In its 72nd year, Hannover Messe (HMI), the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology, has officially kicked-off with the traditional opening speech on Sunday evening. In her speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel admonished that the European Union (EU) needs to become more competitive in next-generation industrial technologies and demanded reforms to the EU’s competition policy and the creation of an European industrial policy to keep Europe competitive. During her speech, Merkel also called for a quick agreement on a US-EU free trade agreement and announced closer collaboration with Sweden – this year’s partner country of Hannover Messe – on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and battery technology. Merkel indicated that she wants to continue to promote advancements in AI: “Yesterday’s AI strategy can no longer be sufficient for tomorrow.”
On Monday, the trade fair was officially opened by Angela Merkel and Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, who visited highlights of the trade fair during a joint tour. Among others, they took time to experience innovations and showcases from Siemens, Bosch, SAP, ABB and Ericsson at their respective booths, receiving insights on the Factory of the Future and on how AI can make business processes more automated and intelligent.
“Industrial Intelligence” is the central theme of 2019’s HMI, focusing on new opportunities and possibilities opened up by using artificial intelligence in industrial production. Over five days, from April 1 to 5, the fair will feature 6,500 companies from 75 nations. The trade fair’s organizers expect a total of 200,000 visitors.
2019 partner country – Sweden
Internationally, Sweden has long been regarded as a prime example of a progressive and innovative nation, that is open to new technologies. At Hannover Messe, Swedish companies are proving it to be true. Among the Swedish exhibitors are multinational corporations like Ericsson, ABB, Tetra Pak and SKF as well as start-ups and research institutes. The “Sweden Co-Lab” pavilion displays Sweden as a global leader in smart industry, automation, digitization, IoT and AI, with a value creation chain ranging from R&D and smart production to sales and recycling.
First news and highlights from the floor
5G for industry – No industrial revolution without 5G
The rollout of 5G, the new standard for mobile communication, has already begun. But not just companies from the telecommunications industry see great business potential in it as 5G will also include frequencies that are reserved for industrial use. The new 5G standard will be a prerequisite for the industrial use of artificial intelligence.
This week, HMI brings 5G to life: Nokia and Qualcomm are setting up a real, functional 5G network in a 5G test field – the “5G Arena” – made of eight showcases open to visitors. The exhibitors showcase future industrial applications running on a live 5G network. For visitors, the 5G Arena will be the first time they have ever had the chance to experience 5G in action in an industrial setting and gain an understanding of its benefits.
Among the 5G Arena highlights is an online process control system for the auto industry, created by Zeiss. The Zeiss AICell measures all key characteristics of every single car body component as it passes through the production line, thereby delivering much more accurate and reliable process monitoring and control data than random testing.
To strengthen their existing collaboration, ABB and Ericsson today signed of on a Memorandum of Understanding to establish their joint vision for the future of flexible production with advanced automation and wireless communication. To realize the benefits of Industry 4.0 and 5G, the two companies will continue their strong research collaboration and invest in manufacturing processes and automation to unlock new business opportunities.
This week, Ericsson is also showing a wireless production robot interacting with visitors. The robot is equipped with sensors that are connected via a 5G network. This enables data transmission almost in real-time. The data from the sensors can be read out directly and the robot can react to the people in its environment. As soon as a visitor stretches his hand in the direction of the robot, it detects this and hands a pack of mint sweets to the visitor. In the future, robots and employees will work hand in hand – but for smooth collaboration, real-time interaction is required. The key to this is 5G technology with low latency and high network stability.
Bosch Rexroth’s lineup of exhibits includes a mobile control panel which enables human-robot collaboration and integrates industrial ethernet via 5G.
Collaboration between Human and Machine
The human hand with its unique combination of power, dexterity and fine motor skills is a true miracle tool of nature. What could be more natural than equipping robots in collaborative workspaces with a gripper that is modelled based on this natural model and can learn to solve various tasks through artificial intelligence? Automation-expert Festo is showing a BionicSoftHand, a pneumatic robot hand which is modeled after the human hand. The BionicSoftHand is pneumatically operated so that it can interact safely and directly with people. Using artificial intelligence, the bionic robot hand learns to independently master gripping and turning tasks. Combined with the BionicSoftArm, a pneumatic lightweight robot, these concepts of the future are suitable for human-robot collaboration.
Industry 4.0 – Digital Annealer
Quantum computers have the potential to change the IT world forever due to their much higher computing power compared to conventional computers. But so far, quantum computers have usually only been found in research laboratories because of their complex technology.
This year, Fujitsu focuses on new possibilities for the manufacturing industry. One key innovation shown is Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer, which solves complex, combinatorial optimization problems instantly, providing a bridge to the quantum world without the complexities and environmental impact of quantum computers. Solutions such as the Digital Annealer make these quantum computing effects easy to use for companies. Visitors of HMI can witness the Digital Annealer in action showing how the manufacturing industry can benefit from process optimization.
Leveraging technologies such as digital twins and AI, Siemens has created a large array of displays for a broad variety of verticals. One of the booth’s highlights is the latest NX software. This intelligent software can help to increase productivity by predicting next steps and keeping users up to date through an interface.
Factory of the future
From building the Factory of the future to creating the winning formula for e-mobility, ABB presents how increasingly smart digital technologies are coming together to transform the way we power, produce, work, live and move. The Factory of the future demonstrates how the company is making mass customization a reality today.
Another elemental part of the Factory of the future are robot-based technologies and their integration throughout the production process. FANUC is showcasing a variety of collaborative robots for different use cases from spot welding to painting. Additionally, its IoT platform FIELD and the iRProgrammer software show easy ways to program and integrate robots in the factory.
German software giant SAP demonstrates how software can help manufacturers leverage Industry 4.0 technologies to offer customers seamless integration, collaboration and transparency throughout the entire supply chain. The “design to operate” display revolves around the journey of a double seat valve from its design to operation and is the result of a collaboration of 25 partners, including emerging start-ups and industry leaders.
As autonomous vehicles are set to shape the future look of our roads, SEW‑EURODRIVE is working on the future of the auto plant. In Hanover, the drive technology manufacturer shows its newest automation solutions for the automotive industry to path the way to the Smart Factory.
This has been the first HMI 2019 daily report. Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow…