Hannover Messe 2016 Preview: The Factory of the Future

By Contributed Article | April 18, 2016

Keeping with the fair’s theme of “Integrated Industry – Discover Solutions,” Hannover Messe 2016 visitors will discover promising ideas to make their factories and energy systems smart by means of digital technology.



Only in Hannover can you find five leading international trade fairs taking place at the same time, under one roof. All key technologies and core areas of industry – research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies and services, energy, and mobility technologies – can be found at the Hannover Messe from April 25 to 29.

Partner Country

Last year’s show drew 220,000 visitors, with 70,000 of them from outside of Germany. There were 6,500 exhibitors from more than 70 countries. This year’s show should outdo itself, with a strong presence from American manufacturers, as the United States of America was named as this year’s partner country.

“The US is the biggest single economy in the world. From a manufacturing point of view, China may be bigger and Germany/Europe extremely influential, too, but the US remains dominant in driving growth and innovation in the industry,” says Arthur Visser, vice president managing director for Europe at Bishop & Associates. “Being partner country is important, perhaps now more than ever, as there still is a lot of uncertainty and/or lack of visibility in the markets; Europe needs the US and vice versa to remain successful and drive innovation in the industrial markets, which in turn will generate wealth and prosperity well beyond the borders of the US and the EU.”

President Barack Obama of the United States will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open Hannover Messe 2016.

“President Obama’s participation sends a special signal about Hannover Messe’s international appeal,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the managing board at Deutsche Messe AG. “And the timing is perfect: In the midst of its reindustrialization, the United States has become a very attractive business partner for industry. For German machinery and plant manufacturers, the US is once again the number one market.”

Focus on Industry 4.0

The focus of 2016’s Hannover Messe is sure to be Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, and the exhibitors are eagerly anticipating the latest developments as much as the attendees are.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Industry 4.0 becoming real. So far, Industry 4.0 has been mostly theory – but we are now beginning to see real applications evolving from this initiative, proving that the theory is right,” says Wolfgang Schenk, vice president sales EMEA, Belden Electronics GmbH. “Things will not change overnight, but rather evolve step-by-step, and as these applications evolve, vulnerability and security will become front-of-mind for engineers.”

Showing Products and Meeting Customers

Image courtesy of LEMO

Image courtesy of LEMO

LEMO, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, will be showing its B and K series and S and E series connectors as well as some fiber optic connectors and a range of cables from Northwire. It will also feature its new range of anodized connectors for motorsport applications, as well as the SP series connector for medical applications.

“LEMO has been a very regular exhibitor at Hannover Messe, and this is a great opportunity to meet industrial, energy supply, and production engineering customers,” says Serge Buechli, marketing manager, LEMO SA.

Molex will focus on communication and connectivity for automation at Hannover Messe and will feature a complete range of industrial automation solutions. A live demonstration will showcase Molex capabilities in protocols that include Ethernet/IP, PROFINET, CC-Link, and IO-Link.

Products on display at the booth will include Flamar cable assemblies, including versions for connectivity, network, motion, and hybrid applications; GWConnect heavy-duty connectors; FCT mixed-layout connectors; Brad MX-PTL M12 cordsets; the newly launched Brad M23 Signal and Power Connectors and MXMag Gigabit Single-Port RJ45 Magnetic Jacks; CC-Link network interface cards; and SST CompactLogix modules for Rockwell Automation, which are designed for use in harsh and corrosive industrial environments.

“The concept of Industry 4.0 is still developing, and like other manufacturers, Molex is monitoring that trend,” says Riky Comini, director of business development, Molex. “The main idea behind Industry 4.0 is that manufacturers can use real-time data to support proactive decision-making regarding production, scheduling, and diagnostics. As manufacturing equipment, devices, and sensors continue to produce greater volumes of data, new methods of using that data will be created.”

Born in the USA

Image courtesy of Phoenix Contact

Image courtesy of Phoenix Contact

Phoenix Contact’s theme for the show is “Solutions for the Future,” and visitors to its booth will see a very wide range of products, systems, and solutions based on the digitization of manufacturing. The supplier will highlight how its products are improving applications in many industries, such as renewable energy, transportation infrastructure, e-mobility, and water supply. Since the US is the partner country this year, the booth will have a special “Born in the USA” corner that highlights some of the innovations developed and manufactured by its Americas Business Unit.

“At our Born in the USA corner, we will take a close look at the collaboration and cooperation between our German and American headquarters,” says David Skelton, vice president of Phoenix Contact development and manufacturing. “To illustrate this, we are using e-mobility as an example. Our exhibit will show the growing importance of electric vehicles and the evolution of EV charging connectors. It will demonstrate how engineers in the US and Germany worked together to develop innovative EV connectors that meet the standards in Europe, Americas, and Asia.”

Another special exhibit (but not at its main booth) will be its “FL Camino,” a classic Chevrolet El Camino retrofitted into the ultimate tailgate vehicle. The car has a big-screen TV, grill, PlayStation 4, and more, all controlled with Phoenix Contact IP67 automation technology.

Digitization of Manufacturing

“Digitization of manufacturing will continue to be the hottest topic this year,” says Pheonix Contact’s Skelton. “There is a lot of talk around this topic, and we will be using machine building as an example of the concrete benefits of digitization of manufacturing, such as easy integration of safety technology; avoiding expensive downtime; worldwide communication with machines; consistent configuration and marking using one system; reducing the number of parts and storage costs; fast installation and shorter assembly times; modular and flexible machine build-up; and worldwide service and support.”

HARTING, which has attended every Hannover Messe since the first exhibition in 1947, will present a series of new interfaces for modular machine manufacture at this year’s Hannover Messe, which enables users to save time and money. Also on display will be the new Han ES Press connector, which is based on a cage clamp and allows rapid tool-free assembly and contact bridging via prefabricated jumpers.

HARTING will also show its complete M12 Power Portfolio. The L-coded model makes more than enough power available for energy-hungry applications via the power lifeline. The new power connector is also compliant with M12 Power standard IEC 61067-2-111, delivering investment security and compatibility across different manufacturers. The Profibus User Organisation (PNO) sees the L-coded M12, a major step towards modularization and miniaturization, as a new standard for power connectors that will replace 7/8″ designs.

Integrated Industry Solutions

“The HARTING Technology Group is vigorously promoting the development of integrated industry solutions for digitalization. All of the company’s business divisions are working closely together,” says Philip Harting, chairman of the board, president/general partner, and senior vice president Connectivity & Networks for HARTING. “We will be offering excellent single-source solutions at the Hannover Messe.”

One highlight in Hannover, according to Harting, will be the Rinspeed “Etos” concept car, a real eye-catcher that uses HARTING MICA (modular industry computing architecture) to carry out emissions and status monitoring on the vehicle. “The car will provide a fascinating insight into the fully networked mobility concepts of tomorrow,” says Harting.

A second highlight will be HARTING’s “smart factory,” the HAI4YOU Factory, where the company provides tailored solutions for integrated industry. The HAI4YOU Factory is equipped with KUKA robots for the first time this year.

“Integrated industry is a topic that has really picked up enormous speed over the last three years,” says Harting. “We offer customers tailored solutions and support them in this way, so I am interested to see the solutions our competitors are offering. But predictive maintenance, additive manufacturing, smart materials and components, and workforce development also have an important role at this year’s Hannover Messe. If my diary allows, I will be taking a look at the solutions in these areas.”

Decentralized I/O Fieldbus Systems

Belden will address the realization of Industry 4.0 at its own booth as well as at the SmartFactoryKL technology initiative booth, where it will present a standardized interface, modular infrastructure box for the connection of production modules, which was developed in partnership with Weidmüller.

Belden’s Schenk says he expects to see the use of decentralized I/O fieldbus systems to grow dramatically and, going up a level, to see two protocols – Time Sensitive Networks (TSN) and OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) – supporting Ethernet network communications backbones.

“Our main focus is on Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things,” says Schenk. “A key trend within Industry 4.0 is data storage. An estimated 20% of data will be stored in the Cloud; however, 80% will be kept in decentralized storage. Given this trend, we are focusing on the security and wireless transmission of data. As data transmission security becomes more important, I expect to see a growing emphasis on cyber safety and security.”

Energy Markets

Although the focus of Hannover Messe is industrial, Fischer Connectors will use the opportunity to focus also on the instrumentation and energy markets.

“The industrial market is a classic market for our well-known Fischer Core Series, to which we will add our new stainless steel connectors,” says Martin Wimmers, managing director, Fischer Connectors Germany. “These premium-grade 316L stainless steel connectors provide a powerful complement to our range of chromated products used in energy and food applications.

“In addition to this, we will present our Fischer Ultimate Series for the instrumentation market, especially the 07 size that ranges from two pins up to 10 pins, as well our Fischer FiberOptic Series, with its new single-fiber optic connector. “

Fischer will also exhibit its high-density signal and power Fischer MiniMax Series in its 19- and 24-pin versions.

Guided Tours

If you’re not sure where to start when you arrive at the Messe, we suggest taking one of the guided tours offered by show organizers to gain a clear and concise overview of the show topics in which you are most interested. The tours last approximately two hours, and exhibitors will provide exclusive 10 – 15 minute demonstrations of their innovations and solutions. The tours cover a range of topics – industrial automation and IT, Industry 4.0, predictive maintenance, process automation, integrated energy, and innovations for the mechanical and plant engineering industry – so you’re sure to find the right offering for your special area of interest.

Looking Ahead

“Three years ago, the first signs of the importance of Integrated Industry were beginning to show. But the subject was still very remote, and not exactly tangible in practice,” says Philip Harting. “It has picked up speed at an incredible rate. More and more companies are seeing the potential offered by Integrated Industry – in the US, too. Integrated Industry is going to change processes, business models, and business sectors all over the world, so there is a much stronger focus on Integrated Industry at this year’s Hannover Messe than there was last year. It is set to remain an exciting and challenging topic over the next few years.”

Get the Latest News