The theme for this year’s Hannover Messe will be: 'Integrated Industry – Next Steps'. The show will run from April 7-11
For automotive OEMs, Tier and equipment suppliers, the demands for greater efficiency and flexibility are increasing. Key to meeting these demands are higher levels of integration in the manufacturing process.
“To stay competitive, industrial companies need to make their production processes as resource-efficient as possible. They need to be able to respond swiftly to changes in the market, while at the same time satisfying the growing demand for product individualisation and customisation,” says Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at organisers Deutsche Messe.
The ‘next steps’ element to the theme refers to the harmonisation of technologies which have been developed in recent years to improve flexibility and efficiency. The organisers of Hannover Messe propose that, while the technologies exist, their full potential has yet to be realised, and in order for this to happen there needs to be further synchronisation and standardisation of systems and software. These are “the steps industry needs to take in order to get from its smart-factory vision to a real-life, integrated Industry 4.0 factory,” according to Köckler.
Information sharing is a key element to this harmonisation of technologies. “At the moment, each company’s IT system speaks its own separate language. But now, in order to achieve integration, we need industry-wide agreement on a common ‘international language of production',” states Köckler. Standardisation to ensure software compatibility will be one of the major challenges facing manufacturing industries.
Manufacturing systems will also have to be more adaptable to changing market demands and the growing requirement for customisation of products. The vision of the integrated industry envisages intelligent systems that connect all stages of the manufacturing process. Rather than operating in isolation, each element (workpiece, materials handling, machines) will communicate through a network. Instead of following a rigid production line, each part will be able to communicate autonomously to activate a given process. This approach would optimise the process for any size of production run, allowing for great flexibility.
Energy management will also feature heavily at the trade fair, with nearly a quarter of exhibitors involved in energy generation, storage, transmission and distribution. Köckler notes: “The energy of the future is not just green; it is smart as well. In the future, the smart grids that carry energy and the end devices that consume it will communicate with each other, unlocking colossal potential for energy savings. Making this vision a reality requires collaboration and coordination across an incredibly diverse range of industries.”
Exhibitors at this year’s show will include:
Stäubli Robotics (Hall 17, Booth D10)
The company will be presenting one of its HE series six-axis robots. These HE robot models offer better component homogeneity in terms of resistance to moderately acid, basic or oxidising environments. Applications might include washing applications of automotive parts like engines and crankshafts, water jet cutting, parts cleaning and direct integration inside humid areas of machine tools. Features include surfaces especially treated with an anti-corrosive coating, stainless steel mechanical parts and special seals to increase the chemical resistance.
Also on display will be the company’s Robotics Suite, an integrated Development, Simulation and Maintenance environment, which facilitates the development of robotic applications. In addition, the uniVAL drive solution offers the possibility to drive the complete Stäubli product range of four and six-axis robots by generic industrial motion controllers.
Festo (Hall 15, Booth D07)
The company will be exhibiting its hall and robot installation plates. These are suitable for welding robots and welding guns used in body-in-white production, and control and monitor the supply of compressed air and cooling water to the robots. Both installation plates are equipped with components for compressed air preparation and monitoring, cooling water process valves for control, and sensors for monitoring the supply of compressed air and cooling water. For maintenance, a whole line or individual robot cells can be switched off using the compressed air and cooling water supplies.
ABB (Hall 11, Stand A35)
The company will be presenting version 6 of the 800xA process control system to the public for the first time. The new version is targeted at automation systems both from ABB itself and from other manufacturers which are not obsolete but are based on operating systems that are no longer supported. The retrofitting of existing systems requires extensive planning and checks. So in the development of version 6, great importance was attached to developing tools and services in order to make it as straightforward as possible to switch over from an old system.
The company will also show its new DCT880 thyristor power controller for the accurate control of ohmic or inductive heating elements and infrared radiators in glass, plastic, annealing, drying, melting or heating applications.