AUTOMATICA 2016 (June 21 to 24), the international trade fair for automation and mechatronics held in Munich, Germany, exceeded all expectations: around 45,000 visitors (+30 per cent) and 839 exhibitors from 47 countries (+16 per cent). One-third of the visitors came from foreign countries. Managing director, Falk Senger said "AUTOMATICA has reached a new dimension. It showed the future of production with deep insights into the possibilities of digitalisation, human-robot collaboration and professional service robotics.”
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of VDMA Robotik + Automation said: "AUTOMATICA 2016 has broken all records. In particular, the number of international visitors has increased enormously. The increase was significantly above 50 per cent!"
There was a major focus on collaborative robots, or 'cobots', amongst exhibitors, with many launching new products in this fast developing market segment.
Automation and robotics make Industry 4.0 possible
Tremendous energy could be felt at the trade fair thanks to the topic. Dr. Norbert Stein, Chairperson of VDMA Robotics + Automation and Managing Partner of VITRONIC GmbH, explained: “The quality of visitors at AUTOMATICA increased once again, and they were able to meet top-rate technology experts at the booths. The high level on both sides is unique."
IT2Industry and AUTOMATICA: Platform for Automation and IT
Automation and IT are going to join forces in the future. IT2Industry provides a unique platform for this. Ilse Aigner, Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, got an impression of the situation during a visit to the trade fair and said: “We want to be a leading supplier and leading market for Industry 4.0. To this end, an international marketplace is critical to ascertain the current state of developments and establish international contacts at regular intervals. Consequently, I very much welcome the fact that Messe München provides the platform IT2Industry at AUTOMATICA and makes digitalisation a focal topic with it. As a result, AUTOMATICA has great importance for the establishment of Germany as the leading Industry 4.0 nation."
Service robotics on the move
Service robotics recorded a big increase at AUTOMATICA and provided a fascinating insight into the everyday life of tomorrow: the care car in a hospital or the inventory robot for department stores, service robots as driverless transport systems or assistants for people. Andra Keay, Managing Director at Silicon Valley Robotics, is impressed: "AUTOMATICA is a wonderful gathering of professionals from the field of robotics. I was very surprised by the great efforts in the area of service robotics and start-ups."
Start-Ups: The Future of the Industry at AUTOMATICA
AUTOMATICA is becoming the market place for start-ups. Newcomers from around the world exhibited on the START-UP World area. Falk Senger is convinced: "The exchange between start-ups and established companies is a trend-setting development. Messe München supports and promotes this valuable communication platform."
Peter Guse, Managing Director at Robert Bosch Startup GmbH, confirmed: "The mixture between major robotics companies, small firms and the start-ups – that makes the trade fair so exciting. I clearly consider AUTOMATICA to be the leading trade fair for automation in Europe.”
Workplace 4.0 – People as the Focal Point
New production methods – new work processes: Work 4.0 is a main topic at AUTOMATICA. Man and machine will work together in the team in the future. People are the focus with their emotional intelligence, and robots assist them. Dr. Horst Neumann, longtime Group Head of Human Resources at Volkswagen AG and founder of the Institute for the History and Future of Work, explained: "Work in factories is becoming increasingly more demanding. As a result, workers need to become more qualified. We need to work on this. A trade fair such as AUTOMATICA can open people’s eyes in this process and thus make a contribution."
Supporting Young People
AUTOMATICA is covering the needs of new target groups with the new event format "Makeathon”. More than 140 participants, most of them students working in teams from the fields of computer science, robotics and mechatronics, developed functional hardware prototypes within 24 hours. The prototypes ranged from an automated shoe for senior citizens to a complete digital factory as a production line and all the way to the production of power bars that are adapted to the individual needs of consumers, e.g., weight or activity level.
The next AUTOMATICA will take place In Munich from June 19 to 22, 2018.