Hannover Fair '99 Embraces Factory Automation

With ever increasing use of technology and automation, this year's Hannover Industrial Fair—the last before year 2000—remains the premier industrial fair. Also unchanged is the format to assemble several "fairs within a fair" in one location. However, starting in 1999, a new central theme and annual highlight will be Factory Automation, presenting "all the technologies and mod...


April 19-24, 1999 Hannover Messe '99: The Fair at a Glance


  • Location: Fairgrounds, Hannover

  • Exhibit hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Tel: 609/987-1202

  • Fax: 609/987-0092

  • E-mail: hannoverfair@hfusa.com

With ever increasing use of technology and automation, this year's Hannover Industrial Fair—the last before year 2000—remains the premier industrial fair. Also unchanged is the format to assemble several "fairs within a fair" in one location. However, starting in 1999, a new central theme and annual highlight will be Factory Automation , presenting "all the technologies and modular elements that constitute the modern automated factory environment," says show organizer Deutsche Messe AG (DMAG).

Restructuring goal

Combined, these several trade shows will offer visitors an insight into the world market's technologies and services. The goal of restructuring Hannover Fair is to present all components and technologies that make up industrial automation—from individual sensors to fully integrated robotics systems.

Dr. Klaus E. Goehrmann, chairman of DMAG's board of management, told Control Engineering of the importance of Factory Automation as a display category, which is to be closely tied to the information needs of industry around the globe. "Effective automation depends on the complex interplay among machines, data processing systems, bus systems, plus a wide variety of peripherals," notes Dr. Goehrmann.

Main event

Although several fairs run under one banner, control engineers will likely concentrate on these main attractions:

  • Factory Automation —Halls 11-17, 28, and open-air site, with 2,000 exhibitors and 96,000 m2of space. The FA sector's intent is to show merging of previous separate disciplines into "interactive manufacturing processes," says DMAG. Among FA's highlights are control, measuring, and actuation systems; robotics; energy management; industrial PCs; networks/industrial communications; materials handling; sensor technology; and software. Factory Automation ranks as the largest section of Hannover Fair 1999.

  • Power Transmission and Control —Halls 19-23, 25 and 26, with 1,250 exhibitors and 58,000 m2of display space. Digital controls and microelectronics are fueling this technology sector. Emphasis is on power transmission and fluid power. Visitors will be able to view complete, integrated systems as well as individual modules.

  • Factory Equipment, Tools, Compressed Air Technology —Halls 5 and 6, featuring 700 companies and 25,500 m2of displays. Globalization, a recurring theme at Hannover Fair '99, is evident here as well. In the "Compressed Air Technology" category alone, 110 exhibitors from 13 countries will take part. Compressed air enjoys wide industrial usage due to its versatility; but stiff competition from electric and hydraulic systems promotes further innovation to benefit users.

Research & Technology in Hall 18, with 650 exhibitors and 10,000 m2of space is another sector of interest for controls professionals. Key themes include hydrogen technology/fuel cells, environmental protection, microsystems and new materials, and nanotechnology.

Partner country, U.S. pavilions

A tradition of the fair is to select a partner country each year. Chile received the honor in 1999 to profile its industrial capabilities and business infrastructure. Its own pavilion in Hall 4 houses 40 small- and medium-sized industrial companies, plus 30 firms representing major enterprises ranging from raw materials processing to financial services and the public sector, such as the mining industry.

DMAG subsidiary Hannover Fairs USA will organize and manage five USA Pavilions—among them USA Factory Automation (Hall 16) and USA Power Transmission & Control (Hall 26). The pavilions are certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce. "The USA Pavilions provide small and mid-sized American companies with a simple and affordable way to reach decision-makers from around the world," says Kurt Marttila executive vp of Hannover Fairs USA.

Mr. Marttila told Control Engineering , "Since its inception, Hannover Fair has been the one global event that previewed the latest developments in every sector of industrial technology. Starting in 1999, the most significant advances in automation will be featured annually. This sector will continue to gain more prominence due to its key role in influencing every facet of modern industry."

Sampling the show

Hannover Fair's roughly 7,500 exhibitors run the gamut from small to large companies, with a substantial contingent from the USA.

ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), one of the largest perennial exhibitors, focuses this year on integrating drives, motors, control elements, and automation systems. New product highlights include a water cooled ACS 1000 medium-voltage drive; a dc drive said to take 15 minutes to commission; and OPC protocol and Advant Fieldbus 100 demonstrating the simplicity of communications between automation systems. Not to be overlooked is the recently launched Comp-AC business process for purchasing drives up to 40 kW.

API Motion will feature the newest offerings from all its product families, including servo and step drives and motors, miniature dc brushless and step motors, encoders, and other feedback devices. Also featured will be motor products of API's newest acquisition, Elmo Industrier AB of Sweden.

Baldor Electric Co. 's booth will show wide variety. Planned exhibits range from linear ac and dc motors, MINT advanced motion control products and programming language, to single and multiaxis servo and vector drives using a common keypad language, ac/dc drives through 600 kW, and the motor-control combination package, Baldor SmartMotor.

A wide range of PLC products will be the spotlight for GE Fanuc Automation , especially its VersaMax I/O and Control. According to the company, VersaMax is a single control product usable as an I/O device, PLC, and distributed control for up to 256 I/O points. (Three other companies, GE Industrial Systems , GE Power Controls , and GE PowerManagement will be part of a common stand.)

Hoffman will showcase numerous enclosure products. New wall-mount "Ex" enclosures—designated as "intrinsically safe"-style (Exi) and "increased safety"-style (Exe)—are said to be certified for global use. Proline modular enclosures feature optional EMC protection with two levels of attenuation. Choosing from over 8,000 available enclosure products is simplified by "Helps" interactive software on CD-ROM.

Kollmorgen is set to introduce two new products: Goldline BH Series high-voltage servo motors intended for the European market and Servostar CD digital amplifiers with integrated power supply. Also, an expanded line of Servostar 600 digital amplifiers and 6SM Series servo motors will be featured.

Manufacturing Data Systems Inc. (MDSI) will introduce its wholly owned German subsidiary and the German language version of its softwareCNC, called OpenCNC. MDSI will demonstrate how OpenCNC—running on standard PCs—can help European manufacturers integrate their factories, maximize productive lives of machine tools, and increase profits.

Pacific Scientific will showcase its new PMA Series motor family that complements the CE-marked, high-voltage SCE900 digital servo drive. PMA Series brushless servo motors offer continuous torques to 200 Nm and sealing to IP67 requirements.

Schneider Electric 's 1,500 m2booth will be based on product "openness and innovation." It will emphasize integrated automation solutions, whatever the application complexity or target—either original equipment manufacturers or end-users. In the spotlight will be Transparent Factory, Schneider's major open platform implementing Internet technologies and Ethernet TCP/IP.

"Factory of the Future," a 3,000-m2exhibit in Hall 11 will introduce Siemens Automation & Drives Group 's latest products, systems, and services. The exhibit runs under the theme of "Excellence in Automation." Wider topics will include integration of drive technology into Totally Integrated Automation; products for the field-, control-, and management-levels of automation; and hardware/software for operator control and visualization.

SST , now part of Woodhead Connectivity, will showcase a spectrum of its Profibus and other industrial networking products. New products on display—under a "One Source, One Solution" booth theme—include network diagnostic tools, backplane communication modules, and OPC servers for MS-Windows CE and NT.

Wonderware will feature three main elements of its FactorySuite 2000 product. InTouch process visualization, InTrack resource management, and IndustrialSQL Server real-time relational database modules work together to provide more usable manufacturing management information.

Users and visitors

At the bottom line, Hannover Fair is very much about visitors' business objectives. Exhibits will appeal to two groups of potential buyers: management decision-makers and end-users. According to DMAG, 81% of visitors have a say in purchasing decisions and 23% of them come from outside of Germany.

Hannover Fair represents a unique opportunity to see, test, and evaluate all the various elements of an automated factory. Industrial automation is not the exclusive domain of large companies. It can start with a single robot, an automated welding machine, or a closed-loop process, ending up as a fully integrated production line—where the human operator's role is mainly to supervise and monitor.

Control Engineering will again be part of the scene. Stop by and chat with us in Hall 12 (Stand E58)

For more information in North America, contact Hannover Fairs USA, Princeton, N.J. (see logo box), visit www.controleng.com/info .

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