“More attendees, more solutions, more international – that aptly sums up Hannover Messe 2017,” commented Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe. “Over the past five days, Hannover has served as a global hub for all things related to Industrie 4.0. Every sector involved in the digitalisation of industry was on-hand to showcase its answers to the key question faced by industrial enterprises everywhere: How can I best get my company into shape for the digital future? Hannover Messe has resoundingly underscored its value as a prime source of orientation for decision-makers from around the globe,” he added.

The show put a major spotlight on the benefits of Industry 4.0 and the role of humans in tomorrow’s integrated factories. As this year’s featured Partner Country, Poland called added attention to the need for close cooperation throughout Europe, while impressing attending professionals with its credentials as an innovative partner to global industry.

Of the show’s 225,000 attendees (up from 217,000 in 2015), more than 75,000 came from abroad. “This is an unprecedented figure in the 70-year history of Hannover Messe,” added Köckler. “This impressively proves that decision-makers from around the world rely on Hannover Messe as their definitive source of Industry 4.0 orientation and solutions.” The largest number of foreign visitors came from China (9,000), followed by the Netherlands (6,200), India (5,300) and Poland, whose 5,000 visitors set a new Partner Country record. The long-term impact of Partner Country participation was underscored by an impressive 3,000 visitors from the USA as last year’s Partner Country.

“In close collaboration with our exhibitors, we succeeded in making this year’s lead theme tangible in the truest sense of the word,” remarked Köckler. “With an array of more than 500 application scenarios, the show gave real shape to the promise that digitalisation holds for industry and the energy sector.”

A new generation of robots was also in the limelight: so-called ‘cobots’, collaborative robots, which are about to fundamentally transform the way we work in factories. Their connectivity, artificial intelligence, innovative sensors and intuitive operation allow them to communicate directly with humans, as they learn autonomously and swap instructions with other cobots.

Also, previously, sensors were viewed as the main technology item connecting up different machines, but this year’s event put platform solutions to the fore. Concretely, this refers to cloud-based network connections for the entire production operations, including data collection and analysis. “The trend towards the ‘digital twin’ concept in the production environment is opening up entirely new vistas for industry,” reported Köckler. If testing can be carried out in virtual reality – for example, to see whether a new production line is going to work out – this makes it possible to bring products onto the market faster, at lower cost.

Energy systems of the future

Exhibitors in the energy halls showed how the energy systems of the future might well operate. The main focus was on new energy storage technologies, which included serial production-ready electrolysis stacks, making hydrogen solutions a viable alternative even today. Some totally new approaches were also in evidence in the solar technology area, with several companies displaying ultra-thin, flexible solar foils that generate electricity even in low-light conditions, opening up new options for the practical application of the technology.

Partner Country Poland

Featured as this year’s Partner Country, Poland sent a total of 200 companies to Hannover, highlighting the country’s strong credentials as a dynamic and innovative industrial location. Research and start-ups are a special priority for the Partner Country. This was the message conveyed by Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, in her address at the Hannover Messe Opening Ceremony, and these themes were also at the forefront of the exhibits during the event.

Hannover Messe 2018 features CeMAT and IAMD

Beginning in 2018, the annual Industrial Automation (IA) show will merge with the biennial Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) – both representing leading fairs staged under the Hannover Messe umbrella. IA and MDA will then take place jointly under the new name of “Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives” (IAMD) – reflecting the entire spectrum of industrial automation, power transmission and fluid power at Hannover Messe. From next year, CeMAT, will be staged every two years in parallel with Hannover Messe.

The next Hannover Messe will run from 23-27 April, 2018, with Mexico as its official Partner Country.