Wearing virtual reality glasses, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached out to shake a hand in digital space, and U.S. President Barack Obama responded by shaking hers in reality. This will go down as one of the images from Hannover Messe 2016, and it also aptly portrays the partnership between the two nations as they move down the road towards Industrie 4.0. "Hannover Messe 2016 has shown that the United States and Germany are equal partners in the pursuit of digitalized manufacturing and energy," remarked Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe.
This year’s Hannover Messe attracted over 190,000 visitors (up from 175,000 in 2014 as the last event of comparable scope) intent on future-proofing their operations and investing in state-of-the-art technology. More than 50,000 of them came from abroad – an increase of some 25 % over 2014. Attendance from the USA and China soared to record heights. With 6,000 visitors coming from China, the People’s Republic once again topped the list among foreign nations, second only to Germany as the host country. The visitor tally for the rest of Europe was 30,000.
The trade fair made Industrie 4.0 a tangible experience. The solutions on display ranged from retrofits of individual machines right on up to full production-line integration, complete with data capture and analysis in the cloud. Industry initiatives from Germany, the USA, China, Japan and the EU came together to embark on a shared journey into the digital future. An example was the "Industrie 4.0 Meets the Industrial Internet" forum, which attracted more than 8,000 attendees eager to catch up on the latest technologies, standards and business models for integrated industry.
The second keynote theme of this year’s event was "Integrated Energy – the Energy System of the Future". Displays there covered the complete supply chain in the energy industry – from generation, transmission, distribution and storage to alternative mobility solutions. These displays were anchored by a special display called the "Integrated Energy Plaza", presenting a unique interactive model of a complete regenerative energy circuit.
The Industrial Supply show at Hannover Messe confirmed that Industrie 4.0 is also becoming a routine requirement for today’s industrial suppliers. Other key themes in this category included new materials and lightweight design. Trade visitors were treated to a wide range of design ideas and lightweight design components made out of plastic, composites or steel.
Meanwhile, "Young Tech Enterprises" – a brand-new showcase – made clear that, apart from IT, there are also strong incentives for startups in industry. The new display sector provided young entrepreneurs with an opportunity to forge new contacts with potential investors, customers and partners.
Never before were so many policymakers and top executives from leading industrial groups represented at the trade fair. U.S. President Obama had three ministers in his delegation, including Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. Five EU Commissioners were at this year’s Hannover Messe as well: Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (Energy), Günther Oettinger (Digital), Elzbieta Bienkowska (Industry), Cecilia Malmström (Trade) and Carlos Moedas (Research).
The next Hannover Messe will be staged from 24-28 April 2017, with Poland to be featured as its official partner country. For further information please visit: www.hannovermesse.com