Hannover Messe website

Hannover Messe Adapts and Changes

May 4, 2021
It’s a digital transformation for industry and for trade events.

As a session on artificial intelligence at Hannover Messe’s 2021 virtual event, Prof. Dr. Sepp Hochreiter, the head of the institute for machine learning at JKU Linz, talked about the emergence of AI, and how it still is in the earliest stages of adoption in industry.

On Hannover’s virtual event platform, Hochreiter told the global attendees, “You want to build a basic knowledge with your database, and from this basic foundation, you try to learn and adapt to a new situation.”

That’s exactly how Hannover Messe officials viewed this year’s event. With global travel and gatherings still stifled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hannover officials had to scrap the in-person event that annually draws about 200,000 individuals in favor of a digital presentation. If the smell of bratwurst cannot yet be recreated on a digital platform, the knowledge still offered attracted a crowd.

The discussion of digital manufacturing on a digital platform attracted a lot of attention. Hochreiter said the subject of AI deserves more attention from industry leaders. “The manufacturing industry, mechanical engineering, plant engineering, etc.—this is where AI is going to be injected,” said Hochreiter. “AI systems need to get millions of input data, millions of images, thousands of words that it needs to learn first. But in industry, you can’t wait that long.”

Some companies are not waiting. At another discussion at the show, officials from Bosch and Estee Lauder discussed their journey to digital manufacturing. “You need to be hyperconnected,” said Bernd Heinrichs, executive VP and chief digital officer of mobility solutions at Bosch. “You need to leverage what you get out of it and put it into data so you can make data-driven decisions.”

Domenic Tota, executive director, global infrastructure engineering at Estee Lauder, explained how a clear governance model could help IT/OT convergence, which also started with its employees.

“We can draw from past experiences when other technologies converged,” he said. “There were a lot of lessons learned from the early days where if people did not collaborate and teams did not work together, there were a lot of failures.”

There were 90,000 registered attendees and more than 10,000 products presented at this year’s digital event. Among the most prominent products was Bosch Rexroth’s SVA R2 (Subsea Valve Actuator), the world's first electrical actuator for controlling process valves under water. It received the prestigious Hermes Award, presented each year for outstanding achievements in global product development.

“Bosch Rexroth is a longtime exhibitor at Hannover Messe and always impresses with its innovations. The winning product is another milestone and stands for high-tech in connection with environmental protection. The company is thus making a major contribution to sustainability, one of the key topics at the Hannover Messe Digital Edition,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG.

While everyone associated with Hannover Messe is hoping for a return to the fairground in 2022, some of the changes seen at this year’s event are likely to remain part of the future of the show, Köckler said. “The Hannover Messe Digital Edition demonstrated the innovative power of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT companies. At the same time, it showed that the trade show of the future is hybrid,” he said.

This article appeared in Machine Design.

About the Author

Bob Vavra | Senior Content Director, Power & Motion and Machine Design

Bob Vavra is the Senior Content Director of Power & Motion and its sister publication Machine Design. Vavra has had a long career in publishing, media and events. He has covered all aspects of manufacturing for the past 20 years and is a regular attendee at events such as IMTS and Hannover Messe. Vavra is also a sought-after webcast moderator and event emcee, and has presided over events in the U.S., Germany and China. 

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