Hannover Fair Will Showcase Industry 4.0 Solutions

Exhibits demonstrate a host of innovative solutions for enhancing discrete and process manufacturing applications at Feb. 3 preview in Berlin.

By Jim Montague

The heart and soul of Hannover Fair is its thousands of exhibits and the solutions they contain to help make manufacturers of all kinds more efficient.

The 2015 edition of the world's largest manufacturing exhibition will be held April 13-17 in its 26 halls in Hannover, but more than 40 exhibitors presented a thorough "coming attractions" of the fair's many Industry 4.0 and related solutions on Feb. 3 at the ewerk hall in Berlin.

Here are some highlights of the solutions and products that will be exhibited:

Arburg GmbH will feature its new freeformer 3D printing machine, which can produce parts in small batches directly from CAD data files; use less costly, standard plastic granules in hard and soft combinations; and work in three or even five axes with an optional component carrier.   

 Beckhoff will show "many-core control" with its C6670 industrial server, which features 12, 24 or 36 processor cores and 64 to 2,048 GB of RAM. Each core also employs Beckhoff's TwinCAT 3.1 automation platform. This means not only are PLC, motion control, robotics and CNC functions integrated into one software system and executed on one CPU, but condition monitoring and energy management functions of a smart factory are included, too.

Beckhoff will also exhibit its new AX8000 multi-axis servo system with a compact form factor for space-saving, control-cabinet installation, which enables high-precision positioning and machining processes with extremely short control cycles. Finally, its booth will feature EtherCAT plug-in modules from its new EJ series, which offers an efficient solution to implement platform concepts in large-scale machine production with many common parts, while retaining the possibility to configure variants. These plug-in modules are electronically-based on the EtherCAT I/O system, while their design allows them to be directly attached to a circuit board.

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Bosch Rexroth AG will demonstrate its PRC 7300 welding control system that has increased computing power to achieve higher-bandwidth communications and process regulation, and can reduce energy consumption by 30%, while its PRI7000 operating software reduces responses and wait times, and an internal web server supports diagnosis and handling via tablet PCs and smartphones. Bosch Rexroth's booth will also feature its ODiN secure, cloud-based service for increasing the availability of hydraulic systems in machines by processing large volumes of data.         

Festo will exhibit its SupraCycle contactless-transfer solution that will show for the first time how a suspended permanent magnet can be actively transferred from one superconducting automation module to another; SupraHelix uses two cryostats with superconductors that are arranged alongside each other on a semi-rotary drive unit, and shows how ring-shaped workpieces can be transported between processing stations; and SupraCarrier that stores and moves objects on suspended rollers by employing two cryostats with superconductors mounted on an electrical axis, above each of which two magnetic transport rollers are held in suspension.

Harting will demonstrate an entire Integrated Industry production line, which combines the FlexiMon flexible assembly system developed by the Intelligent Technical Systems Ost Westfalent Lippe association; integration with SAP software; and Harting's own Han modular components. The line's production unit will also consist of three workcells linked to its fabrication area via a smart infrastructure solution.

Kuka will host a 1,000-m2 booth that will show how robots can meet the needs of Industry 4.0 with more flexible production capacity, sustainable use if resources, and by merging IT and industrial applications into cyber-physical production systems. For instance, Kuka's lightweight LBR iiwa robot, Sunrise controller for direct cooperation between humans and robots and its other robotic solutions will be enhanced with simplified Ethernet connections and an open, modular programming environment.ijoined by    

Phoenix Contact will launch its new PSR Mini safety relays, which it reports are the world's slimmest at just 6 mm wide, but have positively driven contacts that maintain the power and safety of larger relays. Requiring up to 70% less space and only needing one enabling contact, PSR Mini's design is based on a thin, powerful basic relay characterized by minimal space requirements, low energy consumption and high system availability. They can switch up to 6 A, are compatible with many signal transducers, and are approved for use in many different mechanical and process applications, including distributed systems in potentially explosive areas.    

Schunk GmbH will exhibit the Care-O-Bot 4 mobile service robot developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA (www.ipa.fraunhofer.de). The robot's arm joints and one-finger hand employs Schunk's standardized modules for mobile gripping systems. Schunk will also show its mechatronic SVH five-finger, anthropomorphic gripper hand; eGrip browser-based 3D design tool for additively manufactured gripper fingers; and EGN and EZN safety gripping systems that operate in compliance with the DIN EN ISO 13849 safety standard, and combine gripping systems, safety mats, door switch, light curtains and 3D cameras.   

SKF will show its new CARB toroidal roller bearings and Explorer spherical roller bearings to improve the reliability, safety and performance of jack-up gearboxes, which are used in mobile, offshore drilling units and in liftboats for building offshore wind turbines. CARB bearings reportedly enable improved gear-to-gear contact during severe load conditions and greater load-carrying capacity.

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