The fourth revolution: integrated industry

The lead theme of Hannover Messe 2013 signals the fair’s key focus on the growing integration of all areas of industry. Machines, industrial equipment, workpieces and system components will soon be capable of exchanging data in real-time.
Oliver frese Osec Eurotec
Oliver Frese, head of Hannover Messe presenting the strengths of Hannover Messe to Swiss exhibitors and journalists yesterday at Osec in Zürich.

“This will significantly boost efficiency, safety and resource sustainability in production and logistics,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, a member of the Deutsche Messe Board of Management. “The experts have dubbed this technological development the fourth industrial revolution, coming, as it does, after the steam engine, mass production and automation.”

Fundamental restructuring
The goal of rapidly integrating all systems necessitates a fundamental restructuring of production processes. In the future, intelligent materials will tell machines how they want to be processed and formed. Parts and assemblies will have autonomous digital product memories that will facilitate continuous documentation throughout their entire lifecycles. Components will initiate their own maintenance and repair requests. And intelligent components in complex equipment will independently report faults to monitoring systems, thereby instantly triggering the remedial measures necessary to prevent further damage and initiate repair work.

Cooperation for the future
At the same time, new forms of cooperation and collaboration are opening up fresh opportunities for productivity-based economic growth. “Enabling people in production facilities and beyond to collaborate with each other is the first step along the way to integration. Increasingly, companies from very different industries will enter into partnerships with one another, thereby opening up previously undreamt-of horizons,” Dr. Köckler said. In this sense, “Integrated Industry” could, he said, be defined in terms of technical and electronic integration, but also in terms of the challenge faced by all areas of industry as they seek to cooperate across corporate and sector boundaries. Integration would shorten communication channels and make collaboration more efficient.

About 140 Swiss companies will exhibit at Hannover Messe 2013, about 10% of these will benefit from the common booth organized by Osec.

Indeed we will come back on the subject soon.