The world’s largest industrial trade fair highlighted several advancements in the field of automotive and auto component industry.
Fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) or smart manufacturing, augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance, etc are making companies more efficient and innovative, boosting their competitive advantage. These and many more innovative technologies were at display in the recently concluded Hannover Messe 2018, which was held alongside CeMAT (a meeting-place for the global materials handling and logistics technology sector).
Under the motto of ‘Integrated industry: Connect & collaborate’, a total of 210,000 visitors seized the opportunity to explore the innovations on display. A total of 5,800 exhibitors were present at Hannover Messe & CeMAT. Topics like machine learning, artificial intelligence, industrial IT platforms, the expansion of power grids for eMobility, the use of robots and autonomous systems in production and intralogistics, and the role of workers in the integrated factory were the subject of intense debate at the stands of exhibitors at the event. As the official Partner Country, Mexico profiled itself as an innovative business partner and industrial location.
When asked to shake hands with a robot German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Peria Nieto both went for the more casual fist bump - a symbol for the relaxed, natural interaction of humans with digitisation, robots and machine learning.
"Technology is not about competing with us humans; it's about assisting us. That is the core message conveyed by this trade fair, which has again underscored Hannover's reputation as a global hotspot for the digital transformation of industry,” said Dr Jochen Kockler, Chairman of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe, at the close of Hannover Messe and CeMAT.He added, “The focus here has clearly been on the human element: We are the ones making the decisions and setting the course. The interaction of humans with machines and IT adds up to a huge competitive gain across manufacturing, logistics and the energy industry.”
According to Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), businesses have successfully negotiated the first steps on the path towards digitised, connected production and are now firing up for the second stage of the journey. He added, “New platform-based business models, the use of digital twins and initial experiences with machine learning – all of this is set to play an increasingly important role in the mechanical engineering sector. Hannover Messe is a place where people present and discuss the shape of things to come, and we are once again highly satisfied with the outcome of the show. The VDMA believed that automation, software and intralogistics would continue to define the character of Hannover Messe.”
The world’s largest industrial trade fair also highlighted several advancements in the field of automotive industry.
Electrification is in the air
ABB launched world’s fastest E-vehicle charger at Hannover Messe, strengthening its leadership in sustainable mobility. By operating at powers of up to 350 kilowatts, the newest model from ABB, Terra High Power charger, adds up to 200 kilometers of range to an electric vehicle in just 8 minutes. The new charger is ideally suited for use at highway rest stops and petrol stations.
ABB chargers are being installed around the world, and they have recently been selected for use by Electrify America, the biggest electric vehicle infrastructure project to date in the US. With more than 6,500 DC fast charging stations installed in 60 countries, ABB is a global leader in DC fast charging.
ABB’s product portfolio, which includes charging technologies for electric cars, buses and trucks, as well as solutions for the electrification of ships, railways and cableways, firmly establishes it as a global champion in e-mobility.
Driving auto industry forward
Siemens and Bugatti Automobiles have been working on an extremely lightweight yet ultra-rigid rear wing travel and adjustment system for the Bugatti Chiron.
Utilising the power of an integrated product development software platform, the already lightweight Bugatti Chiron wing system was further reduced in weight by 50 percent while maintaining its same rigidity. This was accomplished by combining 3D printed titanium components, made using SLM, and carbon fibre reinforced tubes. Visitors to the Hannover Messe saw the optimised rear-wing hydraulic system at the Siemens PLM Software booth.
The Chiron, like its predecessor, the Veyron, moves at speeds far beyond 249mph. While a Boeing 747 jumbo-jet takes off from the ground at 174mph, the Bugatti super sports car must remain safely on the ground at these high speeds and cope with the extremely high transverse and longitudinal dynamic requirements. This is only possible through the use of active vehicle aerodynamics. With the help of a sophisticated hydraulic system, the distance of the vehicle to the road is precisely controlled using a rear wing that extends and aligns while vehicle front diffuser flaps open and close. This system is unique in the automotive world and its complexity is only comparable to corresponding aviation systems.
The art of 3D printing
The ‘Future Hamburg’ stand presented the automotive industry's largest functional component produced for Bugatti using 3D printing technology at Hannover Messe. The Hamburg-based Fraunhofer IAPT presented a milestone in additive production by manufacturing a 3D-printed titanium brake caliper for car manufacturer Bugatti. The caliper is to enter series production in Hamburg. Fraunhofer IAPT and its network of enterprises have made Hamburg a global leader in 3D printing. Meanwhile, Bugatti's super sports cars have placed the company at the forefront of innovation at the automotive industry's extreme end of performance.
“3D printing is going to revolutionise industrial production. Hamburg is a global leader in scientific technology transfer, and we are expanding our position further. With short distances to stakeholders from politics and industry, Hamburg offers ideal conditions as an innovation location," said Prof Claus Emmelmann, Director of IAPT.
Promoting fuel cell technologies
Dana Incorporated is contributing to the industrialisation of high-performance fuel cell stacks through its support of the Autostack Industry project, an alliance of German automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research. To help the project advance toward fuel-cell stack commercialisation, Dana designed and optimised its metallic bipolar plate to meet cost and performance targets for early market entry. The company displayed its latest fuel-cell technologies at Hannover Messe 2018.
Fuel cells offer a clean energy alternative for today’s vehicles and are considered a great power source for vehicles with long range requirements, such as delivery trucks, city buses, and passenger cars, as they can be rapidly refueled. The Autostack Industry project is focused on decreasing the cost and improving the quality of fuel cells to further the opportunity for large-scale production.
“Dana leverages the latest research in new energy solutions to introduce cutting-edge fuel-cell components, assisting the industry in moving toward commercialising automotive fuel cells. The possibilities for fuel-cell technologies are very exciting and we believe our expertise in design-to-cost and high-volume manufacturing strongly supports the efforts of Autostack Industry,” said Dwayne Matthews, President of Dana Power Technologies.
The close integration of production and logistics was a key topic in the CeMAT halls – unsurprisingly, since the digital factory simply cannot work without intelligent logistics systems. Product highlights included industrial trucks, autonomous shuttles, order-picking robots and complete systems.
For example, the German car parts maker ZF presented its Innovation Forklift - the materials handling vehicle of the future that connects intelligent mechatronic systems with data management systems. The highly automated, electrified and fully networked forklift truck at the Hannover Messe is claimed to be the first such forklift with an inbuilt AI.
ZF Innovation Forklift is a fully networked electric forklift truck with highly automated driving functions equipped with camera and radar systems that enables it to see its surrounding environment. Intelligent actuating elements - such as the ZF electric rear axle steering for forklift trucks - and the electric ZF single-wheel drive carry out the control unit's given commands.
“This forklift will be very helpful in sectors such as construction, e-commerce, warehouses, etc where there is rise in usage of automated systems. The technology can also be used to build innovation tractor. Hence, the technology has a wide range of application,” said Dirk Bald, Director Industrial Technology, Product Line, Material Handling Systems and Electric Drives, ZF.
Long distances coupled with a long lifespan
Under the banner ‘plastics for longer life’, igus GmbH from Cologne recycles 21st-century high-performance plastics and puts them to good use mainly in its energy chain systems and polymer bearings. The company has chosen Hannover Messe 2018 to unveil its new P4.1 roller chain for cranes and conveyor systems with optional smart condition monitoring.
Igus has channeled its core skills in bearing engineering and energy supply chains into further increasing the availability of crane equipment and conveyor systems. The impressive result is the long-distance P4.1 roller chain with its newly developed tribo-optimised rollers for lubricant-free bearings in the individual chain links, which extend the lifespan of this energy supply chain. What's more, the P4.1 e-chain can be fitted with an integrated new ‘isense’ condition monitoring sensor for easy connection to the igus predictive maintenance system.
Updating cable systems
Drag chains are used in mechanical engineering applications to guide and protect the flexible cables, pneumatic lines and hydraulic hoses that supply power and data to moving machine parts. Without this kind of guidance, which ensures cables do not overstep their permissible bending radii, the rough and tumble of long-term use would quickly destroy these vital lifelines of machinery. However, despite this solid protection, there is still a limit to the amount of cables and lines that can and should be installed to control increasingly complex machine components. Stuttgart-based Lapp Group, one of the leading suppliers of integrated solutions and branded products for cabling and connection technology, showcased several innovative connection solutions for drag chains from the ÖLFLEX series at Hannover Messe 2018.
The launch pad
Huawei and Groupe PSA showcased a DS 7 CROSSBACK, the first connected vehicle resulting from their partnership covering all of the Group's connected vehicles, announced in November 2017. DS 7 Crossback is the first vehicle to use Groupe PSA's Connected Vehicle Modular Platform (CVMP) and is equipped with Huawei's OceanConnect IoT platform and Cloud services supported by Huawei, giving customers access to new connected services.
Using Huawei's OceanConnect IoT platform, Groupe PSA has built its Connected Vehicle Modular Platform (CVMP) for its connected vehicles, which is deployed globally using Cloud services supported by Huawei. DS 7 CROSSBACK, launched in April 2018 in China, is the first vehicle to benefit from the CVMP. Customers can access new services such as connected navigation, natural language voice recognition and a connected service portal via the vehicle's dashboard screen. The vehicle's maintenance status and the history of journeys and driving styles are also accessible from the customer's smartphone.
Convergence of IT and mechanical engineering
Central trends highlighted at Hannover this year included the ongoing convergence between IT and mechanical engineering, industrial IT platforms and other new business models, and the imminent impact of artificial intelligence on the factory environment. The exhibitors in the automation halls profiled drive technology and fluid power as a key driver of digitized and integrated manufacturing.
Further highlights consisted of assistance systems like exoskeletons, AR goggles, and above all robots. Agile fabrication and intralogistics rely on autonomous transport systems, drones and intelligent personal assistants (IPAs). The trend towards human/machine collaboration continues unabated.
Meanwhile, displays in the energy-related halls centered on energy efficiency in direct correlation with climate protection. The focus was on decentralised, smart energy systems and infrastructure solutions for the environmentally friendly mobility of the future.
Impressive innovative performance was also demonstrated by subcontractors and development partners, who revealed approaches to connecting operations with customers for seamless efficiency. Multi-material and lightweight concept design are opening the way to a complete rethinking of structural components, resulting not just in cost-cutting and greater efficiency, but also improved performance.
See you next year
Out of a total of 210 000 visitors at the fair, more than 70,000 of them came from abroad, for an international share of 30 percent. China headed the foreign visitor statistics with a total of 6,500, followed by the Netherlands (5,300), Poland (2,700) and the US (1,700). A total of 1,400 visitors attended from Mexico, which was this year's featured Partner Country.
The next Hannover Messe will be staged from 1 to 5 April 2019, with Sweden as the official Partner Country. The next CeMAT will run parallel to Hannover Messe from 20 to 24 April 2020.