Hannover Messe 2014: Industry 4.0 – The Next Industrial Revolution

By Arthur Visser | May 05, 2014

The focus of this year’s Hannover Messe industrial fair was “Industry 4.0 The Next Industrial Revolution,” as the exhibitors presented the best and most innovative products and systems they had to offer.

Hannover Industry Messe took place from April 7-11, 2014, and the Netherlands was chosen as the official partner country for the show. The main theme of the industry exhibition was “Integrated Industry – NEXT STEPS” and spotlighted the fourth industrial revolution, dubbed “Industry 4.0,” as envisioned by experts. After the first (mechanization), second (mass production), and third (digitization) industrial revolutions, the time has come for smart factories characterized by adaptability, resource efficiency, and ergonomics, as well as the integration of customers and business partners in business and value processes.

Phoenix Contact Booth Tour

Dutch industrial companies were keen to present their capabilities in finding innovative solutions for technological challenges to bring the realization of the smart factory and Industry 4.0 a step closer.

As much as Germany and the Netherlands compete with each other on the soccer pitch, the trade and investment flow between the two countries is significant, even in a global context. In 2013, the trade volume between the two countries reached €170 billion. The Netherlands accounted for 10% of total imports in Germany in 2013, making it Germany’s biggest import partner. At the same time, almost 24%, or €122 billion , of all Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Germany in 2013 came from the Netherlands.

HARTING Han connector with built-in RFID transmitter

With about 30% of total European connector sales, Germany is the biggest connector market in Europe and about ten times bigger than the Dutch connector market, while the difference in GDP is much smaller, with Germany having a GDP that is 4.5 times larger than the Dutch GDP (2013). This illustrates the relatively large size of the German connector market, driven by the German automotive industry, which represents almost 35% of the German connector market combined with the country’s powerful industrial base. The German industry is built on the strong foundations of its Mittelstand, the small- and medium-sized, often privately owned companies that manufacture machines and industrial equipment and export all over the world.

Provertha M12 Profibus Connector Compact 2 plug&play

The Dutch connector market is driven by industrial applications, as well as specific medical and military equipment and specialized telecom applications. The connector market depends more on the presence and production of large multinationals than the German connector market. In addition, the automotive industry in the Netherlands is actually rather small. BMW announced earlier this year it will start production of the MINI Hatch in the Netherlands in the summer of 2014, but that is virtually the only volume car production in the Netherlands.

Another difference between the Dutch connector market and the German connector market is that there are many German connector manufacturers but virtually no Dutch connector makers.  There is only one Dutch company in Bishop’s World’s Connector Companies library!

Weidmüller u-remote: At 8 mm wide, the u-remote HD connectors are extremely small,
allowing 32 connection points to be accommodated on the 11.5 cm mounting width,
the slimmest on the market.

The German connector manufacturers did not miss the opportunity to put their capabilities and innovative power on display during the Hannover Industry Fair. Many new technologies were presented as part of the Industry 4.0 movement, which will help realize the “smart factory” in the future.

Other connector manufacturers at the Hannover Messe 2014 included Fischer Connectors, Multi-Contact, Schaltbau, Wieland, WAGO, and Wain Electric.

Arthur Visser, VP, Bishop & Associates, Inc.

Arthur Visser
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