International attendees make Hannover Messe 2017 an unprecedented success

April 28, 2017
Cobots, sensors to platforms, energy systems, digital SMEs and more lead the discussions

The five-day event based around making the benefits of digitalization tangible, Hannover Messe 2017, has concluded. Organizers spoke of a thriving event where the potential of intelligent robots, adaptive machines and integrated energy systems were discussed at length.

“More attendees, more solutions, more international – that aptly sums up Hannover Messe 2017,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe. “Over the past five days, Hannover has served as a global hub for all things related to Industry 4.0. Every sector involved in the digitalization of industry was on hand to showcase its answers to the key question faced by industrial enterprises everywhere: How can I best get my company into shape for the digital future? Hannover Messe has resoundingly underscored its value as a prime source of orientation for decision-makers from around the globe."

The show had a lead theme of “Integrated Industry – Creating Value,” which was able to put a spotlight on the benefits of Industry 4.0 and the role of humans in integrated factories. As this year’s featured partner country, Poland called attention to the need for close cooperation throughout Europe.

"Hannover Messe 2017 has served as an unsurpassed showcase for the mechanical engineering sector," said Thilo Brodtmann, managing director of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). "Industry 4.0 is now well past the trial stage, and is already generating real benefits in application. The show clearly reflected the industry’s buoyant mood – a mood powered by having exactly what it takes to get the job done for the benefit of people everywhere. And when it comes to international competition, we are definitely among the frontrunners."

According to organizers, of the show’s 225,000 attendees (up from 217,000 in 2015 as the most recent comparable event), more than 75,000 came from abroad. "This is an unprecedented figure in the 70-year history of Hannover Messe,” Köckler said. The largest number of foreign visitors came from China (9,000), followed by the Netherlands (6,200), India (5,300) and Poland, whose 5,000 visitors set a new partner country record. The long-term impact of partner country participation was underscored by an impressive 3,000 visitors from the U.S. as last year’s partner.

"There was huge interest in the displays in the robotics halls," Köckler said. "Not only are cobots an exciting prospect for large companies – many SMEs were also at Hannover Messe to find out about these new helpers for their manufacturing operations.”

Organizers also found that previously sensors were viewed as the main technology item connecting up different machines, but this year’s event put platform solutions to the fore. Concretely, this refers to cloud-based network connections for the entire production operations, including data collection and analysis. "The trend towards the ‘digital twin’ concept in the production environment is opening up entirely new vistas for industry,” said Köckler.

Exhibitors in the energy halls showed how the energy systems of the future might operate. The focus was on new energy storage technologies, which included serial production-ready electrolysis stacks, making hydrogen solutions a viable alternative even today. 

Hannover Messe organizers found that while with almost every passing week, another consultant study is published with dire warnings that SMEs are not ready for digitalization that that was not the case at the event. “Hannover Messe 2017 has told a different story,” said Köckler, pointing to the numerous component supplier companies exhibiting. “These companies are now digitalizing their processes and establishing connectivity with their partners, because they know that their customers – from the automotive industry, for example – expect the end-to-end digital tracking of each and every part every component.” 

Following on the heels of last year’s successful launch, the “Young Tech Enterprises” segment of the fair enabled young businesses to introduce themselves to potential investors, customers and partners. More than 150 startups were on hand, exhibiting storage devices for renewable energy networks, operating systems for augmented reality and mini-wind power plants for cars and trains.

Featured as this year’s partner country, Poland sent a total of 200 companies to Hannover, highlighting the country’s credentials as an industrial location.

In 2018, the next Hannover Messe will run from April 23 to 27 with Mexico as its official partner country.

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