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Three things to watch for at Hannover Messe 2021


KUKA's new iiQKA operating system. Photo: KUKA

Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology fair, kicks off online for the first time next week.

A press preview held today for the expo and conference, running Apr. 12 to 16, underscored the fact that the journey to connectivity is not only well underway, but accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Industrial companies have to implement in a few months what would otherwise have taken years,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, in a statement.

“This requires a platform where people can discuss challenges, present solutions and expand networks, which is exactly what the Hannover Messe Digital Edition is.”

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More than 1,800 companies are exhibiting at the show, featuring technologies such as AI and robotic programming and discussing topics such as machine learning, Industry 4.0 and Logistics 4.0, and carbon-neutral production.

Here’s three things to watch for at the show:

1. Thousands of products

Among the technologies previewed at the press event were KUKA’s new operating system for programming robots – specifically designed for ease of use for SMEs and industries that historically have had little to no automation – and Pilz Automation Safey’s myPNOZ, billed as the world’s first safety relay with a batch size of one. The myPNOZ platform allows users to build their own custom solutions online, which are then manufactured and delivered with a simple plug-and-play process.

The expo area of the conference will provide visitors access to the technologies and solutions of exhibiting companies. Approximately 7,000 products will be on display, including 1,700 trade show premieres and almost 400 R&D projects.

The program – which includes 750 live exhibitor streams, 750 product videos and 11 exhibitor channels – provides visitors with concrete solutions for optimizing industrial processes via best-case applications, video tutorials and video chats.

A full conference program will run concurrently, covering topics including Industry 4.0, Logistics 4.0, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and more.

2. A Canadian presence

In addition to a number of Canadian exhibitors at the conference, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, will be there too.

NGen is hosting the “Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Pavilion” featuring livestream presentations on Canadian innovations and how advanced manufacturing will help Canada to recover from the pandemic. François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry, Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s minister of economy and innovation, and Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development will all give remarks.

Six other presentations include “Additive Manufacturing in Canada,” featuring Martin Petrak of Precision ADM and Mitch Debora of Mosaic, and “Next Generation Robots from Canada,” featuring Andrew Williams of Attabotics, Afshin Doust of AIS and Barry Hunt of Prescientx.

3. Award for innovation

The Hermes Award, considered one of the world’s most prestigious industrial awards, is bestowed annually by Deutsche Messe AG, organizer of Hannover Messe, to a company whose product or solution has a particularly high level of technological innovation.

Only technology solutions that have already been tried and tested in industry are eligible, and must exhibit technical innovation, benefits for industry, the environment and society, economic viability, and market readiness.

The nominees for the Hermes Award are:

Bosch Rexroth: The SVA R2 (Subsea-Valve Actuator) is the world’s first electrical actuator for controlling process valves under water. The SVA R2 offers an energy-efficient and safe alternative to the pneumatic actuators previously used in offshore oil and gas production. There are no central unit or kilometres of lines for fluid, which greatly reduces environmental risks. The unit maintains the same dimensions, can be integrated directly on site, increases energy efficiency, and only requires a power supply and a data line.

Phoenix Contact: The company’s NearFi technology enables contact-free transmission of energy and data and can replace previous plug connections. Thanks to protocol-independent and latency-free Ethernet communication, it offers flexible application options for all Ethernet protocols up to 100 Mbit/s. Transmission takes place in real time in both directions. The technology enables high reliability with low wear and tear at the same time.

PILZ: myPNOZ is a new type of modular safety switching device that is manufactured in batch size one. Using an online tool, users can put together their product without any programming knowledge, as the logic of the safety functions is defined by the module selection and the sequence in which they are connected. myPNOZ is a ready-to-install and completely individualized system that represents an efficient and safe solution for mechanical and plant engineering and other industries.

The award ceremony will take place on Apr. 12.