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Automation Technologies 2/2015

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Automation Technologies 2/2015


NEWS AND MARKETS A look into the (near) future of industrial automation Gerald Scheffels Author: Gerald Scheffels, specilized journalist, Wuppertal, Germany As an integral part of this year´s Hannover Messe, the “Industrial Automation” fair will give an outlook on tomorrow´s technologies and on the future of industrial production. One of the main topics, addressed by many exhibitors and presentations, will be the production according to Industry 4.0 – after the forth industrial revolution There are international sister fairs in many places like Istanbul, Beijing and New Delhi, but the Hannover Messe with its focus on industrial automation remains the “one and only” original of the international trade fairs which address the complete industry. The “Industrial Automation” fair is even more worth a visit. The lead theme of the complete Hannover Messe fits perfectly into the main trends of automation industry: “Integrated industry – Join the network”. The global players of automation and control technology will exhibit their latest innovations. And niche players will present highly specialized automation solutions for defined requirements and branches. Furthermore, component suppliers will showcase their program of, just to name a few examples, switchgear and switchgear cabinets, cables and connectors, frequency converters and systems for machine safety. Many of the exhibitors will present themselves as systems suppliers instead of component manufacturers, and this is for good reason. The trend to integration of functions, machines and control systems – or, in other words, the trend to “Integrated industry” – is obvious. Former stand-alone systems for functions like drive control, energy management, enterprise resource planning and maintenance are joined and integrated into one digital network of systems, processes and data. New production and automation systems ahead Is this too abstract or too far-fetched? Those who are in doubt should take the time to have a close look at the booths and get into discussion with the staff of the exhibitors. It is likely that they will discover: Integrated Industry is becoming reality, and it will have a deep impact on the complete production process. In the halls of “Industrial Automation”, there will be outlooks on new automation and production systems that are organized according to the topics of “Internet of things” or “Industry 4.0”. What does that mean? Experts predict production sites where machines and workpieces communicate with one another. Moreover, the production lines will be able to adapt and re-configure themselves autonomously and dynamically, thereby rendering small-batch and one-off production in large-scale plants commercially viable. This, in fact, will be a revolution – the fourth industrial revolution, as the term “Industry 4.0” designates. And even it may occur as an evolution instead of a revolution, it will be worth while having a look into the future of industrial production. Dr. Jochen AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 2/2015

NEWS AND MARKETS Köckler, member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe: “There is an enormous information vacuum, and most companies still don’t know what they need to do in order to be ready for Industry 4.0. What they need to do is form close networks with all stakeholders involved in their production processes. Hannover Messe 2015, with its lead theme of ‘Integrated Industry – Join the Network!’, will show them how.” The new principles of production will enable the producers to shift from mass production to more and more customized products without raising prices. They will gain flexibility, productivity and speed, thus benefiting from higher competitiveness. At the fair, the visitor may not find a ready-made and perfect-fit solution for implementing the principles of “Internet of things” or “Industry 4.0”. But he will get an impression of the future of industrial production and of the challenges that are waiting ahead. And he will find single components and solutions for an Industry 4.0-compatible production that can be used right now. IT solutions for the industry A visit of the Hannover Messe will be even more fruitful because there are, apart from “Industrial Auto mation”, other fairs under the roof of the world´s biggest industrial trade fair that are worth while visiting when automation solutions are in focus. For example, “Digital Factory” has established itself as the world’s leading trade fair for integrated processes and IT manufacturing solutions, covering everything from product development on up to actual manufacturing. It thus also provides an important foundation for the technology needed for Industry 4.0. In the focus of the fair are the IT solutions needed by manufacturing firms for each and every step, e.g. CAx for conceptualization and design, MES and ERP for production planning and control, simulations and forecasts using virtual reality and 3D models of products and factories, as well as management of product and manufacturing data throughout the product lifecycle using PDM and PLM. All the major suppliers are represented, including Dassault Systèmes, Microsoft, PTC, SAP and Siemens PLM Software, as well as many smaller businesses. Drives are an integral part of all automation systems, and in the future they will be even more integrated into the digitalized information networks of industrial production. At the MDA fair, the visitor will get acquainted with different types of drive technologies that can easily be part of the latest automation systems. Here, the boundaries are fluid – many exhibitors like Eaton and Siemens cover a full range of both drive and control systems. Apart from the exhibition itself, there will be more opportunities to learn more about the trends in industrial automation. A good occasion is the “Forum Industrial Automation” in hall 14, booth L 17. Throughout the complete duration of the fair there will be speeches and presentation of today´s trends and topics in industrial production. Joining the network – in Hannover The experts agree that key challenges of the fourth industrial revolution – such as achieving universal standards for machine-to-machine communication, maintaining data security and finding new business models – can be mastered only through collective endeavor in networks. This requires effective dialogue and cooperation between the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT sectors. The enormous potential that all sectors of industry can unleash through this sort of integration will be on show at Hannover Messe 2015. So, the visitor of “Industrial Automation“ should take the lead theme personally and join the information network that this unique fair is offering. As its natural counterpart, the Bionic Kangaroo can recover and store energy and efficiently bring it again into its next jump


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