Deutsche Messe
The digital transformation taking place in manufacturing was a key theme at Hannover Messe 2023, demonstrated in this picture by Rittal International.

This Week in Power & Motion: Hannover Messe Spotlights Industrial Technology Advancements

April 21, 2023
Bosch Rexroth, igus, ATAM and more showcased their latest technologies for creating a more efficient and digitized manufacturing industry.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics motion control, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

For this week's edition, we are looking at news from Hannover Messe 2023, one of the largest events for the industrial sector. Taking place April 17-21 in Hannover, Germany, over 4,000 companies from the mechanical engineering, electrical and digital industries as well as energy sector showcased their latest technology advancements. 

New hydraulics and pneumatics as well as electronic motion control solutions were well represented among these technologies on display. Manufacturing is a key market sector for fluid power and electronics, and many of the trends taking place in this industry are impacting other markets, or could effect them in the future, which makes it an important segment to monitor.

Key technology trends at this year's show include Industry 4.0 and 5.0, carbon neutral manufacturing as well as digitalization and automation. 

Following are highlights of news and technologies launched at Hannover Messe 2023 most pertinent to the Power & Motion audience. Our colleagues from Machine Design and Electronic Design were on site to capture even more news which can be found on Machine Design's Hannover Messe hub.

Canada Named Partner Country for 2025 Show

Deutsche Messe AG, organizer of Hannover Messe, announced at the start of the show that Canada has been named the partner country for Hannover Messe 2025. 

"Canada is a globally growing and innovative country and important economic partner for Germany," said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG, in the press release announcing the partnership. "Deutsche Messe AG and Germany's leading industry associations are convinced that Canada’s prominent role at HANNOVER MESSE 2025 will expand its economic policy goals in Europe and further strengthen bilateral relations between Canada and Germany."

The two countries have a strong economic partnership already, and the collaboration through Hannover Messe aims to help further facilitate that as well as shared efforts in technology innovation. 

At the 2023 show, the Canada Pavilion is featuring exhibits focused on digitalization and industrial transformation. 

SEW-EURODRIVE Demonstrates use of Hydrogen in AGVs

Drive and motion technology company SEW-EURODRIVE showcased its latest concept study focused on use of hydrogen in automated guided vehicles (AGV). A key finding from the study is the ability of AGVs' power systems to switch between battery and hydrogen power without stopping the vehicle. 

Hydrogen offers high energy density and has become a greater interest for applications requiring more energy; hydrogen is also abundant and there are methods to produce it in a more environmentally friendly manner, making it a desirable diesel alternative many companies are working toward. 

For the concept study, SEW-EURODRIVE equipped an AGV with its MOVITRANS technology which enables the transfer of energy from both the hydrogen fuel cell module and battery module to help power the vehicle. Double-layer capacitors are utilized for energy storage, allowing frequent charging and discharging as needed. 

At Hannover Messe the company exhibited a large scale model which was operated in the booth via both battery and hydrogen power. It also showed if there is no battery or hydrogen fuel cell module on the AGV, it can run for a brief period of time on energy stored in its capacitors.

Bosch Showcases 7 Key Manufacturing Solutions, Aims to Grow Industrial Technology Business

At Hannover Messe, Bosch's exhibit focused on seven of its technology areas which will help manufacturers meet growing trends toward further automation, sustainability and the further connectivity between electronics and hydraulics. 

Among those is the machinery and software it has developed specifically for battery recycling. This is becoming an increasingly important capability with the growth of electric vehicles and the desire to reuse materials once the batteries are past their useful life. Bosch's technology includes fully automated discharging and disassembly systems which can quickly chemically deactivate battery modules to eliminate the risk of shock. 

Hydrogen fuel cells are growing in use for both mobile and stationary applications. Bosch is working to commercialize and mass produce solid-oxide fuel cell systems, and presented its cells for stationary applications at Hannover Messe. These can be used for distributed power generation for various types of buildings and even in neighborhoods. 

The Bosch Rexroth brand showcased its eLION platform which enables the electrification of heavy-duty equipment such as construction or agricultural machinery. Several OEMs have already begun using eLION which consists of inverters, motors and other necessary components to provide hybrid- or full-electric operation. The company also showed its H4U platform, enabling hydraulic control with software. It allows engineers to integrated functions into existing automation architectures and use an app to control parameters of the hydraulic system such as pressure and volume flow. 

Additional technologies displayed include the Bosch Rexroth Smart Flex Effector  which was named a winner of the show's Hermes Award cobots and its ctrlX AUTOMATION toolkit for implementing automation. 

READ MORE: Bosch Rexroth Smart Flex Effector Provides Robots with Human-Like Sensitivity

Just prior to the start of Hannover Messe, Bosch announced plans to increase its sales of industrial technology over the next 5 years. To do so, the company plans to make investments in this business area to aid organic and inorganic growth. The company noted Bosch Rexroth's recent acquisition of HydraForce will aid with these efforts. 

Bosch sees enormous growth potential in this area, due in part to the previously noted trends of automation, sustainability and connectivity between electronics and hydraulics.

ATAM Introduces Connectors with Integrated Sensors

At Hannover Messe, ATAM presented its new solution consisting of four sensors and one antenna integrated into its Form A connectors. These connectors feature a form factor capable of housing sensors which measure various aspects such as temperature, vibrations and electrical voltage in real time. 

According to the company, integrating the sensors into the connector allow monitoring of physical aspects which influence the behavior of the solenoid valve onto which the connector is integrated. This is important to help understand not only the performance of the valve but also the machine in which it is utilized. Previously, these aspects were indirectly detected via remote controllers and thus not necessarily as accurate. 

By directly and instantaneously monitoring valve performance, any issues that may arise can be addressed immediately. This reduces unplanned downtime and thus costs for machine operators. 

The version of the Form A connector with integrated sensor shown at Hannover Messe includes LEDs which use different colors and flashing patterns to provide immediate visual feedback on any performance metrics recorded which are outside the optimal operating range. 

Data measured by the sensors is accessible via a mobile app, enabling easy and continuous monitoring of valve and machine performance. 

These connectors with on-board sensors can be used in a range of applications including off-highway machinery, and stationary manufacturing equipment. 

igus Digital Tools Makes Engineering Easier and Fun

Already in 2023 igus has introduced digital tools aimed at easing access to motion plastics solutions while creating a more fun environment when doing so. These include a low-cost robot operated via a virtual reality (VR) headset, the ability to order spare parts using artificial intelligence (AI) on a smartphone and a mobile app capable of identifying potential applications for lubrication-free parts on an excavator. 

All of these were on display, as well as other solutions at Hannover Messe. At the company's booth, attendees could use VR glasses to control a robot arm in virtual reality; a robot mirroring these exact movements was included in the booth as well to demonstrate the capabilities with a physical version. This iguverse, as the company has termed it, could aid with faster product development as design problems can be determined and fixed at an early stage which also helps lead to reduced costs. 

VR has the ability to provide a digital space in which engineers, material experts and customers can more easily meet and collaborate, providing an array of opportunities for the industry. 

As part of these digital capabilities, the company has introduced its cloud-based app, igusGO, which allows users to take a picture of a machine; AI then analyzes the image to determine where lubrication-free igus parts could be utilized. 

For those unable to attend Hannover Messe in person, igus experts at the show were equipped with data glasses to show the products on display via individual online tours. The experts are able to discuss and show technologies on display virtually the same as if the visitor was on site at the show. 

READ MORE about igus at Hannover Messe from Machine Design - Access to Automation: Apps, Metaverse and Cobots at Low Cost.

Fraunhofer Develops Electronic Robot Gripper

The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM—a research arm of applied research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft — has developed a new robot gripper which uses electronics in place of pneumatics. It is capable of transporting fragile objects without causing damage, and is specially designed for the food industry where it is critical to ensure safe movement of delicate products. 

This new gripper was presented for the first time at Hannover Messe and aims to provide a more cost-effective alternative to pneumatics. At the show the gripper was shown as part of a cobot workstation where it demonstrated its ability to move chocolate-covered marshmallows without damaging the fragile coating. 

Per Fraunhofer, the gripper can be equipped with two, three or four fingers and adapted to a wide variety of tasks. Sensors integrated into the fingers help to ensure the right amount of pressure is applied. 

Because the gripper is electrically operated it can use existing power connections while reducing energy use. Pneumatics can use a lot of energy stated in Fraunhofer in its press release announcing the new gripper. Generating pressurized air is inefficient and frequent leakages in the lines can cause costly downtime the company noted as well. 

READ MORE: Robots and Cobots Present Opportunity for Pneumatics

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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