Collaboration is the word at Hannover Messe

Big names announcing big partnerships to accelerate IIoT growth to help manufacturing productivity; Mexico is announced as the 2018 Hannover Messe Partner Country.


Besides the usual buses that transport the 200,000 visitors from point to point among the 26 halls at Hannover, there are a number of the old Volkswagen microbuses, decked out in bright colors and fully operational. Courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaHANNOVER, GERMANY: Collaboration seems likely to propel manufacturing productivity and ease of use with the number and type of recent announcements related to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), especially at Hannover Messe.

Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary selects a Word of the Year that either is an existing word has taken on new meaning or has been created in the previous year. For example, the 2016 Word of the Year was "post-truth."

Just four months into 2017, if manufacturing were to have such a recognition, the word of the year would be "collaboration."

What already was known about the IIoT is that it will be built with pieces from a variety of hardware and software vendors, and driven by separate analytics and co-located on a series of cloud-based data platforms. What is clear from the first days at Hannover Messe 2017 is that the pace of the partnerships between these otherwise disparate companies is accelerating.

On Monday, Schneider Electric and Microsoft announced a collaboration around mixed reality (what company officials describe as a cross between augmented reality and virtual reality) even as Schneider Electric was announcing its new EcoStruxure for Industry, which is a full suite of connected devices, edge computing, and applications using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Microsoft announced a number of its own collaborations, with robotics manufacturer Comau and with end users such as Tetra Pak and Jabil. It also held a press conference Monday to tout its new Azure IoT Suite Connected Factory that itself will collaborate as part of the OPC UA protocol from OPC Foundation.

Caglayan Arkan, general manager of worldwide manufacturing and resources for Microsoft, said one key in this collaborative world is that humans will have to collaborate with other humans, especially in the area of training. "Enterprises are only as good as their people; that does not change," Arkan said. "We share one planet with limited resources; that does not change. One more thing does not change—we have to democratize IoT.

"Robots and humans can interact and make things safer and more productive," he added. "By redefining the workforce, we are going to give them technology skills on top of skills we already have."

Another interesting innovation at the show is the announcement by Phoenix Contact of its PLCnext Technology, which itself offers a collaborative environment. PLCnext will enable open-source programming for traditional PLC functions on a Linux platform. In announcing the product, which will be available in conjunction with the SPC show in Nuremburg in November, company officials said PLCnext will combine "classic PLC programming and high-level language programming and enables the creation of modern applications within the context of Industrie 4.0."

Mexico is 2018 Partner Country: Germany has decided to build a bridge to Mexico rather than to build a wall. Hannover Messe announced Tuesday morning that Mexico will be the 2018 Partner Country. It will occur just two years after Barack Obama led the delegation to Hannover when the U.S. was the Partner Country for the first time.

Hannover Messe officials see Mexico's emergence as a manufacturing power very differently than some political leaders in the U.S. "Mexico is Latin America's second-largest economy and has steadily grown in importance as a market and investment location for companies in many European countries, including Germany," fair officials said in a press release announcing the designation.

A look back in time: Even as Hannover Messe celebrates the great innovations in manufacturing, it also has taken time at this year's show to look back. In 2017, Hannover marks the 70th year of hosting the world's largest industrial trade show, which grew out of Germany's rebuilding effort after World War II.

At Sunday night's opening ceremony, the audience was introduced to Dietmar Harting, whose family-owned business is one of just a very few companies which has exhibited at every Hannover Messe. As a young boy, Dietmar Harting accompanied his father and company founder Wilhelm Harting to the first event, called the Export Messe, and he has attended every one of the 70 events.

The fair itself has a fairly whimsical reminder of the past on the grounds this year. Besides the usual buses that transport the 200,000 visitors from point to point among the 26 halls at Hannover, there are a number of the old Volkswagen microbuses, decked out in bright colors and fully operational. While Germans remember them for their utility, Americans, especially those on the West Coast, recall them fondly as a symbol of a different time.


Watch for continuing coverage on the Plant Engineering and Control Engineering  websites. For IIoT coverage on both sites, go to the pull-down menu, upper left. For more on control systems, see seven specific pages on the Control Engineering  website under “Control Systems."

Bob Vavra is content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media,; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering,

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me