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Digital Ecosystems on centre stage at Hannover Messe

28 November 2019

Hannover Messe has a revamped layout, making it even quicker for visitors to zero in on the key industrial transformation technologies of greatest interest to them.

Digital Ecosystems on centre stage at Hannover Messe

The focal point of the show's industrial transformation message is the Digital Ecosystems showcase covering the full range of software for every link in the industrial value chain. The display is strategically located at the heart of the venue – in halls 14 through 17.

At Hannover Messe 2020, processes and technologies that up until quite recently were regarded as separate and distinct will be showcased together in an integrated overview of process flows and solutions. "In the current age of Industry 4.0, the focus is on flexible manufacturing, standalone yet integrated machines and systems, and autonomous exchanges of process information," said Hubertus von Monschaw, Global Director Digital Ecosystems at Deutsche Messe. "And the key to it all is the software that maps and manages these processes. At Hannover Messe, all theme areas relevant to this will be clustered in the Digital Ecosystems display."

Among the exhibitors in this part of the show will be big-name regulars like Autodesk, Atos, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dassault, EPLAN, HUAWEI, Kaspersky, MPDV, Microsoft, PSI, SAP, Siemens PLM, Software AG and Telekom. There will also be a number of prominent newcomers such as Google, proAlpha, McAfee and Knapp. Their displays will span a range of themes, including predictive maintenance, machine learning, MES (manufacturing execution systems), logistics (WMS and TMS), data analytics, CAD (computer-aided design), PLM (product lifecycle management), business platforms, ERP (enterprise resource planning) for real-time monitoring, virtual/augmented reality and industrial security.

At Hannover Messe 2019, these themes attracted over 100,000 visitors. One key aspect common to all of them is increasing convergence of applications and technologies. MES and data analytics are a case in point. Manufacturing execution systems (aka production control systems) are able to function reliably only if their future performance can be predictively modelled and analysed using appropriate data analytics such that improvements and checks can be undertaken as appropriate. Monschaw explains: "Today’s MES systems are about more than just fault analyses of individual machines. They involve aggregating data in order to identify scope for optimisation and even develop entirely new business models."

The convergence of once separate areas of technology is also very clear from CAD, PLM and business platforms. Whereas only a few years ago CAD software was primarily about designing individual work-pieces and machine parts, there are now companies providing software platforms that model and manage entire value chains from design and parts procurement right through to final quality control. Dassault Systèmes is such a company. Its solutions enable collaboration across internal users and external suppliers and partners. "We’re not a CAD or PLM provider," says Director Marketing EuroCentral Annegret Cox. "We map entire product development processes. That includes generating initial product ideas, pre-production preparation and selling the completed product – all on the one software platform."

ERP (enterprise resource planning) is another exciting focus of software convergence. At Hannover Messe 2020, providers will present examples and use cases demonstrating how mechanical engineering and other firms can now leverage ERP tools in completely new ways. Predictive ERP, for example, is sparking more and more interest. It enables manufacturers to predict possible events and initiate the necessary measures and countermeasures. Integrated with the appropriate process models, predictive ERP systems can facilitate better decision-making by running simulations of even the most complex scenarios.

Virtual and augmented reality are likewise being more commonly used in industrial applications. Take the design of powertrains, for example. It used to take engineers days to calculate all the parameters of a given design, but now, with the aid of algorithms, they can generate as many as 2,000 designs in the same timeframe. The designs can then be imported as 3D models into a VR lab, where everything, right down to the very last bolt and washer, can be disassembled, analysed, adjusted and re-assembled.

Industrial Security is an extremely important and relevant section of the Digital Ecosystems showcase, particularly in today’s interconnected industrial world, with Emotet and its ilk lurking in the digital undergrowth. Modern industry, where the digital integration of devices and production machinery has grown massively and will continue to do so, is exposed to a more or less constant risk of cyberattack. No one is immune to these risks, as today’s continual stream of reports of targeted attacks on businesses and government agencies shows. The upcoming Hannover Messe will therefore present the best available solutions for organisations to safeguard themselves against cyberattacks.


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