Dr. Jochen Köckler, chairman of the managing board of the Deutsche Messe group of companies (pictured, right, with Festo portfolio projects consultant Nina Gaissert and Eko S. A. Cahyanto, representative of the ministry of industry of Indonesia, the fair’s partner country this year). Köckler reports: “Carbon-neutral production, artificial intelligence, hydrogen technologies, energy management and Industry 4.0 – those are the overarching themes of Hanover Messe 2023. Only the interplay of these technologies will make it possible to sustainably safeguard our prosperity and at the same time drive climate protection forward.”
From 17-21 April, some 4,000 companies from the mechanical engineering, electrical and digital industries as well as the energy sector will showcase solutions for production and the energy supply of the future. They include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, SAP, Siemens, Bosch, Nokia and Schneider Electric, as well as medium-sized technology leaders like Beckhoff, Festo, Harting, ifm, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rittal and SEW. Participating research institutes include the Fraunhofer and the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) as well as more than 300 start-ups.
“Wireless communication systems are going to be among the most important building blocks on the road to the digital transformation of industry in the coming years. Much of the success lies in strengthening a cross-industry dialogue, which ensures that the specifics and needs of industry are taken into account in every possible way,” says Reinhard Heister, managing director of the VDMA Wireless Communications for Machines working group.
VDMA, ZVEI and Deutsche Messe will be jointly presenting the “Industrial Wireless Arena + 5G Networks & Applications” to provide a practical illustration of how it all works.
Turning to new technologies, industry in the past was focused on use cases in which errors or anomalies were detected or prognostications were made. In 2023, it is focusing on the optimisation of processes and the use of AI methods for simulation, testing and product development, say the show organisers.
For example, on 18 April. UK-based firm Monolith AI will present its solution for simulation in mechanical engineering as part of the Industrial AI event on the Industrial Transformation Stage in Hall 3. Monolith AI’s approach goes even further than the booming simulation industry. Every simulation performed develops a model, because the creators rely on real-time data. This means mechanical engineering could save on numerous testing procedures. In addition, AI makes suggestions to developers about their products, based on real-time data.
At the same event, machine manufacturer Hawe Hydraulik will report on how it is using reinforcement learning and then implementing the technology in its processes.
Generative AI, for example in the form of the DALL-E tool, will also change the face of industrial product development, with the designer receiving support from an intelligent agent. Exhibitor Festo has been working in reinforcement learning for manufacturing processes for several years (see also p26).
The next step involves the use of generative algorithms for product development. OpenAI recently published 3D models for DALL-E. The challenge in the industry, apart from the 3D challenge, is that the products must also be moveable. In addition to Festo, which is also bringing its new cobot, Autodesk is also addressing this issue.
The challenge of integrating machine learning into processes is also being addressed by process control suppliers. Siemens is focusing on providing ML Ops, in which engineers provide reliable machine learning models for efficient production and continually maintain them. Siemens will also be providing an insight into an AI project at a customer’s site at the Industrial AI event.
In addition, visitors will find AI tools and use cases to draw inspiration on the trade show floor. Omron will present a Cell-Line Control System, while Beckhoff will showcase vision solutions and Dürr will feature its DXQanalyze product family. The promise is that they enable the comprehensive logging of all available process data to detect potential product quality defects or emerging equipment wear in real time. The system uses data that is condensed at a higher level to draw conclusions about the functionality of individual steps along the value chain, based on documented product quality.
The energy crisis makes one thing clear: it is not enough to just mount a photovoltaic system on your roof or subscribe to green power. Potential energy savings are spawned by the interaction of IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology).
Smart Energy Monitoring from Hanover Messe exhibitor Baumüller, for example, helps users determine and subsequently optimise their carbon footprint. But most industrial users are still barely aware of many concealed consumption cases. Unregulated motors in pumps, fans, compressors or machines are still part of everyday life in many factories. Without control technology and the interaction of OT and IT, energy efficiency improvements aren’t feasible.
Direct current (DC) power supply, for example, are gaining in importance. The advantage of DC is that frequency converters will become smaller, and the factory can become a ‘prosumer’ – that is, both a consumer and a supplier of energy. In addition, this scenario also sees machines communicating with the energy supply and companies building smart grids within the company – to use employees’ e-cars as intermediate storage units, for example.
At the same time, customers are demanding greater system efficiency. A logistics centre doesn’t always have to run at 100% capacity when the machines know that a truck is caught up in a motorway traffic jam. “To solve such tasks, you need domain knowledge. That’s what we have as automation companies, and that’s why many tech companies envy us,” explains Christian Wendler of exhibitor Lenze. He predicts a decade of automation. The Energy 4.0 Conference Stages (hall 12, stand D35) at are dedicated to issues such as these.
Companies need to bring production and energy data together. Automation can help to conserve energy, water and CO2. One example is Schaltbau’s factory, which makes electromechanical components for the rail industry. Both highly automated and with a DC power supply, the tech investment is expected to reduce costs by up to 35%. Within the German Electro and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI), experts calculate an energy conservation potential of around 10%, with an estimated cost effect of approximately 20%. This is mainly due to savings involving AC to DC converters on motors. According to research conducted by Mirjana Ristic of Bosch Rexroth and the publicly-funded DC-INDUSTRIE project, there is great potential for energy savings in this technology: “Industry consumes around 45% of the electricity in Germany, with drive systems accounting for around 70% of it.