the smart factory. As machines gather more and more data and seamlessly send them to the cloud, data analytics enable optimizations of manufacturing operations and help develop new disruptive business models. Currently, there are about two dozen Internet-of-things (IoT) platforms, but experts expect a harsh consolidation. With ‘Mindsphere’ Siemens hopes to become one of quasi-standards for the IoT world.

4. Blockchain

The technology enables industrial companies to document every step in the production chain in a fraud resistant manner. “Smart contracts” can be closed via blockchain, which, for example, allows invoices to be paid partially in accordance with the delivery status. The industrial application of the blockchain is still in its infancy – but large corporations such as Shell, which recently acquired the London-based company Applied Blockchain, have high hopes for the technology.

5. The Smart Factory

Following IoT, digitization and Industry 4.0, Artificial intelligence is the ultimate buzzword at this year’s HMI. In recent years, companies have connected their production lines and factories. Now, it is important to gain new insights from the mined data – for example with the help of machine learning. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 90 percent of industry managers want to use artificial intelligence over the next three years. However, almost 70 percent also state that their companies lack the skills to get it implemented quickly. A lot of IT companies that have a booth at the show are fighting hard to fill this gap.

6. IT Security

Feared but underestimated: Many machine manufacturers are aware of the danger of cyber-attacks, but do too little about it. This is demonstrated by a survey which was conducted by the industry association VDMA. Many companies operate with outdated protection, and in a lot of cases, the responsibility for IT security is not clearly regulated. Additionally, only 12 percent of companies have an insurance that cover damages caused by cyber-attacks. The HMI exhibitors approach the problem from different angles. Deutsche Telekom, for example, will present a marketplace for secure data exchange, called the “Telekom Data Intelligence Hub”. Moreover, several Fraunhofer Institutes (Biggest German scientific institutions) are at the show presenting the “Industrial Data Space”, where secure data exchange is the main topic.

7. E-Mobility

Another focus lies on the preparation of electricity grids for e-mobility. “We are in the midst of two major changes: the industrial revolution and the energy revolution,” said ABB CEO Sami Atiya at the show. Amongst other new products, ABB is presenting an electric Formula E racing car. Eleven races are planned in cities across the globe– including Berlin on May 19. A new electric car charging module will be able to charge a car with a range of 300 kilometers within just twelve minutes.


First news from the floor

Other notable first public announcements from the show floor included KUKA. The major German robotics producer is showcasing some of the most modern cobots, which are specifically designed to work alongside humans. Additionally KUKA is launching  the next step in intelligent production under the motto “industrial intelligence 4.0 beyond automation”.

Cisco shows how they can deliver the fundamental elements for manufacturers to improve business operations through Industry 4.0 applications, while securing operational integrity, and intellectual property from the factory to the enterprise.

This year, Fujitsu focuses on Digital Manufacturing, implementing an IoT Infrastructure and Intelligent Mobility 2025.

Interested in more news on site? Then read the field report from Day 2 3D-Printing, A.I., Intelligent Forklift and Robot vs. Human Table Tennis and Day 3 Cryptocurrencies for the Internet of Things.