Robots, humans coming closer to each other

Hannover Messe 2017 opening a high-tech event with Schunk winning the 2017 Hermes Award for its collaborative robot and Poland, the event's partner nation, emphasizing innovation.


Schunk won the 2017 Hermes Award for innovation for its intelligent gripper module for robots that interacts with humans. Its flexible jaws can measure and learn the tactile strength needed for its work, and the module includes two cameras to allow the grThe robots are looking more like humans, and the humans are looking more like robots. At the Opening Ceremonies of Hannover Messe 2017, the world's largest industrial trade show, Schunk won the 2017 Hermes Award for innovation for its intelligent gripper module for robots that interacts with humans. Its flexible jaws can measure and learn the tactile strength needed for its work, and the module includes two cameras to allow the gripper to "see" its surroundings.

The grippers were on display as part of the pre-show press tour that precedes the gala opening ceremony. In the tour demonstration, a human-looking robot was grabbing, fastening and staging small toy cars. The grippers were one part of a larger robotic application.

And while Schunk won the Hermes Award, the attendees at the opening ceremony reacted most strongly to Swiss-based Noonee's wearable leg exoskeleton, which allows a worker free movement while wearing the device, but also can fully support the worker if he wants to take a seated position. The "Chairless Chair" allows workers to switch between standing, sitting and walking at the push of a button.

With Poland as the Partner Country, the opening of the 70th Hannover Messe (Hannover Fair, in English) was a considerably lower-key affair than the 2016 event, which featured President Obama leading the U.S. delegation. But while his successor's name was not mentioned by any of the speakers, Obama's name was mentioned on a few occasions as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Poland Prime Minister Beata Szydlo opened the event.

Perhaps the most spontaneous applause of the night came during the remarks of Prof. Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries.

"Trade relations are a win-win situation," Kempf said. "They can benefit everyone's prosperity. In view of increasing attempts to support protectionism and isolationism on both sides of the Atlantic, the message from the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, that we heard last year, was quite important. But this is a task we must all rise to."

Kempf praised Merkel for her message supporting free trade discussions between Europe and the United State during her visit with President Trump last month in Washington. Kempf also called the decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union "regrettable," adding, was disappointed that "the British government did not succeed in explaining that Europe is the solution and not the problem."

The message of this year's Partner Country is, "Smart is Poland," and Szydlo emphasized that point during her opening remarks. "The Poland you will see at Hannover Messe 2017 is a young Poland, with new and innovative ideas."

That was driven home during Poland's high-tech, high-energy artistic presentation. While the show sought to honor the contributions of three major Polish scientists—Copernicus, Marie Curie and Jacek Karpinski, who developed the first mini-computer with an expandable memory—it did so with an innovative computer-generated opening number that featured a singer whose 16-foot square skirt was the screen on which a dazzling array of moving images were displayed. The upbeat presentation had everything from gymnastics to a beat-box performer.

Hannover Messe 2017 opens Monday with the emphasis on how manufacturing suppliers are using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to deliver real-world applications.

Watch for continuing coverage on the Plant Engineering and Control Engineering  websites. For IIoT coverage on both sites under the pull-down menu, upper left. For more on robotics, see the Control Engineering robotics page

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