Hannover Fair highlights U.S. as partner nation

May 5, 2016
President Barack Obama is first sitting U.S. chief executive to visit the show

In its usual whirlwind of exhibits, conference sessions and technological exchanges, Hannover Messe 2016 sharpened its focus on digital manufacturing, Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) during its April 25-29 run at its usual fairgrounds venue in Hannover, Germany. One of this year’s primary highlights was the first-ever participation by the United States as partner country, which was capped by a visit by President Barack Obama, who is the first sitting U.S. chief executive to visit the show.

Virtual reality, real collaboration

Wearing VR glasses, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) reached out to shake a hand in digital space, and U.S. President Barack Obama (left) responded by shaking hers in physical reality during Hannover Messe 2016.

“Hannover Messe 2016 has shown that the U.S. and Germany are equal partners in the pursuit of digitalized manufacturing and energy,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe. “To connect products, machines, industrial enterprises and people across countries and continents, we need to arrive at universally applicable technologies and standards. Here at Hannover Messe, the U.S., Germany and other leading industrial nations have sparked the dialog needed to make that happen.”

This year’s fair attracted more than 190,000 visitors, up from 175,000 in 2014. More than 50,000 attendees came from abroad, an increase of 25% over 2014. These included 5,000 from the U.S. and 6,000 from China.

Some of the most notable events and announcements at this year’s show included:

Harting Group won the 2016 Hermes Award for industrial innovation for its Modular Industry Computing Architecture (MICA) intelligent communication module, which makes its possible to temporarily save, evaluate and process data in the immediate vicinity of machinery and equipment. Using its modular, open platform, MICA can be customized with custom hardware, software and interfaces to suit users’ individual requirements.

Microsoft Corp. reports it’s working with the OPC Foundation to enable IIoT scenarios via interoperability between the millions of applications and industrial equipment, compliant with the OPC UA standard. Microsoft will enable its industrial IoT customers to connect a range of manufacturing equipment and software that can span decades of investment with extended support of the OPC UA open-source software stack.

ABB demonstrated how its new smart sensors can improve the productivity of millions of mostly low-voltage (LV) electric motors by connecting them to cloud-based services and integrating them with the Internet of Things, Service and People (IoTSP), which can improve efficiency, reduce downtime and save money. “The smart sensor enables transcontinental industrial digitalization,” says Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “The sensor reduces the downtime of motors by up to 70%, extends their lifespan up to 30%, and cuts energy consumption by as much as 10%.”