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The Hannover Industrial Fair opens April 23 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Traditional boundaries between industries are breaking down, productivity is rising and new business models are popping up like mushrooms. This month, Hannover Messe will lend its weight to this trend and examine the next levels of Industry 4.0.

In every smart factory scenario of the future, the starring roles will be played by two main factors: people and machinery. In order for them to achieve top performance, however, the power of digital integration will need to be leveraged to the fullest.

The lead theme of this year’s show will be ‘Integrated Industry – Connect & Collaborate.’ “The integration learning will take Industry 4.0 to the next level,” says Dr. Jochen Koeckler, chairman of the managing board at show organizers Deutsche Messe.

Machine learning and integrated robots

Factory technology is becoming ever more efficient, industrial IT platforms are readily available on the market, and more and more industrial subcontractors are digitally integrated into their customer’s value chains.

Manufacturers of automation technology, big-name robotics providers and global IT and software corporations will be in attendance at Hannover, demonstrating the benefits of machine learning, machines and robots that are increasingly able to make autonomous decisions.

In manufacturing, production and logistics processes are becoming ever more closely integrated through intelligent technologies as part of the ongoing quest to boost efficiency. flexibility, and hence lower costs. Visitors will be seeking insights on the convergence of production and logistics for themselves.

Energy for electric mobility

Innovative technologies are making power systems more flexible, intelligently interconnecting different sectors and ushering in new market participants. These key developments will be profiled in depth at Hannover Messe’s Energy show.

“Everyone’s talking about the mobility transition, but the fact is, our power grids are simply not yet ready for the widespread use of electric cars,” explains Koeckler. The problem, according to the energy sector, is that electric mobility will result in much higher load peaks than are currently the norm. Moreover, e-mobility won’t be able to deliver on its eco-friendly and sustainability promise unless the power it uses comes from renewable sources.

Energy companies and municipal utilities around the world are embracing the electric mobility megatrend and its challenges, and are starting to build the necessary infrastructure. Initiatives here include providing comprehensive charging station coverage, upgrading power work together as a coordinated, seamlessly integrated system.

Hannover Messe’s exhibitors will look to offer the solutions needed to create power grids that can assist in making electric mobility feasible.

“The digitization of industry, energy and logistics is moving ahead at pace,” says Koeckler. “The consequences are not limited to individual industries or markets. They are affecting our society as a whole and, indeed, the entire global economy and the very nature of work. The opportunities are many.”

A lifelong connection

Digital Factory, the international trade fair for integrated processes and IT solutions, will open its doors at Hannover Messe with a broad spectrum of forums, congresses and special events. A key concept in the frame is the Digital Twin: a virtual representation that can accompany a physical product from its initial conceptualisation right through production and updates.

Digital Twins in industry are used to optimize product design and ensure error-free operation. They are formed on the basis of a high-precision eD CAD model that has been assigned all the properties and functions of the planned product - from its materials and sensoring systems to the movement and dynamics of the real machine. This is an important step towards identifying malfunctions early and resolving them before the start of production - and eliminating hte need for development of a costly prototype. The twins are constantly in connection with one another – even after production and sale of the physical product. The real machine is outfitted with sensors that send status data to its virtual reproduction on a constant basis. A requirement management system functions as a digital requirements library, gathering the incoming data and comparing it against the specifications by which the product was created.

If a discrepancy is detected, then engineers can work on potential solutions directly on the digital twin – after which the real machine can then be updated to resolve the problem as quickly as possibly. In the future, it is envisaged that all stakeholders will be networked: suppliers, producers and customers. The focus now must be put on building a strong network between machine builders, electrical engineers and IT.

-(by automotive manufacturing solutions magazine, https://automotivemanufacturingsolutions.com)