Engineers Assemble!
Festo’s Bionic Workspace

Coming Engineering Attractions at the 2018 Hannover Messe Fair

Here are some of the highlights I’m looking forward to seeing at 2018 Hannover Messe Fair next week.

Next week marks the beginning of Hannover Messe Fair, the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology. The show covers several key technologies such as industrial automation, the Internet of Things, production technologies, energy innovations, and the future of mobility technology. The show is host to 5,000 exhibitors, more than 150 speakers, more than 1,400 events, and will be visited by 220,000 visitors from all over the world.

Here are some of the highlights that visitors to the show can expect.

Mexico Partner Country

Every year, Hannover selects a partner country to highlight its advancements in technology and manufacturing. This year Mexico has been chosen as the partnering country. Mexico is the 13th largest exporter globally and the 12th largest importer in the world. Their largest trading partners are the United States at 89%, Europe at 5.5%, and Asia at 4.9%. The main products they share as exports are listed below.

  • Light vehicles (8.4%)
  • Auto parts and accessories (7%)
  • Electric conductors (4.4%)
  • Trucks (6.3%)
  • TVs (3.6%)
  • Telephones and equipment (5.5%)
  • Medical and surgical instruments (3%)
  • Computers and parts (4.9%)

In 2016, Mexico received $26.7 billion U.S. dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI), with almost half of it directed to the secondary sector. The following is how that money was invested into different industry sectors for the country.

  • Aerospace
    • $207 million USD in FDI
    • $6.6 billion USD on exports worldwide
    • 50,000 professionals working in the sector
    • 7th largest supplier of aeronautical parts to the United States
  • Automotive
    • $4.8 billion USD in FDI
    • $105.3 billion USD on exports worldwide
    • 771,816 professionals working in the sector
    • 4th largest exporter of light vehicles
  • Electronics
    • $997 million USD in FDI
    • $74.1 billion USD on exports worldwide
    • 217,920 professionals working in the sector
    • 2nd largest exporter of flatscreen TVs
  • Medical Devices
    • $211 million USD in FDI
    • $9 billion USD on exports worldwide
    • 26,521 professionals working in the sector
    • 3rd largest exporter of instruments and appliances for medicine, surgery, and veterinary

Festo’s Bionic Workspace

The Bionic Workplace by Festo combines the company’s bionic cobot with an AI system to ensure that the pneumatic lightweight robot can more effectively assist its human partners in the future. The bionic cobot debuted last year at Hannover. The workplace is further interlinked through assistance systems and peripheral devices that enable mutual data exchange at the workstation of the future. AI-based machine learning technologies will ensure that the entire workplace analyzes and optimizes itself continuously.

The cooperation between human and robot is handled by direct interactions via speech, touch, or gestures. The workplace is also controlled through a remote operation function: The control center is a tablet containing the Robotic Suite from Festo, which was recently recognized in the German Design Awards with a Gold award. Festo will have multiple representations at Hannover Fair 2018. Its main stand (D11), where other bionic innovations will also be presented (including the BionicWheelBot, a brand-new robot based on the cyclist spider), can be found in Hall 15.

3D Printing a Heat-Resistant Electric Motor

Chemnitz University of Technology has been conducting research into solutions for the additive manufacturing of electric motors since the end of 2012 . This year it has finally succeeded in manufacturing all the necessary components for such motors by printing them in a laboratory using a proprietary multi-material 3D printing process, in which highly viscous copper, iron, and ceramic pastes are layered by means of extrusion and then sintered. The simultaneous processing of copper, ceramics, and iron in a 3D multi-material printing process facilitates the additive manufacturing of entire electric motors with high temperature stability.

The university will introduce the engine at its world premiere at Hannover Messe: at the Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia universities’ pavilion (“R&D Collaboration”) in Hall 2, A38.

The university’s researchers are looking to develop the process for series production. The application can be used in the automotive and aviation industries. The use of ceramic materials in place of polymer-based materials for insulation purposes provides a greater temperature resistance. Due to the ferromagnetic properties of the iron, the upper temperature limit is fixed up to the 700 °C range.

The Steam Engine 4.0

Visitors to Hannover Messe will see a steam engine in person—some for the first time. The University4Industry is digitizing a traditional Industry 1.0 steam engine to convert into a cutting-edge counterpart. The encounter with its digital counterpart will be on display at their stand. University4Industry is based in Munich and emphasizes Industry 4.0, the digitization of manufacturing companies, and systems and component manufacturers. Its current teaching program covers blockchains, machine learning, industrial security, OPC UA, and EU DSGVO, which are all taught in collaboration with industry leaders. They focus on practical applications and have direct access to the expertise of more than 50 partner institutions, including Siemens, Pepperl+Fuchs, HARTING, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), and McKinsey & Company.

The “Steam Engine” LiveLab will demonstrate how an Industry 1.0 system can be first automated and brought up to speed to Industry 3.0 standards, and then launched into the era of Industry 4.0 by means of digitization. To achieve this, the LiveLab adds to the steam engine a functioning actuator, sensor technology, connections to a PLC, and the cloud via an IoT gateway. This setup offers visitors an opportunity to modernize the steam engine by remotely controlling the system, transmitting data to the cloud, and then evaluating the results.

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