By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
The 2016 Hannover Fair was full of energy and industrial innovation, highlighted by an abundance of evidence that shows Industry 4.0 is moving from concept to real-world applications. There were many real demonstrations with working systems using Industry 4.0 concepts from a wide range of vendors including SAP, Schneider Electric, Siemens, ABB, Bosch Rexroth, Beckhoff Automation, B&R, Festo, Harting, Phoenix Contact, and many others throughout the Fair.
USA Partner Country
President Barack Obama, as leader of the 2016 Hannover Messe partner country, spoke along with Angela Merkel at the opening ceremony. The security detail surrounding President Obama was like no other previous fair. Access to the opening ceremony on the Sunday evening before the fair was tightly choreographed and strictly limited to VIPs with prior security clearance. The traditional Monday morning tour of the fair by Obama and Merkel created numerous snarls for exhibitors and attendees. Even though the tour only included 3 halls, which were in complete lock-down for the duration of the tour, most other halls and routes were locked down intermittently for hours. Obama took his time on the tour, stopping for impromptu speeches and asking questions about the technology on display.
This year, over 190,000 visitors attended the Hannover Fair including over 50,000 from outside of Europe, an increase of 25 percent over 2014. Attendance from the USA and China soared to 6,000 visitors. Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe commented, “The roughly 5,000 American visitors who came in search of new technology for their manufacturing plants and energy systems are sure to have found what they were looking for here in Hannover, and to have made a lot of valuable new acquaintances along the way.”
Dr. Köckler emphasized, “This HANNOVER MESSE provides impressive confirmation of the event’s unique position as a global hot spot for Industrie 4.0. This is where the latest technologies and innovations are unveiled to a wide audience. Industry initiatives from Germany, the USA, China, Japan and the EU have come together here in Hannover to embark on a shared journey into the digital future.”
Industry 4.0 Forum
Hannover Messe featured daily forums attracting more than 8,000 attendees to learn about the latest technologies, standards and business models for integrated industry. The forum was created by Deutsche Messe under the auspices of the German BMBF and the BMWi organizations in cooperation with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the Plattform Industrie 4.0, VDMA and ZVEI.
Industry 4.0 Worldwide
Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative is influencing thinking throughout the world and cooperative efforts are being forged between countries and organizations. Here is a breakdown of the efforts of several countries:
On July 14, 2015, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the two countries in the field of Industrie 4.0. The memorandum links the BMWi’s Industry 4.0 with the Chinese initiative “Made in China 2025”, thereby strengthening the innovation partnership between the two countries.
Japanese companies and organizations, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), are looking towards IoT technologies and Industry 4.0 concepts as part of their Industrial Value Chain Initiative (www.iv-i.org) strategy for manufacturing in the future. As the initiative’s mission states, “The Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI) is a forum to design a new society by combining manufacturing and information technologies, and for all enterprises to take an initiative collaboratively.”
“Make in India” was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 25, 2014 to encourage multinational, as well as domestic, companies to manufacture their products in India. India made this announcement globally as the partner country at the 2015 Hannover Messe. India intends to leverage Industry 4.0 concepts and new technology in initiatives for manufacturing, smart cities, and overall infrastructure as part of the country’s Digital India initiative.
The SMLC was founded in the United States to overcome the costs and risks associated with commercialization of Smart Manufacturing (SM) systems. The SMLC has not explicitly embraced Industry 4.0 but its vision and mission embrace many of the same concepts.
Industry 4.0 implementations have already adopted worldwide accepted standards including OPC UA and ISA95. Harmonization of worldwide standards recently took another step forward when Representatives of the German alliance Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the United States based Industrial Internet Consortium met in Zurich, Switzerland in March, 2016 to explore the potential alignment of their two architecture efforts- respectively, the Reference Architecture Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI4.0) and the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA).
Industry 4.0 Demonstrations
The evidence was clear, throughout the 2016 Hannover Fair, that Industry 4.0 has moved from concept to real-world applications with working demonstrations.
For example, SAP had an impressive working industry 4.0 production line, building keyrings with a built-in smart chip and custom-designed shell manufactured for attendees. The SAP real-time system demonstration illustrates the new system architecture thinking, where enterprise systems work directly with the new breed of powerful industrial automation controls and edge devices to streamline factory systems eliminating the need for middle level software.
Over the last decade, middle level software and computers have served their purpose of buffering, synchronizing, translating, and refining sensor and controller information, but they have also created a great number of middle level computers, databases, and software that is expensive and difficult to maintain. The demonstration showcased Industry 4.0 methods, exemplifying complete control of the manufacturing process from the production line to enterprise systems.
The demonstration illustrated the manufacturing of customized products, just as economically as mass-produced products, in a lean system architecture taking full advantage of the OPC UA open standard. Using open standards the demonstration also leveraged efficient integration of products from a number of vendors including Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG, Stäubli AG, ASENTICS GmbH & Co. KG, cab Produkttechnik GmbH & Co. KG, ProGlove, Stratasys Ltd., itelligence AG, and All for One Steeb AG.
Successful USA Participation
At the closing Hannover Fair 2016 press conference, Dale Tasharski, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs with the U.S. Embassy, noted that all expectations for the event were exceeded. “I have not worked with an organization as professional and enjoyable as our friends at Deutsche Messe.” A record 465 USA organizations exhibited at the event, a number that was over 5 times the average number of American exhibitors.