“Is my organisation ready for the fourth industrial revolution? That’s the big question that CEOs and plant managers are currently asking themselves,” remarked Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe. The fourth industrial revolution – aka Industie 4.0 – will bring major change to energy systems and industrial production models. In factories, there will be a shift away from mass production as customers increasingly demand customised products – albeit at the same low prices they currently enjoy for mass-produced goods. And energy grids will need to become smarter so that they can optimally balance and deploy available power, gas and heat capacity from a wide range of sources. The answer to these challenges is Integrated Industry – the intelligent digital networking and integration of industrial systems and processes.
Integrated Industry is about enabling machines and workpieces to communicate with one another. This, in turn, will allow entire production lines to autonomously and dynamically re-configure themselves, thereby rendering small-batch and one-off production in large-scale plants commercially viable. Dr. Köckler: “Industry is in the early stages of a revolution known as Industrie 4.0. It’s a phenomenon that has skyrocketed to the top of the agenda in industrial thinking over the past two years. Meanwhile, there is an enormous information vacuum, and most companies still don’t know what they need to do in order to be ready for Industrie 4.0. What they need to do, of course, is form close networks with all stakeholders involved in their production processes. HANNOVER MESSE 2015, with its lead theme of ‘Integrated Industry - Join the Network!’, will show them how.”
The key challenges of the fourth industrial revolution – such as achieving universal standards for machine-to-machine communication, maintaining data security and finding new business models – can be mastered only through collective endeavor in networks. This requires effective dialogue and cooperation between the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT sectors. The enormous potential that all sectors of industry can unleash through this sort of integration will be on show at HANNOVER MESSE 2015.
Visitors to the fair will witness digitally networked production plants, smart grid technologies, ingenious new production processes, such as 3D printing, and next-generation industrial robots live in action. They will see collaborative robots with sensor systems so advanced that they can work right alongside their human counterparts without any safety barriers. And they will see IT-based automation solutions that will bring fundamental change to all in-factory processes. Also on display will be smart technologies that manage and coordinate power, gas and heat networks so that capacity can be balanced and optimally deployed across the entire energy system. What’s more, visitors will be able to watch as additive manufacturing systems (3D printers) make individualised products right before their eyes. These technologies and themes will be explored in even greater depth in the 1,000-plus supporting forums and guided tours on offer at the fair.
HANNOVER MESSE will also examine the social and political dimensions of Industrie 4.0. That’s because the primary impact of the changed work processes and new, data-centric business models sparked by Industrie 4.0 will be on people. Köckler: “In order for Industrie 4.0 to be a success, it needs broad-based acceptance by trade unions, lawmakers and society generally. We therefore encourage industry stakeholders to use HANNOVER MESSE as an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and hence foster openness and transparency on all matters relating to integrated industry.”
HANNOVER MESSE 2015 will play a pivotal role in the fourth industrial revolution. “The revolution starts in Hannover,” Dr. Köckler said. “All sectors of industry exhibit at HANNOVER MESSE. That’s everything, from industrial automation and energy to industrial supply, power transmission and control and R&D. No other event of its kind anywhere in the world provides such comprehensive coverage. Only at HANNOVER MESSE can visitors gain such in-depth insights into tomorrow’s integrated factories and energy systems. The fair’s scope ranges from individual Industie-4.0-ready components right through to complete automation solutions.”