A sense of anticipation, and a sense of home


The bustle of Monday morning's commuter rush means that this could be any train station anywhere in the world. But this is Hannover, Germany, on the opening day of Hannover Messe, and there's a different feel in the air.

You walk through the wide doors into the Hannover hauptbahnhof and proceed past the regional trains taking in and sending out workers across Lower Saxony, and then down to the local commuter line. Get on the No. 8 or No. 18 train; either one will take you right to the front door of the Hannover Messe fairgrounds in about 15 minutes.

The women's voice in German intones "Messe Nord" and then a voice in an English accent helps those who don't quite understand the translation that you're at the north entrance to the fairgrounds, and that you should depart the train and "enjoy your day at the fair."

I've been fortunate to attend a decade's worth of Hannover Messe events. It always is the most valuable week of my schedule, but it's also a lot of information and a LOT of walking. I tell people all the time that the three most important words at Hannover Messe each spring are "wear comfortable shoes." The sheer size and scope of the fairgrounds, and of the booths, presentations and events, are unparalleled in the manufacturing sector. It is a big show, a big event filled with important information.

Yet, over time, Hannover Messe has become an intimate show for me. There are people I have met over the years who welcome me back with a warm handshake. It is a comfortable place to visit now. From the time I land to the time I depart, there is a sense of—well, if not home, then at least a sense of belonging.

In this particular year, however, there is a sense of anticipation greater than any before; and this year, there is a real sense of home. My country, my manufacturing sector, will be front and center at Hannover Messe, and it's about time.

President Obama will deliver the keynote at the opening ceremonies April 24, and I won't need the translation headphones this time. The U.S. Pavilion in Hall 3 will showcase the excellence of U.S. manufacturing. U.S. business leaders are coming in unprecedented numbers to shake hands, ask questions, create relationships and build bridges for manufacturing.

We don't need walls and barriers; we need bridges and understanding. We need to get away from our comfort zone, from our safe sense of doing what we always do, and venture out to see what else might be out there. While I believe the return on the investment to come to Hannover Messe is as enormous as the fairgrounds, this is not something you can measure in traditional ways.

Hannover Messe, for me, is something you need to feel. We hope to convey some of those feelings with our live coverage of Hannover Messe online starting April 24 from the opening ceremony.

For those of you who are coming, I remind you that I will be at the U.S. Pavilion at Hall 3 at 5 p.m. Wednesday evening. The first round is on me. For those of you who do not plan to come, it is worth considering. The best manufacturing operations I know are collaborative, involving all corners of the plant. Manufacturing as a whole gets better when we collaborate, involving all corners of the planet. This week in Germany is our time to come together. I hope to see you there.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me