Everyone is talking about the digital transformation of industry. Visitors to the Digital Factory halls at HANNOVER MESSE can discover the driving forces behind this development. The boom in this sector demonstrates clearly the triumph of Industry 4.0 and networking. The companies in Halls 5, 6, 7 and 8 are developing and supplying the prerequisites for what will be the lead theme of the world’s foremost industrial technology show in 2019: Integrated Industry – Industrial Intelligence. This refers to the digital networking of humans and machines in the age of artificial intelligence.
“The companies exhibiting at HANNOVER MESSE’s Digital Factory are enabling the digital transformation within industry”, says Arno Reich, Global Director Digital Factory in the HANNOVER MESSE team. “It will then become achievable through the cooperation between automation and industrial IT. The speed of this transformation is illustrated by the growing number of alliances between traditional IT suppliers and industrial groups.”
Buyers from the mechanical and plant engineering sectors, the automotive and aerospace industries, the construction, metal, plastics and processing industries, and from electrical engineering and electronics come to HANNOVER MESSE to pave their way to Industry 4.0 – because no manufacturing company nowadays can afford to ignore pattern recognition, neural networks, machine learning, deep learning or knowledge-based processing. Artificial intelligence is therefore one of the keynote themes at HANNOVER MESSE. At Digital Factory, the exhibiting companies showcase solutions that learn autonomously from the enormous volume of digitized production data, are self-optimizing, predict machine downtime and significantly accelerate Industry 4.0 processes.
The platform economy is another topic of major importance. It plays a crucial role in mechanical and plant engineering as a basis for the development of new business models and digital services. This is not just about which IoT solution best connects humans, machines and processes and thus forms the ideal operating system for Industry 4.0. For example, digital platforms provide a very direct benefit by reducing transaction costs and facilitating network effects.
Two other topics will be attracting even more attention in 2019. The first is data analytics. This involves software that uses intelligent data analysis to help industry reduce the consumption of energy and resources and at the same time improve the flexibility, agility and quality of production processes. Data analytics solutions can be found throughout the Digital Factory halls. The second topic is blockchain, which will have its own exhibition area at HANNOVER MESSE. Blockchain can be used to verify contracts, monitor supply chains or protect networked systems in the IoT from cyber attacks and disruptions. Blockchain will be located in Hall 6 in the immediate vicinity of the Industrial Security exhibition area and forum. As the use of artificial intelligence increases, the issues of IT security and data sovereignty are, of course, a significant challenge. Companies can work with data only if it is securely and globally available in the long term.
In addition to blockchain and industrial security, other topics in Halls 5 and 6 include engineering software (CAx, PLM), cloud solutions, platforms and services, virtual reality and additive manufacturing. Hall 7 will showcase business software with MES, ERP, CRM and DMS as well as SCM solutions, IT solutions and consulting, and embedded systems. Finally, Hall 8 marks the transition to the Automation area featuring the Industry 4.0 Forum, Industry 4.0 initiatives and political platforms, and the SmartFactory/Intelligent Manufacturing area.
The triumph of Industry 4.0 is only possible because of the forward planning undertaken by entrepreneurs, researchers and politicians. It doesn’t stop at Industry 4.0, however. Innovation drivers at HANNOVER MESSE’s new Industrial Pioneers Summit will therefore be addressing the question of what comes after Industry 4.0 in a discussion on Tuesday 2 April. The aim of the conference is to work out forward-looking developments and scenarios for the time when digitization, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration and the platform economy have long become a normality.
In addition, the supporting program at HANNOVER MESSE will include a variety of events designed to increase participants’ knowledge in specific areas of the digital factory and enabling them to connect with experts. These include the 11th MES Conference for producers and users in the manufacturing and process industry, the CAE Forum on numerical simulation, 3D visualization and additive manufacturing, and the one-day Additive Manufacturing Symposium focusing on the use of new 3D printing methods in mechanical engineering and on new hardware and materials in additive manufacturing.