Artist's rendition of a man pondering AI

Design Insights: Hannover Messe Adapts and Changes; Preparing for “New Collar” Jobs

April 20, 2021
A review of the day’s top trending stories from Machine Design editors.

Hannover Messe Adapts and Changes

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.

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, said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG. “The Hannover Messe Digital Edition demonstrated the innovative power of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and IT companies,” he said. “At the same time, it showed that the tradeshow of the future is hybrid.”

To that end, the Hannover Messe Digital Edition content is available for review through June 11.

Preparing for “New Collar” Jobs

Sarah Boisvert is the founder of Fab Lab Hub, part of the Fab Lab Network based at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, which fosters entrepreneurship and workforce training for “new collar”job skills. She also happens to be a former ultraviolet laser and machine tool manufacturer. For her book, The New Collar Workforce: An Insider’s Guide to Making Impactful Change in Manufacturing and Training, Boisvert surveyed more than 200 manufacturers to get a sense of the skills and knowledge requirements for the next generation of work in advanced manufacturing. “New collar” refers to the next generation of skills employers will need, and includes problem-solving and critical thinking.

“People who do not work in industry think advanced manufacturing means new technology such as 3D printing,” noted Boisvert in a recent Machine Design article. “But to those of us who actually manufacture parts day in and day out, advanced or “smart” manufacturing in Industry 4.0 is a complex integration of equipment, processes, software, data collection and people in order to improve quality, increase productivity, drive down costs and create an engaged workforce.”

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